NORTH AMERICA: Studio Weekend Estimates: 'Prisoners' Captures First Place with $21.4M; 'Insidious Chapter 2' Slides to Second with $14.5M; 'Battle of the Year' Flops With $5.0M on September 21, 2013


Sunday Update: Warner's Prisoners led the way this weekend with an estimated $21.43 million. The thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal debuted on the high end of pre-release expectations. Prisoners was helped out this weekend by the relatively empty marketplace, mostly positive critical reviews and the drawing power of Jackman and the rest of the film's cast as a whole. In comparison to some of Jackman's non-X-Men films, Prisoners debuted 22 percent below the $27.32 million start of 2011's Real Steel and 45 percent ahead of the $14.80 million start of 2006's The Prestige. Compared to previous recent high-profile Warner Bros. September releases, Prisoners opened a tad below the respective $23.81 million and $22.40 million starts of 2010's The Town and 2011's Contagion.

Prisoners grossed $7.0 million on Friday, was up a healthy 29 percent on Saturday to take in $9.02 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $5.41 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.06 to 1, which is an early promising sign for the film. On Friday, Prisoners received a B+ rating on CinemaScore, but Warner Bros. notes that the rating improved to an A- among moviegoers on Saturday. The audience breakdown for Prisoners skewed slightly towards female moviegoers (52 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (72 percent). Prisoners will have a good chance of holding up well going forward, though doing so isn't a lock at this point either given the significant upcoming competition the film will face for adult audiences throughout the rest of September and October.

Insidious Chapter 2 fell one spot to land in second with an estimated $14.5 million. FilmDistrict's successful low-budget horror sequel was down a sharp 64 percent from last weekend, but the decline was quite understandable given the film's status as a high-profile horror sequel and the additional early front-loading the film experienced last weekend from opening on Friday the 13th. In comparison, 2010's Paranormal Activity 2 fell 59 percent in its second weekend to take in $16.51 million, though it should be noted that Paranormal Activity 2 received an added boost that weekend from the Halloween holiday. Insidious Chapter 2 has grossed $60.86 million in ten days. That places the film 7 percent behind the $65.67 million ten-day start of Paranormal Activity 2, though Insidious Chapter 2 is highly likely to close that percentage gap going forward thanks in part to opening well before Halloween and the limited amount of horror options this fall.

Relativity's The Family was also down one place to finish in third this weekend with an estimated $7.0 million. After a respectable start last week, the Luc Besson directed film starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer experienced an underwhelming 50 percent decline in its second weekend. So-so word of mouth and competition from Prisoners for adult moviegoers appear to have taken a toll on The Family this weekend. The ten-day start for The Family stands at $25.64 million, placing it 10 percent behind the $28.53 million ten-day start of 2008's Righteous Kill and 46.5 percent ahead of the $17.50 million ten-day take of 2011's Killer Elite. The Family will likely continue to fall off quickly going forward given the previously mentioned upcoming competition for adult moviegoers.

After falling off a bit last weekend, Lionsgate's Instructions Not Included rebounded nicely this weekend with an estimated $5.7 million fourth place performance. The low-budget Eugenio Derbez comedy vehicle was up 17 percent over last weekend, which was especially impressive given that the film only expanded into an additional 45 locations this weekend. The surprise hit from Pantelion Films has grossed $34.26 million in 24 days and after this weekend's hold is likely to remain a factor at the box office for quite some time.

Sony's Battle of the Year was off to a rough start this weekend with an estimated fifth place take of $5.0 million. The modestly budgeted 3D dance film from Screen Gems featuring Josh Holloway and Chris Brown opened below its already modest expectations and performed poorly for a dance film in general. Battle of the Year did receive a very solid A- rating on CinemaScore and generated a strong estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.51 to 1 (after opening with $1.43 million on Friday), but positive word of mouth is unlikely to be much of a factor going forward given the small size of the film's opening weekend performance. The audience breakdown for Battle of the Year skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and moviegoers 21 and over (55 percent).

