Monday, September 23, 2013

'Prisoners' Wins Box-Office 'Battle' Against Chris Brown

Chris Brown's "Battle of the Year" was no match for the combined power of Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, critical praise and post-Toronto International Film Festival buzz. "Prisoners" became the #1 movie in America over the weekend with a $21.4 million box-office debut, more than four times the $5 million generated by Brown's 3-D dance flick.

The well-reviewed kidnapping action thriller gave Jackman his second #1 in as many months, following the debut of "The Wolverine," which went on to make over $370 million worldwide. Gyllenhaal impressed critics last year with the cop drama "End of Watch" and the sci-fi mystery "Source Code." His "Prisoners" performance offered further evidence of the 32-year-old actor's comfort in meatier roles, à la "Brokeback Mountain," in contrast with failed franchise starter "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," which made just $90 million domestically on a $200 million budget.

"Battle of the Year" was made for a conservative $20 million, yet its paltry $5 million opening barely cracked the top five. Despite the inclusion of Brown (who, as BoxOfficeMojo pointed out, has 13 million Twitter followers), "Battle" had one of the worst openings for a widely distributed movie this year. Even 2004's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" made more. In "Battle," Brown stars alongside Josh Holloway, best known as Sawyer from TV's "Lost." Of the 32 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, only two are positive; even those writers call "Battle of the Year" "dorky" and "corny."

The poor performance of "Battle" left the runner-up spot wide open for last weekend's champion, "Insidious: Chapter 2." The horror sequel has already bested the entire run of its predecessor, having generated $60.9 million thus far.

"The Family" was #3 with $7 million. Thus far, the Mob-oriented action comedy has given writer/director/producer Luc Besson his third-biggest film, behind "The Fifth Element" (1997) and "The Professional" (1994).

Speaking of comedies, "Instructions Not Included" grabbed another $5.7 million, despite playing on less than half as many theaters as "Battle of the Year." It is now among the top five biggest foreign language films ever.

"The Wizard of Oz" rerelease was in just 318 IMAX locations, but the $3.02 million box-office gross was more than similar 3-D/IMAX rereleases of popcorn classics "Top Gun" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The strong numbers for the legendary 1939 film no doubt owe something to its family-friendly nature and the nearly half-billion worldwide gross of this year's prequel, "Oz the Great and Powerful," which opened with over $80 million back in February.

Chris Hemsworth's '70s racing flick "Rush" made $200,000 from just five locations in New York and Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed flick will be in 2,220 theaters this weekend, while Hemsworth's fellow Avenger Mark Ruffalo saw his "Thanks for Sharing" collect $608,000 in 269 locations, making a wide expansion for the ensemble sex-addiction comedy unlikely.

This weekend's limited-release debuts include "Oz" star James Franco's adaptation of William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying"; Metallica's blend of narrative storytelling and 3-D concert film, "Through the Never"; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt alongside yet another Avenger, Scarlett Johansson, in the very-much R-rated "Don Jon." The major wide competition for "Rush" will come in the form of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2." The 2009 original earned $243 million worldwide.



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