SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Here are the weekend numbers (Sunday estimates):
1. The Final Destination 3-D (NL/WB) NEW, Fri $10.9M, Sat $10.2M, Wkd $28.3M
2. Basterds (Weinstein/Uni) WK 2, Fri $5.8M, Sat $8.1M, Wkd $19.5M, Cume $73.2M
3. Halloween II (Weinstein) NEW, Fri $7M, Sat $5.6M, Wkd $17M
4. District 9 (Sony) WK 3, Fri $3M, Sat $3.9M, Wkd $10.7M, Cume $90.8M
5. G.I. Joe (Paramount) WK 5, Fri $2.2M, Sat $3.5M, Wkd $8M, Cume $132.4M
6. Julie & Julia (Sony) WK 4, Fri $2.1M, Sat $3.2M, Wkd $7.4M, Cume $70.9M
7. Time Trav Wife (WB) WK 3, Fri $2.1M, Sat $2.8M, Wkd $6.7M, Cume $48.1M
8. Shorts (WB) WK 2, Fri $1.2M, Sat $2.1M, Wkd $4.8M, Cume $13.5M
9. Taking Woodstock (Focus) NEW, Fri $1.1M, Sat $1.4M, Wkd $3.7M
10. G-Force (Disney) WK 6, Fri $710K, Sat $, Wkd $2.8M, Cume $111.8M
As the summer winds down, studio execs needing a vacation are getting punchier (and their quotes to me snarkier). But even Hollywood is embarrassed by the fact that this weekend’s Top 4 competing films featuring horror, death, gore, mayhem, war, Nazis, aliens, and sci-fi all did so well at the box office. “What a sad statement on movie-going humanity,” a top studio exec emailed me. “And let’s look at the ratings for the top 4 movies at the box office tonight: ‘R’, ‘R’, ‘R’, and ‘R’. Yikes.” While Final Destination 3-D and Halloween II were playing in almost the same number of theaters (3,121 vs 3,025), 3-D made the big difference in gross receipts at 1,678 outfitted dates. Sure, The Weinstein Company has been claiming that the sequel to its Rob Zombie horror reboot cost half ($15M) what New Line/Warner Bros’ suspense thriller did ($30M). But the fact that these two movies stayed on the same weekend to battle for the same horror fans stunned marketing experts — especially when this Friday through Sunday is traditionally weak moviegoing-wise as college kids head off to school again. “How stubborn/stupid can two distributors be?” one promotion pro asked me. (It’s Chinatown, Jake…) And it’s just as inexplicable why The Weinstein Co would compete one week later with its own Inglourious Basterds; the Quentin Tarantino World War II pic wound up beating Halloween II for second place because of a better-than-expected -49% hold — hardly the -70% expected. But The Weinstein Co has been in such dire financial straits that it couldn’t even hold Halloween II until October. Ang Lee’s comedic Taking Woodstock for Focus Features platformed in 2 theaters — NY and LA — Wednesday but opened in 1,393 venues Friday. Nice bit of upcoming Labor Day weekend counter-programming; then again it was co-written by Focus chief James Schamus so he’s especially protecting the pic.
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