‘Ender's Game’ starts strong, steals top spot at box officeLOS ANGELES - Weekend moviegoers chose sci-fi over slapstick.
“Ender’s Game” scored the No. 1 slot at the weekend box office, earning $28 million in its opening weekend and sending “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” into second place, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Lionsgate’s adaptation earned an additional $2 million in five international territories.
Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, “Ender’s Game” stars Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford as intergalactic soldiers.
Comments made by Card expressing opposition to gay marriage led some to call for a boycott of the film. But a strong first-place opening met the studio’s pre-weekend expectations.
However, ticket sales didn’t come close to the opening weekends of other young-adult adaptations such as “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.” It did fare better than “Beautiful Creatures” and “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.”
“?‘Ender’s Game’ is a big-budget movie that could be the start of a franchise,” said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak. “This time of year is not exactly a hotbed of million-dollar openings, but once they launch worldwide, it will do well.”
A representative for Lionsgate declined to be interviewed for this story.
Paramount’s candid-camera comedy starring Johnny Knoxville disguised as an old man brought in an additional $20.5 million in its second weekend, with a domestic total reaching more than $62 million. It also picked up $6 million in international ticket sales.
Other films opening this weekend didn’t generate as much enthusiasm.
CBS Films’ “Last Vegas,” featuring an all-star cast of including Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, opened in third place, with $16.5 million.
“It’s interesting to see the number of stars that are not in their 20s in the top films,” Dergarabedian said.
“?‘Ender’s Game’ has Harrison Ford and Viola Davis, and ‘Last Vegas’ is like a ‘Hangover’ for the older crowd. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (in ‘Gravity’) appeal to an older audience, and ‘12 Years a Slave,’ which continues to impress as it expands into more and more theaters, is a very sophisticated drama.”
Relativity Media’s 3-D animated kiddie flick “Free Birds,” with characters voiced by Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler, debuted in the fourth spot, with $16.2 million. AP