The box office results for the weekend of September 9th – 11th sees a Warner Bros. outbreak, as their latest release easily quarantines the top spot. Meanwhile, the other two newbies are going to have to live up to their respective titles if they want to see black ink on the balance sheet. Here are the studio estimates:

1. Contagion ($23.1 million)

2. The Help ($8.6 million)

3. Warrior ($5.6 million)

4. The Debt ($4.9 million)

5. Colombiana ($4 million)

6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($3.8 million)

7. Shark Night 3D ($3.5 million)

8. Apollo 18 ($2.9 million)

9. Our Idiot Brother ($2.7 million)

10. Spy Kids: All The Time In The World ($2.5 million)

Analysis

Although there’s a solid cast attached to Contagion, when factoring in the limited promotion, it’s quite surprising how well this medical outbreak flick performed on its debut weekend. And Warner Bros. is definitely smiling because this rang up a production budget of $60 million. Plus, this piece doesn’t have to worry about being immune to the lovely critics for they dig it; and audiences – while being grossed out – are also on board. Weekend #2 should be decent as well since the competition is a slew of genre pics that will only attract niche audiences.

Warrior is going to need to perform one hell of a comeback over the next couple weeks. Early award buzz crept in just prior to release as the majority of critics bought into the dramatic MMA piece. Some even said it’s the best the movie they’ve seen all year. The pedestrian opening-take is a huge blow for Lionsgate, even though the production budget was a relatively low $25 million. As of right now, MMA- themed movies have yet to prove they can draw outside of their core audience.

Opening on 1,500 screens this weekend was Happy Madison’s Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star. And to borrow a word from Wayne’s World, “NOT.” Obviously this is not in the top ten thanks to an opening weekend gross of just $1.5 million. Granted the production budget was in the range of $7-$10 million but the only was this sees profits is if the Adam Sandler loyalists buy the DVD – which may go on sale by the end of the month.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes currently holds the longest streak in the top ten with 6 weeks. Domestically the prequel/reboot is up to $167 million.

Flop Alert: Shark Night 3D. One of the worst reviewed products of the year, the dead-in-the-water tale is up to $14.5 million. The production budget alone was $28 million. And you could tack on another $20 million in worthless marketing costs. Nothing happening here folks.

Sleeper Hit: Zilch. There is nothing that qualifies at the moment. And this category may be obsolete for a couple weeks based on what’s on the horizon.

The Friday could be labeled as retro-day with The Lion King reentering theaters in “glorious” 3D along with the remake of Straw Dogs. Ponderous action flick Drive also joins the party and The Weinstein Company ushers in another comedy in I Don’t Know How She Does It. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

contagion
Contagion will continue to spread throughout the week.

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By Joe Belcastro

Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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