Shia LaBeouf is lucky and good. He became a superstar before debuting in $300M blockbusters Transformers and Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He grew up in the business gaining traction in the Disney Channel series Even Stevens and ramped up his career with roles in the family film Holes ($16.3M opening – $67.4M cume) and the critically-acclaimed indies A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Bobby. Then he demonstrated his real appeal in last year’s commercial breakthrough Disturbia, directed by DJ Caruso. Now his re-teaming with Caruso, Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) has scored even bigger.
The new high-tech thriller got a huge Saturday boost of almost 26 percent, and Dreamworks now estimates a $29.2M 3-day.That is stronger than the $28M I predicted on Thursday, and it marks the biggest opening for any Hollywood movie since Tropic Thunder bowed to $25.8M on August 15. It now seems very possible that Friday night’s Presidential debate depressed this movie’s opening day performance. Under 25’s showed high anticipation for Eagle Eye in pre-opening industry tracking, and they were always going to see it this weekend, but lots of them may have elected to watch Obama vs. McCain on Friday and then poured into theatres on Saturday.
Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Bros), based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, hit the high-end of industry expectations for a No. 2 finish with $13.57M according to studio estimates. That is just a tick lower than the last teaming of Richard Gere and Diane Lane in Adrian Lyne’s Unfaithful, which opened to $14M.
Sony’s Lakeview Terrace, a racially-charged bad-guy-with-a-badge thriller was third for the weekend with an estimated $7M, down about 53 percent from opening weekend. That pushes Terrace to a new cume of $25.7M.
It’s not every movie that a church, for all intents and purposes, gets a movie into the top five, but Fireproof (IDP Films/Samuel Goldwyn), starring Kirk Cameron, is a surprise No. 4 with about $6.5M. This is a huge number for 839 locations, translating to $7,764 per theatre. Cameron rose to fame as Mike Seaver on ABC’s Growing Pains in the late 1980’s, and he became a vocal evangelical Christian in 1990. The movie is the latest from Sherwood Pictures, a nonprofit ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. The company previously released the 2006 Christian-themed movie Facing the Giants ($1.34M opening – $10.17M cume), so they are building a track record and have obviously tapped into the Christian market in a big way.
It’s another week in the top for for the Coen Brothers as Burn After Reading (Focus) added $6.16M for a new cume of $45.5M. The goofy spy thriller with an all-star cast will pass O Brother Where Art Thou? on Monday to become the all-time second-biggest grossing movie from Joel and Ethan, trailing only No Country For Old Men ($74.2M).
Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna (Disney) was a major disappointment grabbing just $3.5M at 1,150 or so locations. The film’s reviews have been mixed-to-negative, and Spike definitely hurt his movie’s chances by picking a fight with industry icon Clint Eastwood and complaining that he hasn’t won an Oscar because of “West coast bias.”
Actor-turned-director Clark Gregg‘s debut Choke (Fox Searchlight) managed an opening weekend PTA of $3,069 for a $1.33M take, while The Lucky Ones (Lionsgate), a movie about soldiers returning from the Iraq War, met with mediocre reviews and general indifference to the tune of $208,000 or $489 per location.
The weekend’s best Per Theatre Average was posted by Paramount Vantage’s The Duchess, which scored $10,455 at 55 locations followed closely by the Warner Bros western Appaloosa with $10,357 on a decidedly fewer 14 screens.
STUDIO THREE-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $29.2M, $8,319 PTA, $29.2M cume
2. NEW – Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Bros) – $13.57M, $5,018 PTA, $13.57M cume
3. Lakeview Terrace (Sony) – $7M, $2,837 PTA, $25.67M cume
4. NEW – Fireproof (IDP Films/Samuel Goldwyn) – $6.51M, $7,764 PTA, $6.51M cume
5. Burn After Reading (Focus) – $6.16M, $2,329 PTA, $45.54M cume
6. Igor (MGM) – $5.5, $2,349 PTA, $14.33M cume
7. Righteous Kill (Overture) – $3.803M, $1,263 PTA, $34.8M cume
8. My Best Friend’s Girl (Lionsgate) – $3.8M, $1,442 PTA, $14.52M cume
9. NEW – Miracle at St. Anna (Disney) – $3.5M, $2,954 PTA, $3.5M cume
10. The Family That Preys (Lionsgate) – $3.16M, $1,970 PTA, $32.79M cume
*NEW – Choke (Fox Searchlight) – $1.33M, $3,069 PTA, $1.33M cume
*NEW – The Lucky Ones (Lionsgate Films) – $208,000, $489 PTA, $208,000