Drama flick Prisoners tops a dull box-office

After Insidious Chapter 2 set things on fire last weekend, it is time for the box-office to go back to its usual September slumber. The new leader at the top is now the heavy drama loaded film Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhal. While there is some real star power in this movie, the subject at hand is a serious one, that of two young girls getting abducted, which caters to the likes of the more mature audience generally. But a $21.4 million opening in North America seems a bright start for the film which has a modest production budget of $46 million. The movie is getting some strong reviews and creating some early award buzz too. There are some who have already begun comparisons with another drama film released around this time last year, the sensational Argo (a mid-October release). Now Argo had started modestly with a $19.5 million opening weekend figure, but its fall in the subsequent three weekends reads something like this: 15%, 27%, 16%. That is incredibly low, as the movie had started getting great critical reviews and strong word-of-mouth, which eventually saw the movie gross $136 million in the domestic market alone. Somehow Prisoners may not really see those kind of numbers, for it seems to lack that adventure-drama feel that Argo held, which would probably have gotten people back into the theatres for another viewing. But it’s a solid start, nonetheless, and if it does make the award shows, there could be an extended run seen then.


Insidious Chapter 2 has plummeted 64% for the second weekend, more or less what one would expect from a horror film (The Conjuring continues to remain the mighty exception this year). The movie has already grossed close to $61 million in North America alone, more than the predecessor’s total domestic earnings, and far more than the $5 million budget it was made on. No one at FilmDistrict would be crying over the second weekend fall; they have already picked up more than they could have imagined! The only other wide release this weekend in USA was the dance flick Battle of the Year. It’s a niche flick, these kind of dance movies, that look forward to entertaining the crowds that made the likes of Step Up franchise work. But the groovy dance movies do not click off each time. Battle of the Year has turned out to be a dud with only $5 million earnings in the first weekend. Even with a low production budget of about $20 million, the movie is hardly likely to make much money and with its poor reviews, it should be leaving the top 10 bracket soon too. Eh, not everyone has a Channing Tatum-like fate, do they? With Ron Howard’s Rush having a wide release in the USA next weekend, hopefully the box-office will pick up ‘pace’ once again!

Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):

1. Prisoners ($21.4 million)

2. Insidious Chapter 2 ($14.5 million; second weekend)

3. The Family ($7.0 million; third weekend)

4. Instructions Not Included ($5.7 million; fourth weekend)

5. Battle of the Year ($5.0 million)


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