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Weekend Box Office: Gravity Makes it Three in a Row, Carrie Scares Up Limited Audience

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By Chris Kavan - 10/20/13 at 10:10 PM CT

It was no surprise over the weekend (at least for me) with Gravity once again taking the top honors at the box office. Despite the two top dramas bringing in the crowds, the overall box office was still down a hefty 20% compared to 2012 - and although it's looking as if adults will continue to support these strong movies - it probably means the rest of October is also likely to be a bit below compared to last year. Blame it on the lack of decent horror as Carrie, the lone horror offering for the month, is looking like it won't be able to hook that much of crowd even with Halloween right around the corner.


As I expected, Gravity didn't have much a problem holding off three new films and retained it's #1 spot over the weekend. Taking in $31.03 million, Gravity dropped just 28% and now stands at an impressive $170.56 million. That total is good enough to move it into the 10th spot for the highest-grossing films of 2013 - and it still has a lot of legs left in it. Alfonso Cuarón's highest-grossing film to date is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at $249.54 million. If Gravity continues to perform as well as it has - it has a good shot at obliterating that marke and a $275 million total is not out of the question at this point. It also could easily rank in the top 5 for 2013 before it ends its run as well. This is pretty remarkable for an original film that was released in the fall and really goes to show that originality isn't dead and with the right combination of emotion, visual effects and direction you can still make your mark in Hollywood.


Coming in second place for the second time, Tom Hanks' latest project Captain Phillips took in $17.3 million (off about 33%) and crossed the $50 million mark to wind up at a new $53.3 million total. The well-reviewed and received drama might not quite have had the hold of Argo (which dropped just 16% in its second weekend) but given that Gravity is still pulling in astronomical numbers, it still has to be seen a strong showing. The $55 million picture should have enough steam to cross the $100 million mark before it ends its run in theaters.


Even though Carrie was the lone horror offering - and we're approaching the ultimate horror holiday in Halloween - the remake had a rough opening with just a $17 million showing. Earlier this year another remake,Evil Dead, opened to a $25.8 million debut. The film did earn a B- cinemascore which, through not outstanding, is on the higher end for horror films. Also of note is the relatively low budget of $30 million - which Carrie should be able to reach, though it likely won't be able to crack $50 million by the end of its run.


Dropping from one spot from last weekend, the animated sequel took in another $10.1 million and gave the film a new total of $93.1 million. The film is on track to top the $100 million mark by next week, though it's clear that it will not be able to catch up to the original Cloudy film, which ended with $124.87 million in 2009. Still, with just a $78 million budget, the film did its job and a third film could be justified at this point in time.


Guess what Arnie and Sly - the 80s are over and no matter how hard you try - you won't be able to be kinds of the box office anymore. Escape Plan is the latest woeful nail in the coffin (See also Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand) for the two. At just $9.8 million - it doesn't matter that it earned a respectable B+ cinemescore - the overall total is likely to be less than $30 million and maybe, just maybe, it's time to hang up the action hero card this time. But, hey, we have at least one more Expendables to look forward too.

Outside the top five: The Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate was a major bomb, earning just $1.71 million (8th place) and earned the distinction of being the lowest-grossing film to open in 1500 or more theaters (beating other notable bomb Paranoia which opened with $3.5 million). Benedict Cumberbatch - maybe not quite leading man material just yet.

In limited release Steve McQueen's highly-rated drama 12 Years a Slave opened in 19 theaters with $970,000 (or an impressive $50,526 per-theater average). With a lot of awards buzz surrounding this film, it should be interesting to see if a more general audience with support it. It opens in about 100 theaters next week before a more general expansion in November.

Speaking of next week, two new films open: the Ridley Scott thriller The Counselor (starring some big names in Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and ameron Diaz) and, for something completely different, the Jackass production Bad Grandpa where Johnny Knoxville will attempt to do crazy stuff while made up as an old man. I have a feeling Gravity is once again going to take top honors.


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