BOX OFFICE: ‘Contagion’ finally stops ‘The Help,’ ‘Warrior’ stumbles in the first round

Posted by · 9:15 am · September 11th, 2011

I don’t pretend to be a box office expert, but I have to think five million for “Warrior” on opening weekend is a disaster for that film. What’s the ceiling when you start out there? It has to be low. Money was always going to be the difference for its Oscar chances. If it hit, there would have been a lot of potential. But now it’ll be lucky to eek out that nod for Nick Nolte. Meanwhile, “Contagion” and its all-star cast predictably took the weekend. It’s a smart but entertaining segue from summer to fall. And “The Help” is still chugging along, nailing down the #2 spot and cruising toward $150 million.

(Courtesy: Exhibitor Relations)

→ 28 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Box Office

28 responses so far

  • 1 9-11-2011 at 9:24 am

    Keith said...

    Color me as surprised on The Warrior. I had pegged the film to catch on at the box office, maybe not as the number 1 movie of the weekend but certainly doing more business than this.

  • 2 9-11-2011 at 10:01 am

    Michael said...

    I’m not surprised by the Warrior’s b.o. intake – that movie just does not have the starpower to attract audiences (unlike The Fighter for example.) I think we can erase that movie from any future predictions for awards at this point.

    I saw Contagion twice this weekend and loved it both times! Pure entertainment that allowed movie stars to be movie stars and didn’t bore audiences with nonstop CGI action sequences. As many have said now, perfect segue from summer to fall. I’m glad it was a hit with audiences, and I hope Hollywood makes more movies like it in the future.

  • 3 9-11-2011 at 10:23 am

    Linus said...

    Box Office Mojo estimates are usually more accurate and they have Contagion at 23.1M, which is pretty close to what The Town opened to last year. Hopefully it has similar legs.

  • 4 9-11-2011 at 10:30 am

    red_wine said...

    The only way Warrior can keep up steam is if it pulls a Midnight in Paris and keeps adding 3-4 million every week for about 2-3 months.

    But yeah a huge fail for the movie.

  • 5 9-11-2011 at 11:14 am

    Ben M. said...

    The pre-weekend estimates I read were for Warrior to come in at $8 million, so it didn’t hugely unperformed compared to those, but the opening still has to be a disappointment. And actually according to deadline hollywood this will probably come under the Hurricane Irene weekend to be the least attended one of the year, so the slump is still very much alive.

    But it was nice to see a film at least open above $20 million again. The question is now if Contagion can repeat next weekend; I suspect I Don’t Know How She Does It will be the biggest competition since I can see it finding enough of an audience among adult women and Sex and the City fans to land in the teens, whereas I don’t feel Drive, Straw Dogs, and The Lion King re-release are locks to even make $10 million (though I plan on seeing Straw Dogs and Drive next week and getting the blu-ray of Lion King when it comes out in October).

  • 6 9-11-2011 at 11:15 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    Regardless of good reviews and a fairly substantial marketing campaign (I couldn’t miss it on TV), “Warrior” is still an MMA movie, it’s a very niche fringe-sport.

  • 7 9-11-2011 at 11:28 am

    tony rock said...

    1. MMA is growing rapidly in popularity. I wouldn’t call it “mainstream” yet but it’s certainly not “niche-fringe.”

    2. In addition, previous MMA movies that were shit (Never Back Down, Fighting) made more than this.

    The reason is fighting movie fatigue. The Fighter is still very much in people’s minds.

  • 8 9-11-2011 at 11:52 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    In the U.S., every sport except Football ,Basketball and Baseball is technically a fringe professional sport in my eyes (and my favorite sport to watch by far is what we call Soccer).

    That being said, you are right, there’s really no logical explanation as to why films like “Never Back Down” and “Fighting” pulled in bigger numbers opening weekend.

  • 9 9-11-2011 at 12:00 pm

    Michael said...

    ^I think both of those movies were released in the spring weren’t they? That is before the rut of nonstop action films being released throughout the summer, which is probably another reason Warrior didn’t factor as highly. It didn’t have any CGI and wasn’t going to be as good as The Fighter, so no one was really that interested in seeing a middlebrow film with no major stars after all of the comic book movies from the summer are just now wearing off. Maybe if this had come out in February or March it would have made more money?

  • 10 9-11-2011 at 12:42 pm

    JJ1 said...

    To me, ‘Warrior’ stumbled for several reasons:

    -though it’s growing, MMA is not widely known of.
    -Tom Hardy, as great as he usually is, is not a household name. He just isn’t.
    -Joel Edgerton. We (cinema freaks) know him. Probably no one else does.
    -Too soon after ‘The Fighter’?
    -Bad decision to have it in early September.
    -NFL/9-11 Sunday.

    It all just seemed to be a recipe for disaster for this film, unfortunately. In another month, maybe it could have opened closer to $10 mill. but who knows.

    I would think that the most it can get domestically now is $20-25ish million at this rate. And that’s if word of mouth is really good.

    I saw ‘Contagion’. Thought it was very effective. Not anything I’ll likely pop into the dvd machine months from now. But well executed, acted, etc.. It certainly makes you think. I think it’ll have decent legs.

  • 11 9-11-2011 at 12:45 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    @Ben M.
    I saw Drive last night and if they would just market the movie as the piece of pure badassery that it is, it would make big bank next weekend.

  • 12 9-11-2011 at 12:45 pm

    SC said...

    “Bucky Larson”‘s failure gladdens my heart.

  • 13 9-11-2011 at 12:50 pm

    JJ1 said...

    LOL ^

    Um, yes.

