This week:

Real Steel knocks out the competition to retain the top spot; Footloose shows fancy footwork to come a close second; The Thing leaves audiences cold and The Big Year is a huge disaster.It was a close call, but according to early estimates Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel held on to the top spot during a very weedy weekend. The robot boxing movie dipped around 40% for a weekend take of almost $16.3 million. That figure ups the gross to $51.7 million – a decent number, but not spectacular given the films $100 million-plus budget. It’ll struggle to get near the century mark on its domestic release, so it’ll need strong foreign grosses to be profitable.

Paramount Picture’s Footloose remake (read our review) failed to kick-off its Sunday shoes; grossing $15.5 million on its debut. The studio gave the $24 million budgeted film a strong marketing push, but it didn’t cut loose with its targeted teen audience. It’s not a disaster, as it’ll be profitable when all is said and done – DVD’s and soundtracks will be sold – but this 21st century makeover won’t capture the zeitgeist like the Kevin Bacon original. When released in 1984 that film scored over $80 million – a number that this remake could only ever dream about.

The Thing  prequel opened in third place with a poor $8.4 million. Universal’s prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic received mediocre reviews (read ours) and it was expected to open to around $11 million – so this number is a disappointment, especially when horrors usually do well in the run-up to Halloween. Carpenter’s Kurt Russell starring original was also a financial disappointment on its release, grossing just $19 million; although over the years its popularity grew because of television airings and video rentals (remember those?) .

George Clooney’s The Ides of March held up well dipping just 32% from last week’s launch. The political thriller should see the weekend out with $7.1 million, that would give the film a $21.7 million total. Ides should gain traction with adult audiences, and while it won’t be a blockbuster, it will be profitable, ensuring that Clooney can continue to produce edgy material in the future.

Dolphin Tale and Moneyball continue to draw audiences as both films sit firmly in the middle of the chart. The dolphin film banked another $6.2 million for a $58 million total, while the Brad Pitt baseball film scored another $5.4 million for a $57 million cumulative haul.

50/50showed some legs this weekend, bringing in another $4.2 million. That gives the film a solid $24.5 million total gross – not bad considering its subject matter. Courageous grossed another $3.3 million for a $21 million total.

The big news this weekend really comes from The Big Year. The bird watching comedy which has the combined star power of Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin only managed to open to $3.2 million. The $41 million comedy (some say it only cost $28 million with tax incentives) should have opened to much more, but studio 20th Century Fox had problems selling the bird watching concept to audiences. It’s difficult to “sex-up” bird watching, but the studio had hoped that director David Frankel was up to the task. Frankel previously helmed The Devil Wears Prada as well as Marley & Me and Fox hoped that he would take Mark Obmascik’s non-fiction book and turn it into a hit. Wilson, Black, and Martin should have been able to parlay their star wattage into a better opening than this, but sadly The Big Year is going to be a big bomb. A turkey even.

The Lion King rounded out the top ten scoring another $2.7 million for a fantastic $90 million gross.

Daniel Craig’s Dream House dropped out the top ten after grossing $2.4 million. The chiller has now banked a paltry $18.3 million, not good considering that it cost $50 million to produce. Recently reports circulated that director Jim Sheridan went to the Directors Guild of America in an attempt to have his name removed from the film. Apparently the later stages of preproduction saw reshoots, which culminated with Sheridan being locked out of the editing. Oh dear.

That’s it for now. See you at the movies.

Source: Box Office Mojo