The lion is still the king of the jungle. Moneyball's opening was very respectable but a bit softer than Brad Pitt's usual opening weekend numbers. My guess is that too many people who are pushed toward ticket-purchases by perceptions of quality rather than celebrity or subject matter didn't expect it to be as good as it actually is. I'm guessing word of mouth is strong and Brad's very-real bid for Oscar (who'da thunk it?) finds its legs quickly. In baseball you have to do a lot of standing around and waiting for the excitement to accumulate. Or so I gather.
Thus Disney's most popular picture roars again from its jutting cliff peak.
Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen -estimates
01 THE LION KING 3D [review] re-release $22.1 (cum $390.2)
02 MONEYBALL [review] new $20.6
03 DOLPHIN TALE new $20.2
04 ABDUCTION new $11.2
05 KILLER ELITE new $9.5
06 CONTAGION [venice] $8.5 (cum $57.1)
07 DRIVE [review] $5.7 (cum $21.4)
08 THE HELP [review] $4.4 (cum $154.4)
09 STRAW DOGS $2.1 (cum $8.8)
10 I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT $2 (cum $8)
Talking Points: Weekend, the terrific gay romantic drama we've been raving about (read my interview with the director) had the nation's highest per sceen average which is promising for its expansion plans.
We have always hoped it would expand quickly. You deserve to see it! According to Indiewire our hopes will become reality.
Sundance Selects said they’re “thrilled” with the opening numbers and will expand through the major markets in the next two weeks."
Dolphin Tale once again proves that family films don't need anything in the way of pre-release buzz to do well. I'm so weirded out that it almost equalled the gross of a really entertaining Brad Pitt movie! (I expect that Moneyball will have sturdy legs over the next month or two though.)
Will Abduction's super blah but not altogether embarassing opening and the terrible reviews be enough to put a stake through Taylor Lautner's career? My guess is no. Besides, stakes can't harm you if you're already made of wood. (Hardy-har-har). Nevertheless, unless his acting magically improves, he'll be given a headlining opportunity on a procedural on TV in ten years time on his name recognition alone. He'll be working his whole life on name recognition, actually. Such is the power of kicking things off in a blockbuster franchise. (See also: the inexplicably long career death rattle and similarly suspect acting of one Hayden Christensen.
What did you see this weekend?
If you saw Moneyball make sure to sound off over in the review. I'm a bit surprised that Brad Pitt didn't win the weekend since my theater was packed even early in the morning (which is not common in September in NYC).