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Cloud Atlas makes dim debut

Posted: November 2, 2012 at 2:09 a.m.

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry star in Cloud Atlas. The film had lackluster performance at last weekend’s box office, coming in second and making only a little more than $9.6 million.

— With no new film proving especially intriguing at the box office, the well-reviewed Argo ascended to the No. 1 position after three weekends in theaters.

Ben Affleck’s political thriller claimed the top spot at the multiplex with $12 million, according to an estimate from distributor Warner Bros., a sign of that film’s staying power - and the sluggishness of the box office. That’s the second lowest No. 1 of the year. Still, Argo, which has been in the runner up position for the last two weekends, is well on its way to becoming a hit with a total of $60.5 million so far.

There wasn’t much else for studios to celebrate at the box office last weekend. Cloud Atlas, the ambitious, nearly three-hour epic with a $102 million budget, came in at No. 2 with a dismal $9.6 million opening. The horror sequel Silent Hill: Revelation 3-D, which was expected to have the highest gross of the weekend, instead started off with a lackluster $8 million.

And the weekend’s other two new films could barely lure anyone to the cinemas. Fun Size, the Halloween teen comedy starring Nickelodeon’s Victoria Justice, launched with a paltry $4.1 million. The Gerard Butler surfing drama Chasing Mavericks opened with an embarrassing $2.3 million.

Like many scary movies, the Silent Hill sequel received a bad average grade from moviegoers, a C-plus. Reviewers also loathed it: The film garnered a measly 7 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie’s opening was also far lower than that of the original Silent Hill, which premiered with $20.2 million in 2006 and ended up with about $100 million worldwide. Even with the benefit of 3-D ticket surcharges, it doesn’t appear the sequel will come close to that sum.

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ Fun Size also didn’t have a huge budget - only about $14 million. Still, the directorial debut from Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz doesn’t look as if it will be the modest hit the studio was hoping for. The picture, which earned a grade of B from audiences, features the young actress-singer Justice, known for her Nickelodeon roles, as a high school girl whose mom makes her baby-sit her brother on Halloween. Predictably, the film appealed mostly to young girls, as 67 percent of the audience was female and 73 percent was younger than 25.

Like many before her, the 19-year-old Justice might have a difficult time parlaying her television success into a movie career. Earlier this year, Hannah Montana veteran Miley Cyrus’ LOL barely got a theatrical release due to its poor reviews, and Wizards of Waverly Place actress Selena Gomez’s Monte Carlo grossed just $23.2 million domestically in 2011.

Although hardly anyone saw it, Chasing Mavericks had the best exit polls of the weekend for new films, scoring a B-plus CinemaScore. The $20 million production, which was financed by Walden Media and is being distributed by 20th Century Fox, is based on the true story of a young surfer who had an infamous wipe out during a competition.

Chris Aronson, Fox’s president of domestic distribution, said the film did well in surf side cities in both Northern and Southern California.

“Unfortunately, we have a terrific-playing movie that people actually cheer that no one went to see,” he said.

MovieStyle, Pages 36 on 11/02/2012

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