Box Office Shocker: People like fart jokes more than nihilistic philosophizing

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa from Paramount and The Counselor (our review) from Fox were the two major releases this weekend, and it won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s seen either of them to learn that Bad Grandpa made it rain while The Counselor got garroted. It was little kids and old people and fart pranks against dour, nihilistic philosophizing, and you don’t want to bring aphorisms to a fart fight in ‘murka.

Bad Grandpa earned $32 million on a $15 million budget, taking the top spot from Gravity for the first time since it came out four weeks ago. The Counselor earned $8 million on a $25 million budget. In retrospect, neither should be at all surprising. Bad Grandpa bends over backward to be heartwarming, and The Counselor is the most morose crowd displeaser since Only God Forgives and Killing Them Softly. Still, that audiences were able to sniff that out without seeing them is actually kind of impressive. Bad Grandpa isn’t in the awards conversation yet, but if Hushpuppy from the bathtub can get a nomination, the chubby kid (Jackson Nicoll) deserves at least a second glance from the Golden Globe for his epic striptease scene alone.

Bad Grandpa‘s audience was 56 percent male and 63 percent over the age of 25. In comparison, Jackass 3-D‘s crowd was 61 percent male and only 33 percent over 25. The fact that Bad Grandpa skewed older and was more evenly split between genders suggests that it will play better long-term. While its “B” CinemaScore is nothing to write home about, it should still be on pace for a final total of at least $75 million.

The Counselor‘s audience was 51 percent female and 85 percent over the age of 25. They awarded the movie a terrible “D” CinemaScore, which suggests it’s going to have a very short run (a final total below $25 million is a guarantee).

In the month of October, nine movies debuted at over 1,500 locations. Five of those titles opened below $10 million—Runner Runner, Machete Kills, Escape Plan, The Fifth Estate and The Counselor. Even with a huge hit like Gravity out there, that kind of consistent failure is going to lead to a depressed marketplace. In fact, this was the first weekend of the month that was up year-over-year (the Top 12 was up 17 percent to $94.8 million), and overall October business is going to fall way short of record levels. [BoxOfficemojo]

Elsewhere, Carrie and Escape Plan tumbled, while Gravity and Captain Phillips held strong (the x factor is quality!). Meanwhile, 12 Years a Slave opened in a hundred more theaters and broke into the top 10. It’s even more depressing than The Counselor, but hey, I guess people just really like slavery.

1. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Paramount) – $32,000,000

2. Gravity (Warner Bros.) – $20,300,000 ($199,814,000)

3. Captain Phillips (Sony) – $11,800,000 ($70,074,000)

4. The Counselor (Fox) – $8,000,000

5. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (Sony) – $6,100,000 ($100,611,000)

6. Carrie (ScreenGem/Sony) – $5,900,000 ($26,021,000)

7. Escape Plan (LionsGate) – $4,340,000 ($17,424,000)

8. 12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) – $2,150,000 ($3,410,000)

9. Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) – $1,555,000 ($13,021,000)

10. Prisoners (Warner Bros.) – $1,063,000 ($59,122,000) [via Indiewire]