Box Office: ‘Ender’s Game’ blasts to no. 1 as ’12 Years’ impresses

After months of controversy that surprisingly died down closer to release, Summit Entertainment released their big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” to positive results.  The Gavin Hood directed Sci-Fi flick earned $28 million making it the no. 1 movie at the box office this past weekend.  That’s a tad below industry expectations, but a solid start for the $110 million budgeted flick.  As with most tentpoles these days, “Ender’s Game” is going to have to earn its keep overseas.

Dropping to the second slot was “Jackass presents: Bad Grandpa.” The Paramount Pictures comedy earned another $20.5 million for a fine $62 million to date.  With a production budget of just $15 million, “Bad Grandpa” will be a nice hit for the studio and proves the “Jackass” brand still has a lot of moviegoer loyalty.

Debuting in third was CBS Films’ AARP comedy “Last Vegas” with $16.5 million.  “Vegas,” which stars Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, earned mixed to negative reviews from critics, but moviegoers disagreed giving it an A- grade on Cinemascore. CBS Films is hoping that translates into solid word of mouth for the weeks ahead.

“Free Birds” earned a somewhat disappointing $16.2 million in fifth place.  The Relativity release couldn’t take advantage of very little family fare in the marketplace and suffered partially from a marketing campaign that focused on comic bits and forgot the story.  In theory, it should have made more.

Fifth place went to “Gravity” which pulled in another $13.1 million and a monstrous $219.1 million so far. As of Sunday, “Gravity” is now the 8th biggest film of 2013 and should pass “Star Trek Into Darkness” sometimes next weekend for no. 7.

Rolling out in just 175 theaters was Universal Pictures’ romantic comedy “About Time.”  The Working Title production made an OK $1.1 million or $6,286 per screen.  It expands nationwide on Friday.

Making noise as it increased its theater count to 410 locations was “12 Years A Slave.” The potential best picture contender earned another $4.6 million with a stellar $11,200 per screen.  Having earned $8.7 million so far, this past weekend’s “almost” nationwide performance demonstrates that “12 Years” could easily find itself to $40 million by Jan. 1.

Another potential Oscar player, “The Dallas Buyers Club,” opened in just 9 theaters for $264,000 or a very good $29,333 per screen.

New releases Friday include “Thor: The Dark World” and the previously noted nationwide expansion for “About Time.”

Box office actuals are released on Monday.