They took the stage. They did their dance. But in the end one side decided to throw mechanized punches while the other side fought a tyrannical small town with the power of fancy footwork. That is to say Real Steel took the top spot from Footloose this weekend but only by a narrow margin. When the actual numbers hit Monday evening, it could be another story altogether, but, as of right now, the robot have it for the second weekend in a row.

It was relatively impressive weekend for both films. Real Steel in its second weekend had a respectable drop, just over 40% from its opening weekend numbers. The IMAX price difference probably made up most if not all of the $200,000 difference between the #s 1 and 2 movies. Footloose, on the other hand, had name recognition and the teen crowd wanting to see another dance movie, a crowd just slightly older than the “kids who want to see giant robots punching each other” crowd. You can also attribute Real Steel‘s #1 holding to the parents who had to accompany those kids. They have to buy tickets, too, you know.

When all is said and done, though, both films will be coming out smelling like winners. Footloose, with its reported $24m budget, is well on its way to recouping. The magic number for it, though, is $80m, the total gross the 1984 original film was able to pull in. Real Steel has already managed $73.8m worldwide. Its budget hasn’t been reported yet, but the $100m worldwide mark is well within its grasp.

A movie the doesn’t looks to recoup, doesn’t look to have realistic aspirations for $100m any time soon, is The Thing remake. Granted, the John Carpenter film wasn’t able to make much at the box office in 1982. That film opened to $3.1m and ended up with $19.6m before dropping out of theaters altogether. Perhaps this new version of The Thing will find its own cult status on DVD and Blu-Ray, and, in 30 years, someone might take a chance on yet another prequel/sequel/remake/what-have-you.

A film that won’t be remade, won’t be sequelized, will probably be long forgotten by this time next week, is The Big Year. Apparently people just don’t have an interest in watching other people bird-watch, even when those people are Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. The Big Year just barely made it into the top 10, only came in $600,000 ahead of The Lion King in its fifth week of release. You can expect The Big Year to be scuttled out of theaters in just a matter of weeks and hit DVD shelves within a couple of months where it will surely find the numbers it needs to become a cult classic of its own. I’m sorry. I almost got through that sentence with a straight face.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Real Steel – $16.3m (-40.3%) $51.7m total
  2. Footloose – $16.1m NEW
  3. The Thing – $8.7m NEW
  4. The Ides of March – $7.5m (-28.4%) $22.1m total
  5. Dolphin Tale – $6.3m (-30.5%) $58.6m total
  6. Moneyball – $5.5m (-26.2%) $57.7m total
  7. 50/50 – $4.3m (-23.7%) $24.3m total
  8. Courageous – $3.4m (-30.2%) $21.3m total
  9. The Big Year – $3.3m NEW
  10. The Lion King in 3-D – $2.7m (-41.1%) $90.4m total

Here we are with a $74.1m weekend, not a tragic number by any means but still lower than expected. A lot of that comes from The Thing‘s inability to even break past $10m and The Big Year‘s abysmal offering to the weekend whole. The weekend was down again from the previous, but it still hasn’t dropped so low as to consider a slump. It wasn’t even the lowest weekend of the post-Summer movie season.

Next weekend certainly looks to be on an upswing, though, with Paranormal Activity 3 surely bringing impressive opening numbers. Elsewhere in theaters we’ll be seeing Johnny English Reborn, The Three Musketeers, and The Mighty Macs helping to supplement whatever number the Paranormal Activity franchise has in store to scare the other studios away. It goes without saying that the Paranormal Activity films have taken over the pre-Halloween horror slot, and, until they stop making Paramount beaucoup bucks, we can expect this to be the potential upswing at the box office for the coming Fall movie seasons.

We’ll be back on Thursday to see how the weekend is shaping up.


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