Moviegoers refused to be idle on Friday, shelling out $11.6 million for Twentieth Century Fox’s sci-fi redux “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in addition to a plethora of award season releases.
Playing in 3,560 theaters and based on the 1951 Robert Wise film, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” marks the third highest opening day for headliner Keanu Reeves after 2003’s “The Matrix Reloaded” ($42.5 million) and “The Matrix Revolutions” ($24.3 million). The pic, directed by Scott Derrickson, had a substantial edge over number two placeholder, Warner Bros. “Four Christmases” yesterday and looks to keep its lock on the No. 1 spot through Sunday. In its third Friday, “Christmases” rang up $4.2 million from 3,540, down 27%, for a current running cume of $78.9 million.
Boffo theater averages also abounded yesterday as a number of Golden Globe nominees and specialty pics vying for award contention unspooled in limited markets. Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” from Warner Bros. saw the day’s highest theater average with $12,427 or $75,000 from six playdates in New York and Los Angeles. “Torino” marks Eastwood’s first appearance onscreen since his 2004 Oscar winning best picture “Million Dollar Baby.” “Torino’s” playdate average bests the $9,736 racked up by the previous film he directed, “Changeling” as well as $6,179 charted on “Baby’s” first Friday.
Miramax’s “Doubt,” which drew five Golden Globe nods on Thursday for best actress (Meryl Streep), actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), supporting actress (Viola Davis and Amy Adams) and screenplay (John Patrick Shanley); made $141,000 from 15 locales yesterday for a stellar $9,377 per site average. The film is based on Shanley’s 2005 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play.
Another Globes contender, Weinstein Co.’s “The Reader” generated $47,000 from eight sites Friday or $5,877. Pic was nominated for four Globes including best drama, supporting actress (Kate Winslet), director (Stephen Daldry) and screenplay (David Hare). “Reader” bowed in one theater Wednesday and has since earned $59,000.
Other pics slotting at the top of the box office chart yesterday included November holdover “Twilight” which ranked third with $2.6 million on 3,649, repping a 44% decline and a total B.O. of $144.7 million. Playing at 3,133, Disney’s “Bolt” took fourth with $1.8 million, down 28%, and a running cume of $83.1 million. Fox’s “Australia” rounded out fifth with $1.25 million off 2,703, down 44%, for a current running cume of $34.8 million.
Overture’s urban laffer “Nothing Like the Holidays” starring Debra Messing and John Leguizamo bowed in sixth place with $1.2 million off 1,671. The day’s third wide release, the animated fantasy film “Delgo” from Freestyle releasing, didn’t fare that well, earning an estimated $119,000 from 2,160 theaters for a per theater of $55.
Other award season contenders yielding substantial box office spikes included Universal’s “Frost/Nixon” which jumped its theater count from three to 39, generating $166,000 or $4,250 per theater. Pic’s second Friday marks a two fold-plus surge and its cume currently stands at $413,500.
Focus Features’ “Milk” chalked up $715,000, a 42% uptick after expanding from 99 to 328 venues. Pic’s domestic B.O. is at $5.7 million. Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” grabbed $560,000 at 169 theaters, a 48% uptick, and a current B.O. in its fifth Friday of $6.4 million.