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Contagion spreads, killing off box office competition

Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion went viral to win the box office race for the weekend of Sept. 9. The Help held onto second place, while Warrior barely broke $5 million, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star didn’t manage to break the top ten and Creature broke records with its bad showing.

Contagion wins the Sept 9-11 box office

America caught the Contagion fever this weekend, earning Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, John Hawkes, Elliott Gould and Jude Law a first place spot at the box office. The Help dropped to second, ending its winning streak, while the other new releases tanked. Warrior took third, but Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star and Creature didn’t make the top ten cut.

Contagion took the top spot this weekend with a respectable $23.1 million opening. With another good week, the film should easily recoup its $60 million budget, but it may do even better if moviegoers continue to spread the word.

The Help finally gave up the top spot, banking $8.7 million for second place. The weekend brings the film’s booty up to a hearty $137.1 million, passing The Smurfs for overall numbers stateside. Include international sales, of course, and that’s another story. The Help is a very American story and performed well at home, while The Smurfs took the world by storm, banking $457 million and counting.

Warrior didn’t have much of a one-two-punch, opening with a $5.6 million, which is less than half of The Fighters opening numbers. That said, Warrior got better buzz from moviegoers than Contagion did. Word of mouth could turn stars Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton into next week’s comeback kids.

The Debt and Colombiana closed out the top five, with neither one breaking $5 million. Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailed right behind, bringing its total to $167.8 million domestic, $373.9 million worldwide. Shark Night 3D, Apollo 18, Our Idiot Brother and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World closed out the top ten, in that order.

New releases Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star and Creature performed horribly, to put it simply. Adam Sandler’s Happy Maddison doesn’t always produce performers, but Bucky banked a measly $1.45 million to come in fifteenth place.

The horror movie Creature scared up a painful $331,000 to open in twenty-ninth place. That’s the fifth lowest opening ever and factors out to fewer than six moviegoers per-showing. 2009’s Transylmania holds the title for worst opening for a film opening in 1,000 or more theaters, but if you do the math, Transylmania actually outperformed Creature. Ouch.

In contrast, Kevin Hart’s limited release stand-up comedy concert flick Laugh at My Pain, beat them both, coming in thirteenth, banking $2 million at 97 locations.

Next week’s new contenders include Sarah Jessica Parker’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, Ryan Gosling‘s Drive, Morgan Freeman‘s Dolphin Tale and the Straw Dogs reboot, along with a slew of limited releases.

Box Office: September 9-11

1 Contagion $23.1 million
2 The Help $8.7 million
3 Warrior $5.6 million
4 The Debt $4.9 million
5 Colombiana $4 million
6 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $3.9 million
7 Shark Night 3D $3.5 million
8 Apollo 18 $2.9 million
9 Our Idiot Brother $2.8 million
10 Spy Kids: All the Time in the World $2.6 million


Source: Box Office Mojo / Image: Warner Bros.

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