BOX OFFICE

Gravity rode a wave of critical acclaim to an exceptionally strong opening weekend, earning an estimated $55.55 million from 3,575 locations across the nation.

Between new wide releases Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Don Jon, Baggage Claim, and Rush, the last weekend of September was a big stew, offering a little something for every palette.

Of those four movies, the animated sequel emerged atop the box office heap, with fellow new releases and holdover Prisoners rounding out the top five.  Overall, it was a reasonably strong weekend at the box office, marking an uptick from the same frame last year.

A grown-up drama in which no adamantium claws burst forth from Hugh Jackman's knuckles took first place at the domestic box office this weekend.

In first place, Prisoners grossed an estimated $21.4 million from 3,260 theaters.  Elsewhere, dance-off movie Battle of the Year failed to make a big impression and The Wizard of Oz drew crowds in IMAX 3D, while in limited release, Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said debuted strong and Ron Howard's latest tapped the gas.

A week ago, we were reminded that September is a quiet time at the multiplex, nestled as it is between the dog days of summer and the slow burn of the interminable awards season.

This weekend, though, two new releases goosed the box office.  Both Insidious Chapter 2 and The Family exceeded expectations in wide release.

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! 

Sounds like the perfect day of the week for a rundown of the domestic box office on this, the first full weekend of September 2013.

Labor Day Weekend – the unofficial close of the summer movie season – is usually pretty quiet, probably because the American people are too busy contemplating the Haymarket Massacre and the simple might of the working man.

This year, though, was busier than anyone expected, with One Direction: This is Us usurping Lee Daniels' The Butler as the number one movie in the nation of the holiday weekend.  Family comedy Instructions Not Included, meanwhile, astonished in a very small number of theaters.  Getaway, on the other hand, was not so lucky.

With Labor Day just around the corner, this summer is coming to a close.

And it's doing so with two unexpected successes leading the weekend box office.  Lee Daniels' The Butler and We're the Millers repeated in first and second place, while new releases The World's End, You're Next, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones didn't manage to crack open the multiplex.

Oprah Winfrey can turn an obscure novel into a bestseller just by slapping a sticker on it.  So it makes sense that her first film appearance in some fifteen years helped propel Lee Daniels' The Butler to the number one spot at the domestic box office.

Kick-Ass 2, which many prognosticators expected would emerge atop the box office heap this weekend, debuted in fourth place.

Elysium, this summer's last bit of original event movie sci-fi, took the top spot at the domestic box office, with the comedy We're the Millers surprising in second place, followed by more family-friendly new releases Planes and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

America, it's been pointed out many times, loves its guns.  America also tends to love Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

So we can do some basic arithmetic here and determine that a movie titled 2 Guns starring Washington and Wahlberg opened in first place at the domestic box office this weekend.

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