Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Report: 'Dolphin Tale' Leaps Into Lead

by Ray Subers For Box Office Mojo

On strong word-of-mouth, Dolphin Tale managed to leap over Moneyball and The Lion King (in 3D) to take first place on its second weekend in theaters. 50/50 faltered but was tops among newcomers, though faith-based movie Courageous had the most impressive showing at far fewer locations. Dream House disappointed in its debut, while What's Your Number? tallied one of the worst numbers for a super-saturated (3,000+ theaters) release ever. 

Dolphin Tale eased just 26 percent to an estimated $14.3 million, which brought its 10-day total to a solid $37.5 million. It had a better hold than Soul Surfer and was about even with last Fall's Secretariat, albeit with a much higher total than either of those movies at the same point. Still, it couldn't hold a candle to The Blind Side (which actually improved in its second frame), though that was a holiday weekend so it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. 

Moneyball dipped 36 percent to an estimated $12.5 million. That's a bit steeper than The Social Network's 31 percent decline, though it's still very solid in its own right. The Brad Pitt baseball drama has scored $38.5 million through 10 days in theaters.

After ruling the charts for the past two weeks, The Lion King's 3D re-release fell nearly 50 percent to an estimated $11.1 million and had to settle for third place. That week-over-week decline is a bit steep, though it's not entirely unexpected considering the Blu-ray hits stores on Tuesday and most advertisements pegged the re-release as a two-weeks-only affair. The movie's total has now reached $79.7 million, which brings The Lion King's overall total to $408.2 million. On Saturday, it passed Spider-Man to move in to the Top 10 all-time, and it should be able to climb a few more spots before the end of its run. Thanks in part to The Lion King's impressive performance, Walt Disney Pictures passed the $1 billion mark on Saturday, making it the sixth straight year that the studio reached this milestone. 

50/50 opened to an estimated $8.86 million from 2,458 theaters, which is the lowest debut ever for a Seth Rogen movie. Considering the grim subject matter, though, that's not an entirely awful start, and an "A-" CinemaScore should translate in to decent word-of-mouth in coming weeks. The audience was 54 percent female and 57 percent under 30 years old. 

Sherwood Pictures' Courageous scored $8.8 million from just 1,161 theaters for a strong per-theater average of $7,580. That's up from the studio's last movie Fireproof ($6.8 million), though the average was off just a bit. The opening ranks fifth all-time for a Christian movie, and only trails The Passion of the Christ and the three Narnia movies. Courageous scored a rare "A+" CinemaScore, and the audience was 53 percent female and 77 percent over the age of 25. 

Dream House scared up a meek estimated $8.2 million. That's just a fraction of haunted house movies like The Skeleton Key ($16.1 million) and The Amityville Horror ($23.5 million), and it's even off a bit from Dark Water ($9.9 million). The movie received a "B" CinemaScore and the audience was 54 percent female and 62 percent under the age of 25. Hispanics were the largest ethnic group in attendance at 38 percent, which tends to be the case with supernatural thrillers.

Abduction fell 48 percent to an estimated $5.65 million for a total of $19.1 million. Killer Elite also dipped 48 percent, though it's weekend take was $4.86 million and it's total reached $17.4 million. 

What's Your Number? wound up in eighth place with a terrible $5.6 million. That's the fifth-worst debut ever for a movie in more than 3,000 theaters, and is just over one-third of the opening of star Anna Faris's The House Bunny ($14.5 million). The movie received a decent "B" CinemaScore, and the audience was 63 percent female and 63 percent over the age of 25. 

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