Sony continues to have a tough go of it as of late, as Battle of the Year joins the growing list of recent domestic under-performers for the studio which has also included The Mortal Instruments, The Smurfs 2, White House Down and After Earth. However, things should turn around for Sony in a big way next weekend with the release of the highly anticipated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Warner's The Wizard of Oz 3D pulled in strong per-location numbers this weekend with an estimated $3.02 million from 318 locations. That gave the IMAX 3D re-issue of the classic 1939 film a per-location average of $9,503 for the frame. Compared to previous IMAX re-issues, The Wizard of Oz 3D opened stronger than both this year's Top Gun 3D ($1.97 million from 300 locations) and last year's Raiders of the Lost Ark ($1.67 million from 267 locations). The IMAX 3D run for The Wizard of Oz is scheduled to be a one-week engagement.

On the platform front, Fox Searchlight's Enough Said was off to a healthy start this weekend with an estimated $240,000 from just four locations in New York and Los Angeles. That gave Enough Said a strong per-location average of $60,000. Since its opening on Wednesday, the critically acclaimed romantic comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini has grossed $293,734 through its first five days.

Universal's Rush was off to a promising platform start of its own with an estimated $200,000 from five locations in New York and Los Angeles. With that said, it was a bit underwhelming that the film's per-location average of $40,000 came in significantly below the per-location average of Enough Said (though that may be more a reflection of the strength of Enough Said this weekend). Rush (which was directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl) will hope to be aided by its strong critical reviews when it expands into wide release next weekend.

Saturday Morning: Warner Bros. reports that Prisoners grabbed an estimated $7.01 million in its Friday debut, putting the drama on track for a $20.5 million opening weekend. The ensemble flick led by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal marks the first offering for adult audiences in over a month--since Lee Daniels' The Butler began its very successful run.

Strong critical reviews (currently at 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) have helped propel Prisoners to its healthy opening. Although the film has been somewhat divisive among early crowds, its Flixster score still sits at a strong 88 percent after one day. The picture earned an overall "B+" CinemaScore with 64 percent of those polled giving it an "A-" and 36 percent giving it a "B+"--a relatively good grade for what appears to be a polarizing film.

Prisoners is successfully capitalizing on the star power of Hugh Jackman in addition to its recognizable ensemble cast. Jackman is fresh off the success of last year's Les Miserables and this past summer's The Wolverine. Some awards buzz has surrounded Prisoners, although it remains to be seen how much longevity the film will find at the box office--due in large part to the number of adult-oriented films (which are also receiving strong early buzz) set for release throughout October.

Sony's Battle of the Year is failing to catch fire. The dance flick starring Chris Brown and Lost's Josh Holloway was targeting teenagers in a bit of counter-programming this weekend, but most of them are rejecting the flick judging by the film's $1.5 million first day take. Not surprisingly, critics have lambasted the film with a 6 percent Rotten Tomatoes score while early audience word of mouth has driven Battle's Flixster user score down to a more reasonable, though still disappointing, 65 percent. Last year's Step Up Revolution wound up as the lowest grosser of that franchise, and with Battle's performance it's evident that fans of the genre clearly aren't itching for just another generic dance movie. Look for Battle of the Year to pull around $4.3 million this weekend.

WB's Wizard of Oz re-release fared well in IMAX and 3D to start the weekend. The family classic brought in an estimated $751,000 yesterday. Expected to perform even stronger throughout the weekend as parents and kids make their way to theaters, the film should pull in around $3 million this weekend. Wizard of Oz continues to prove its enduring appeal even after 74 years.

Lastly, Universal estimates a strong $66,000 opening day for Ron Howard's Rush, which opted for a platform release in 5 theaters this weekend ahead of its wide release on September 27. Strong buzz for the film is helping in addition to Howard's credentials as well as star Chris Hemsworth. Rush is aiming to earn around $220,000 this weekend for a strong per-theater-average of $44,000.

OVERSEAS: Universal's Box Office Hits $2 Billion For First Time In Company History on September 18, 2013



Universal Studios hit a historic milestone after yesterday's box office grosses, crossing $2 billion in overseas box office for the first time in studio history. The achievement comes during a year in which the studio reached the $1 billion mark in overseas box office faster than ever before. The previous record in terms of overseas box office for Universal came in 2012 with $1.794 billion. 

