The number one film of the weekend was Hugh Jackman’s robot-boxing film, Real Steel, which came in around expectations but below the studio’s higher hopes. Interestingly, while it’s $27 million opening was only in the middle-of-the-pack where it concerns robot movies (it was the 12th largest opening in that category), it was the highest grossing opening weekend ever for a boxing movie (besting Rocky IV) and second highest opening for a sports-drama, behind only The Blind Side. The lesson, of course, is if you’re going to mash-up genres, boxing movies and sports dramas haven’t had a ton of overall success with audiences. The studio might have been better off pitting the robot boxers against aliens and using zombies as spectators. Actually, that sounds kind of awesome.
Robot movies overall have done well at the box office. However, if you look at the 20 highest grossing robot/cyborg movies of all time, you’ll also notice that, historically, robot movies aren’t very good. Of the top 20, I’d only count only four of them as excellent flicks, and two of those are Terminator installments. Here’s the top 20, and note that Real Steel will undoubtedly enter it in the coming weeks, and probably land somewhere between The Stepford Wives and A.I..
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: $402 million
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon: $352 million
3. Transformers: $319 million
4. Wall-E: $223 million
5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day: $202 million
6. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: $153 million
7. I, Robot: $144 million
8. Robots: $128 million
9. Terminator Salvation: $125 million
10. Inspector Gadget: $97 million
11. Star Trek: First Contact: $92 million
12. A.I. Artificial Intelligence: $78 million
13. The Stepford Wives: $59 million
14. Bicentennial Man: $58 million
15. Robocop: $53 million
16. Robocop II: $45 million
17. Short Circuit: $40 million
18. Surrogates: $38 million
19. The Terminator: $38 million
20. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: $37 million
The other new wide release this weekend was the stellar The Ides of March, the political thriller directed and starring George Clooney. It’s the fifth top notch film released since the the second week of September and the second starring Ryan Gosling. Ides, however, opened slightly lower than Drive, $10.4 million and $11.3 million respectively. Clooney hasn’t had a $100 million movie since Ocean’s 13, and Ides won’t change that. But he does make profitable films (except for Leatherheads), capitalizing on modest budgets. Ides is no exception. With an estimated $12 million budget, Ides should be profitable by next weekend. The inevitable Oscar nods to Gosling and Phillip Seymour-Hoffman should also give it a boost on DVD, as well.
The rest of the top 10 were holdovers: Dolphin Tale ($9.1 million), Moneyball ($7.5 million), and 50/50 rounded out the top five. 50/50 had the best hold (dropping only 36 percent) and its $17 million cumulative gross far exceeds its $8 million budget. I mention this because, while the overall box office for the falls five best films have not been outstanding, they’ve all been profitable, save for Warrior ($13 million on a $25 million budget). Work for JGL, Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Gosling won’t be drying up anytime soon.
And because you clearly needed to know, The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence opened with $54,000 on 18 theaters, a paltry $3,000 opening. If the Human Centipede franchise got paid in blog posts, it’d be huge. In the real world, no one gives a shit. And that’s really as it should be.