Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh-directed thriller that follows the apocalyptic after-effects of a killer virus unleashed upon the world, managed to scare up over $8 million in its first day of release for what should amount to a $23 million haul at the weekend box office. The $60 million film, which stars a collection of Oscar notables including Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jude Law, performed in line with studio expectations and, thanks to distribution on nearly twice the number of screens as its nearest debut competitor, easily secured the top spot at the US box office.
The chick-flick The Help needed no such thing to hold off the other new entries this week and maintain the second spot at the box office. The Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard film scored a projected $9 million weekend take, giving it an impressive new domestic total of $137 million.
Despite strong reviews and an impressive turn by Tom Hardy (who plays Batman nemesis Bane in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming The Dark Knight Rises), the MMA-inspired drama Warrior lacked punch with a weak debut of only $6 million for the Friday through Sunday period.
Spy drama The Debt and the Zoe Saldana actioner Columbiana rounded out the top 5 ticket sellers with projected weekend totals of $4.5 million and $4 million respectively.
Another notable new release, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, absolutely tanked with less than $1.5 million this weekend. Promoting the film with some of the most annoying television spots ever produced, Bucky showed that there are limits to what movie audiences are willing to accept as entertainment (as well as how ineffective hypnosis can be). Absent the presence of Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison label, it’s hard to see how this film ever gets made.
What new movies are you planning to see this weekend?