By Ronald Grover and Andrea Burzynski
LOS ANGELES, Sept 23 Police drama "End of Watch"
and horror thriller "House at the End of the Street" tied for
the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, with
Clint Eastwood's "Trouble With the Curve" close behind.
Each of the top films brought in $13 million respectively at
U.S. and Canadian box offices.
The gritty "End of Watch," written and directed by the
writer of 2001 crime drama "Training Day," David Ayer, brought
in $13 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices.
The opening by "End of Watch" was the largest for
independent film distribution company Open Road, a 2-year-old
joint venture between theater chains AMC and Regal. Its two
other films this year, "Hit and Run" and "Silent House," opened
with less than $7 million apiece.
Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said "End of Watch" was
successful because it appealed to a wide swath of moviegoers.
Referring to "End of Watch" as a "smart action movie,"
Ortenberg added that it is a prototype for the type of films
Open Road hopes to make. Its next film, action ensemble
"Breacher," is another David Ayer project.
"House at the End of the Street," which features Jennifer
Lawrence in her first role since this year's blockbuster "The
Hunger Games," also brought in $13 million.
The timing of horror thriller's release capitalized on
Lawrence's "Hunger Games" fame, said Relativity president of
distribution Kyle Davies. The film primarily targeted young
females and did a large share of marketing through
The audience for "Street" was 61 percent female, and 70
percent of filmgoers were under 25.
Baseball movie "Trouble with the Curve" was hot on the heels
of the top films, taking in $12.7 million, according to box
office estimates released on Sunday. The film is Clint
Eastwood's first starring role in four years and comes less than
a month after his headline-grabbing speech at the Republican
Rounding out the top five was the 3D re-release of "Finding
Nemo" with $9.4 million, and "Resident Evil: Retribution" with
$6.7 million. Both films premiered in theaters last weekend.
Futuristic action film "Dredd" disappointed with a mere $6.3
million on its debut weekend, failing to crack the top five and
coming in below expectations.
Though the overall box office is down when compared to last
year, a couple of independent films have performed strongly.
"The bright spots are the indie films like 'The Master' and
'The Perks of Being A Wallflower,' which are both doing terrific
business in their limited runs," said Paul Dergarabedian, box
office analyst at Hollywood.com.
"The Master," which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a
charismatic cult leader and has been compared to the story of
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, set a new per-screen average
record when it opened in limited release last week, and has
garnered strong reviews.
This week, the film expanded to take in $5 million in
domestic markets, bringing its total domestic gross to $6.1
million so far, and it snagged the No. 7 spot in this weekend's
overall box office rankings.
Teen movie "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" starring Emma
Watson scored the fourth-highest per-screen average of 2012 with
DIVIDING UP THE AUDIENCE
The close finish among the top three films was a reflection
that the broad slate of new releases, which each targeted a
different demographic, divided up the movie-going audience.
Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner, released
"Trouble with the Curve." Relativity Media released "House at
the End of the Street." Open Road Films, a joint venture of the
AMC and Regal theater chains, released
"End of Watch."
Sony Corp's movie studio released "Resident
Evil: Retribution." "Dredd" was released by Lions Gate.
"The Master" was released by the Weinstein Co.
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" was released by Summit.