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Toy Story 3 repeated record box office success, holding the number one position with $59.3 million over the weekend. New debut Grown Ups, featuring an ensemble cast of veteran comedic actors, put forth a second place effort of $40.5 million. Knight and Day, a comeback opportunity for the once revered and now frequently maligned Tom Cruise, fell below expectations with $20 million.
Movie theater attendance and revenues were down this week in comparison to last year, mostly due to the considerable size of the film that debuted the same weekend in 2009: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Overall business sunk 18 percent and following the recent trend, attendance at theaters continued to wane. For instance, Grown Ups was the fourth highest opening weekend for an Adam Sandler movie, but only his ninth largest in attendance.
Grown Ups opened on 1000 more screens than its competition Knight and Day, though it made double the money. The comedic family film was trashed by critics, failing to garner even 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it successfully rode the coattails of its star power to overcome critical naysayers, appealing equally to males and females, people under 25-and-older audiences.
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Knight and Day had a head start over the Adam Sandler comedy, opting for a Wednesday release rather than a traditional Friday opener. The movie toddled in with $3.8 million in its first day, and surprisingly held even on Thursday, which suggested it might bolster audiences over the weekend. Tragically, the optimistic studio predictions were too generous, as Knight and Day garnered a total of $27.4 million over five days for a third place bow.
The film’s performance may have a residual effect on the rumored Mission: Impossible 4. According to Deadline New York, a script for the sequel is finished and submitted, however Paramount studios will use the performance of “Knight” as a benchmark for future budget negotiations. At the worst, the sequel could be dumped altogether. However, the same studio recently green-lit a Les Grossman spinoff film based on the Tom Cruise character in Tropic Thunder.
Major releases due next week include The Last Airbender, a fantasy film directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan opening Thursday and tween vampire romance The Twilight Saga: Eclipse premiering Wednesday. Given the usual punch packed by any holiday weekend and the overwhelming interest of girls for “Twilight” and boys for The Last Airbender, both films should topple Toy Story 3’s grip on first place and give box office revenues and attendance a significant boost.