BOX OFFICE REPORT November 1-3, 2013(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)
TOP 51. Ender's Game ($28.0 million)2. Bad Grandpa ($20.5 million)3. Last Vegas ($16.5 million)4. Free Birds ($16.2 million)5. Gravity ($13.1 million)
Just like the leader character in Ender's Game, the film earned a Pyrrhic victory. While $28 million was good enough for first place, that's still not enough to establish a franchise or even be considered a blockbuster. The film, while actually pretty good, likely suffered from one of the problems that afflicted John Carter last year. Its source material is so old that what was once groundbreaking on the page has been ripped off so much that the film feels like too much been-there-done-that. It certainly didn't help that original author Orson Scott Card made some controversial political comments in recent years. Ultimately, it wasn't boycotts that did the film in but disinterest from the general public.
Bad Grandpa held up surprisingly well against new competition. It only dropped 36 percent, remarkable for a film with such a limited shelf life. It beat out the "geriatric Hangover" of Last Vegas, which is supposed to be funny because, ha ha, look at old guys get drunk, dance and leer at young women, but let's remember this is PG-13 so we can't get too out of control.
And parents must have been saving their dollars for Disney's Frozen, which comes out around Thanksgiving. Clearly the kids weren't clamoring too hard to see some turkeys avoid becoming dinner. Free Birds only managed $16.2 million this weekend, which isn't very good for a kids' movie. That's lower than even Epic, Planes and Turbo among non-sequels this year, so don't look for a follow-up any time soon.
Outside the top 5: - This Weekend's Indie Champ: Dallas Buyers Club, based on the true story of Ron Woodruff, a Texas man with AIDS who started a program to get medication to those dying of the terrible disease. It earned $29,333 on each of its nine screens thanks to great reviews and a lot of praise for Matthew McConaughey, who seems a lock for an Oscar nomination.
- About Time, the second movie where Rachel McAdams has a time-traveling boyfriend, earned a decent $1.1 million in limited release. It expands next week alongside 12 Years a Slave, which isn't nearly as happy-go-lucky but has done much better.
- The rejection of the Princess of Wales continues in the United States, but only at the box office. Diana, the biopic starring Naomi Watts, was soundly ridiculed in the UK and it flopped here as well. It made a mere $64,900 on 38 screens this weekend.
Next week: A Marvel movie is opening so everyone's getting out of the way. Thor: The Dark World should dominate everything else with $60 million at least. That's not super-impressive anymore, but it should hold on to No. 1 until The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22.