WINNER OF THE WEEK: Adolescent humor. This is the season of high-minded, Oscar-worthy, dramatic adult fare, which is why it's such a good time for a Jackass movie. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa opened big with an estimated $32.0 million, finally ending the reign of Gravity after three weekends on top. That's far less than the $50.4 million launch of Jackass 3D three years ago, but this movie didn't have 3D surcharges, and it was a departure from the familiar format, with Johnny Knoxville (and not the rest of his crew) getting made up as senior Irving Zisman and inflicting his pranks and pratfalls upon unsuspecting civilians. The movie got only lukewarm word-of-mouth (as measured by a B grade from CinemaScore), but it was the only new comedy since, oh, We're the Millers back in August.
Dethroned by Bad Grandpa, Gravity finished second with an estimated $20.3 million, a modest 32 percent decline from last week. In 23 days, it's grossed $199.8 million, so it'll likely cross the $200 million mark on Monday. Similarly, Captain Phillips lost just 28 percent of last weekend's business, coming in third with an estimated $11.8 million, for a three-weekend total of $70.1 million. Rounding out the top five: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which has been the only cartoon around for five weeks, though that'll end next weekend with the release of Free Birds. Cloudy scored an estimated $6.1 million, down just 37 percent from last week, and good for a five-week total of $100.6 million.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Adult drama. The Counselor had a literary pedigree (a script by Cormac McCarthy), a brand-name director (Ridley Scott), and an all-star cast (including Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Michael Fassbender), but this tale of a drug deal gone wrong couldn't move the needle. It opened in fourth place with an estimated $8.0 million, well below the already modest $10 to $12 million it had been predicted to earn. Blame mostly poor reviews, which matter to the movie's potential adult audience, coupled with horrible word-of-mouth (a D from CinemaScore).
'12' STEPS: Besides, in many cities, you could also see Pitt and Fassbender this weekend in the universally acclaimed 12 Years a Slave. In its second week, the historical drama expanded to 123 theaters and grossed an estimated $2.2 million, good for eighth place. It's earned $3.4 million to date.
Also expanding in its second week, with more modest results, was All Is Lost, which went from six screens to 81 and earned an estimated $518,000. (The Robert Redford drama's 10-day total is $656,000.) Per screen, that means the movie averaged just $6,395, about a third the average of 12 Years a Slave ($17,480).
The film with the highest per-screen average this week was the new Blue Is the Warmest Color, which grossed $101,000 on four screens, for an average of $25,250. That's a very high number for an NC-17 movie, especially one that's three hours long and can't be screened as many times per day as a typical two-hour feature. Maybe it helped that one of the theaters, New York's IFC Center, decided not to observe the rating's restriction of all children under 17, instead allowing those it deemed mature high-schoolers to see the French drama about two young women in love. Because if there's one thing that's a bigger draw to teens than geriatric slapstick, it's lesbian sex scenes, amirite?