WINNERS OF THE WEEK: Nostalgic monster-movie fans. The reboot of the Evil Dead franchise scared up an estimated $26.0 million to debut on top of the chart; for those keeping score at home, that's about 11 times what the influential cabin-in-the-woods horror classic earned three decades ago during its entire run, or about $6 million more than the whole Evil Dead trilogy earned during its run in theaters. Of course, back then, Evil Dead mastermind Sam Raimi was a college student breaking into the movie business; these days, he's the blockbuster director of Oz the Great and Powerful (which is at Number Seven this week, with $212.8 million and counting). A generation of fans has grown up around the initial trilogy, so they approached the new one with equal measures of dread and anticipation. Guess the update (which Raimi produced) did an efficient job of summoning forth the old demons.
Meanwhile, opening in fourth place was the 3D conversion of 1993's Jurassic Park, whose hungry dinosaurs chomped an estimated $18.2 million. That's the third biggest opening ever for a retrofitted 3D movie, behind The Lion King ($30 million) and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace ($22 million). A record 32 percent of the dino-drama's take came from IMAX screens, even though only 11 percent of the movie's venues offered the giant-screen format.
LOSERS OF THE WEEK: Everyone else. If you did not want to see an old-school monster movie this weekend, there were no other new films for you in wide release. Still, the holdovers did pretty well. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (last week's champ) lost 48 percent of its first-week business and slipped to second place on estimated earnings of $21.1 million, for a two-week total of $86.7 million. In a dead heat with G.I. Joe was The Croods; the cartoon was also estimated to have earned $21.1 million, for a three-week total of $125.8 million. At Number Five, action thriller Olympus Has Fallen earned an estimated $10.0 million, coming in just $42,000 ahead of Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. Olympus boasts a three-week total of $71.1 million, while Temptation's ten-day total stands at $38.4 million.
IN GOOD 'COMPANY': Crime saga The Place Beyond the Pines expanded to 30 screens this weekend (up from four when it debuted a week ago) and finished just outside the top 10, with an estimated $695,000. (That's a hefty $23,167 per screen.) Some new limited release movies also did well. The Company You Keep, directed by and starring 76-year-old enfant terrible Robert Redford, pulled in an estimated $29,200 on each of five screens for a total of $146,000. Another crime drama, Trance, from Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, averaged an estimated $34,000 at four venues, totaling $136,000. And Upstream Color, cult fave Shane Carruth's long-awaited follow-up to his homemade-time-machine thriller Primer, opened on just one screen but earned an estimated $31,500. Watch for these to expand gradually nationwide, as Pines has.