The box office results for the weekend for September 30th-October 2nd sees “Dolphin Tale” emulate its star as it rises to the top spot in its second week of release. As for the newbies; the little known “Courageous” shines the brightest of all. Here are the studio estimates (and big thank you to Monique who filled in brilliantly while yours truly was away for a couple weeks):

1. Dolphin Tale ($14.2 million)

2. Moneyball ($12.5 million)

3. The Lion King 3D ($11 million)

4. 50/50 ($8.8 million)

5. Courageous ($8.8 million)

6. Dream House ($8.2 million)

7. Abduction ($5.6 million)

8. What’s Your Number? ($5.6 million)

9. Contagion ($5 million)

10. Killer Elite ($4.8 million)


Dolphin Tale quietly came in and snagged the top spot despite four new releases coming into play this weekend. With a production budget of $37 million, the inspirational true story of Winter the dolphin has both critics and audiences on board. Dropping just 26% from its opening suggest all signs are pointing to a extended run in the top ten with a likely assist on tap from overseas market upon its release. Not factoring in promotional costs (which is about the same as the prod. budget) Warner Bros. will probably need this film to take in around $70-$75 million on the domestic front to ensure profits. Currently the flick is up to $38 million.

Moneyball and The Lion King 3D also stood strong since their respective opening weekends. The Brad Pitt feature has earned just over $38 million domestically and should see a shelf-life similar to Dolphin Tale. Plus, early award-buzz is being attached to this critically acclaimed sports-drama. The Lion King 3D made its money years ago; so the current gross of $80 million since its re-release in 3D is just icing on the cake for Disney’s animation.

Flop Alert: Dream House. Just when you think Universal gains some momentum they toss out a financial dud. Having a production budget of $50 million for this genre just doesn’t make sense. There’s a niche market for this type of piece for sure; and the release date makes sense with October historically being a month of thrills-n-chills products. But how did it cost this much to film such a simple story? Next time, cut the budget in half and spend that on promotional tools; for this flick obviously needed it.

Sleeper Hit: Courageous. Actually, this film already “woke-up” after opening night. This barely qualified as a wide release (opens in at least 1000 theaters – 1161) and still hung with other new products encompassing established star-power. The production budget was a mere $1 million, leading the producers at Sherwood Pictures to rejoice after a powerful showing from Christian audiences.

50/50’s opening may seem low when looking at the stellar young cast and the endless praise from the lovely critics. It could end up being the one or two films that end up in the award discussion despite having a mediocre box office take. Still, with a production budget of just $8 million, Summit Entertainment should end up using the black ink on the balance sheet when it’s all said and done.

What’s Your Number? Well, if you’re Twentieth Century Fox, they’re staring at $20 million. That’s the production budget and based on audience & critical response, they’ll be lucky to break even on this R-rated rom-com that nobody seems to care about it. Or knew about, for that matter.

Contagion currently holds the longest streak in the top ten with 4 weeks. Warner Bros. $60 million product is now up to $72 million worldwide.

This Friday has two big boys coming to play…literally and figuratively. Real Steel is a flick one expects to see in the summer season but apparently the people at Disney felt October would serve this $80 million Sci-Fi feast best. The Ides of March brings in an award-winning cast of heavy hitters (Clooney, Gosling, Giamatti, Seymour Hoffman, etc.) playing in a mysterious political-drama. And for the cult fans out there: Human Centipede 2 opens in select markets. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers.

Report by Joe Belcastro

Dolphin Tale
Winter loving the news that she's box office champ!

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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