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Weekend Box Office: How Christian Science nearly beat cancer

In one of the most tepid box office weeks of the year, a modestly successful Dolphin Tale scored a modestly impressive $14.6 million in its second week, enough to ascend to #1 on a weekend where few new releases drew much interest. How bad was it? The Lion King 3-D is due to come out in a four-disc 3-D/Blu-ray/DVD/digital version on Tuesday, and it still outpaced the four movies that opened on Friday. With solid reviews and strong word-of-mouth, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Seth Rogen cancer dramedy 50/50 seemed to have the best chance out of the gate, but the subject matter was likely a stumbling block, despite the fact that the hero’s fate is known. (Hint: He wrote the screenplay.) It earned $8.86 million for fourth. But there was one big success story this weekend: Courageous, the latest Christian entertainment from the folks behind the Kirk Cameron hit Fireproof, opened in fifth with $8.8 million, but on less than half of 50/50’s screens. Its $7,580 per screen average is a testament to the successful outreach efforts of Hollywood outsiders. Courageous also scored a rare “A+” CinemaScore, so the converted clearly enjoyed the sermon. The non-screened-for-critics horror film Dream House and the unfortunately-screened-for-critics rom-com What’s Your Number? fared less well, with $8.2 million and $5.6 million, respectively. No doubt Real Steel will sort out this mess but good when it opens Friday.

In limited release, the Michael Shannon juggernaut Take Shelter opened strong on good reviews, taking $18,733 per screen on three screens, and the touchy-feely Joseph Campbell self-help doc Finding Joe scored a decent $9,600 on one screen. The long-delayed, heavily litigated Margaret was dumped into theaters by Fox Searchlight, which had no interest in promoting its six-year-long headache. With just $3,750 per screen on two screens, Kenneth Lonergan’s troubled drama is looking like prime grist for Nathan Rabin’s My Year Of Flops mill.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.


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