Box Office: ‘House at the End of the Street’ and ‘Trouble with the Curve’ battle Friday

Moviegoers are sending strange messages to Hollywood executives after the mixed results from Friday’s box office.

“House on the End of the Street” opened with just over $4.6 million on Friday for what should be a $12-14 million weekend. That’s somewhat under pre-release polling which predicted the horror flick starring Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue might hit $17-18 million for the weekend.  However, “Street” isn’t the only film that’s underperforming, but more on that later.

Surprising in second and seriously over performing to pre-release polling is David Ayer’s “End of Watch.” The critically acclaimed drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena and Anna Kendrick pulled in $4.6 million on Friday for what should also end up in the $12-14 million range. With a reported $7 million production budget, Open Road Films could easily climb into the black if “Watch” continues this pace over the next few weeks. The box office success is also a huge boost for potential awards campaigns for both Gyllenhaal and Pena.

Clint Eastwood’s latest effort in front of the camera, “Trouble with the Curve,” grossed only $4.1 million for what could also be a $12-14 million three-day.  Eastwood-directed films including “Invictus” and “J. Edgar” have debuted to less than that estimate recently ($8.6 and $11.2 million respectively), but Eastwood’s last trip in front of the camera was 2009’s “Gran Torino” which found $29.4 million when it went five weeks into its monster run in theaters.  Is Warner Bros. disappointed with the result for “Curve” so far?  Considering Eastwood’s antics at the Republican National Convention have overshadowed the film itself and the now infamous speech was out of their control, probably not. The studio will hope that, like many of Eastwood’s films, it continues to draw a more adult audience who don’t always rush to theaters on opening weekend.

Right behind “Trouble” was Walt Disney Studios’ re-release of Pixar’s classic “Finding Nemo” in 3D.  The Oscar-winning animated film found another $2.4 million on Friday for what should be an $10-11 million weekend thanks to an expected Saturday matinee bump.  “Nemo” has grossed $22.9 million during this current engagement.

Disappointing with just $2.2 million was Lionsgate’s “Dredd.” The reboot of the British comic book character received rave reviews, but the R-rated 3D film doesn’t appear to be clicking with moviegoers. At best, “Dredd” could find $6-7 million for the three-day.  Lionsgate may scratch their heads when trying to figure out what when wrong on Monday morning.

Just behind “Dredd” was “Resident Evil: Retribution” with another $1.9 million for $28.7 million in just 8 days. Unfortunately, the fifth installment in the franchise if fading fast domestically, but Screen Gems and Sony Pictures will hope for better returns overseas.

Expanding to approximately 800 screens Friday was Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” The critically acclaimed drama grossed $1.3 million and a solid, but not spectacular $1,759 per theater. The Weinstein Company release should make about $5-6 million for the three day.  Whether the studio decides to mine audience interest at this screen count or continue to expand remains to be seen.

Debuting on just four screens is “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”  Stephen Chobosky’s adaptation of his own novel pulled in an impressive $21,225 per screen on Friday.  It expands nationwide on Friday, Sept. 28.

Look for compete box office estimates Sunday on HitFix.