The Reject ReportIt’s time to pop the head off that other report, the one we don’t like. I don’t know. Take your pick. This is the Reject Report, where we mash down our buttons so fast and furiously we knock out the competition that comes before us. That’s precisely what two new films are looking to do to their own competition this weekend. We’ve got a huge robot movie starring Hugh Jackman and a political drama starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Plenty of eye candy in the theaters this weekend, but only one of these movies is going to have what it takes to take that box office top spot. Perhaps you would say one of these movies is going to have to have real steel? Perhaps not. Let’s see how our combatants are looking this weekend.

BIG HITTERS

In this box office corner we have the start of the Fall blockbuster season, those big budget movies the whole family heads out into the cold to see. The big budget movies usually don’t start in the Fall until late November, prime Thanksgiving realty, if you will. But the people behind Real Steel are banking on striking early and striking hard. And there’s no reason to think they won’t do just that. It’s got Hugh Jackman, an actor who is hard to deny credibility when it comes to opening these blockbuster films. It’s directed by Shawn Levy who, with movies like Cheaper by the Dozen ($27.5m opening) and Night at the Museum ($30.4m opening) knows how to open these Fall hits. But most importantly, Real Steel has giant robot on its side, always a plus when it comes to box office returns. No, these giant robots are battling Decepticons, but it’s impossible to ignore how well any big budget movie with robots at the forefront can do. Even the Fox animated flick Robots opened to $36m in March 2005. You can rest assured Real Steel will be coming in somewhere in that area. Hugh Jackmans battle cry from the film of “Let’s make some MONEY!” should just be splashed on the poster at this point.

How could we resist? Of course we’d show you a classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots commercial in lieu of the Real Steel trailer. Enjoy:

In addition to being that time of year when the Fall blockbusters are upon us, the Oscar hopefuls start to trickle out, as well. This weekend sees George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, The Ides of March. Granted, the films Clooney has directed haven’t exactly been gangbusters at the box office polls. Leatherheads had his biggest opening with $12.6m. As an actor, outside of the Summer months, his biggest opening was Burn After Reading with $19.1m. The Ides of March lead, Ryan Gosling, isn’t really a pied piper either when it comes to drawing crowds to the theater. $19.1m is his biggest opening, as well, with Crazy, Stupid, Love from this past Summer. Still, with the serious political aura about it, The Ides of March won’t even hit that stride, and will likely slide in somewhere around the mid-teen figures. But don’t worry. Come Monday George Clooney will still be George Clooney, Ryan Gosling will still be Ryan Gosling, and I’ll still be using “Hey Girl” as a way to get the Starbucks barista’s attention. This is my life. I’m glad you’ve come along for the ride.

FAMILIARITIES

With Real Steel and The Ides of March duking it out up top – spoiler alert: it won’t be much of a match – films like Dolphin’s Tale and Moneyball will still be bringing in reasonable amounts in their third weekends in release. Both films have already crossed $40m and will be well on their way to $50m, not big hits, but respectable earnings nonetheless. Meanwhile, with its 3-D re-release, The Lion King has knocked Spider-Man out of the all-time domestic top 10. Its total domestic gross currently stands at $409.4m domestic, $884.2m worldwide. It sits in the #23 slot on that list but will quickly move into the top 20 before its current run is finished. So all of that spells Hakuna Matata for Disney, who announced plans earlier this week to re-release more of their classic films with the added 3-D treatment. So, yay, Disney. Yay, Lion King, Yay, all kitties who feel the love tonight!

LITTLE OPENERS

In the headline for his The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) review, our very own Cole Abaius said director Tom Six might as well have been massaging his privates on camera for 90 minutes. He called it trash, insipid, self-mocking, and moronic, and there aren’t too many critics out there who would disagree with him. Still, if you want to judge for yourself, the film gets a small release window this weekend. Of course, even if you didn’t like the first Human Centipede, you almost have to see this follow-up before Six’s Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) is unleashed on the world. It’s all about closure at this point. Let’s get through this so we can just move on to the next piece of trash-laden film. The Human Centipede II opens in select cities.

Also opening in limited release are 1911 opening in select cities, Blackthorn opening in New York and L.A., Dirty Girl opening in select cities, Flying Monsters 3D opening in select IMAX theaters, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch opening in select cities, Hell and Back Again opening in New York City, The One – not the one with Jet Li – opening in select cities, The Sons of Tennesee Williams opening in select cities, and The Way opening in select cities.

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up:

  1. Real Steel – $34.2m NEW
  2. The Ides of March – $15.1m NEW
  3. Dolphin Tale – $9.5m (-31%)
  4. Moneyball – $7.2m (-39.5%)
  5. The Lion King in 3-D – $5.2m (-50.4%)
  6. Courageous – $5.1m (-42.4%)
  7. 50/50 – $4.4m (-47.7%)
  8. Dream House – $3.4m (-57.6%)
  9. Contagion – $2.9m (-39.8%)
  10. Abduction – $2.8m (-49.9%)

We’re looking at an $89.8m weekend with these numbers. While that doesn’t seem too high considering we’re looking at what is basically the start of the big Fall movie season, there’s really only one movie giving that overall number the boost it needs. Not even Real Steel can carry the weight for ten films into the world of $100m+ box office. But don’t blame Real Steel. Don’t blame Shawn Levy. Don’t even blame Hugh Jackman. I blame Tom Six. Why? Because I can, and because no one will be looking to stand up for him after witnessing Human Centipede 2. So there you have it, folks. If anyone is to blame for a lackluster weekend box office, it’s Tom Six. Don’t worry. He can hack it.

We’ll be back on Sunday to go over the weekend numbers.

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