Box Office: Moviegoers Prefer to do it Couples Style

Sure, the trailers looked predictable and you could see the jokes coming a half million miles away, but thanks to the absence of any competition from major studio releases, the Universal Pictures comedy “Couples Retreat” easily took the box office with $35 million in its debut, according to studio estimates. That was about $15 million more than industry predictions, once again proving that “industry insiders” don’t know squat about what people want to see.

The Vince Vaughn-Jon Favreau comedy was geared towards older audiences, and that’s who turned out in droves, including a majority of women. The film fended off bad reviews from critics and leaned on a solid premise to beat back the zombie hordes of “Zombieland”, knocking that picture off the #1 perch to #2. Still, “Zombieland” continues its surprising showing at the box office, taking another solid $15 million in its second week of release. The Woody Harrelson horror-comedy has earned a robust $47.8 million in two weeks.

The children’s CG movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” also continues its own strong run at the box office, holding onto the third spot with another $12 million in its fourth week of release, giving it a 4-week total of $96 million so far. The film has earned an additional $5 million and change from overseas markets, but has yet to open in major movie markets like China and Japan.

The 3D re-release of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” fell one spot to #4 in its second week of re-release with a $7.6 million haul, giving it a 2-week total of $22.6 million. Disney must want to hype up the upcoming release of “Toy Story 3”, due out sometime in the Summer of 2010.

Rounding out the Top 5 was the low-budget horror movie “Paranormal Activity”, which opened wider in its third week of release thanks to strong word of mouth. The film, shot on a shoe-string budget in a faux documentary style, earned $7 million from 160 screens, giving it a whopping $44,163 per screen box office. To put that in perspective, the re-release of the “Toy Story” opened in over 1,600 more screens, but earned just $600,000 more than “Paranormal Activity” from the same weekend. My guess is that you’re going to see even more screens added for the little horror movie that could in the coming weeks.

Box Office Top 10 (via):

.1 Couples Retreat $35,340,000 $35,340,000
.2 Zombieland $15,000,000 $47,801,000
.3 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $12,000,000 $96,251,000
.4 Toy Story / Toy Story 2 (3D) $7,674,000 $22,676,000
.5 Paranormal Activity $7,066,000 $8,280,000
.6 Surrogates $4,115,000 $32,573,000
.7 The Invention of Lying $3,370,000 $12,327,000
.8 Whip It $2,800,000 $8,766,000
.9 Capitalism: A Love Story $2,700,000 $9,095,000
.10 Fame (2009) $2,556,000 $20,042,000