Warner Bros.’ Dolphin Tale in 3-D swims upstream and tops the chart in a surprise second weekend number one performance. Dropping just 26%, the film earned $14.2 million and has thrived in the fall family film marketplace. Starring Harry Connick Jr., the PG-rated film garnered a rare A+ CinemaScore rating and thus performed swimmingly this weekend with an impressive gross and a total of $37.5 million by the end of the weekend.
Moneyball from Sony has been hitting home runs with audiences maintaining its second place position in its second weekend with $12.5 million. Great word-of-mouth has made it a must-see fall film and the Brad Pitt sports biography has won praise across the board from critics and audiences alike. As it continues to swing for the fences the film is on its way to a long term run and has earned $38.5 million to date.
Disney’s The Lion King, which has been the surprise early fall season leader, has had an unprecedented re-release run as this new 3-D version takes in another $11 million in its third weekend in the jungle. An amazing $79.6 million total domestically and $98.7 million worldwide have made this one of the great fall success stories.
Summit Entertainment’s 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen as best friends who have to deal with a cancer diagnosis, has received positive pre-release praise and made its debut in fourth place with $8.48 million. The R-rated comedy boasts a terrific cast including Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston and should hold steadily as word-of-mouth builds in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend is the faith-based drama Courageous from Sherwood Pictures which is distributed by Sony/Tri-Star. The PG-13 film about four police officers who struggle with their faith and their roles as husbands and fathers was not to be underestimated in terms of its potential strength at the box office. Grass roots marketing and a devoted audience voted with their dollars and gave the film a fifth place finish with $8.8 million and the highest per-theater average of any wide release of $7,580.
Two other new releases hit screens this weekend with Universal’s PG-13 mystery thriller Dream House starring Daniel Craig debuting in sixth place with $8.2 million and Fox’s R-rated comedy What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris opening in eighth place with $5.6 million.
Weekend Box Office
Top Movies for Weekend of September 30, 2011 (estimates)
Movie Weekend Gross Total to Date
1 Dolphin Tale (PG) $14.24M $14.24M
2 Moneyball (PG13) $12.5M $38.5M
3 The Lion King (G) $11.0M $79.6M
4 50/50 (R) $8.85M $8.85M
5 Courageous (PG-13) $8.8M $8.8M