'Ender's Game' battles to U.S., Canada box office win

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "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.'"

A-LIST CAST

"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 3D 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, 3D 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.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud.; Editing by Christopher Wilson)

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Advertisers ditch TLC's troubled '19 Kids and Counting'
    Advertisers ditch TLC's troubled '19 Kids and Counting'

    By Daina Beth Solomon and Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four advertisers pulled out of TLC's reality show "19 Kids and Counting," putting pressure on the U.S. cable network to decide the fate of the top-rated programme about a Christian family after reports that the eldest son had molested underage girls. Retailers Walgreen Co and Payless Shoesource Inc, and hotel chain group Choice Hotels International Inc on Tuesday followed the lead of General Mills Inc in removing their ads …

  • U.S. playwright, actor Sam Shepard arrested on drunken driving charge
    U.S. playwright, actor Sam Shepard arrested on drunken driving charge

    (Reuters) - Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested in New Mexico on suspicion of drunken driving, police said on Tuesday. Shepard, 71, told police he had consumed roughly two tequila drinks at a downtown Santa Fe restaurant on Monday evening, police spokeswoman Andrea Dobyns said. Shepard was booked into the Santa Fe County Jail on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated, according to online records. …

  • Singapore's foreign maids exploited by agents, employers
    Singapore's foreign maids exploited by agents, employers

    By Astrid Zweynert SINGAPORE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The promise of a salary five times what she could make at home prompted Nabila to leave Indonesia and her family for a job as a domestic worker in Singapore. What she did not realise was that it would be eight months before she earned a cent because of deductions made by the employment agency that brought her to Singapore. "I came to Singapore because I need money for my two children so that they can go to school. …

  • Broadway 2014-2015 season is best ever with $1.36 billion in grosses

    Broadway enjoyed its highest-grossing season in history with $1.36 billion in 2014-2015 and audience attendance topping 13.1 million, the Broadway League said on Tuesday. "It's been an extraordinary season on Broadway, and I'm thrilled that we have broken all records," Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. …

  • Judge to hold hearing on whether Shakira's copyright accuser lied
    Judge to hold hearing on whether Shakira's copyright accuser lied

    By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge who ruled that pop star Shakira's 2010 hit single "Loca" was an illegal copy of a Dominican songwriter's work now says the songwriter may have lied on the stand and is prepared to head to Puerto Rico to sort out the truth. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday that new evidence presented by two Sony Corp units, the defendants in the case, have caused him to "lose trust" in the trial testimony. …

  • Jessica Lange to return to Broadway in 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'
    Jessica Lange to return to Broadway in 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'

    Two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange will return to Broadway next year in a revival of American playwright Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece "Long Day's Journey Into Night," the Roundabout Theatre Company said on Tuesday. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which will be part of the theatre company's 50th anniversary season, will be Lange's third time on Broadway. "Long Day's Journey Into Night" will begin previews on March 31, 2016, and officially open on April 19, the company said. …

  • Macau casinos seek resort cure for China gambling hangover
    Macau casinos seek resort cure for China gambling hangover

    By Farah Master HONG KONG (Reuters) - As revenue plummets at China's only legal gambling hub, global casino operators have a new mantra - what happens in Vegas, must also happen in Macau. Diversifying into hotels, entertainment and retail is the only game in town for companies like Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group . Nevada's casino giants blazed a trail in 1999, as Las Vegas sought to shed its 'Sin City' image and become a tourist destination, and non-gaming now …

  • Luxottica sets its sights on restoring Venice bridge

    The Italian eyewear group Luxottica will pay to restore and maintain the only wooden bridge over Venice's Grand Canal, becoming the latest in a string of private companies to put money into Italy's fragile landmarks. The Ray Ban maker has pledged 1.7 million euros ($1.85 million) to renovate the 48-metre Ponte dell'Accademia, which crosses from the lagoon city's main island to its south bank. Vittorio Zappalorto, Venice's special commissioner since its mayor resigned in a corruption scandal …

Loading...