September 25, 2012
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood is in photo-finish mode with three new movies bunched up tightly for the No. 1 spot during a sleepy weekend at the box office.
Studio estimates Sunday put two movies in a tie for first-place with $13 million each: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena's police story "End of Watch" and Jennifer Lawrence's horror flick "House at the End of the Street."
And right in the same ballpark was Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams' baseball tale "Trouble with the Curve," which opened with $12.7 million.
It was another slow weekend for Hollywood, whose business has been sluggish throughout late summer. Revenues were down for the fourth-straight weekend, with all three of the top new movies opening to modest crowds.
"This was a clash of the non-titans," said Paul Dergarabedian, analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "When three films are duking it out for the top spot with only around $13 million, that doesn't represent a very strong period at the box office."
Overall domestic revenues totaled $88 million, down 25 percent from the same weekend last year, when a 3-D re-release of "The Lion King" led with $21.9 million, according to Hollywood.com.
The weekend's other new wide release, Lionsgate's sci-fi action tale "Dredd," opened well down in the rankings at No. 6 with $6.3 million. The movie features "Star Trek" co-star Karl Urban as a law enforcer and executioner in a crime-laden city of the future.
Open Road Films' "End of Watch" stars Gyllenhaal and Pena as partners patrolling the mean streets of Los Angeles. Relativity Media's "House at the End of the Street" casts "The Hunger Games" star Lawrence as a youth who moves with her mom next door to a house where bloody misdeeds took place years earlier. "Trouble with the Curve," released by Warner Bros., stars Eastwood as an aging baseball scout whose daughter (Adams) accompanies him on his latest road trip.
While audiences were not too excited about the new wide releases, Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment banner had big crowds in limited release for its teen drama "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
The film took in $244,000 in four locations for a strong average of $61,000 a theater. That compares to meager averages ranging from $3,960 to $4,762 a theater for "Trouble with the Curve," ''House at the End of the Street" and "End of Watch," which all played in about 3,000 cinemas.
"Perks" features "Harry Potter" co-star Emma Watson alongside Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller in the story of a troubled high school freshman taken in by a clique of senior misfits.