Friday, September 28, 2012

The Projector: Jacked Up Calendar Edition

Monday UPDATE: Based on the events of this past weekend, it would seem the malaise at the box office is history and my Friday estimates are sadly the proof. With Finding Nemo 3D drawing little interest a couple of weeks back, families were antsy to see something - anything - animated, setting a September record in the process with Hotel Transylvania's robust $43M debut. Looper outperformed as well with a strong $21M, giving Sony the top two slots and roughly $25M (in total) more than most expected. And then there's Pitch Perfect, crushing cash to the tune of $5.2M in just 335 theaters - a monstrous average of $15,560.

  1. Hotel Transylvania ($43M)
  2. Looper ($21M) 
  3. End of Watch ($8M)
  4. Trouble with the Curve ($7.5M) 
  5. House at the End of the Street ($7.2M)

A quick glance at the calendar reveals the date as: September 28, 2012. So why in the heck is Sony releasing a Halloween-themed 3D CGI fest a full month before the pumpkin-smashing "holiday"? Clearly the execs wanted to steer clear of Disney/Tim Burton's Frankenweenie but the move is likely to stick a stake in Hotel Transylvania's heart in comparison to your typical family-friendly animated offering.
  1. Hotel Transylvania ($21M) - Having been "treated" to the trailer in front of Finding Nemo 3D, I can report laughing zero times for the two minute duration. Even the kiddos were stone-faced.
  2. Looper ($15.5M) - High concept sci-fi is a rough sell but the buzz has been building for indie director Rian Johnson's time-travelling tale of futuristic hit men and the steep price those "loopers" pay for the gig. The sublime ending is worth the price of admission alone but be prepared to squirm in your seat during the stalled-out center section.
  3. End of Watch ($8.5M) - Word of mouth is strong for the L.A. cop drama. The tipping point for Jake Gyllennhaal's film career?
  4. Trouble with the Curve ($7.5M) - Given the expectations, opening weekend was a double to right center at best. But with few adult options in the marketplace aside from The Master, a decent hold is the call.
  5. Won't Back Down ($7M) - Expect a gaggle of teachers in the theater but none of their students.