It never was going to be very exciting in the month of September. We had warned you of that. But even then there is hope. In an otherwise tepid weekend, Vin Diesel starrer Riddick took the top spot at the weekend box-office in North America with an estimated $18.7 million earnings. That is better than the opening weekend performance of 2000’s Pitch Black ($14 million) but the latter had opened in much fewer theatres, and weaker than 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick ($24.3 million). It would be unfair to compare Riddick with The Chronicles of Riddick as the production budget of the former is only about a third of the latter; so the marketing activities around the movies to get a higher audience for the opening weekend would have been proportionately different. It’s a decent opening for Riddick, neither over-the-top nor under-whelming. A worldwide earning figure above $100 million should get the movie’s producers their dues, is what we are guessing. For now that figure stands at $26 million after the first weekend, and there is a long journey ahead; hopefully Riddick just like the character would survive this too!
Lee Daniels’ The Butler got pushed behind to second spot, but with close to $92 million domestic earnings as it began its fourth week on the weekend, the movie is already a success story. The box-office belonged completely to Riddick though, as Lee Daniels’ The Butler amassed only $8.9 million over the weekend. Another surprise story (we love the underdogs, don’t we?), the Spanish-language flick Instructions Not Included was released across more theatres this weekend (taking the tally from 348 to 717) and received another stellar turnout with earnings of $8.1 million. This limited release movie has already made waves in America, and it would be interesting to see how much steam is still left in that engine. Last weekend’s top earner One Direction: This Is Us took a big tumble, a 74% tumble infact, to drop out of the top five positions on the weekend. Once the band’s fans have seen it, there doesn’t seem to be any more takers! And to round it off, a note on Woody Allen’s latest film Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett. This movie has only seen a limited release so far, but has been running in more than 1000 theatres in North America for past three weekends, and has earned about $25 million so far. Would there be a wide release, is the question. That could be the case if the movie sees its name floating around during the film awards season. So long then, expect not much joy from September, as we wait for grander things to come.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Riddick ($18.7 million)
2. Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($8.9 million; fourth weekend)
3. Instructions Not Included ($8.1 million; second weekend)
4. We’re The Millers ($7.9 million; fifth weekend)
5. Planes ($4.3 million; fifth weekend)