Film CHUD Pred Weekend Per Total
1 Dolphin Tale $14m (+.1) $13,912,419 (-27%) $3,958 $37,183,796
2 Moneyball $13m (+1) $12,031,592 (-38%) $4,020 $38,000,130
3 The Lion King 3D $12.5m (+1.9) $10,615,645 (-52%) $4,537 $79,209,794
4 Courageous $13m (+4) $9,063,147 $7,806 $9,063,147
5 50/50 $10m (+1.4) $8,644,095 $3,517 $8,644,095
6 Dream House $9.5m (+1.4) $8,129,335 $3,055 $8,129,355
7 What’s Your Number? - $5,421,669 $1,806 $5,421,669
8 Killer Elite - $4,916,839 (-47%) $1,647 $17,501,286
9 Contagion - $4,907,154 (-42%) $1,788 $64,569,619
10 Drive - $3,289,714 (-43%) $1,667 $27,003,029

Avg. CHUD Prediction Difference: +/- $1.6m

I mentioned Friday that a little Christian-targeted movie called Courageous (that you surely had heard little to nothing about before that moment) was actually poised to show strongly at the box office or even top it. Looking at theater actuals this Monday after we can see that Courageous didn’t manage to rocket to the top, but it did crack the Top 5 with the best per-theater average, with half as many screens as the wide releases, and came out ahead of films filled with A-list spies and comedians. The bubble burst quickly though, so the strong Friday totals didn’t carry through to a big Sunday bump to splash Dolphin Tale out of the water and eject Moneyball from the stadium. Lion King pun. Expect the little studio responsible for these pictures to keep pushing one out year after year, and expect to keep hearing about them for the first time the day before they’re released.

Of the new films Courageous was the only one to exceed expectations, as 50/50 and Dream House hit within their estimated ranges, but only just so. 50/50 is an accomplishment depending on how you look at it… as another Seth Rogen comedy it’s a failure, but as an indie-style issues movie with a melancholic charm that would be a platformer in most universes… just under $9m isn’t bad if it sticks around a few weeks. On the other end of things, frankly, Dream House almost seems like a triumph because buzz was so non-existant to toxic for the horror flick. You can’t sell a mysterious horror film by stripping it of all mystery, and being half-assed about the marketing beyond that. Plus I think we’ve definitively proven that Daniel Craig is only as valuable as the property he’s surrounded by.

The Lion King dropped more sharply than it did last weekend, suggesting that the “two week limited engagement” bit really did incentivize people to get their asses out and see it while they could. Now that the event is over, it’s all leftovers and a quick tumble out of the top ten more than likely. Consider that this is a nearly 20 year old film getting a Blu-ray tie-in re-release that will probably get within spitting distance of $100m, there’s not a thing to criticize about this release. Disney will undoubtedly have a new component to their annual model for a long time to come.

Moneyball held up very well considering its audiences is, on the surface at least, fairly specific and that audience could easily have been too distracted by actual baseball playoffs to show up. Even countering that the film has managed to make almost 40 million in its two frames, keeping Brad Pitt’s image as a healthy draw alive and generally making it a viable awards vehicle amongst Sony’s stable if’n they wanted to push it. I don’t think much gold will ultimately be manifesting itself for this one, but the returns have more than justified the existence of this very fine baseball drama.

Let’s have a round of applause for Drive on its last weekend in the top 10. Before it entirely packs up the Refn art-house actioner should clear $30m, a very healthy total for a film that was cheap and really not built for the mainstream. It’s good though, and I hope FilmDistrict has the muscle to push for –at the very least– the sound mixing and cinematography oscars the film undoubtedly deserves. Regarding the latter, I don’t care if the spirit of Gordon Willis secretly possessed Roger Deakins and they all shot something together while Wally Pfister watched in the corner… there has not been and will not be a better shot film this year. Regardless, Drive managed a respectable box office run, especially contrasted with a sad story like Warrior.

Oh yeah, some rom-com flopped hard. Sorry Cap.

Cheers till Friday!

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