Box Office: Slow Weekend Despite Scorsese’s Smash

2/22/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Tim Strain

“Shutter Island,” Maestro Scorsese’s newest genre fare, won out handily at the box office as the rest of the competition proved sluggish. The Leo DiCaprio-headlined thriller opened with $40 million in 2,991 theaters, far and away the best of Scorsese’s career, eclipsing “The Departed’s” $26 million opening in October of 2006.

“Shutter Island” has had its release date pushed back twice, from Fall ’08 to Fall ’09 to this weekend, and many analysts believe this was due to Paramount thinking that this was not awards bait material. They were right--the pic is one of the most critically divisive of Scorsese’s career and, at best, has been called greatly entertaining genre work but not much more. It benefitted from opening in February, a typically strong month for horror films. With the film’s cast (Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Max Von Sydow, Ted Levine, and a slew of others co-star) and director, as well as the best reviews (even if the aren’t great for eyebrows) of the year, this will continue to be strong at the box office, and has a shot at topping “The Departed’s” $132 million total and become Scorsese’s biggest ever.

The competition took a significant hit. Last weekend’s trio of openers all dropped hard. “Valentine’s Day” proved to be a movie nobody really wants to see at any time other than Valentine’s Day--it dropped a staggering 70 percent to $17 million. “The Wolfman” had a decent opening that Universal hoped wouldn’t be a fluke, but it proved to be just that. It also dropped about 70 percent, grossing less than $10 million and falling from number two to number five in the standings. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief,” winner of Clunkiest Title of the Year, dropped 51 percent for $15 million. This isn’t enough for a costly ($95 million) family film at a time in the filmic schedule where it has almost no other competition. “Dear John,” “From Paris With Love,” “Edge of Darkness” and “When in Rome” all dropped more than 50 percent as well.

“Avatar” continues to hang around. Somehow, there are people who want to see it but still haven’t. It rose from fourth to third place, dropping 32 percent (its biggest drop yet) and amassing another $16 million. It now stands at $687 million within the country and is closing in on $2.5 billion worldwide.


Roman Polanski’s newest, “The Ghost Writer,” opened to solid reviews and the biggest per-theater-average of any film all year. The Ewan McGregor/Pierce Brosnan vehicle made $179,000 in four theaters, good for $44,750 each. Time will tell if the $45 million thriller makes back its budget. Summit Entertainment has not announced how it plans to expand the film’s release.

“Crazy Heart” continues its slow theatrical rollout, adding another 84 theaters and dropping only 29 percent, grabbing $3 million. The film is another hit for Fox Searchlight, who continues to prove it is among the best in the business at marketing small-scale awards bait material. Best Picture contenders “Up in the Air,” “The Blind Side,” “An Education” and “Precious” all suffered only minor drops.

All figures courtesy Box Office Mojo.

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