Box Office: Contagion Scares Up First Place

Contagion (2011) Movie PosterSteven Soderbergh’s all-too-possible killer virus movie “Contagion” scared up first place at the box office, saving society to the tune of $23 million in its first week debut according to studio estimates. The A-list ensemble drama easily beat out the less-star heavy “Warrior”, which opened in third place with $5.6 million despite a strong PR push in the days leading up to the film’s release. The MMA film, budgeted at $25 million, only opened in 1,869 screens, about 1,500 less than “Contagion”.

“Contagion’s” debut kicked Dreamworks’ “The Help” out of the top spot for the first time in a month, dropping the period drama to second place with $8.7 million. In just five weeks of release, the film has earned $137 million in domestic box office so far, and $140 million worldwide. Obviously given the film’s subject matter and American-centric setting, it’s probably not going to find a wide audience overseas. Then again, the film was made for a cheap $25 million, and I think it’s safe to say it’s a bona fide hit, and everything after this is pure gravy.

With “Contagion” ruling the roost, “The Help” holding strong to second place, and “Warrior” opening in third, two other new releases of note, the raunchy indie comedy “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” and the creature feature “Creature” failed to crack the Top 10. Defining all logic, “Creature” opened in 1,507 screens (nearly as many as “Warrior”!), pulling in an embarrassing $331,000, for a $220 per screen average. “Warrior”, by comparison, had a $3,000 per screen average, while “Contagion” was expectedly tops with $7,180 per screen. Honestly, whoever thought a movie like “Creature” was going to benefit from such a wide release needs to have their head examined. Did they even see this movie before putting up the money?

But hey, I guess the guys who thought Nick Swardson could be a star ala “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star” are no geniuses, either.

Nick Swardso and Christina Ricci in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star (2011) Movie Image