Box office: ‘Ender’s Game’ scores despite controversy

America was mystified by Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game" this weekend. Credit: Summit Entertainment
America was mystified by Asa Butterfield in “Ender’s Game” this weekend.
Credit: Summit Entertainment

Ender’s Game,” the futuristic story of children forced to fight an enemy race, battled to the top of box office charts in the United States and Canada, defeating senior citizen buddy comedy “Last Vegas” and animated turkey tale “Free Birds.”

Based on a best-selling 1985 novel, “Ender’s Game” collected $28 million in ticket sales over its first three days, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.

Raunchy comedy “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” which topped last weekend’s charts, dropped to second place with $20.5 million. “Last Vegas” debuted in the No. 3 spot, grabbing $16.5 million.

Elsewhere, Marvel action hero Thor hammered into international theaters for sequel “Thor: The Dark World,” hauling in $109.4 million from Wednesday through Sunday, distributor Walt Disney Co said. The movie debuts in the United States and Canada on Friday.

“Ender’s Game” stars Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin, a young boy who is singled out for his superior intellect and put through advanced warfare training. Harrison Ford plays Colonel Graff, the man who isolates Ender from his comrades and manipulates him into commanding a war.

The movie is the latest adaptation of a young adult novel brought to the big screen by studios hoping to start a new blockbuster franchise like “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games.”

“Ender’s Game” finished in line with projections from box office analysts, who forecast a $25 million to $30 million start. The movie was produced for $110 million by Lions Gate Entertainment’s Summit Entertainment studio, Oddlot Entertainment and visual effects company Digital Domain.

More than half – 54 percent – of the audience was over age 25, making its appeal to younger moviegoers and potential for a sequel less clear.

“It looks like ‘Ender’s Game’ is one-and-done,” said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co., noting that with next week’s big domestic opening of “Thor” “there won’t be much of the box office pie left for ‘Ender’s Game.’”

“Last Vegas” stars an A-list cast of Oscar-winning actors Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, playing four lifelong friends who reunite for a bachelor party. Mary Steenburgen plays a Vegas lounge singer in the movie, produced by CBS Films, a unit of CBS Corp, with a small budget of $28 million.

Studio officials said they were thrilled that the movie, which received an A-plus CinemaScore rating from people who had seen it, also exceeded its pre-opening tracking estimates.

“Free Birds,” featuring the voices of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, debuted in fourth place, ringing up $16.2 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters. The 3=D movie tells the story of two turkeys that travel back in time to stop the birds from becoming the main course at Thanksgiving dinner.

The film, which cost $55 million to make, was co-financed by privately held Relativity Media and Reel FX Animation Studios.

Rounding out the charts, 3-D space thriller “Gravity” pulled in $13.1 million. The movie’s worldwide total through Sunday topped $425 million, according to Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc. “Bad Grandpa,” released by Viacom Inc unit Paramount Pictures, brought its total to $62.1 million through two weekends.

“Escape Plan,” the prison-escape thriller teaming Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, fell out of the top 10 to No. 11 in only its third week in release, with $2.3 million in receipts for a total of $21.6 million.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Music

The Handsome Family on 'True Detective' Emmy and…

When asked to describe The Handsome Family’s latest album, Rennie Sparks channels Rust Cohle of “True Detective.” “A strange problem that humans have is that…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.