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“Dolphin” Takes Box-Office Reigns From “Lion”

After a strong third-place finish last week, the well-received family-favorite Dolphin Tale jumped up to first, followed by two similarly acclaimed repeaters.

Slipping by just a quarter, that frisky amputee mammal posted a 25.6-percent dip, easily surging to the top of the North American box office. As expected, the warm-hearted story about a young boy and his newfound friend is holding up extremely well with families, indicating that a sizable final tally could still result.

Also proving it still has game, the Brad Pitt-headlined Moneyball remained in second following a 35.9-percent drop, good enough for a solid $38.5 million cume, with much more to come. Like another Aaron Sorkin-scripted niche film, The Social Network, Moneyball is proving to entice viewers outside of the normal sports movie crowd.

After two weeks atop crowded frames, Disney’s The Lion King re-release gave up its crown and sank to third place with a still-stellar $11 million. Understandably shaken by its Blu-ray release (but ultimately undeterred after choosing to extend its theatrical engagement), Simba and pride still managed to shatter the $400-million domestic mark. That poises it to overtake Toy Story 3’s $415 million final gross and even test the all time animated record that is Shrek 2’s $441 million.

The Top 10

1. Dolphin Tale - $14.3M(weekend)…$37.5 (gross)

2. Moneyball - $12.5M…$38.5M
3. The Lion King (in 3D) - $11.1M…$79.7M
4. 50/50 - $8.9M…$8.9M
5.  Courageous – $8.8M…$8.8M
6. Dream House – 8.2M…$8.2M
7. Abduction - $5.7M…$11.2M

8. What’s Your Number? -  $5.6M…$5.6M
9. Contagion - $5.0M…$64.7M

10. Killer Elite - $4.9M…$17.4M

Finally onto some new releases. The infamous “cancer comedy” 50/50 showed it was able enough to overtake its fresh-faced competitors with an $8.9 million haul. A difficult sell considering the premise and posting mixed star power, the semi-autobiographical tale did about what could be expected in its release window.

Closely behind was the Christian police drama Courageous, which drew a sizable faith-based audience with $8.8 million and the highest per-theater average in the Top 10. Showing in only 1,161 theaters, this extended the winning streak from director Alex Kendrick (Fireproof and Facing the Giants) and Sherwood Pictures, which is slowly turning into the next Tyler Perry-esque film collective.

Slumming it in sixth was another fright flick oddly released far from Halloween, with Dream House, which posted plenty of starpower but no thrills. Its $8.2-million grab was a low for director Jim Sheridan and actors Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachael Weisz who at the least should open a wide release above $10 million.

Finally, there were too few digits in the rom-com What’s Your Number?’s opening gross, dialling in at a piddling $5.6 million which makes it the fifth worst opening weekend ever for a movie opening above 3,000 screens. The Anna Farris and Chris Evans vehicle suffered from an overstuffed release date, poor reviews and even worse marketing.

Next weekend, after two consecutive crowded frames that saw four new releases per, only two fresh flicks enter the marketplace: the rock-‘em-sock-‘em action flick Real Steel and the acclaimed political thriller The Ides of March. “Ides” should easily play to a mature crowd starved for quality fare while as Real Steel has the power of Hugh Jackman and younger viewers pining for the joys of summer to its credit. A new box-office champ should easily be named.





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