The 3D fantasy epic Immortals easily defeated two other high-profile debuts, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill and Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, to nab the number one spot at the North American box office. Overall, the top ten was up a healthy 26% over last weekend’s top films and a decent 18% over the top ten from one year ago.
It garnered some nasty reviews from critics and may be suffering from bad word-of-mouth from ticket buyers as evidenced by the film’s steep Saturday drop of 32%, but that didn’t stop Relativity Media’s Immortals from nabbing a solid $32 million in estimated sales from 3,112 theaters. The R-rated fantasy film was directed by Tarsem (The Cell) and stars Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas and Mickey Rourke. The film was touted as being produced by the people that brought 300 to the screen. But unlike that 2007 blockbuster, it appears to be on course to a fast fade at the box office. The 3D surcharges certain helped inflate the numbers to the point where the film took the number one spot from Jack and Jill. Overseas, Immortals earned a good $36 million in early ticket sales.
Atrocious ads and the whopping 3 percent critical approval rating did little to sway the Adam Sandler faithful from attending the opening of his latest comedy, the twin flick Jack and Jill. But while the film landed in the number two spot with $26 million in estimated sales on 3,438 screens, the opening was not in line with the comedy superstar’s other films.
Last February, the critically-reviled Just Go With It opened with $30.5 million en route to a $103 million final domestic total. Should Jack and Jill withstand the critical onslaught and bring in the Sandler faithful that have made his last dozen or so movies $100 million plus hits, it might not be a reach for this one to join the $100 million club.
After holding court for two weeks, the animated comedy hit Puss and Boots stepped down to third place but once again showed terrific staying power. In its third round, the Antonio Banderas-voiced flick eased a mere 23% to an estimated $25.5 million and an overall total of $109 million. As mentioned last weekend, the film faces stiff competition in the family market starting next weekend. But with such small drops both last and this weekend, Puss should have no real issues holding its own. With a holiday boost, Puss could purr its way to the $175 million mark by the end of its run.
In fourth place was the Universal action comedy Tower Heist. Down 45% from its opening weekend take, the Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller film earned $13.2 million to bring its ten day total to $43.9 million. Watch for the Brett Ratner-directed flick to finish its domestic run near the $75 million mark, an okay amount but a bit of a disappointment for Universal given the movie cost that much to produce in the first place.
In fifth place was the third wide opener for the weekend, Clint Eastwood’s biography pic J. Edgar. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench and Naomi Watts, the Oscar contender-wannabe debuted on 1,910 screens for a mild $11.4 million opening. The reviews for the Eastwood-directed flick were on the weak side with a 41% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Were Edgar an action film or comedy, the rating may not be such a bad thing. Being this is a serious-minded, R-rated historical drama aimed squarely at the adult market, reviews do mean quite a bit. Warner had best hope that the movie is the recipient of strong word-of-mouth from ticket buyers if it plans to keep the movie going at the theaters for the remainder of the year, or at least long enough to get some nomination buzz going.
The remainder of the top ten was as follows:
6. A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (Warner/New Line) $5.4 million (-54% from last weekend) $23.2 million total.
7. In Time (Fox) $4.15 million (-44.5%) $30.6 million
8. Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount) $3.6 million (-56%) $101 million
9. Footloose (2011) (Paramount) $2.7 million (-39%) $48.8 million
10. Real Steel (Dreamworks/Disney) $2 million (-41%) $81.7 million
Next weekend, Summit Entertainment opens the much-awaited The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Warner Brothers will open Happy Feet Two.
– Shawn Fitzgerald