Box Office Report: Four New Films Wiped Out, 'Argo' Rises to No. 1 for First Time
The big-budget "Cloud Atlas" opens at a disappointing No. 3 with $9.4 million; Halloween teen comedy "Fun Size" and surfing drama "Chasing Mavericks" bomb, debut outside top 10.
Ben Affleck's Argo rose to No. 1 in its third weekend of play at the domestic box office as four new films, including big-budget epic Cloud Atlas, turned in dismal performances.
Hollywood can't even blame Hurricane Sandy because moviegoing was soft across the country. If anything, pre-Halloween parties, football and the World Series were more of a distraction. However, New York City grosses could be hurt Sunday night if theaters shut down in advance of the megastorm (all public transportation is closing at 7 p.m. across the city).
Argo grossed $12.4 million from 2,855 theaters for a dazzling North American total of $60.8 million. The film, from Warner Bros., only dropped 25 percent and is the first movie since The Blind Side to come in No. 1 for the first time in its third weekend.
There was more bad news for Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. It also was beaten by holdover Hotel Transylvania, which narrowly claimed the No. 2 spot with $9.5 million from 3,276 locations in its fifth weekend for a domestic total of $130.4 million, the best ever for a Sony Pictures Animation title.
The $100 million Cloud Atlas came in No. 3 with $9.4 million from 2,008 locations, notably less than the $12 million to $15 million that Warners was hoping for. The ambitious film, hurt by a C+ CinemaScore and mixed reviews, will need to make a strong showing internationally.
Cloud Atlas was independently financed, with Warners picking up domestic distribution rights. The dreamy epic, based on the 2004 novel by David Mitchell, was directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tywker. The film, boasting a running time of close to three hours, played like an art house title, drawing its best numbers in cities on either coast.
Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman noted that Cloud Atlas did have the highest per-screen average ($4,681) of any title in the top 10. He also said it overperformed in Canada, boding well for the film's international prospects.
New Halloween horror pic Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, distributed by Open Road Films, also was beaten by holdovers -- in this case Paranormal Activity 4, which placed No. 4 in its second weekend with $8.7 million for a 10-day domestic total of $42.6 million.
Revelation opened to $8 million, tying with holdover Taken 2 for No. 5.
Matters were even worse for Victoria Justice teen comedy Fun Size and Gerard Butler surfing drama Chasing Mavericks, the weekend's two other new films. Both opened outside the top 10, as well as landing high on the list of all-time worst studio openings.
Paramount and Nickelodeon's Fun Size, the first feature directed by television showrunner Josh Schwartz, placed No. 11 with $4.1 million. The comedy, costing $14 million to produce, appeared to have scared off younger kids with its PG-13 rating. Those that did show up gave it a B CinemaScore.
Fox and Walden Media's Chasing Mavericks, starring Gerard Butler as legendary surfer Jay Moriarty, came in No. 13 with $2.2 million. Walden largely financed the $20 million movie, which became its second major box-office disappointment in a row after Won't Back Down.
Chasing Mavericks did best in surfing communities and received a B+ CinemaScore.
Minimizing the damage, Fun Size, Chasing Mavericks and Revelation were modestly budgeted. Revelation, financed and produced by Samuel Hadida for $20 million, is arguably in the best shape.