Box Office: 'Ender's Game' Opens to Solid $1.4 Million Thursday Night

8:57 AM PST 11/01/2013 by Pamela McClintock
Summit Entertainment

UPDATED: The adaptation of Orson Scott Card's sci-fi novel cost $110 million to produce.

Sci-fi epic Ender's Game grossed $1.4 million as it began rolling out in North American theaters Thursday night, despite the distraction of Halloween.

Ender's Game, a co-production between Summit Entertainment, OddLot Entertainment and Digital Domain, is the latest YA film property to attempt to establish a franchise. The movie is expected to win the weekend race with a gross in the $25 million to $30 million range, and should see a boost from its Imax run.

By way of comparison, Jackass: Bad Grandpa also posted a Thursday night gross of $1.4 million last week on its way to a $32 million opening.

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The action-adventure, costing $110 million to make, is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, whose anti-gay comments have riled many (though he has said Ender's Game isn't a YA property, it has been made widely available in schools).

Directed by Gavin Hood, Ender's Game stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin. Set in the near future, Ender's Game revolves around a young boy (Butterfield) who is recruited by the military to stop an alien race from destroying the world.

Ender's Game is a sizeable gamble for Gigi Pritzker's OddLot, which financed much of the movie and dispatched sister company Sierra/Affinity to sell the movie internationally. Last weekend, Ender's Game debuted at a soft No. 5 in the U.K. with just under $2 million, but the film could make up ground as it continues to roll out in additional foreign markets.

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Outside of the Hunger Games and Twilight film franchises, YA film properties have struggled at the box office. This year, The Host, Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones all flopped.

The other two new nationwide entries this weekend are Relativity Media and Reel FX's animated 3D pic Free Birds and CBS Films' sexagenarian comedy Last Vegas, starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline as four friends in their 60s who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Mary Steenburgen also stars.

The big headline internationally this weekend will be Disney and Marvel Studios' sequel Thor: The Dark World, which began rolling out Wednesday in the U.K., France and a handful of other markets, grossing north of $8 million and pacing ahead of the first Thor. On Thursday and Friday, Thor 2, with Chris Hemsworth returning in the title role, opens in a number of other major markets before hitting theaters in North America on Nov. 8.

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