Boxoffice is 'Into' it in big way
EmptyEven more moviegoers than expected were into Warner Bros.' "He's Just Not That Into You" during the weekend as the ensemble comedy topped the domestic rankings with a $27.5 million opening that underscored fervor for escapist films.
Similarly, Fox's action-laden thriller "Taken" fell a modest 18% during its sophomore session to ring up $20.3 million in second place and push its 10-day cume to $53.4 million. Focus Features' stop-motion animated feature "Coraline" also overachieved, corralling $16.3 million with a third-place debut.
But Sony's bow of Steve Martin starrer "The Pink Panther 2" was a disappointment with just $12 million in fourth place, while Summit Entertainment opened the sci-fi thriller "Push" at the high end of expectations with $10.2 million in sixth place. In another solid second-session hold, Paramount's PG-13 horror film "The Uninvited" dropped just 38% to $6.4 million in ninth place for an $18.4 cume.
Industrywide, the $154 million weekend represented an impressive 37% improvement over the comparable session last year, according to Nielsen. Year to date, the boxoffice is off 5% at $1.01 billion, but that's because of seasonal quirks of the boxoffice calendar.
Elsewhere among holdovers, Fox Searchlight's Indian drama "Slumdog Millionaire" maintained traction with $7.4 million in seventh place for a $77.4 million cume. And though the Weinstein Co.'s Kate Winslet starrer "The Reader" shed 140 playdates, its 862 engagements registered $2.3 million to lift its cume to $16.1 million.
In a limited bow, Weinstein genre label Third Rail Releasing unspooled the "Star Wars"-themed comedy "Fanboys" in 44 theaters and rang up $164,000, or an acceptable $3,736 per venue.
Among notable expansions, Sony Pictures Classics' French-language drama "The Class" — a nominee in Oscar's best foreign-language film category — added 21 locations for a total of 27 and grossed $192,367. That gave "Class" a classy $7,125 per site as its cume reached $587,623.
The big bow for "Into You" follows an overachieving theatrical run for last month's two-time boxoffice champ "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." The Sony comedy finished fifth during the weekend with $11 million to pump its cume to $97 million.
"Blart" got no favors from reviewers, and it stars the previously unheralded Kevin James, so industryites have attributed its success in large part to recession-wracked consumers seeking out frothy fare. It has been a particularly welcome trend as some had feared boxoffice might suffer from consumers' fiscal woes despite the industry's historic resistance to economic vagaries.
Based on the best-seller, "Into You" features an ensemble cast including Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson. Opening audiences were 80% female, with 60% of patrons under 25.
"Bottom line, it played great," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said. "And it's positioned well as next weekend is not only a four-day weekend (including Presidents Day) but has Valentine's Day falling on Saturday."
"Into You" was produced through Warners affiliate New Line Cinema.
Helmed by stop-motion animation auteur Henry Selick, the PG-rated "Coraline" drew family patrons and moviegoing "sophisticates," Focus distribution president Jack Foley said.
But he expressed regret that the installed base of 3-D venues was insufficient to allow the film to play entirely in 3-D auditoriums. "Coraline" was in 1,005 3-D venues and 1,294 conventional auditoriums, with 70% of its gross coming from the extra-dimensional locations.
Co-produced by MGM, "Panther 2" follows 2006's "The Pink Panther," which bowed with $20.2 million en route to registering $82.2 million domestically. "Panther 2" skewed 56% female, with 55% of patrons under 25.
"It was at the lower end of our expectations," Sony distribution topper Rory Bruer said.
Starring Dakota Fanning and Chris Evans, "Push" audiences skewed 63% male, with 59% of patrons 25 and older.
"It was slightly above our expectations and is going to get us to a respectful number," Summit distribution boss Richie Fay said.
Icon Prods. was a co-financier on "Push," whose production costs totaled an estimated $38 million.
Looking ahead to the double-holiday weekend, three wide releases are set to unspool Friday: Sony's political thriller "The International," Warners' horror remake "Friday the 13th" and Disney's romantic comedy "Confessions of a Shopaholic." (partialdiff)