×

‘Master’ shatters per screen record; ‘Evil’ wins weekend with $21 mil

B.O. jumps 27% over last weekend, still lags behind same frame last year

A virtuoso performance by Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” which set the per-screen average record with $145,949 from five locations, was the weekend’s biggest box office success story. Meanwhile, wide opener “Resident Evil: Retribution” from Sony-Screen Gems topped the the charts with $21.1 million, helping B.O. scare up a 27% gain over last weekend’s low point.

Yet three-day totals fell 18% behind last year, the second weekend in a row with a drop, even in view of September’s typically sluggish results.

Disney-Pixar’s 3D re-release “Finding Nemo” landed at second place, but struggled to make major waves, collecting an estimated $17.5 million domestically.

Toon reissue fell short of the $30.2 million opening earned this time last year by the Mouse’s “The Lion King” in 3D, though Disney spent just less than $5 million to convert “Nemo” to 3D — half the cost of “Lion King” 3D.

But there were signs of a bountiful harvest in coming weeks, as none of the frame’s top 10-grossing films fell more than 40% — an impressive feat considering some pics (“The Bourne Legacy” and “The Campaign”) have been in theaters for as many as six weeks.

“The Master” surpassed the previous per-screen record set earlier this year by Focus Features’ “Moonrise Kingdom,” with $130,749 at four locations. The Weinstein Co. pic, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, bowed at four 70mm-capable theaters in New York and L.A. — the fifth is a 35mm screen at the Angelika in N.Y.

The retro-format presentation boosted appeal among cinephiles, helping sell out showtimes Friday and Saturday (especially at the Arc-light’s Cinerama Dome).

“The clear leader of the five was the Arclight Hollywood,” said Weinstein distribution topper Erik Lomis. That theater is projected to have contributed more than $300,000 for “The Master” this weekend, putting it in the top five biggest Friday-to-Sunday grosses ever at the Arclight.

“The film played a little younger there than I think we expected it might,” Lomis added.

Also boosting the weekend’s specialty biz, Roadside Attractions’ Richard Gere thriller “Arbitrage” scored the biggest three-day opening for a theatrical/VOD simultaneous release, with $2.1 million from 197 playdates, as well as the weekend’s No. 2 spot on iTunes movies.

Sony’s “Resident Evil” franchise continued to display considerable worldwide stamina as its fifth installment grossed approximately $50 million from 65 international territories. “Retribution,” budgeted at $65 million, outdid its 2010 predecessor by 28% from roughly the same debut markets overseas.

“It’s always a world play with ‘Resident Evil, ‘ ” said Sony worldwide distrib exec Rory Bruer. “Not only did we do well domestically, but we really hit it out of the park in Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

Losing some of its Stateside steam (from a wider footprint even), Paramount’s “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” re-release estimated $400,000 from 322 locations, up 55 from last weekend, when it grossed $1.7 million during a one-week exclusive Imax run. (The large-screen exhib was committed to screening “Resident Evil” this weekend.)

The “Raiders” reissue has cumed $2.8 million, lifting the pic’s lifetime domestic cume to nearly $248 million.

Shallow ‘Nemo’ nostalgia?

Given the weekend’s strong holdover perfs, it’s unlikely that “Nemo” underperformed wholly because of a recent moviegoing malaise. The toon conversion, which skewed overwhelmingly toward families (71%), may not have had as faithful a fanbase as “Lion King,” and is fresher in auds’ minds.

Still, “Nemo” nearly matched the $17.8 million-opening of 3D “Beauty and the Beast” in January.

“It’s a great way for studios and exhibition to find a nice bit of change during what usually is a slow time at the box office,” said Disney distribution topper Dave Hollis, who added that “Nemo” had a strong 40% Friday-to-Saturday uptick, better than “The Lion King” (34%) and “Beauty and the Beast” (20%).

More Film

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” out of their upcoming annual showings of the contenders for [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • Paul DavidsonVariety Big Data Summit Presented

    Listen: The Orchard's Paul Davidson on Surviving Sundance Bidding Wars

    Hollywood heads to Park City, Utah this week in the hopes of finding the next big Sundance Film Festival breakout. Paul Davidson, executive vice president of film and television at The Orchard, plans to be in the thick of it. In today’s edition of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Davidson opens up about The Orchard’s strategy [...]

  • Young Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie:

    James Gandolfini's Son Michael Gandolfini Cast as Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie

    Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, will play the young Tony Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the  prequel movie to the television series “The Sopranos.” “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said. “I’m thrilled that I am [...]

  • Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born

    The Message of the Oscar Nominations: You'd Better Have a Social Message

    Each year at the Left Coast crack of dawn, when the Oscar nominations are announced, there’s generally at least one major nomination many pundits were predicting that fails to materialize. When that happens, entertainment media tends to rise up as one and say the s-word: snub. In truth, it’s not usually a snub; it’s just [...]

  • Elton John and Mark Ronson

    Elton John to 'Shallow' Songwriter Mark Ronson: 'You're Going to Win the Oscar'

    Elton John is willing to bet that Mark Ronson will win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.” The nominations were announced this morning. The legendary performer spoke to Ronson on the latest episode of his radio show “Elton John’s Rocket Hour” on Apple Music’s Beats 1.  “You’re having a [...]

  • Olivia Colman Colin Firth Helen Mirren

    Playing a British Monarch Is a Step on the Road to Oscar Glory - Again

    “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” Shakespeare wrote of Britain’s care-burdened monarchs. Try telling that to the Academy. Once again, playing British royalty has proved to be a tried-and-true route to Oscar glory, with Olivia Colman as the latest actor to be nominated for an Academy Award for portraying an occupant of the British [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content