It was a battle of two quality films at the box-office. One debuting, the other running in its second week. Fine directors, great plots, amazing buzz, and some awesome actors, along with lots of ‘Oscar, Oscar’ shouts. Now if only each weekend could be like this! Or maybe not, for too much of a good thing is also not that good, right? Getting back to the discussion on hand, the weekend’s battle was won by Gravity, though the other contender Captain Phillips can hardly be called a loser. Gravity dipped a mere 21% in its second weekend, earning $44.3 million at the North America box-office, putting up one of the best holds seen for a long time, for a movie with a fairly strong start too. The movie’s word-of-mouth has been fairly strong and the numbers are also being inflated by the increasing preference of watching this one in Imax 3D format. In fact, $9 million has been earned in the weekend from Imax viewing which is the largest earning seen in this format during a movie’s second weekend. The movie has already amassed $191 million worldwide so far, and it has a long way to go, which bodes well for Alfonso Cuarón’s movie. No pulling down this Gravity, not for quite some time!
The contender Captain Phillips did work hard to push off the reigning champion, but Gravity has too much of a good thing working for it right now. so Paul Greengrass’ biopic Captain Phillips had to settle for the second spot, still with a strong $26 million opening. Tom Hanks has had three pretty disappointing movies prior to this one, at least collection-wise, and so Captain Phillips breathes a bout of fresh air in this incredibly gifted actor’s career. The movie has been made on a production budget of $55 million, about half of that of Gravity, which again makes the opening weekend collection seem like a solid start. Hanks’ acting has been praised by all, and the movie itself is walking solid ground in terms of its reception from critics and general audience alike. The movie is drawing Oscar attention in much the similar way as Gravity did a week back, and interestingly, Captain Phillips holds a 94% rating on the Tomatometer (of the Rotten Tomatoes website) as compared to 97% held by Gravity. Astonishing! When was the last time two movies with a 90% plus score opened in the theatres one after the other? Would require some digging into the past, for this is no common occurrence. A healthy box-office start for Captain Phillips also puts the director Paul Greengrass in a favourable light whose previous venture (and remember, this was after he decided to drop out of the Bourne series) was Green Zone, a box-office dud that had a budget twice that of Captain Phillips and an opening weekend figure which was half. So great goings for two great films, and this month is rocking already!
But we always have the disappointments, don’t we? This one probably should have seen it coming. Machete Kills features fourth on the box-office charts, but with an abysmal opening weekend earning of $3.8 million, it has been brutally ‘killed’. Probably deserved a direct-to-video release. The movie’s earning is far below the opening weekend collection of 2010’s Machete ($11.5 million), and despite getting the likes of Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson on board, the movie hardly seemed worth spending a few dollars on. Over-the-top cheap thrills do find their audience at times, but not when a Sandra Bullock starrer and a Tom Hanks starrer are making waves. It is time to bid adieu to Machete! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 slipped into third place and is showing good legs, with only a 32% dip in the third weekend. Presence of more serious movies around it seems to be helping this animated flick to find its own set of audience. So October has started off with two good weekends, and another biopic awaits next — The Fifth Estate. The bar has been raised, and we’ll know soon if the Benedict Cumberbatch film can match up to it.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Gravity ($44.3 million; second weekend)
2. Captain Phillips ($26.0 million)
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 ($14.2 million; third weekend)
4. Machete Kills ($3.8 million)
5. Runner Runner ($3.7 million; second weekend)