Doing just fine just behind Argo was Sinister, the Summit horror film that earned a solid $18 million. That's a touch below the $20 million Screen Gems comfort zone, but the well-reviewed and buzzed about picture had an R-rating instead of the usual SG PG-13. It's theoretically going to get clobbered by Paranormal Activity 4 next weekend, but there is a token chance that it could hold its ground as a solid original against a 'Oh, this again...?' sequel, a la Insidious versus Scream 4 early last year. To be honest, I can't tell you much about the marketing because I avoided every trailer and TV spot as horror film marketing tends to be more spoilery than other genres. But the (estimated) $5 million Ethan Hawke chiller is already hugely profitable whether it holds up against the Paramount horror franchise or not. The next opener was Kevin James' "Let's remake Warrior as a comedy!", otherwise known as Here Comes the Boom. Despite being among the better films of last year, Warrior pretty much bombed at the box office ($13 million), so it's slightly heartwarming that this terribly-reviewed variation didn't do very well either. $12 million is either a mediocre opener (it's Kevin James's lowest debut as a lead) or an outright bomb depending on the costs (I can't locate the budget at this time). The film played 52% male and 68 under-25 among audiences over 12. Among the 12-and under set, it played 60% boys and 50% under 10. Nothing much more to see here folks.Seven Psychopaths was a marketing nightmare, as you can either give away the film's central post-modern construct or basically advertise a bunch of legendary screen kooks (Walken, Rockwell, Harrelson, etc.) behaving badly. CBS Films understandably chose the latter, and a predictable $4.2 million debut followed. But the biggest problem is that if you're a grownup heading to the multiplex, you already have somewhat more mainstream fare like Argo, Taken 2, or Looper. It's the double-edged sword of having so many adult-skewing films in wide release: the biggest fish at the moment eats all the rest. Alas, for what it's worth, it's among the best films of the year and Christopher Walken deserves an Oscar nomination that he probably won't get. Don't feel guilty if you saw Argo instead, but do check out Seven Psychopaths when you get the chance next weekend. The last wide release was the 1,001 screen debut of Atlas Shrugged Part II. The film earned the same $1.7 million as the last film did despite opening on 700 more screens. We can laugh at the film all we want, but let's be honest. Among the faithful, this thing will sell and rent forever. In the very long run, both of these films will make their money back.
For box office news on the older films, read the rest at Mendelson's Memos.