SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: The other studios are sticking pins in voodoo dolls tonight as the weekend grosses shows Sony boasting both the No. 1 and No. 2 movies in North America. Not even box office poison Woody Harrelson could kill off the hit combo of comedy and deadmen walking as Zombieland opened to $9.4 million both Friday and Saturday (rain on the East Coast helped) from a wide release in 3,036 theaters. That’s a strong $25M first weekend, especially since it was produced for under $24M. The pic’s buzz was surprisingly good with even critics embracing first-time director Ruben Fleischer. That translated into a CinemaScore of “A-” — “A” for males, “A-” for females, “A” for everybody under 35. It’s Sony’s 6th #1 movie of the year.
Meanwhile, starting Week 3, Sony’s Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs kept a good hold of -34% (even up against Disney’s Pixar 3-D challenge). The toon took in $3.7M Friday, and $7.6M Saturday, from 2,977 runs for a $16.7M weekend and new cume of $82.3M. “I’ve no idea where the top is now but don’t bet less than $115 mil,” one Sony exec told me.
For 3rd place, Disney had the irresistible notion to release Toy Story I and II as a 3-D combo in 1,745 venues and saw a sizeable Saturday kiddie matinee bump — from $3.4M Friday to $5.6M Saturday. It’s a $12.5M weekend.
Warner Bros’ Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais came in #4. Gervais is no box office hottie, and the pic opened with $2.4M Friday and $3M Saturday for a $7.3M weekend from just 1,707 runs.
Disney’s Bruce Willis fiasco Surrogates was #5 making $2.2M Friday (-55% from a week ago) and $3.2M Saturday for a $7.3M weekend and cume of $26.5M. This is the crappy sci-fi pic which cost $80M and Disney held for a year.
Drew Barrymore helmed that roller derby girl power flick from Fox Searchlight Whip It playing in the same amount of dates, 1,720. But even co-starring Drew (and she flogged the film everywhere), it debuted only #6 with $1.5M Friday and $2M Saturday for a $4.8M weekend.
Michael Moore’s purposefully controversial and politically polarizing documentary Capitalism: A Love Story was distributed by Overture Films and wound up in 7th place. It went wide into 962 theaters this weekend after opening on September 23rd in a limited release of 4 theaters. The pic about the financial crisis made $1.6M Friday and $2M Saturday (+33%) for a $4.8M weekend and $5.2M cume. Just for comparison purposes: Moore’s most recent Sicko did $4.4 mil its opening weekend from only 441 theaters (and that was with him guesting on The Tonight Show and announcing he’d been subpoenaed by the Bush administration for the health care documentary). And his Fahrenheit 9/11 did $23.9M its opening weekend from 868 venues.) So, as much as the left loves Moore, and the right detests him, and he always uses the ensuing controversy to self-promote, the money angle is only what interests me. The fact is that Capitalism: A Love Story looks like its domestic total will fail to crack $20M and end up his worst performing film since his Oscar-winner Bowling For Columbine in 2002.
The rest of the Top 10 were holdovers: MGM’s disastrous Fame flopped to #8 with just $1.4M Friday and $2.1M Saturday (-48% after one week out) for a $4.7M weekend and cume of $16.6M. Warner Bros’ Matt Damon starrer The Informant! hangs in for #9 with $1.1M Friday and $1.7M Saturday and $3.8M weekend for a $26.5M cume. Rounding out the Top 10, Universal’s Love Happens drops to #10 with just $925K on Friday and $1.2M Saturday and eked out a $2.7M weekend and weak cume of $18.9M.
Also opening was Focus Features’ A Serious Man from the Coen Brothers in 6 theaters (NY, LA, and Minneapolis) for $72K Friday and $105K Saturday for a strong per screen average of $12K and $17K. Its weekend take is $251K. The film garnered positive reviews and word-of-mouth from its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival which attracted the Coens’ smarthouse audience as well as older patronage.
Meanwhile, read my posting here how in college towns right now, Paramount’s Paranormal Activity is getting freakishly good grosses playing only after midnight.
Overall, it should be a $100M weekend just short (-5%) of last year’s total gross.