Vin Diesel helped light up what is usually a dark post-Labor Day box office period, with Universal’s franchise pic “Riddick” scoring a solid estimated $18.7 million domestically. The film claimed the weekend’s No. 1 spot, unseating the Weinstein Co.’s “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which stayed strong in second place with $8.9 million. The three-week champ, which fell just 40% in its fourth frame, reached $91.9 million Stateside through Sunday.
Total domestic box office was up over this time last year by roughly 25%, thanks also to a excellent expansion for Lionsgate-Pantelion’s “Instructions Not Included.” The Hispanic-targeted crowdpleaser earned $8.1 million from just 717 locations, up from 384 last weekend, for a U.S. cume now past $20 million.
It was a sci-fi-themed weekend globally: Sony’s futuristic pic “Elysium” ranked first overseas with an estimated $21.2 million, of which China contributed $11.7 million in its first weekend locally. In total, “Elysium” has cumed $127 million internationally and $212 million worldwide.
While “Riddick” defied the post-Labor Day slump, the film still came in on the low-side of expectations. Pic opened with less than its predecessor’s $24 million debut in 2004, but the $38 million three-quel outperformed the original film, 2000′s “Pitch Black,” which grossed $11.6 million during opening weekend.
“We always try to find the right time for the right films,” said Universal distribution prexy Nikki Rocco. “This was an inexpensive venture for Universal, and we wanted Vin to have the No. 1 film.”
Not surprisingly, “Riddick” earned most of its opening from men, at 59%, with Hispanics contributing a sizable 37% of the gross. Imax also helped with fanboy appeal, posting $2.5 million of the domestic opening.
article by Andrew Stewart via variety.com