Box Office: ‘Dolphin Tale’ blocks ‘Moneyball’ at home plate to win the weekend

Like it’s underdog star, “Dolphin Tale” has waded the box office waters to hit no. 1 in the family film’s second weekend.  The Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. 3-D flick dropped only 25.6% from its debut as it grossed another $14.2 million for a very good $37.5 million to date.  The picture dominated Saturday grosses and should be able to mine family audiences until “Puss in Boots” debuts on Oct. 28.

Last week’s second place finisher, “Moneyball,” found itself in the second slot once again as it found another $12.5 million for $38.9 million in just 10 days.  The minimal 35.9% drop has to be reassuring to Sony Pictures who appear to have strong word of mouth hit among adult moviegoers. The baseball drama could easily end up with $60-70 million when all is said one done.

“The Lion King” continued its impressive 3-D re-release in third with $11 million and $79.6 million.  The film hits Blu-ray for the first time on Tuesday.

Among new releases, “50/50” fared the best with $8.85 million for fourth.  The Joseph Gordon-Levitt drama reportedly only cost $8 million.  With an A- Cinemascore, Summit Pictures and Mandate Pictures will have to hope good word of mouth helps the company’s labor of love eventually break even.

Just behind “50/50” was the Christian themed release “Courageous” with $8.8 million.  It could easily surpass “50/50” when actual figures are released on Monday.  “Dream House,” the supernatural thriller starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, was right behind with $8.2 million.  The Morgan Creek flick, which was distributed by Universal Pictures, is one of the bigger bombs of the year.  Another bomb, however, was right behind “Dream House” in 20th Century Fox’s “What’s Your Number?”  The Anna Faris comedy pulled in a paltry $5.6 million in over 3,000 theaters.

In limited release, Sony Classics debuted the Sundance drama “Take Shelter,” featuring an Oscar caliber performance from Michael Shannon, in three theaters for $56,200 or $18,733 per theater.  The long awaited “Margaret” (which was filmed in 2005), debuted with a whimper finding just $7,500 in two theaters.

Next Friday’s new films include “The Ides of March” and “Real Steel.”

Final estimates are released on Monday.