  • 14 9-11-2011 at 1:14 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    I feel really sorry for Warrior, though perhaps unreasonably hopeful that it could turn things around, like Secretariat did last year after a strong opening. My audience was so into it, and I was right there with them. Feels to me like a lot of moviegoers who frequent the malls would really love it if they gave it a chance. I saw this and Contagion on opening day, and Warrior‘s definitely the one I spent the weekend urging people to see.

  • 15 9-11-2011 at 1:46 pm

    j said...

    The reviews aren’t really especially noteworthy either. Not bad though.

  • 16 9-11-2011 at 2:24 pm

    John-Paul said...

    Warrior won’t experience much of a drop next weekend, I don’t think. Not that it even matters much with such an ineffective opening weekend, but for what it’s worth, I think the few people who did see it will recommend it to others.

    I honestly don’t think it’s an Oscar contender anyway. MAYBE if it had become a sleeper hit at the box office, it could have launched Nolte into the Supporting Actor race depending on how strong the competition ends up being in that category, but I never thought it had much of a shot for anything else. I do, however, think that the strong reviews for Hardy’s performance in this film will help him later on when he’s in contention for Supporting Actor for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Oscar voters love it when an actor has a good year, and they tend to nominate them for whichever film they like more overall, even if it’s not necessarily the one that contained their best performance. See Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2007 or Catherine Keener in 2005 for examples of this.

  • 17 9-11-2011 at 2:40 pm

    shark said...

    I was wondering why people were talking up a frickin’ MMA movie as some kind of Oscar contender. I guess it’s just one of those things where something out of the blue gets great reviews, and people assume that means something.

  • 18 9-11-2011 at 2:45 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Good point, John-Paul. At this early stage, TTSS looks to do better than Warrior ($$ and with voters). And if Hardy is already getting Supporting notices in TTSS, than the quality of his work in Warrior should help that Supporting cause. But what do I know?

  • 19 9-11-2011 at 2:49 pm

    ninja said...

    “To me, ‘Warrior’ stumbled for several reasons:

    -though it’s growing, MMA is not widely known of.
    -Tom Hardy, as great as he usually is, is not a household name. He just isn’t.
    -Joel Edgerton. We (cinema freaks) know him. Probably no one else does.
    -Too soon after ‘The Fighter’?
    -Bad decision to have it in early September.
    -NFL/9-11 Sunday.”

    Bingo. Release date was a complete screw-over while two main actors are either widely unknown or have no commercial pull yet. Plus, Fighter had rail-thin drug addict Bale as an extra pull and some romance for the ladies (tough cookie Amy Adams goes postal on Marky`s family from hell). OTOH, Warrior previous seemed to target only one demographics which stayed at home for NFL.

  • 20 9-11-2011 at 2:55 pm

    John-Paul said...

    By the way, if Tom Hardy does end up being nominated for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and we also assume that Gary Oldman gets in as well, then Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to look like an afterthought when the ads for The Dark Knight Rises say:

    Oscar winner Christian Bale
    Oscar winner Morgan Freeman
    Oscar winner Michael Caine
    Oscar winner Marion Cotillard
    Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway
    Oscar nominee (or winner?) Gary Oldman
    Oscar nominee Tom Hardy

    Oh, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

  • 21 9-11-2011 at 3:02 pm

    Andrej said...

    John-Paul: Unless he and 50/50 get campaigned enough to score him a nod. For TDKR’s sake, let’s hope so!

  • 22 9-11-2011 at 4:56 pm

    James D. said...

    Good for Contagion. It is lesser Soderbergh, but still one of the best films of the year.

  • 23 9-11-2011 at 5:03 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    shark: It’s more than just a few positive reviews. The film was very well-liked by industry types here. The loving audience was even skewing older, which surprised me. These are just facts. But the low box office won’t be much to work with, so now and only now does it begin to look like a stretch for Oscars.

  • 24 9-11-2011 at 5:39 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Failure on Lionsgate for not utilizing a more effective marketing campaign. Contrary to what some on this thread may believe- Hardy and Edgerton are rising stars and the studio should have marketed the film more towards their names and the family dynamic rather than the MMA stuff. Yeah, I get it’s an MMA film too but it’s all about what works to get people in the seats. Take note of the ‘The Help’ and it’s successful marketing strategy- selling the film as an “Emma Stone movie” aka “It girl of the moment” was well thought out and ultimately successful. People react to that kind of stuff. The kind of bullshit marketing ‘Warrior’ received irks me to no end.

  • 25 9-11-2011 at 6:24 pm

    Mark said...

    I don’t think anyone has brought this up yet, but Warrior is only playing four times a day at my local theaters because of its length. It makes it tough for people to show up and buy tickets when they don’t have many options of when they can go. I tried to go with a friend but I was not going to make it to the 7pm, and the next showing was 10:20pm which would mean you get out at around 1:00am and he had to work at 6:00am the next day. I’m positive this happened to quite a few people if it is the same amount of small showings around the country.

  • 26 9-11-2011 at 6:38 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    And it opened it a 1,000 or some less screens than Contagion.

  • 27 9-12-2011 at 2:25 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    And it opened it a 1,000 or some less screens than Contagion.

    Look at the per-screen averages, though — Warrior’s number is less than half that of Contagion. It’s pretty crushing, however you look at it.

  • 28 9-12-2011 at 5:14 am

    JJ1 said...

    Dana, while I agree that Hardy/Edgerton (to a far lesser extent) are rising stars, I firmly believe that their names alone have/had absolutely no bearing on getting people in theater seats. And their named ‘were’ fairly prominent in the marketing and trailers (huge font).

    Maybe the marketing should have been more amined at the family dynamics, true. But I really don’t think the average moviegoer knows the name Tom Hardy. How many Americans have seen Bronson? Layer Cake? How many even realize he was the identity forger from Inception and/or thought, “Oh, yeahhhh. I thought that looked like him. I wanna check him out in this MMA movie”?

    That’s just my opinion.