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Weekend Box Office: Bad Grandpa Brings Gravity Down to Earth; The Counselor Falls Flat

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By Chris Kavan - 10/27/13 at 08:35 PM CT

Well, what do you know? It took a Jackass to dethrone Sandra Bullock. How many people saw that one coming? Actually, it's not too big of surprise, given that the past three Jackass films have opened to pretty big openings and the market was ripe for a broad comedy. In fact, this was the first weekend in October to actually improve over 2012 (up 17%) and even with Gravity taking so many of the headlines - it's not likely to be a month to remember. Still, at least the month went out with a bang and with some big films coming in November (Ender's Game, Thor: The Dark World and the 300-lb gorilla, Hunger Games: Catching Fire) we'll see if 2013 will be able to top 2012 as the year nears its close.


The timing was pretty much perfect for this Jackass spinoff. With Johnny Knoxville in old-man makeup and the scene-stealing Jackson Nicoll along for the ride, Bad Grandpa opened to a cool $32 million. That is second to only Jackass 3D ($50.4 million) as the highest opening for the Jackass brand. Not surprising the majority of the audience was male (56%) but in terms of age, it attracted a somewhat older audience (63% over 25) than I expected. They awarded it a mediocre "B" but it should still have no problem hitting the $75 million mark before the gags get old. This isn't the type of film that attracts many repeat customers.


It might have fallen to second place, but you can't feel at all bad for Alfonso Cuarón. That is because Gravity still only dipped 32% (in its fourth weekend - that's still an amazing hold) and the film is just about to cross the $200 million mark (and might still once final numbers are tallied) as it stands, it is now at $199.8 million, adding another $20.3 million over the weekend. The film will likely take a slight dip next weekend as it will lost many of IMAX screens to Ender's Game, but even so, it's still looking like $250 million is within easy reach.


Another drama that has been holding its own quite well, Captain Phillips retained its third-place showing, taking in another $11.8 million (down 28%). That gives the Tom Hanks film a new total of $70.1 million It is still tracking $10 million ahead of Argo through the same point and a $100 million total is a given. Considering the competition it has faced with adults, this has to be seen as a big win for Paul Greengrass and Columbia pictures in general.


Despite having Ridley Scott directing a film based on Cormac McCarthy's words and starring some big names (Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Cameron Diaz), The Counselor became the latest high profile film to fall flat with audiences. Joining the likes of Runner Runner ($7.7 million) and Killing Them Softly ($6.8 million), The Counselor could only muster up a pretty dismal $8 million opening. Even though the budget was a modest $25 million - given that audiences awarded it an atrocious D cinemascore - the film will be lucky to reach even that humble amount. Once again - just because you have an all-star cast if you don't have a decent story to back them up, you're not going to be able to reach a general audience.


Outlasting many other newcomers, Cloud 2 continued its decent run with a $6.1 million fifth place showing - and just crossing the $100 million mark with a new $100.6 million total. While that figure isn't exactly stunning - and it won't beat the original film's total - is might be good enough to warrant another sequel. We'll see what happens when it faces direct competition from in the form of the feathered turkeys of Free Birds next weekend.

Outside the top five: Expanding from a handful of theaters last weekend to 123 this weekend, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave jumped nearly 133% (and went from 16th to 8th place in the process) and added $2.15 million to its total, giving it a new $3.4 million cumulative take. It will expand to 400+ next weekend and the big test will be to see how general audiences receive it.

Also opening strong in limited release was Blue is the Warmest Color - the 3 hour film from Abdellatif Kechiche has gotten a lot of attention for its NC-17 rating (due to some graphic, and prolonged lesbian love scenes) but it brought in a spectacular $25,250 per-theater average from just four theaters. Given its limited potential - it's not likely to expand too much outside of arthouse theaters, but all that attention has certainly paid off.

Next week will see the release of the sci-fi film Ender's Game, the comedy Last Vegas (with Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline) and the animated Free Birds. I have a feeling Ender will be able to topple one Bad Grandpa (even given the controversy surrounding its outspoken author Orson Scott Card).


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