BOX OFFICE: ‘Prisoners’ Won’t Let Audiences Go

PrisonersWe have a single ply of winners and losers this weekend, only really going so far as the two new wide releases. The rest can be covered shortly, given that their successes or failures were ones we already suspected. In the case of Insidious: Chapter 2, it comes as no surprise that it dropped over 60% in its 2nd weekend, having none of the staying power that The Conjuring benefited from. As a counterpoint, The Family might be maintaining slightly better with the benefit of “freshness” on its side, but it’s still a stale slice audiences would rather not bite into. Lastly of note, The Wizard of Oz‘s 3D re-release played strongly enough this weekend, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that convinces Warner Bros. to extend its limited run beyond a week.

Weekend Winner

There is no "Paul Dano getting the shit beat out of him" supercut. The internet has failed everyone.

There is no “Paul Dano getting the shit beat out of him” supercut. The internet has failed everyone.

Prisoners and close-to-home crime drama

Rush as you might to consider this a success purely based on Jake Gyllenhaal and particularly Hugh Jackman’s star power, can we just pause to consider the idea that maybe the film itself is the reason people went to see it. All the star power in the world can’t sell a slow-burn, 2.5 hour crime drama to the masses, so what is it? Well this is a story that hits particularly close to home in its portrait of a domestic neighborhood and family torn apart by an inexplicable disappearance. It’s something people can empathize with and see themselves in, even if they haven’t gone through that kind of struggle.

That’s what has made it such a lightning rod. That and its wintry, autumn atmosphere. It’s wise to program for the seasons rather than against them. So now that it’s made an excellent $21.4 million in its opening weekend, will it hold? The CinemaScore of B+ may not seem like the biggest vote of confidence, but it strikes more of a frequency of intrigue that an A score might. It’s not universally acclaimed, but it’ll seduce plenty of risky moviegoers, which aren’t in as short supply as you might suspect.

Weekend Loser

Battle of the YearBattle of the Year won’t even last the weekend

Finally! It felt like we were overdue for another autumn bomb to join Getaway, and it couldn’t come in more fit a form than Battle of the Year, the 3D dance movie that’s been popping-and-locking… well, not that many people. Like I said above, people went into Prisoners for some close-to-home drama, but Battle of the Year neither hits close to home or out of this world. It’s simply a dance flick, an event that people can view and participate in just as well outside of the cinema. It’s a self-evident question: Does this need to be a movie? If you can’t justify a “yes”, there’s no reason to carry on.

Box Office Top 10 – September 20-22, 2013

Results via BoxOffice.com

1. Prisoners (1st Weekend: $21.4 million)
2. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2nd Weekend: $14.5 million; Total: $60.9 million)
3. The Family (2nd Weekend: $7 million; Total: $25.6 million)
4. Instructions Not Included (4th Weekend: $5.7 million; Total: $34.3 million)
5. Battle of the Year (1st Weekend: $5 million)
6. We’re the Millers (7th Weekend: $4.7 million; Total: $138.2 million)
7. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (6th Weekend: $4.3 million; Total: $106.5 million)
8. Riddick (3rd Weekend: $3.7 million; Total: $37.2 million)
9. The Wizard of Oz 3D (1st Weekend: $3 million)
10. Planes (7th Weekend: $2.9 million; Total: $86.5 million)

Limited Release Top 10

Thanks for SharingTwo weeks in and I’m already getting the feeling that a prevailing trend has emerged to preside over the limited release slate. This weekend we see Thanks for Sharing and Enough Said joining the pack of indie hits, which fits because of their quaint, fun natures. You don’t see Mother of George or After Tiller performing this well, do you? That’s because they’re dealing with more teeth-grating material which, as necessary as it is for the audience to see, doesn’t pull viewers in with the weight of that necessity. We’ll see how/if that changes as harder edge material hits the indie scene in the coming weeks.

1. Thanks for Sharing (1st Weekend: $607,670)
2. The Spectacular Now (8th Weekend: $425,996; Total: $6.4 million)
3. Austenland (6th Weekend: $275,700; Total: $1.6 million)
4. In a World (7th Weekend: $257,800; Total: $2.4 million)
5. Salinger (3rd Weekend: $182,000; Total: $0.4 million)
6. The Ultimate Life (3rd Weekend: $102,000; Total: $1.3 million)
7. Enough Said (1st Weekend: $240,000)
8. Rush (1st Weekend: $200,000)
9. Short Term 12 (5th Weekend: $140,864; Total: $0.7 million)
10. Wadjda (2nd Weekend: $72,702; Total: $0.2 million)

What did you see this weekend? Let us know!

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