You really have to hand it to Screen Gems, a cheapo distributor that Sony Pictures uses to target teenage viewers. While major studios like Universal Pictures struggle to make hits, Screen Gems is a regular hit machine, if your basis for hit is recouping its production budget and earning a little more to cover print and advertising costs. If you don’t include last year’s Burlesque, the movies it distributes are in the $8 to $15 million range. The material they specialize in is PG-13 rated, B-grade thrillers that are better suited as direct-to-video releases, not something that should be opening on 2500 screens. Last year around this time, the studio had its biggest opening weekend yet with Dear John, yet another Nicolas Sparks’ forced tearjerker with everybody’s favorite actor, Channing Tatum.
If its $16 million budget is to be believed, Screen Gems has to be happy with The Roommate‘s $15.6 million opening. Had Columbia Pictures not been the one to distribute Single White Female, I’m sure another studio could have levied a lawsuit on the premise alone. With the exception of Minka Kelly, the thriller features four actors who have been a part of other Screen Gems properties in the last few years.
Coming in second place was James Cameron’s Sanctum. It was James Cameron’s in the sense that he served as an executive producer, supplying the filmmakers with the needed cameras to shoot their underwater thriller that pitted man versus nature in 3D. But even Cameron’s name wasn’t enough to bring the viewers in. Neither did the inflated 3D prices. Or its restricted rating. A sub-$10 million opening doesn’t offer enough hope that it can recoup its $30 million budget.
Settling for the bronze was the three-week holdover No Strings Attached, which has a stranglehold on the “f&*%buddies” demo at the moment. A lack of competition in the romance comedy department allows for this sex comedy to thrive among the Oscar contenders that are currently in theaters. The picture has already eclipsed $50 million and now has its sites on $75 million. This paired with Black Swan‘s $95 million is sure to help Natalie Portman field more calls for casting directors looking for a leading lady. Though it is still early in the year, No Strings Attached is the best box office performer thus far.
The King’s Speech had the lowest audience drop in the top ten. Passing $80 million, it has a legitimate shot of hitting nine figures. This is a big deal for Harvey Weinstein who, along with his brother, Bob, has struggled with to find success with their Weinstein Company, after years of success with Miramax. Thankfully Speech director Tom Hopper said no to Harvey Weinstein’s desire to trim the film from a restricted rating to a PG-13 rating. It may have helped the bottom line, but it’s doing so well already, why screw with a good thing?
Customarily horror movies have the steepest drops in their second week, and The Rite is no exception. Number one last week, number four this week. It did just enough to be better than the Jason Statham action picture The Mechanic. Both should probably finish in the $25 to $35 million range, not bad at all for Jason Statham, but I don’t know about Anthony Hopkins. He’s been out of the box office picture for so long, I guess ole Hannibal would be happy with a $30 million flick.
True Grit may not eclipse Dances with Wolves as I had earlier anticipated, but $155 million for a Coen brothers western is pretty impressive. It was an unexpected blockbuster, and a western blockbuster at that, so I’m sure Joel and Ethan won’t mind having the second-most successful western of all time behind Kevin Coster’s Oscar-winning opus.
As for the movie that people should be avoiding at all costs, Ron Howard’s The Dilemma finishes the weekend in ninth position, and should likely be gone from top ten discussion talk this time next week.
In limited release, Cold Weather and Waiting For Forever had single screen debuts and collected $15k and $10k respectively. The biggest winner on the arthouse scene was Biutiful with Javier Bardem. Recently nominated for Best Actor, his drama expanded to 177 locations and had the third-best performing per-screen average of the weekend, behind another arthouse fave, Barney’s Version and this week’s number one, The Roommate.
Box Office Estimates taken from
1. The Roomate (aka Single White Female: The College Years) – $15.6 million
2. Sanctum – $9.2 million
3. No Strings Attached – $8.4 million ($52 million overall)
4. The King’s Speech – $8.3 million ($84 million overall)
5. The Green Hornet – $6.1 million ($87 million overall)
6. The Rite– $5.6 million ($24 million overall)
7. The Mechanic – $5.4 million ($20 million overall)
8. True Grit – $4.8 million ($155 million overall)
9. The Dilemma – $3.4 million ($46 million overall)
10. Black Swan – $3.4 million ($95 million overall)
Tags: Black Swan, box office, Burlesque, No Strings Attached, The Green Hornet, The King's Speech, The Mechanic, True Grit