Real Steel is a film I have serious problems with, and one that tried my patience in ways that clearly nagged at me much more than other critics. There’s a lot of goodwill towards the giant robot blockbuster, and it’s not entirely unearned due to how strong the central chemistry between Father and Son really is. That’s what makes me think the film could really play and catch on, even if the opening weekend might not be as huge as the studio would like. Clearly an expensive film, Real Steel would look a whole lot better opening up deep into the 30s. It seems on target to land somewhere below that though, but with legs strengthened by the captured imaginations of young boys.

This is a weekend of distinct counter-programming, as the ultra-mainstream CGI slug-fest is going up against a very dark and cynical political thriller from George Clooney. Ides too I have big problems with, though there’s no disputing that it’s a sharp thriller packed with amazing performances. It’s got a weird structure and fairly dull teeth, which has led to a little of a critical divide, but Clooney and Gosling should draw in enough of the adult crowd from Moneyball to make a respectable opening for itself. Who the hell knows how the political climate figures into the box office ultimately, but somehow I don’t think Ides and Courageous will see much audience crossover…

The rest are leftovers. Lion King should drop like a stone now that the Blu is the focus. Dolphin Tale and Moneyball could manage decent holds once again, but they will be competing with the newcomers for similar crowds. Courageous may well stick around in the top five, but be it the lack of any kind of star or it having been a better couple of weeks for adults, the film’s not becoming a faith-based phenomenon.  We’ll pick it all apart Monday!

Real Steal ….. $26,00,000
Ides Of March ….. $12,500,000
Dolphin Tale ….. $10,500,000
Moneyball …. $8,000,000
Courageous….. $5,500,000

The thread in which you talk about this stuff.