Studio executives at Paramount Pictures expected a strong opening for “Jackass 3-D,” much of which would be fueled by higher tickets prices for the 3-D nature of the film, but what happened over this weekend was somewhat shocking.
The third installment of the comedy stunt series made an eye-popping $50 million at the box office. That’s the biggest opening ever for a film in October and almost two thirds of “Jackass Two’s” $72.7 million total gross from four years ago. The bigger question now is whether the “Jackass” gang has anything left for a fourth go around. The crew opening talked about how difficult it was to recover from each stunt now that most are in their mid to late 30’s and it’s unclear even a larger paycheck could bring them back. Will we soon see “Jackass: The Next Generation”? After this weekend’s dramatic box office, don’t be surprised.
Opening solidly, if not unspectacularly in second place was Summit Entertainment’s “Red.” Considering how “Jackass 3-D” dominated the marketplace, the mini-major is no doubt breathing a huge sigh of relief the Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren thriller was able to hit $22.5 million. Outside of the “Twilight” franchise, it’s now the company’s second biggest debut after the $24.6 million “Knowing” found in April of last year. If “Red” can play as long as that Nic Cage thriller did, Summit might have another franchise on its hands.
If “Jackass” hadn’t opened so spectacularly, the big story of the weekend would have been the scant 28% drop of David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” Playing off strong word of mouth, the drama found another estimated $11 million for a new cume of $63.1 million in just 17 days. And with little competition until Thanksgiving in this category, $100 million is not out of the question.
Also holding relatively strongly in fourth was Disney’s “Secretariat” with another $9.5 million and a new 10-day total of $27.5 million. It’s clearly not the “Blind Side” sensation the studio was hoping for, but it could end up with $50-60 million when all is said and done.
The fifth slot went to Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel’s “Life as We Know It” which sold another $9.2 million worth of tickets for a $28.8 million take so far.
In limited release, Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” opened on just six screens in New York and Los Angeles with $231,000 and a strong $38,500 per screen. More disappointing was the debut of Fox Searchlight’s “Conviction” which grossed just $110,000 on 11 screens for a $10,000 average. That doesn’t bode well for future expansion of the Hilary Swank true-life melodrama.
Next weekend finds the return of “Paranormal Activity 2” and the nationwide expansion of “Hereafter.”
Final box office totals are released on Monday.