Sunday, September 16, 2012

'Master' shatters per screen record; 'Evil' wins weekend with $21 mil - Chicago Tribune

Thanks to a diverse crowd of wide and specialty newcomers, which included a record-high per-screen average set by the Weinstein Co.'s "The Master," domestic three-day box office increased 27% over last weekend's depressed frame. But weekend totals still trailed this time last year by approximately 18%, according to one studio's estimates. While the overall B.O. came in at a soft approximately $79 million (not unusual for this time of year), none of the top 10 pics this weekend fell more than 40% - an impressive feat considering some pics are in their sixth Stateside outing. Landing a surprise win, Sony-Screen Gems' "Resident Evil: Retribution" grossed a projected $21.1 million through Sunday, while Disney-Pixar's 3D re-release of "Finding Nemo" struggled to make major waves, collecting an estimated $17.5 million. Toon reissue fell short of the $30 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" 3D - half the cost of "Lion King" 3D. Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" averaged a staggering $145,949 from five locations, surpassing the previous per-screen record set earlier this year by Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom," with $130,749 at four. The Weinstein 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-large format presentation boosted appeal among cinephiles, helping sell out showtimes Friday and Saturday (especially at the Arclight's Cinerama Dome). "The clear leader of the five was the Arclight Hollywood," said Weinstein distribution topper Erik Lomis. That theater is projected to contribute more than $300,000 for "The Master" this weekend, putting it in the top five biggest weekend 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 50 territories. "Retribution" outdid its 2010 predecessor by 28% from roughly the same debut international territories. "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.

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