The full press release form Universal, pasted below, goes into further detail on the studio's historic milestone:

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, September 18, 2013 - Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced that with yesterday's box office grosses, the studio has passed $2 billion at the international box office for the first time in its 101-year history. Earlier this year, UPI broke its record for the fastest climb to $1 billion at the box office and shattered its 2012 record for the highest box office ever, which was $1.794 billion. 

The success overseas has been fueled by a string of box office hits across multiple genres including Les Misérables ($293 million), Mama($76.1 million), Oblivion ($197.2 million), Fast & Furious 6 ($549.3 million), and Despicable Me 2 ($485.4 million). Fast & Furious 6 andDespicable Me 2 are the second and third highest grossing films at the international box office this year, respectively. Despicable Me 2 is the highest grossing animated film of 2013.

2013 international highlights include:

  • Universal Pictures films dominated the worldwide box office on six weekends in 2013 including Oblivion's No. 1 opening, Fast 6which was No. 1 twice and Despicable Me 2 which was No. 1 worldwide for three weeks. 
  •  Fast & Furious 6 opened No. 1 in 65 territories and was Universal's biggest opening of all-time in 41 of those markets. The film also provided the studio with its highest opening weekend ever at the international box office. Fast 6 is the second highest-grossing film of 2013 and Universal's second highest-grossing film of all-time behind Jurassic Park.
  • Despicable Me 2 opened No. 1 in 46 territories and is Universal's highest grossing film of all time in 16 of those territories. It is also the highest grossing film of 2013 in France, Mexico, the U.K. and Venezuela.
  • Les Misérables is the second highest-grossing musical overseas and worldwide behind Universal's Mamma Mia! 
  • Oblivion opened in the No. 1 spot in 49 territories and was Tom Cruise's biggest opening of all-time in Russia and Indonesia.
There is still much to look forward to in 2013 including the continued international rollout of About Time, a comedy from writer and director Richard Curtis and the epic 3D feature starring Keanu Reeves in his explosive return to the action-adventure genre, 47 Ronin. UPI will also release 11 films in select territories through the end of the year, including The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Academy Award®-winner Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, in nine markets.


UK: 'Insidious: Chapter 2' Posts Record-Breaking Friday En Route to $4.5M Bow on September 18, 2013


insidiousc2sTILL.jpgInsidious: Chapter 2 broke the box office record for an opening day gross by a horror film in the United Kingdom in its day-and-date premiere. The horror sequel went on to gross a $4.5 million total over the weekend, claiming the top spot at the box office with one of the more successful debuts for the genre in recent memory. It's a big achievement considering the horror filmed opened alongside Ron Howard's Rush and White House Down in a three-way battle for #1.


Rush settled for a $3.3 million second place finish. The sports drama played in 457 screens and averaged $7,293 per theater, only behind the $11,036 average posted by the Insidious sequel across 414 screens. White House Down placed third with a $1.8 million bow. 


Last week's top film, the romantic time travel comedy About Time, dropped to fourth place with a $1.7 million hold. It was a good sophomore weekend for the film, which only fell 37% from the previous weekend. About Time has grossed a total of $6.1 million in the United Kingdom.


Top 10 Films in the United Kingdom. September 13-15, 2013.



SOUTH KOREA: Western Films Start Slow Ahead of Chuseok Holiday on September 18, 2013



MISTills.jpgA strong $12.7 million debut for domestic period drama The Face Reader led the weekend as South Korea prepares for its Chuseok holiday on Wednesday. The Chuseok long weekend is the equivalent in box office terms to the Thanksgiving weekend in the United States. 


The four Western new releases had to settle for mid-table spots ahead of the holiday weekend. Mortal Instruments fared best with a $1.3 million bow, while fare oriented to slightly younger viewers struggled. Monsters University had a fourth place debut with $1.2 million. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters placed in the middle of the table with a $1.1 million take. Despicable Me 2 was a surprise flop, the film finished the weekend with a $1.9 million take including previews but occupies the sixth position on the chart after failing to hit the $1 million mark over the weekend.


Top 10 Films in South Korea. September 13-15, 2013.



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