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‘End of Watch’ Wins Tight Box Office Race

Updated from studio estimates, which had police thriller End of Watch and fright flick House at the End of the Street both raking in $13 million, strong word of mouth for the former helped the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer unexpectedly take the top spot.

Scoring rave reviews since its premier at TIFF, David Ayer’s End of Watch grabbed $13.2 million over the weekend, which puts it on par with other films of its ilk such as Street Kings ($12.5 million) and Brooklyn’s Finest ($13.4 million). Unlike those two cop movies, however, expect End of Watch to hold up far better in the coming weeks. With a production budget of just $7 million, things look bright for the gritty procedural.

Taking a steep tumble on Sunday was House at the End of the Street with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, which had to settle for second with $12.3 million. Horrid reviews and mediocre buzz should ensure a fast fade, though like End of Watch, “Street” only carried a $10-million pricetag, so everything should land in the green when all is said and done. 

Nipping at “Street’s” heels was Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve, which grossed $12.2 million. It was the legend’s first acting gig since Gran Torino became a smash sleeper with $148.1 million back in 2008. “Curve” skewed far older than that film, so it should hold up well among a neglected mature crowd. Certainly don’t expect a gross over $100 million or any awards buzz though. 

The Top 10 

1. End of Watch – $13.4M (weekend)…$13.4M (gross)
2. House at the End of the Street – $12.3M…$12.3M
3. Trouble with the Curve – $12.2M…$12.2M
4. Finding Nemo 3D – $9.6M…$30.2M
5. Resident Evil: Retribution – $6.7M…$33.5M
6. Dredd – $6.3M…$6.3M
7. The Master – $4.4M…$5.5M
8. The Possession – $2.6M…$45.3M
9. ParaNorman – $2.4M…$52.6M
10. Lawless – $2.3M…$34.5M

Tumbling 68 percent from its number one debut, Resident Evil: Retribution slipped to fifth with $6.7 million and a $33.5-million domestic gross. The fifth installment in the decade-long franchise is on its way to becoming the second-lowest grossing entry in the franchise though it has already amassed a strong $136.8 million globally with much more to come.

 

Getting lost in the shuffle in sixth was Dredd which was unable to generate excitement despite great reviews. Targeting the same audience as Resident Evil coupled with a lack of brand recognition and no famous star, the cluttered weekend simply meant interest was displaced elsewhere. 

Expanding after its record-setting platform debut, acclaimed drama The Master added $4.4 million to its early total of $5.5 million. It was far from a fantastic expansion, though considering the obtuse subject matter, it is certainly not a surprise. Oscar nominations are going to be the only thing to really ensure box-office success at this point as it will have limited appeal out of art house crowds. 

Next weekend three new films targeting different demos that will all compete for the top spot on a weekend that is all but certain to see a new victor. In 3,300 theaters, Adam Sandler’s animated monster comedy Hotel Transylvania will vie for younger audiences and Looper will try and rope in the sci-fi crowd in 2,800. Lastly, for mature woman, inner-city drama Won’t Back Down with Maggie Gyllenhaal will debut in 2,500 locations. Expect a tight race between Hotel Transylvania and Looper.

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