WINNER OF THE WEEK: Woody Allen. Forty-three films into his career, and he’s still surprising viewers and box office analysts. His latest, the well-reviewed Cate Blanchett dramedy Blue Jasmine, opened on just six screens, but it earned an estimated $612,767, for a per-screen average of $102,128 per screen. That’s a ridiculously high average. (The Wolverine, the week’s highest-grossing movie, had a per-screen average of just $14,106. All but four movies this weekend had averages under $5,000.) That’s the highest per-screen average of any movie so far in 2013. It compares favorably to the $99,003 per screen earned by Allen’s Midnight in Paris during its six-screen opening two years ago, and that went on to become Allen’s top-grossing movie ever (not adjusting for inflation). So signs are good that, at the very least, Blue Jasmine could be the breakout indie hit of the summer.
Last week’s winner, The Conjuring, also did better than expected this weekend. Horror movies tend to fall off steeply in their second weekend, but Conjuring slipped one spot to second place on estimated earnings of $22.1 million, down a modest 47 percent from last week. Its per-screen average was $7,313, and its two-weekend total comes to $83.9 million.
Even Despicable Me 2, now in its fourth week, still had legs. It came in third, mustered up another estimated $16.0 million, and crossed the $300 million threshold. With a total to date of $306.4 million, it’s the second highest-grossing movie of the year, behind only Iron Man 3.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: The Wolverine. True, it debuted at Number One, but it had no new wide-release competition. Plus, it was projected to open around $70 to $75 million, but it scored just an estimated $55 million. That’s a hair below the $55.1 million debut of the last X-Men movie, 2011’s X-Men: First Class, and well below the $85.1 million debut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, and that movie didn’t have the benefit of 3D surcharges, as most screenings of The Wolverine did. The earlier Wolverine, which disappointed a lot of viewers, may have squandered much of the goodwill for another movie about Hugh Jackman’s clawed mutant hero. Still, like so many soft-opening blockbusters this summer, Wolverine is likely to make it up overseas; indeed, the movie grossed an estimated $86.1 million abroad this weekend. Plus, there aren’t a whole lot more action blockbusters due this summer that might compete for the same audience. So weep not for Twentieth Century Fox, which spent a reported $120 million making The Wolverine.
Also underperforming expectations was new indie comedy The To-Do-List. Opening on just 591 screens, the movie about a high school valedictorian (Parks & Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza) eager to lose her virginity before college was expected to debut with about $3 million, but it opened with just an estimated $1.5 million. That’s about what it cost to make, so at least the movie should break even.
Rounding out the top five were Turbo (Number Four), earning an estimated $13.3 million in its second weekend, for a two-week total of $55.8 million, and Grown Ups 2, in fifth place, with an estimated $11.5 million, for a three-week total of $101.7 million.
‘FRUIT’ LOOT: Fruitvale Station, the true-life drama about the police shooting of an unarmed black man, continues to break out of the art-house pack, expanding from 34 venues to 1,064 screens this weekend, cracking the top 10 (at Number 10) and earning an estimated $4.7 million. In three weeks, it’s earned $6.3 million. Just behind it was coming-of-age dramedy The Way, Way Back, coming in at Number 11 with an estimated $3.3 million on 886 screens (up from 404 last week), for a four-week total of $8.9 million. Along with The To-Do List and Blue Jasmine, they’re proof that there’s money to be made catering to summer viewers who want to see something other than epic-scale mutant adventures.