SUNDAY CENTS: Photo finish!

Posted by · 1:31 pm · August 29th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

One last bit of excitement before the summer ends and Tapley starts posting random Redskins photos on Sundays. We have a dead heat race for the top spot at the box office, but estimates are handing the crown to “The Last Exorcism.” If it does, indeed, win the weekend, it will be the first time Lionsgate has had two consecutive number one films.

The official estimate is $21.3 million, which puts it just a fraction behind the $23.1 million debut of “Exorcist: The Beginning” on this same weekend of 2004. It’s also a smidge behind the $24.5 mil debut of Lionsgate’s similar looking 2009 shocker, “The Haunting in Connecticut,” but let’s remember that this is a no budget endeavor with no recognizable actors that the studio had to market with smarts and Eli Roth’s name.

Incidentally, they couldn’t use Roth’s name to market his own movie, “Hostel Part II,” to a debut past $9.5 million, but the man can’t win them all. Now we just sit back and wait for the inevitable porno knock-off called “The Last Circumcision.”

Hot on the devil’s heels is “Takers.” Sony once again turned straw into gold with an estimated debut of $21.0 million. Throw this in the pile of films that should never have made a cent but wound up significant hits, with “Vantage Point,” “21,” and “Lakeview Terrace.” Now we just sit back and wait for the inevitable porno knock-off called “Takers.”

“The Expendables” and “Eat Pray Love” continue to drop around the same (40%) each week yet remain in the top 5 thanks to weak competition. And we’ve all seen what Stallone does to weak competition (he rips their throats out of their neck with his bare hand). Roberts is more of an eater, prayer and lover than a fighter, but her box office muscle is no less impressive.

Of the five movies released last week, only “Nanny McPhee Returns” and “The Switch” could manage to hold more than half their audience. The ones marketed around warts and sperm. Duly noted. “Vampires Suck” and “Piranha 3D” both fell 57%, while “Lottery Ticket” flew out of the top 10 in almost record speed.

It’s left to “Inception” and “The Other Guys” to show us what decent legs look like. Both films dropped 35% and the latter is a whisker away from being the fourth consecutive Ferrell/McKay collaboration to break $100 million. For Wahlberg, it will be only his second non-remake to hit that target, after “The Perfect Storm.” For Anne Heche, it’s a couple more hits for her IMDb page with people trying to remember who that woman in the movie is.

“Avatar: The Special Edition” opened outside the top 10, with $4.0 million. On only 812 3D screens, that was good enough to give it the third best per theater average of any wide release, so don’t go shedding any tears for Fox. They could release “Avatar: The Papier-Mâché Edition” and probably get a couple million out of it.

I didn’t see anything yet again this week. Seems like forever since I’ve been to the theater, but I’m looking forward to catching “The American” on Wednesday if I can. I’ll see you guys on Wednesdays with the Life Without Oscar columns and I’ll still be trolling around the comments as well, but that’s it for Sunday Cents. Thanks for reading!

What did you guys see? Here are this week’s top grossing films courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:

→ 18 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

18 responses so far

  • 1 8-29-2010 at 1:37 pm

    Tab said...

    Oh, someone beating up on Anne Heche. How original.

  • 2 8-29-2010 at 1:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Haha, I’ve abandoned the Day of Rest posts. They seemed to be doing more harm to the team than good.

  • 3 8-29-2010 at 2:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Also, I figure I’ll use this thread to put the question out there: how would the readership like us to handle box office from here on out? Just a simple discussion thread every Sunday?

  • 4 8-29-2010 at 3:10 pm

    James D. said...

    Double Hartigan’s salary so he stays. Or have Guy Lodge do it.

  • 5 8-29-2010 at 3:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I think Guy shares about the same amount of interest in box office as I do: minimal.

  • 6 8-29-2010 at 3:43 pm

    Jim T said...

    I read the column because of Chad. I say drop it and go with something completely different.

    My idea is: Do you know Best Pictures from the Outside In? Well, I love it and think it would be great to have you and Guy and/or someone else talk about movies. Not nessecarily best pic winners. i leave that up to you. You seem to agree about as often as you disagree (though I think you disagree more often) so I’d find it very interesting.

  • 7 8-29-2010 at 3:49 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    It’s not just lack of interest: I haven’t anything approaching the level of knowledge required to analyse box office with Chad’s finesse. But I thank you for the request, James.

  • 8 8-29-2010 at 4:29 pm

    Jeremy said...

    I won’t miss Chad’s relentlessly snarky attitude or his aggressive anti-mainstream bias, but I will miss his comparative analysis. The historical box-office analogies are what made the column worth reading. Kris, assuming you aren’t motivated enough to dig up similar comparisons, then I don’t think a weekly column is necessary. I can just go to Box Office Mojo for my numbers fix.

    Chad, best of luck with your film.

  • 9 8-29-2010 at 4:33 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I wouldn’t have offered a column but there is certainly discussion to be had among those interested in box office receipts. We’ll probably just offer an open thread every Sunday and leave it to the inmates to run the asylum each weekend.

  • 10 8-29-2010 at 5:11 pm

    tony rock said...

    Simply post the numbers from BoxofficeMojo and leave it as a discussion thread.

  • 11 8-29-2010 at 5:12 pm

    tony rock said...

    Or you can hire me to write the column. I’m a writer and I’ve been following box office for nearly a decade.

  • 12 8-29-2010 at 6:05 pm

    John said...

    Saw THE LAST EXORCISM. Liked it. Well-written, well-acted. Earns its scares, but it will appeal to non-horror audiences, as well. Downside, the reviewers aren;t lying about that last 5 minutes.

  • 13 8-29-2010 at 7:38 pm

    Al said...

    I would pass on anyone else taking over, unless they took on the same jokey writing style as Chad brought to this. Honestly, I don’t care about box office number, the remarks were just funny.

  • 14 8-29-2010 at 8:14 pm

    Loyal said...

    It was a good weekend for movies. I saw a fantastic print of The Good The Bad and The Ugly on Friday. It was my first time seeing it on the big screen.

    On Saturday I watched Avatar 1.5 (I liked the new footage), The Last Exorcism (those final 5 minutes were wacky), Winter’s Bone (first time I fell asleep during a movie since 98’s remake of Psycho), and The Room (quickly becoming a midnight movie must see).

  • 15 8-29-2010 at 8:53 pm

    Andrew M said...

    I like the /Film Cast, “What I’ve Been Watching” They go over what shows and movies have been entertaining them for the week. New or old, popular or not. Maybe you could do something like that.

  • 16 8-29-2010 at 10:43 pm

    al b. said...

    This column was my favorite because Chad was just so freakin funny! The 3rd and 4th paragraph of the above column is proof enough! I can always go to Box Office Mojo for the numbers, but Chad brought a uniqueness to B.O. reporting.

    Kris, I wouldn’t go out of my way to have a weekly box office column, but when there’s a significant event in the box office arena, maybe it would be worth pointing it out for your readers every now and then and have a discussion thread on it.

  • 17 8-30-2010 at 4:12 am

    Glenn said...

    Maybe just keep a running tally of the Oscar films’ box office take and leave it at that? Without Chad why bother? Plus, at least that way it keeps it within the Oscar wheelhouse. I dunno. Meh.

  • 18 8-30-2010 at 1:12 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Annnnddd…Takers takes it.