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Shawn Levy’s Real Steel–starring Hugh Jackman and set in the world of robot boxing–easily topped the domestic box office chart with a $27.3 million opening. Overseas, the DreamWorks movie grossed an impressive $22.1 million for a worldwide debut of $49.4 million.
In North America, Real Steel succeeded in luring younger moviegoers, who have been noticeably absent from the multiplex in recent months, as well as posting one of the better openings for early October.
Real Steel launched over the weekend in 19 foreign territories, only three of which are major markets–Russia, Australia (Jackman’s home country) and Mexico. The movie opened No. 1 in each, grossing $6.9 million in Russia, $5.4 million in Australia and $2.9 million in Mexico. It’s running 33% ahead of fellow Disney pic Tron Legacy, which cumed $228 million internationally.
At the domestic box office, 36 percent of the audience was under the age of 18, and 51 percent under the age of 25. The film appealed especially to males, who made up 59 percent of those buying tickets. It also played like a family pic, evidenced by a 27 percent jump from Friday to Saturday.
Real Steel, distributed by Disney, drew an A CinemaScore, and an A+ from both males and those under the age of 18. The top scores should help fuel good word-of-mouth.
PHOTOS: ‘Real Steel’ First Look
“The film succeeded in playing to a variety of demos,” said Disney executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis, adding that families made up 25 percent of the audience, teenagers 15 percent and couples 60 percent, many of whom were younger.
Costing $110 million to produce after Michigan tax rebates, Real Steel will need strong legs and a continued good showing overseas in order to recoup its production and marketing costs. Eagle Eye, opening in late September 2008 to roughly $29 million, went on to cume $101.4 million domestically.
Real Steel generated $4.4 million worth of business for Imax theaters, the best number ever for a September or October opening and accounting for 12 percent of the film’s total $27.3 million gross. Of that, $3.2 million came from Imax theaters in North America.
The George Clooney-directed The Ides of March placed No. 2 in its debut, grossing $10.4 million. Clooney also stars in the well-reviewed political drama opposite Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood. Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei also star.
STORY: ‘Ides of March’: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling’s Power Player Style
“The acting is absolutely tremendous. You coudn’t take your eyes off any one of these actors,” Sony president of worlwide distribution Rory Bruer said.
Ides of March, costing a modest $12.5 million to produce, drew a B CinemaScore overall and a B+ from moviegoers under the age of 18. Cold Creek Pictures fully financed the pic, with Sony distributing. The film narrowly bested Clooney’s Michael Clayton, which grossed $10.3 million in its first weekend in nationwide release.
STORY: George Clooney’s ‘The Ides of March’: What the Critics Are Saying
As expected, Ides of March appealed heavily to adults, with 86 percent of the audience over the age of 25, although Sony noted that 40 percent was under the age of 35. Women made up 58 percent of the audience.
The specialty box office saw so-so results for Martin Sheen starrer The Way, directed by his son Emilio Estevez. The film grossed $132,411 from 33 locations for an average $4,012.
IFC Films’ Human Centipede 2–Full Sequence grossed $54,000 from late-night shows in New York, Los Angeles and other select cities. Playing in a total of 18 theaters, the sequel posted a location average of $3,000.
Among holdovers, family film Dolphin Tale continued to thrive, coming in No. 3 with a gross of $9.2 million, which brings its domestic cume to $49.1 million. Sony’s Brad Pitt baseball pic Moneyball also stayed high up on the box office chart, placing No. 4 with a gross of $7.5 million. Moneyball’s domestic cume now stands at $49.3 million.
STORY: Box Office Report Card: The Biggest Flops of Late Summer
The faith-based Courageous fell off a sizeable 50% in its second weekend, grossing $4.6 million for a 10-day total of $15.9 million. Stll, the movie, from Sherwood Pictures and TriStar, only cost $2 million to produce.
Disney’s 3D re-release of The Lion King tumbled to No. 7 in the wake of the Oct. 4 debut of the Diamond Blu-Ray edition of the film. The re-release has been a runaway hit at the box office, grossing $86 million domestically to date.
Full weekend results are listed below.
Domestic Box Office 10/7-10/9
Title/Weeks in Release/Studio/Theater Count/Weekend Total/Cume
1. Real Steel (1), DreamWorks/Disney/3,440, $27.3 million
2. The Ides of March (1) Sony/Cold Creek/2,199, $10.4 million
3. Dolphin Tale (3) Warner Bros./Alcon/3,478, $9.2 million, $49.1 million
4. Moneyball (3), Sony/3,018, $7.5 million, $49.3 million
5. 50/50 (2), Summit/Mandate/2,479, $5.5 million, $17.3 million
6. Courageous (2), TriStar/Sherwood/1,161, $4.6 million, $15.9 million
7. The Lion King in 3D (4), Disney/2,267, $4.55 million, $86 million
8. Dream House (2), Morgan Creek/Universal, $4.5 million, $14.5 million
9. What’s Your Number? (2), New Regency/Fox, $3.1 million, $10.3 million
10. Abduction (3), Lionsgate/2,591, $2.9 million, $23.4 million
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