Clint Eastwood and Jake Gyllenhaal Can’t Boost Lackluster Box Office

Clint Eastwood and Jake Gyllenhaal Can't Boost Lackluster Box OfficeDespite the arrival of four new films starring the likes of Clint Eastwood, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Lawrence, and one highly anticipated movie expanding into a wider release (The Master), the box office once again languished thanks to a mediocre selection of product. While the top ten was up roughly 17% from last weekend’s numbers, it was behind a troubling 29% from last year at this time.

It doesn’t happen often, but it appears that we have a tie for first place based on the weekend estimates as the Jennifer Lawrence thriller House at the End of the Street and the Jake Gyllenhaal police thriller End of Watch both earned an estimated $13 million each. The R-rated End of Watch received strong notices from the nation’s critics (85% approval on Rotten Tomatoes) while the Lawrence vehicle – a film shot prior to Lawrence hitting it big with The Hunger Games – was eviscerated by the scribes as evidenced by its 14% approval rating. Even if neither one lasts too long in the theaters, the costs were quite low on both. House costs a mere $10 million while Watch was made for $7 million.

In third place was the Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams baseball drama Trouble With the Curve, which swung and missed with a dull $12.7 million from 3,212 theaters for a weak $3,960 per-screen average. While some may have pointed to Eastwood’s rambling speech at the Republican National Convention as a factor to the film’s disappointing opening, more sensible individuals would point to the other aspects that caused Clint’s first starring role in four years to tank: a less-than-stellar 53% approval rating on RT, a weak marketing campaign or the simple fact that the movie, despite nice chemistry between Eastwood and Adams, is something one might watch on TV for free and not waste gas and money on.

After returning to okay numbers last weekend, Disney/Pixar’s 3D retrofit of Finding Nemo eased an acceptable 43% in its second weekend of re-release. The 2003 feature earned an estimated $9.4 million to bring its ten-day total to the $30 million mark. With the animated Adam Sandler comedy Hotel Transylvania arriving next Friday and the Tim Burton animated feature Frankenweenie debuting the Friday after that, Nemo is going to encounter some very rough waters in its quest for family box office dollars. It should finish its run with $45 million or half of what The Lion King pulled in last year at this time.

Rounding out the top five was last weekend’s number one film Resident Evil: Retribution. It dropped a horrendous 68% to bring in $6.7 million from 3,016 theaters to bring its ten-day total to the $33 million mark. While the domestic total will finish with a low $40-45 million, the international market will continue the franchise trend of making up for the shortfall.

The fourth and final of the new films in the market landed with a thud in sixth place: the Lionsgate sci-fi thriller Dredd. A new take on the Judge Dredd graphic novel series, Pete Travis’ 3D sci-fi thriller earned strong notices from critics (77% approval on RT) but failed to reach a wide audience beyond those who know and love the novel series. Opening on 2,506 theaters, Dredd earned a dreadful $6.3 million.

After setting the limited-release box office on fire last weekend, the new Paul Thomas Anderson drama The Master expanded to 788 theaters this weekend to decent results and a seventh place finish. The Philip Seymour-Hoffman/Joaquin Phoenix film earned an estimated $5 million for a good $6,345 per-screen average. To date, the movie has earned an estimated $6 million.

The remainder of the top ten is as follows:

8. The Possession (Lionsgate) $2.63 million (-54%) $45.6 million

9. Lawless (The Weinstein Company) $2.3 million (-46%) $34.5 million

10. ParaNorman (Focus Features) $2.2 million (-23%) $52.6 million

In addition to Hotel Transylvania, the final weekend of September will see debuts of the sci-fi thriller Looper starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, and the urban school drama Won’t Back Down.

– Shawn Fitzgerald

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