In a solid weekend for new releases, both cop drama "End of Watch" and thriller "House at the End of the Street" pulled in a studio estimated $13 million, giving them a slight edge over Clint Eastwood's baseball drama "Trouble with the Curve." While "Trouble with the Curve" brought in $12.72 million according to early estimates, other newcomer "Dredd" struggled to find action audiences, earning just $6.30 million for distributor Lionsgate. Art house flick "The Master" also had its first weekend in wide release and notched a decent $5 million at 788 total venues.
Backed by very good reviews, R-rated "End of Watch" had no problem finding its intended adult demographic over the weekend. With a production budget of only $7 million, an opening intake of $13 million is a fairly strong total and "End of Watch" could benefit from positive word-of-mouth over the next few weekends. For star Jake Gyllenhaal, "End of Watch" wound up being his first chart-topping release since all the way back in 2004, when "The Day After Tomorrow" swept through theaters on its way to a big box office haul. "End of Watch" should have a few more decent weekends and stick around the top 10 well into October.
Also carrying a minuscule price tag this weekend was "House at the End of the Street," a PG-13 thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence of "Hunger Games" fame and Elisabeth Shue. "House at the End of the Street" cost only $10 million to produce and was able to click with its intended audience despite scathing critical reviews and minimal buzz heading into its opening weekend. Though it will probably see a big slide next weekend, "House at the End of the Street" already looks like a commercial success for distributor Relativity.
Aiming at a different demographic over the weekend was Clint Eastwood's "Trouble with the Curve," a baseball drama co-starring Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake. "Trouble with the Curve" has seen mostly favorable reviews and was able to put together a decent opening weekend, though it's far from one of Eastwood's biggest earners at the box office. While his last acting entry, "Gran Torino," ended up being a smash hit that brought in an eye-popping $148 million domestically, it looks like "Trouble with the Curve" will finish more in the $40-$50 million range in the U.S.
R-rated "Dredd" also hit theaters over the weekend looking to have its way with adult audiences, though competition with other new titles proved to be too much. With a production cost of $50 million, "Dredd" was easily the most expensive new release of the weekend and was only able to bring in $6.30 million, setting it up for a very disappointing overall box office run. Plenty of competition for adult audiences over the next few weekends will also make it difficult for "Dredd" to recover from a poor opening.
Acclaimed writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" also made its wide debut over the weekend, though at only 788 total theaters it had a minimal impact on the box office charts. "The Master" did boast the highest per theater average of the weekend ($6,345), but it doesn't look like it will have much of a shot to cross over with mainstream audiences. With plenty of critical support and a solid niche audience, "The Master" could end up with similar overall numbers as Anderson's last release "There Will Be Blood," which hauled in a steady $40 million in the U.S. despite reaching only 1,620 theaters at its widest point.
Next weekend, highly buzzed about thriller "Looper" will hit theaters hoping to find a combination of art house and mainstream audiences, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis starring in the mind-bending film about a time-traveling hitman. Also reaching theaters will be animated "Hotel Transylvania," featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Steve Buscemi. Maggie Gyllenhaal-starring PG drama "Never Back Down" will also get a wide release next weekend for distributor Fox.
Early Studio Box Office Estimates for 9/21/12 - 9/23/12 (in millions), [RTT Prediction]:
1. End of Watch (Open Road Films): $13 [$15]
2. House at the End of the Street (Relativity): $13 [$12]
3. Trouble with the Curve (Warner Bros.): $12.72 [$16]
4. Finding Nemo 3D (Disney): $9.45 [$9]
5. Resident Evil: Retribution (Sony/Screen Gems): $6.70 [$10]
6. Dredd (Lionsgate): $6.30 [$14]
7. The Master (Weinstein): $5 [$13]
8. The Possession (Lionsgate): $2.63 [$2.9]
9. Lawless (Weinstein): $2.32 [$2.6]
10. ParaNorman (Focus): $2.30 [$1.7]
by RTT Staff Writer
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