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Adding intrigue to an otherwise blah weekend, Hollywood was unable to declare a box office winner on Sunday as a trio of films all landed in the same range.
Initial estimates show Jake Gyllenhaal–Michael Pena cop drama End of Watch — the only film to overperform — and Jennifer Lawrence horror pic House at the End of the Street topping the domestic box office with $13 million, but those estimates could be too bullish.
Clint Eastwood’s new baseball drama Trouble with the Curve, from Warner Bros., earned an estimated $12.7 million, generally in line with his other films but still a disappointing number. Last year on the same weekend, Brad Pitt baseball drama Moneyball debuted to $19.5 million.
The true weekend winner will be determined Monday morning when actual Sunday grosses come in. However, that won’t change the fact that ticket sales were down a steep 23 percent from 2011.
Elsewhere at the box office, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology-inspired The Master climbed up the box office chart to No. 7 as it expanded into a total of 788 theaters, grossing $5 million for a 10-day domestic cume of $6.1 million. The film, from The Weinstein Co. and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, opened last weekend in five locations in New York and Los Angeles (Adams also stars in Trouble with the Curve).
“We’re doing tremendous busienss in the big markets, and good business in smaller markets as well,” said TWC’s president of distribution Erik Lomis.
The Master scored a per location average of $6,345, the best of any film in on the top 10 chart. It also did nearly as much as new 3D entry Dredd, which opened to a disappointing $6.4 million despite strong reviews. Lionsgate is distributing Dredd.
David Ayer’s End of Watch, distributed by Open Road films and produced by Exclusive Media for roughly $7 million, received an A- CinemaScore, the best of any new film. The pic, about two L.A.P.D. officers who battle a drug cartel, also received glowing reviews.
Hispanic moviegoers turned out in force for End of Watch, making up 32 percent of the audience. Males made up 54 percent of the audience, while 64 percent of those buying tickets were over the age of 25.
“We always knew we were going to outperform expectations, and I believe the film will have long legs,” said Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg.
House at the End of the Street, from Relativity Media and receiving a B CinemaScore, stars Lawrence opposite Elisabeth Shue and Max Thieriot.
Relativity Media acquired rights to the horror pic, about a mother and daughter who move into the house of their dreams, for roughly $2.5 million. FilmNation and A Bigger Boat produced the film for under $10 million, with Mark Tonderai directing.
House at the End of the Street was fueled by younger females, with 70 percent of the audience under the age of 25.
“Jennifer Lawrence is certainly a star among this demo,” said Relativity president of distribution Kyle Davies, adding that the horror pic did well in Hispanic markets.
Trouble with the Curve — starring Eastwood and Adams opposite Justin Timberlake — played notably older, with half the audience over the age of 50. Since this demo doesn’t rush out to see a film on opening weekend, Warners is hopeful that the movie will have strong legs.
Trouble with the Curve, about an aging baseball scout who goes on one last trip with his daughter, is directed by Rob Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime producing partner. It’s the first film that Eastwood has starred in, but not directed, since In the Line of Fire in 1993.
Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said there was no evidence that liberals stayed away from Trouble with the Curve in the wake of Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention, although the film overperformed in conservative areas of the South and Midwest.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, distributed by Lionsgate, made headlines at the specialty box office, grossing $244,000 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a stellar screen average of $61,000. The film stars Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.
Documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel also did strong business, grossing $64,238 from three theaters for an average of $21,413.
In its second weekend, Roadside Attraction’s Richard Gere thriller Arbitrage held up well, grossing $1.3 million from 244 locations for a 10-day cume of $4 million.
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