BOX OFFICE: ‘Contagion’ on Top in Lowest Box Office of the Year

Steven Soderbergh’s pandemic horror/thriller Contagion nearly tripled the next highest competitor at this week’s Box Office, which has proven to be the lowest weekend of the entire year. The top 12 films at this weekend’s Box Office combined for just over $66 million, which is $7 million less than early February of this year. Gavin O’Connor’s Mixed Martial Arts drama Warrior also disappointed in this lackluster weekend. The poorly reviewed films Creature and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star both opened with less than $1,000 per screen and neither came close to the top ten. The only bright spot this weekend was Kevin Hart’s theatrically released stand-up special Laugh at My Pain, which earned an impressive $20,600 on its only 97 screens.

Box Office Estimates
September 9-11, 2011

1) Contagion (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $23.14 million

This film would have been a huge disappointment if it did not have a decent opening considering it was packed with A-list stars from film and television. As we move into Fall we approach a season where horror movies to remarkably well and this movie had enough horror elements to succeed.

2) The Help (5th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $8.69 million

What I find more impressive than the fact that The Help is number two at this weekend’s Box Office is the fact that it is the second longest running movie in the Box Office top ten. That is what we call legs, my friend, and The Help‘s legs are strong enough to carry it to over $135 million in cumulative gross.

3) Warrior (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $5.61 million

I am surprised that this film only made a $3,000 per screen average considering audience reactions to the film were so strong. It might turn out to be more like Joel Edgerton’s character and win the Box Office with stamina, but it has already proven not to have the one-punch power that Tom Hardy’s character had.

4) The Debt (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $4.91 million

With a cumulative gross of $21 million it has earned just enough to surpass its $20 million budget. It should hold on to the Box Office top ten for a few more weekends as it seems to be playing better with audiences than a lot of its competition.

5) Colombiana (3rd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $4 million

I know very little about this film other than the fact that it stars Zoe Saldana beating people up. It looks like it was not a major Box Office player and reviews are very lackluster, so I’m certainly going to skip it.

6) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (6th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $3.86 million

For those of you keeping score at home, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is now the 9th highest grossing film of the Summer as it passed Kung Fu Panda 2 this weekend. It should pass Bridesmaids next weekend and settle just ahead of Captain America before its run is completely through.

7) Shark Night 3D (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $3.53 million

This film opened behind Apollo 18, but has since sneaked ahead of it. It appears to be a good escape for people looking for stupid fun, emphasis on stupid.

8) Apollo 18 (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.91 million

With a drop of 67% in its 2nd weekend, Apollo 18 is this week’s biggest loser. It actually had one of the lowest per theatre averages of the weekend and only managed to stay in the top 10 because it is still in over 3,000 theatres.

9) Our Idiot Brother (3rd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.76 million

I’m disappointed that the movie will be dropping out of the top ten this quickly, but happy that it made significantly more than its tiny budget.

10) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (4th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.51 million

Any Film Misery readers see this movie? How was the Smell-O-Vision? Is it a technology worth keeping around?

Estimates courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Look for Drive to topple Contagion next weekend with The Lion King 3-D putting up a fight for the top spot.

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