Weekend B.O. was good, bad and ugly
The previous weekend’s domestic B.O. race was a mixed bag of good and — let’s be real — abysmal performances from wide releases.Starting with the good, Warner Bros.’ “Contagion” scored $22.4 million, which was in line with last year’s hearty post-Labor Day pics “The Town” ($23.8 million) and “The Social Network” ($22.4 million). Even Lionsgate’s “Warrior,” with a $5.2 million opening, has potential to grow, given the film’s positive critical and audience reactions. Now to the bad. A pair of wide releases — one studio pic, one independent — flatlined during opening weekend: Sony’s “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” was one of the lowest-grossing debuts in recent memory for a studio wide release, with just $1.4 million, while indie distrib Bubble Factory took an unusually aggressive wide-release approach with its monster movie “Creature,” which went out on 1,507 locations for a paltry $327,000 — the worst wide release ever. It’s not uncommon for review-challenged films to hit theaters during late August or early fall; that period has a reputation for being a dumping ground as students go back to school. But adult-skewing counterprogrammers (i.e. “Contagion”) also can find success during the time frame, and those looking for early awards buzz can beat the rush of fourth-quarter product. “We planted the seed this weekend,” says Lionsgate distribution topper David Spitz, “and we just hope that audiences continue to respond.”
Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!