GUYS BEAT GAL: 'Expendables' $35M Wkd; 'Eat Pray Love' $23.7M; 'Scott Pilgrim' $10.5M

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Weekend wonders never cease. Friday the Thirteenth weekend proved lucky for a pair of faded stars. Overall box office looks about $140M (about even with last year’s) and had something for everyone — men/women, old/young, romance/bromance, winners/losers/dropouts. It’s so competitive that The Expendables was marketing itself by pitting Sly Stallone against Pretty Woman: “Guys, don’t let Julia Roberts win”.  I love the smell of napalm. North American numbers were refined this AM:

1. The Expendables (Lionsgate) NEW [3,270 Theaters]
Friday $13.3M, Saturday $11.8M, Est Sunday $9.8M, Weekend $35M

Even when The Expendables came on tracking, it looked big. And the timing couldn’t have been better what with Lionsgate getting beaten up by Carl Icahn on a daily basis, and Sylvester Stallone needing a fresh hit in his dotage. Kudos to Sly for coming up with such an irresistible concept directing and starring with today’s and yesteryear’s action heroes like Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and even Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger (for nanoseconds in cameos). “Are The Expendables wearing Dependables?” one rival studio exec snarked in an email to me.

Still, it’s the kind of old school camp that the action box office needs — and received a “B+” CinemaScore. The audience was 61% male/39% female, as expected, and 60% over age 25/40% under age 25. Older women were 26%, equal to the percentage of men under 25. Friday’s grosses included a little Thursday midnight money. And Saturday’s fell about 7%. But the weekend fell in line with Hollywood’s big prediction for the pic despite being R-rated and only 2D. But it’s helped by a short running time of only 1 hour, 43 minutes. And maybe that hilarious Comic-Con: ‘The Expendables’ Panel made some difference. The marketing all along was fresh and funny, mostly because Stallone wasn’t afraid to make fun of his image. 

2. Eat Pray Love (Sony) NEW [3,082 Theaters]
Friday $8.5M, Saturday $8.1M, Weekend $23.7M

If older males flocked to Sly, then older females embraced Eat Pray Love even with its has-been star Julia Roberts (remember, she couldn’t open Duplicity with co-star Clive Owen) in this music video of a film directed by Glee‘s Ryan Murphy and based on the treacly bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert. Which is why Paramount was right to pass on what looked like a one-quadrant loser. (Paramount vs Sony On ‘Eat Pray Love’) Really, I hoped women had better taste in movies than this. Exit surveys showed the audience was 72% female with 56% over over 35 and 44% under 35. The pic received a “B” CinemaScore. “At only 37% [positive reviews] on Rotten Tomatoes, they better hurry up and pray that it doesn’t leave their favorite multiplex too fast,’ one rival studio exec emailed me. Make no mistake: the only reason this pic made any opening weekend coin was because of the brilliant job done once again by Sony’s marketing team of Jeff Blake, Marc Weinstock, and this time George Leon and his 72-hour EPL weekend extravaganza on HSN. The studio’s expensive and omnipresent ads and promotions drove box office among women. “Whether they were in theaters, online, watching television, listening to radio, or shopping in their favorite malls and stores, they saw our campaign,” a Sony exec gushed. Shame on this studio co-run by a female for selling the pic’s self-discovery prattle by pushing women to purchase crap like lotus petal necklaces for Sony royalties. 

3. The Other Guys (Sony) Week 2 [3,651 Theaters]
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $18M (49%), Cume $70.5M

4. Inception (Warner Bros) Week 5 [3,120 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.8M, Weekend $11.3M, Cume $248.5M

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Universal) NEW [2,818 Theaters]
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $10.5M

This odd but innovative movie based on a comic book is yet another greenlight from the fired Mark Shmuger at Universal. He’s the gift that keeps on giving the studio expensive underperformers. Yet the current regime embraced Scott Pilgrim vs The World as a counterprogramming maneuver this weekend even though they knew auteur filmmaker Edgar Wright’s $60M budget (even with location credits) envelope pusher wouldn’t open or earn out. But that’s only because it got great reviews (which younger moviegoers rarely read) and an “A-” CinemaScore. The audience was 64% male/36% female, and 58% under 25 yrs of age/42% 25 yrs and older. Uni tried to hype the genre-bending pic as too cool for the room and claim it didn’t know if Scott Pilgrim would make $5M or $15M this weekend. But the pic will do exactly what Uni execs predicted to me it would: a pittance. “Regardless of the perceived outcome, we are proud of this film. Studios need to continue to offer audiences good and original ideas/films,” Uni said today. “We do wish a greater number of people went to see the film.”

6. Despicable Me (Universal) Week 6 [2,923 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $222.9M

7. Step Up 3D (Disney/Summit) Week 2 [2,439 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $6.6M (-48%), Cume $29.5M

8. Salt (Sony) Week 4 [2,834 Theaters]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.5M, Weekend $6.3M, Cume $103.5M

9. Dinner For Schmucks (DW/Spyglass/Paramount) Week 3 [3,046 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $2.4M, Weekend $6.3M, Cume $58.8M

10. Cats & Dogs 2: Kitty Galore (Warner Bros) Week 3 [2,728 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4M, Cume $35.1M

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