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Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Prisoners’ Holds the Box Office Captive

Warner Bros.

September may traditionally be a wasteland of half-baked films unfit to open in a proper month, but the lack of competition can actually be a good thing. Could ‘Prisoners,’ a film made specifically for an adult audience, have opened as well as it did if it was released in a busier month? Probably not.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Prisoners $21,430,000 $6,574 $21,430,000
2 Insidious: Chapter 2 $14,500,000 (-64.0) $4,596 $60,855,000
3 The Family $7,000,000 (-50.1) $2,265 $25,641,000
4 Instructions Not Included $5,700,000 (+17.2) $5,828 $34,262,000
5 Battle of the Year $5,000,000
$2,490 $5,000,000
6 We’re the Millers $4,670,000 (-13.6) $1,555 $138,176,000
7 The Butler $4,304,000 (-22.4) $1,468 $106,452,000
8 Riddick $3,672,000 (-46.3) $1,215 $37,180,000
9 The Wizard of Oz $3,022,000 $9,503 $3,022,000
10 Planes $2,861,000 (-8.0) $1,170 $86,543,000


With $21 million, ‘Prisoners’ effortlessly grabbed the number one spot, proving that sometimes grown-ups do go to the movies and do make two-and-a-half-hour kidnapping thrillers into hits. The all-star cast certainly didn’t hurt, but it’s always nice to see something that doesn’t have 15-year-old boys for its chief audience winning the weekend. Good job, ‘Prisoners.’ We need more movies like you.

In typical horror-movie fashion, ‘Insidious: Chapter 2‘ took a substantial dive in its second weekend, plummeting by 64 percent. However, when you combine that with the film’s enormous opening weekend and its tiny budget, this is a victory through and through. It’s not going to have the legs of ‘The Conjuring,’ but most horror movies don’t. Studios are going to pay out the nose to get James Wan back to horror after his detour into the ‘Fast and Furious’ series.

In third place, ‘The Family‘ continued to underperform. It’s not an embarrassment, but $25 million after two weeks isn’t great, especially with that many big names in the cast.

Meanwhile, ‘Instructions Not Included’ continued its surprise climb to sleeper-hit territory, actually moving up from last week with a current gross of $34 million. Most people don’t even know this Spanish-language comedy even exists, but its audience has been turning out in droves. Will Hollywood learn any lessons from this? Probably not, but it’s fascinating to watch.

Right below it, ‘Battle of the Year‘ was dead on arrival. It should vanish completely by next weekend.

In the bottom half of the top 10, both ‘We’re the Millers‘ and ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler‘ continued to rake it in, with the former passing $138 million and the latter $106 million. In a year filled with surprise hits, these two stand out and act as a valuable lesson. After all, they’ve both out-grossed some of the summer’s biggest (and most expensive) misfires.

In the home stretch, ‘Riddick‘ is just about to finish up, ‘Planes‘ will barely miss breaking $100 million and the 3D re-release of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ opened to solid numbers.

Next weekend sees the release of ‘Rush,’ ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2′ and ‘Don Jon.’ Expect the animated one to take the win.

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