Four new films opened this weekend, but they were no match for throat punches and cell phone diatribes in this week's box office.
Last week's number one, Taken 2, retained its top spot with $22.5 million over the weekend. Now at $86 million to-date, the Liam Neeson sequel will not only double its $45 million budget before the week is out, but also has a real shot of overtaking the first Taken's total gross ($145 million). Needless to say, the thought of a Taken 3 becomes all the more real after this weekend.
By comparison, though, the first Taken only experienced a 16% drop-off between its first and second weekend, whereas Taken 2 dropped nearly 60%. Even though moviegoers were eager to see Neeson once again hop into the Bryan Mills role, the negative word of mouth (at least from critics) seems to have affected the film's staying power.
Opening right behind Taken 2 is Ben Affleck's Argo (read our review) with $20 million. Directed by and starring Affleck, Argo tells the true, but relatively unknown story of a CIA operation to rescue six Americans during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. While Argo didn't open as strong as Affleck's last film The Town – which also featured Affleck as its lead – the film's positive critical buzz should help sustain it for the next couple weekends.
The first real horror film of October, Sinister (read our review), comes in at number 3 with $18 million. Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still) and produced by the team behind last year's breakout horror hit Insidious, the film should already be labeled a success considering it only cost $3 million to make and posted a strong $7,222 per-screen average. The traditional found footage sub-genre may be waning, but Sinister clearly found a way to breathe some new life into it by using the "gimmick" sparingly.
Nipping at Sinister's heels is the animated film Hotel Transylvania with $17.3 million, which comes in at number 4. Now over the $100 million mark ($102 million to be exact), the Adam Sandler-voiced, family comedy should be considered a rousing success for Sony Pictures Animation, and could rank as the studio's highest grossing film to-date when all is said and done.
Rounding out the top 5 is the Kevin James MMA comedy Here Comes the Boom with $12 million. It's a modest opening for a family comedy that must have been hard to market, but unfortunately that won't be enough to keep this film from being among Kevin James' weaker performing films.
Universal's Pitch Perfect continues to post respectable numbers with $9 million this weekend and $36 million to-date. Like Here Comes the Boom, Pitch Perfect was a very niche product but Universal seems to be doing a solid job of marketing the film. Not only is the movie presumably in the black after clearing its $17 million budget, but its success could help lesser known cast members like Rebel Wilson (also seen in Bridesmaids) get larger roles in films down the road.
Tim Burton's stop-motion animation film Frankenweenie comes in at number 7 with $7 million. Now at $22 million to-date, the black-and-white animated film isn't a complete flop considering its $37 million budget, but there were certainly higher expectations from a Disney/Tim Burton collaboration.
The Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt sci-fi flick Looper comes in at number 8 with $6.3 million. When the film first opened there were some questions as to whether a unique story from a relatively untested director (Rian Johnson) could perform, but considering the film is now at $51 million – operating off a $30 million budget – it's fair to say Rian Johnson's star is on the rise.
The dark comedy Seven Psychopaths (read our review) comes in at number 9 with a disappointing $2 million for its opening weekend. The film, a hard R-rated movie with a quirky sense of humor, was a tough sell, and presumably struggled to find an audience. Director Martin McDonagh and actor Colin Farrell's previous collaboration, In Bruges, only made it up to $7 million in domestic grosses -- so $2 million isn't terrible. However it played on far fewer screens.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower rounds out the top 10 with $2.1 million. Now playing on over 700 screens, Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own book continues to hang in there and is now at $6 million in total grosses. Now that Harry Potter fans have presumably had a chance to check Perks out, it's up to strong word of mouth to keep the film going.
The only other film of note releasing this weekend was Atlas Shrugged: Part II, which debuted on a little over 1,000 screens and pulled in a measly $1.7 million. While part one of the Ayn Rand adaptations was critically derided across the board, distributor Atlas moved on with its plans undeterred, but did recast some of the second part's major roles.
Source: Box Office Mojo