B.O. Roundup, November 1-3: 'Ender's Game' Launches at Number One

Sunday, 03 November 2013 11:54 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, November 1-3: 'Ender's Game' Launches at Number One

Authorial controversy and the fact that it's directed by the guy behind that abominable Wolverine origin movie didn't stop Ender's Game from taking the biggest slice of the box office pie this weekend.

The other two new wide releases, Last Vegas and Free Birds, also enjoyed solid debuts at the domestic box office, while the latest from Marvel Studios collected a whole lot of coin in foreign territories.

Ender's Game, the long-awaited adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card finally arrived in 3,407 locations, collecting $28.0 million according to an estimate from Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment.  That showing surpassed pre-weekend projections by about $5 million.  The film, which follows a brilliant youngster destined to lead humanity's forces in a rematch against a hostile alien race, had a production budget of over $100 million under writer-director Gavin Hood, who to be fair also helmed Tsotsi.

Though the source material has a strong base of young fans, audiences turning up to Ender's Game were 54% over the age of 25.  Since Summit was hoping to kick off a Young Adult-friendly franchise here, that's pretty surprising.

Last weekend's top movie, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, surprised many analysts by holding strong against the other new releases, dipping down only to second place and losing just 36% of its initial audience.  In third place we find Last Vegas, the amiable comedy teaming Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, and Kevin Kline.  The ensemble earned an estimated $16.5 million from 3,065 locations.

That Last Vegas estimate is close enough to the $16.2 of Free Birds that we may very well see the two films swap ranks when the actual totals arrive on Monday.  The comedy adventure from Relativity Media and Reel FX Animation Studios follows Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as a pair of turkeys who travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving in order to ensure that turkey is taken off the holiday menu permanently.

With Thanksgiving coming up later this month, Free Birds is expected to hold strong over the weeks to come.  That hope is very much buoyed by the lack of competition from any other major animated films and the fact that audiences loved Free Birds, granting it an "A-" overall with exit polls by CinemaScore.

Free Birds doesn't have much to worry about, but Ender's Game is likely to take a major hit next week with the release of Thor: The Dark World, the latest from Marvel Studios.  The sequel to 2011's Thor began rolling out in international markets and topped out at $109.4 million, which bodes well for its Stateside debut in just a few days.

But let's get back to this weekend by taking a look at the top ten movies in America:

1. Ender's Game                                                          $28.0 million               New Release

2. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa                           $20.5 million              $62.0 million

3. Last Vegas                                                               $16.5 million              New Release

4. Free Birds                                                                $16.2 million              New Release

5. Gravity                                                                     $13.1 million              $219.1 million

6. Captain Phillips                                                      $8.5 million               $82.5 million

7. 12 Years a Slave                                                     $4.6 million               $8.7 million

8. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2                   $4.2 million               $106.1 million

9. Carrie                                                                       $3.4 million               $31.9 million

10. The Counselor                                                      $3.2 million               $13.3 million

Thor: The Dark World brings the thunder to theaters on the coming Friday.  How do you think Thor's second solo adventure will compare to previous Marvel Studios efforts?

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