Reviews? What reviews? "Couples Retreat" didn't need them as it had a very strong $35.3 million opening to win the weekend. Critics didn't embrace the Vince Vaughn ensemble comedy, but moviegoers thought otherwise giving Universal Pictures their biggest opening since "Fast and Furious" found $70 million in April. The film only polled a Cinemascore of "B" with audiences, but as the only comedy on the release schedule until "Men Who Stare At Goats" on Nov. 6 it should have some staying power.
Jumping into the top five with a stunning $44,000 plus average on only 159 screens was Paramount Pictures' word of mouth hit "Paranormal Activity." The hype machine has made the horror flick a must-see for the under 25 set and the film's $7 million gross is one of the biggest ever for an expansion under 200 screens and placed it in the fourth slot. Paramount announced on Friday it will expand the picture nationwide on Oct. 16 which would mean a minimum of 500 screens. How big "Activity" can go is unclear, but it appears "Where the Wild Things Are," which is tracking very strongly, will have some major competition for the top spot next weekend.
Among this week's holdovers, last weekend's champ "Zombieland" dropped to second place with $15 million and $47 million 10 days out. The comedy horror flick seemed like a likely $100 million grosser, but is now looking at $80-90 million total at best so don't scratch in that sequel yet.
In third place, according to Box Office Mojo, "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" continued it's strong run with another $12 million and $96 million to date. "Cloudy" should pass the $100 million mark this week which is a significant achievement for Sony Animation. It will also become the fourth animated movie to pass that threshold this year alongside "Up," "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs."
Ironically, fourth place went to the re-release of the films that ushered in the era of CG animation, "Toy Story/Toy Story 2 in 3D." In theaters for only two weeks, the double feature found another $7.6 million for a $22.6 million cume.
Among limited releases, Sony Pictures Classics debuted what turned out to be two of the best reviewed films of the year in "An Education" and "The Damned United." A gutsy move that may have cannibalized the other's success. In four theaters, "An Education" found $162,000 for a darling $40,500 average. On the other hand, "Damned United" kicked in only $36,800 in six for a $6,133 per screen. The soccer themed"United" was always going to be a tough sell in the states, but SPC must have been hoping for better with the glowing reviews it received.
Her are the top ten releases this weekend according to Box Office Mojo. Final results are announced on Monday.
1. "Couples Retreat," $35.3 million
2. "Zombieland," $15 million, $47 million to date.
3. "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs," $12 million, $96 million to date.
4. "Toy Story/Toy Story 2" 3-D, $7.6 million, $22.6 million to date.
5. "Paranormal Activity,"$7 million, $8.2 million to date.
6. "Surrogates," $4.1 million, $32 million to date.
7. "The Invention of Lying," $3.3 million, $12.3 million to date.
8. "Whip It," $2.8 million, $8.7 million to date.
9. "Capitalism: A Love Story," $2.7 million, $9 million to date.
10. "Fame," $2.5 million, $20 million to date.