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Weekend Box Office: Kids and old-timers rule, briefly

One week after Jackass: Bad Grandpastarring a little kid and Johnny Knoxville in old-age makeup—pulled an unexpected box-office coup, audiences continued to feed their apparent interest in adventurous preteens and horny retirees. Ender's Game, about a bunch of futuristic military brats, made $28 million, which was enough to put it at the top of the charts, but considerably less than the debut gross of that other franchise about kids competing in dangerous games. Did Summit overestimate interest in Orson Scott Card's YA-leaning science fiction property? Did they underestimate the extent to which Card's homophobic remarks would hurt the movie's chances? Or, after spending the last month seeing (and re-seeing) Gravity, are audiences just a little spaced out? Any way you come at it, Ender's Game has a rough future ahead of it, what with both Thor and Katniss Everdeen returning to theaters before Thanksgiving.

For its elderly hijinks fix, America turned again to Bad Grandpa (which dipped just 36 percent to $20.5 million, enough to secure it the runner-up spot on the charts), but also to this week's geriatric tag-team effort, Last Vegas. The new "comedy" came in third with $16.5 million—a failure in Morgan Freeman terms, a rousing success in Kevin Kline terms. Landing right below this double dose of senior moments was Free Birds, which sounds like a Wild Hogs-style comedy about Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda taking a Viagra-fueled road trip, but is actually a new animated family flick about time-traveling turkeys. It brought in just $16.2 million, making it the latest 2013 cartoon—after Escape From Planet Earth, Epic, and Turbo—to underperform. On the other hand, Free Birds could get a boost in a few weeks around the holiday it depicts. What better way for the nation's vegetarian minors to guilt-trip their families about the turkey dinners they just annihilated?


Speaking of annihilation, all these movies will soon be reduced to dust by Thor: The Dark World, which hits American screens in a few days. A week before its stateside premiere, the second solo outing for Chris Hemsworth's Avenger hammered the international market, though its $109.4 million intake is shy of what Iron Man 3 took in during its pre-U.S.A. debut in April. Back on these shores, Gravity and Captain Phillips continued to hold strong, while 12 Years A Slave expanded nicely. About Time, on the other hand, disappointed with $1.1 million on 175 screens. What gives? It's got both adorable tykes and a jokey old guy in Bill Nighy.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.


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