It’s always good news when two good films, seemingly in direct competition, both do well over the weekend. Such is the case over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, where Tom Hank’s Captain Phillips opens against the uber-strong second weekend of Gravity.
Sony's SNE +1.99% $55 million true-life pirate hijacking drama opened with $8.5m for what looks to be an opening weekend of over/under $25m. That would be Tom Hank’s biggest debut since the $46m debut of Angels & Demons back in May 2009. The film parlayed strong reviews and Oscar buzz for Mr. Hanks into what’s an uncommonly strong debut for this kind of “adult drama”, just above the $8.1m opening day and $24m debut weekend of Denzel Washington’s Flight last November. Even if Tom Hanks’s face wasn’t on the poster, this debut is very much an affirmation of his bankability in the right project.
Not to be remotely outdone, Warner Bros.’ Gravity proved a genuine sensation, following up scorching over/under $6 million weekday numbers for a $12.75m second Friday, down just 27% from last Friday. If that holds, then expect Gravity to close its second weekend with just over $40m, with even more possible thanks to Sunday somewhat playing like a Saturday via the whole “no school on Monday” thing. Either way, the film should clear $100m today and and flirt with $125m going into Monday. The film, which is playing 84% 3D and 20% IMAX, is a genuine sensation and looks to indeed be playing like a classic Sandy Bullock long-legged blockbuster, and it will surpass Speed ($121m) and Ocean’s Twelve ($125m) by Sunday to become Bullock’s fourth-biggest and George Clooney’s third-biggest respective grossers.
The second new release, Open Road Films’ Machete Kills was dead-on-arrival. The relatively unrequested sequel to the 2010 cult oddity earned just$1.4 million on its first Friday, setting the stage for a mere $4-$5m Fri-Mon debut. Still, this was clearly about Robert Rodriguez doing whatever Robert Rodriguez wanted to do on a reasonable budget, around $20m, and Open Road picked this one up for $2m. It’s not a hit, but it will eventually break even somewhere down the line. If we do get a Machete Kills Again, it’ll either be direct-to-DVD or because Robert Rodriguez called in some favors or was able to cast someone huge in a supporting role (think Machete versus Sandra Bullock… which would actually be cool).
Relativity’s Romeo and Juliet debuted on just $192,000 on 461 screens. Not much more to see there. In holdover news, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is holding strong, with $3.58 million for its third Friday and an estimated $15m for its third weekend, obviously aided by the holiday. The $78m sequel now has $67.41m and should basically match its budget domestically by Sunday, with a strong likelihood that the film will match or top the $124m domestic gross of the first film. Prisoners earned $1m yesterday and crossed the $50m mark, while We’re the Millers now sits at $145.7m, or officially past American Pie 2 for the biggest-grossing R-rated comedy in August history. For those who care, Runner, Runner earned another $1.15m in its second Friday, bringing its sad total to $11.5m. It will barely top $20m when all is said and done.