Box Office: The Coens Show Definite Grit

The Reject ReportNo, this ain’t no coon hunt, but the Coens fought tooth and nail. Here in its third weekend of release, True Grit has taken the top spot from Little Fockers, and the Western has effortlessly become the Coen Brothers’ most successful film of all time.

It’s also on track to becoming the highest domestic grossing Western of all time only behind Wild Wild West ($113.8 million if you even count that in the Western ranks) and Dances With Wolves ($184.2 million). It will likely surpass both of those films in the coming weeks particularly once the Academy Awards nominates are announced on January 25th. True Grit is sure to be among the Best Picture contenders all of which will be getting box office boosts after the announcement.

Also among those films will be Black Swan and The Fighter, which continue to make nice bank in domestic sales. The former of those had the smallest drop this weekend at a very impressive 6%. It seems mainstream audiences are intrigued by it even if many of them find themselves walking into something they don’t quite expect.

Nicolas Cage and witches weren’t on the menu for many mainstream audiences, as Season of the Witch was just barely able to exorcise itself into double digits. The release delay and what seems to be a dump here in January from Relativity didn’t help the film. It’s current ranking of 4% over at Rotten Tomatoes probably didn’t do much in the film’s favor, either, and that’s up from the 1% medal it had pinned to its chest for much of the weekend. But, as noted in last week’s Reject Report, Cage is a hard-working actor who doesn’t allow box office bombs to hinder his career. By the time Drive Angry 3D and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance come our way, Season of the Witch and its lack of financial accomplishment will be exactly where many critics hope it will be. In the land of absolute obscurity.

Though its numbers might appear to be less than strong, Country Strong had an adequate turn-out on only 1424 screens. It was able to pull in $5126 per screen, not a bad haul in comparison with the rest of the weekend. Just don’t expect Country Strong 2: What’s In the Box to get the green light any time soon.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. True Grit – $15m (-38.6%) $110.4m total
  2. Little Fockers – $13.7m (-46.5%) $123.9m total
  3. Season of the Witch – $10.7m NEW
  4. Tron Legacy – $9.8m (-47.7%) $147.9m total
  5. Black Swan – $8.3m (-6%) $61.4m total
  6. Country Strong – $7.3m EXPANDED $7.4m total
  7. The Fighter – $7m (-30%) $57.8m total
  8. The King’s Speech – $6.8m (-12.4%) $33.2m total
  9. Yogi Bear – $6.8m (-12.4%) $33.2m total
  10. Tangled – $5.2m (-47%) $175.8m total

That’s a total take of $90.6 million for the top 10 films. This number is slightly down from the typical first weekend in January. That is, any first weekend in January when James Cameron doesn’t have a film in release. It’s not uncommon for the #1 film of any first weekend in January to be something in its second or third weekend of release. In fact, the last film to open at this time of year and take the top seat was in 2006 when Hostel was able to generate $19.5 million in domestic sales.

Next weekend is certain to be up with two big films in release, one of them something of a tent pole. The Dilemma, the latest comedy from Ron “I Got No Style” Howard, is not that film, but The Green Hornet is. Opening on more than 3500 screens, it is sure to take the #1 spot with a fury, but it remains to be seen how much the 3-D aspect of the film will aid in that.

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

Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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