Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Nightmare Wakes Up in First Place

Rebounding from last week’s dreadful returns, where the top ten made less than $90 million combined, the box office got a boost from the latest Platinum Dunes remake, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Opening on 3,322 screens, the horror flick made an estimated $32.2 million. Comparatively, last year’s release of the Friday the 13th remake made $43.5 million over President’s Day weekend. Nightmare would have had a similar figure since both films averaged at least $10.7 million a day for their respective weekends. Though, it just goes to show you how much theaters have expanded over the last thirty years. When Wes Craven’s original Nightmare was released in 1984, it opened on 165 screens and grossed $1.2 million its first weekend.

Dropping to second this weekend is How to Train Your Dragon. Six weeks after its release, the animated hit from DreamWorks is resting comfortably as the second-highest grossing film of 2010, behind Alice in Wonderland. That will surely change ten days to two weeks after the release of Iron Man 2 which analysts predict will make $155 million this upcoming weekend. Losing 239 screens and 29.5% of its box office average from the week before, Dragon added another $10.8 million bringing its domestic total to $192 million. Combined with grosses from overseas the movie has already made $388 million.

For a second straight week, Date Night takes the bronze, adding another $7.6 million to its $73 million total. A respectable number, but it’s not like couples have a lot to choose from at the cineplex at the moment. Of the top ten there is this Fox comedy with the duo of NBC comedy stars, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, or J-Lo’s comeback comedy The Back-Up Plan (which dropped from second to fourth place this weekend). I can only speak of the former, since I have not had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Marc Anthony bring a child to labor. Plus the complications that arise in her relationship with CBS TV stalwart Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight, and the forthcoming Hawaii 5-0 remake) seems too much like a conventional storyline you’d see on a network comedy.

Rounding out the top five was the new release Furry Vengeance. I can only assume my snide remarks in my weekly box office report for the last few weeks is why the final numbers weren’t higher than they were. Though the most likely culprit is the movie just sucks. Perhaps the movie should have been marketed as “From the studio that brought you Twilight and New Moon comes Furry Vengeance.” Yeah, that would put butts in the seats.

Looking at the bottom half of the list, The Losers drops two places to finish sixth. With a production budget of $25 million, the comic-book adaptation has grossed $18 million in fourteen days. Once the film enters foreign markets and is released on DVD and BD, then the property might turn a profit for Warner Bros. At the very least it’ll give Chris Evans more expose overseas before donning the red, white and blue as Captain America. Clash of the Titans sees its fifth week in the top ten, dropping to seventh place with another $5.9 million. Worldwide the action-fantasy has netted $427 million, a number so large it would surely impress the gods of Mt. Olympus.

Only $450,000 separate places eight and nine as Kick-Ass finished the weekend with $4.45 million and the U.S. remake Death at a Funeral earned $4 million. Both were made for a reported $51 million combined and are performing considerably well. Though Kick-Ass will make a tidy mint on DVD and Blu-ray, becoming a bigger hit on home video. The jury is still out on Funeral. Even with an ensemble of comedians (Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence), the movie was unable to find a bigger audience. I guess Martin Lawrence will have to rebound with Big Momma’s House 3.

The last spot in the top ten goes to Disney’s Oceans. I was going to review it last week but was unable to collect my thoughts in time and get it all down. In a nutshell it’s like a Cousteau documentary if narrated by a guy who at one time was given a license to kill (Pierce Brosnan). The underwater photography has improved considerably, but Brosnan’s narration made me want to howl as loud as a sea lion. Made for $80 million (mostly grants and endowments from different foundations), the movie has made $13.5 million domestically and another $54.2 million overseas.

On the independent front, the latest Nicole Holofcener film Please Give opened on five screens and earned $125,000. Four years ago her film Friends with Money went on to gross $13.3 million in the U.S. even though its largest theater count was 1,010 (in its fourth weekend). I suspect Sony Pictures Classics will implement a similar strategy, though Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Kevin Corrigan, and Ann Guilbert are no match for the cast list of Friends with Money, which consisted of Keener (she’s appeared in all four of Holofcener’s films), Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Jason Isaacs, and Scott Caan.

City Island had a percentage jump of 142, as it expanded from 77 screens to 269. It finished the weekend with $756,000. Harry Brown, which completes the unrelated cankerous bad-ass thespian trilogy, with Michael Caine joining the likes of Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) and Liam Neeson (Taken), opened on 19 screens and earned $180,000.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) – $32.2 million
2. How to Train Your Dragon – $10.8 million ($192 million)
3. Date Night – $7.6 million ($73.6 mil.)
4. The Back-Up Plan – $7.2 million ($23 million)
5. Furry Vengeance – $6.5 million
6. The Losers – $6.0 million ($18 million)
7. Clash of the Titans – $5.9 million ($154 million)
8. Kick-Ass – $4.4 million ($42 million)
9. Death at a Funeral – $4 million ($34.7 million)
10. Oceans – $2.6 million ($13.5 million)

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