Lionsgate reports that Ender's Game launched to $9.9 million on Friday, including Thursday evening's $1.4 million from early shows. That puts the flick on pace for a possible $28 million opening weekend if younger audiences continue turn out over the weekend. The first day returns were on par with After Earth's $9.8 million and 25.5 percent behind Oblivion's $13.3 million, however, Saturday matinees could yet prove to be strong for Ender's. Early word of mouth for the adaptation appears decent with the film's Flixster score remaining at 76 percent since early Friday (after the fan base drove Thursday night's shows). The competition from Thor: The Dark World starting next week is likely to cut legs short, however, the holiday season could help Ender's Game to ultimately find solid footing.
Last week's top film, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, held on remarkably well for a 51.5 percent drop from opening day to $6.09 million yesterday. The Johnny Knoxville spin-off has accumulated $47.65 million in 8 days, 13 percent ahead of Jackass Number Two (which slid 61 percent from its first-to-second Friday) and 35 percent behind Jackass 3-D (dropped 66 percent). Bad Grandpa should earn an impressive $18.5 million for its sophomore frame.
Last Vegas debuted to a healthy $5.1 million yesterday, not too far off from the $6.35 million first day of summer's Red 2 despite Vegas not being a sequel with built-in appeal. The CBS Films release mounted a campaign that successfully targeted older crowds for the start of a month that will be heavy on younger-leaning films. Critics haven't taken to the film (giving it a disappointing 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and while Flixster stands at an underwhelming 72 percent right now, that social media platform generally caters more toward younger crowds. CinemaScore was a much stronger "A-". BoxOffice projects Last Vegas will total $15.3 million for its debut weekend.
Relativity's Free Birds cooked up $4.0 million for its Friday opening, continuing the modest performance from animated flicks since late summer. Critics also haven't been kind to the flick, giving it a 22 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. We're expecting a $15.5 million opening frame for Free Birds.
At the start of its fifth weekend, Warner Bros.' Gravity added $3.61 million on Friday. That was down 41 percent from last Friday, a sharper-than-usual drop for the film caused by its loss of IMAX screens to Ender's Game. Drops going forward should stabilize relatively quickly. Gravity has now amassed $209.68 million domestically and is projected to earn $12.2 million for the weekend.
On the platform front, 12 Years a Slave took in $1.265 million after its expansion into 410 theaters this weekend for an average of $3,085 per theater on Friday. The film's cume is now $5.425 million as it heads toward a projected $4.4 million weekend. By comparison, No Country for Old Men earned $3,605 per theater on its third Friday in 860 theaters. 12 Years will need to continue building on its superb critical buzz in order to connect with mainstream crowds over the next few months.
Additional reporting by Daniel Garris