WINNERS OF THE WEEK: Women. Last week, it was predominantly female audiences who pushed Monsters University and World War Z to box office glory. This weekend, it was women in front of the camera. Namely, the women of The Heat, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, who pushed the all-X-chromosome buddy-cop comedy to an estimated $40.0 million debut. The two funny ladies helped the movie outperform expectations, which ranged wildly from about $20 to $35 million. The movie's very positive word-of-mouth (as shown by its A- grade at CinemaScore) helped as well.
Meanwhile, Monsters, in its sophomore session, topped the dean's list again, earning an estimated $46.2 million, for a 10-day total of $171.0 million. It was down just 44 percent from last week's stellar premiere. And Z came in third this week with an estimated $29.8 million. That's a 55 percent drop from last week, not bad for a movie with horror elements. Its 10-day earnings stand at $123.7 million in North America.
LOSERS OF THE WEEK: Men. Specifically, the testosterone-fueled twosome of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, whose action thriller White House Down seriously underperformed expectations. It had been expected to open in the high 30s, but it pulled in only an estimated $25.7 million. That's even less than the $30.4 million debut three months ago of the similar but much less expensive thriller Olympus Has Fallen. Having its thunder stolen certainly didn't help, and neither did the surprisingly strong competition from The Heat and Z. The fourth-place finisher might have a shot at growing some legs and sticking around for a while (audiences liked it and gave it an A- at CinemaScore, same as The Heat), were it not for the imminent opening this week of The Lone Ranger.
Coming in fifth was Man of Steel, which lost another 50 percent of its business from last week. That still left an estimated $20.8 million, good for a three-week total of $248.7 million in North America. White House Down will be lucky to gross half that.
AND I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT: Sensing a space for counterprogramming this weekend, the nation's art houses added six new offerings this week. Top pick was I'm So Excited, the latest from Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar, grossing an estimated $103,000 on five screens. (That $20,600 per-screen average is by far the best of any movie in theaters this week.) Jason Statham's latest, Redemption, earned an estimated $18,200 on 19 screens, for a paltry $958 per venue. Punk documentary A Band Called Death earned an estimated $28,500 on 13 screens, or $2,192 per screen. Neil Jordan's vampire tale Byzantium, starring Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, earned an estimated $18,000 on six screens. Documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs grossed only an estimated $10,500 on five screens. You'd think a movie with a title like that would do better than $2,100 per screen.