The buzz this morning over Ben Affleck’s heist thriller The Town taking the number one slot on its opening weekend is that it’s a rare victory for an adult-oriented movie over more juvenile also-rans. On the one hand, yippee: The Town was the best-reviewed opener—smart, capably directed, and well-acted—and it’s the type of movie that Hollywood should be producing with regularity. On the other, c’mon: This is a straightforward, action-packed, meat-and-potatoes genre picture, not a deep cut in Carl Dreyer’s filmography. How bad has it gotten that we need to single out those rare examples of studio movies that aren’t completely braindead? In any case, The Town cruised to #1 with $23.8 million, enough to outpace the mostly well-received Emma Stone vehicle Easy A, which finished strong in second with $18.2 million (and on an $8 million budget to boot). That left the M. Night Shyamalan-produced stinker Devil to limp into third with $12.6 million, a total that probably at least covers the cost of the elevator set that takes up half its screen time.
In limited release, the Sundance sensation Catfish performed strongly with $21,250 per screen on 12 screens, though it’s long-term prospects may be affected by how much its surprises have leaked out. The Mark Romanek-directed drama Never Let Me Go did even better with $30,250 on four screens, and looks to capitalize on early awards-season buzz. The news wasn’t as good for Jack Goes Boating, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, which scored only $7,500 on four screens and lacks the critical support necessary for better returns down the line.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.