"Real Steel" was the clear victor at the box office this weekend. The action-packed robot-boxing movie took in $27.3 million, according to studio estimates, which easily bested the rest of the flicks in theaters, both new and old.
Of course, the contest wasn't exactly along the lines of George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali. Industry watchers long suspected the mass audience appeal of "Real Steel" to beat the suspenseful nature of George Clooney's "The Ides of March."
"Real Steel" features Hugh Jackman opposite Dakota Goyo, a generally relatable 11-year-old. It features effects-heavy action, a family story and big thrills aimed at a broad audience. It was also executive-produced by Steven Spielberg. DreamWorks will undoubtedly continue to campaign hard for "Real Steel," considering its estimated $110 million budget.
The weekend's #2 movie, "The Ides of March," is a dramatic tale of political intrigue aimed for a more discerning, grown-up audience. "Ides" was directed and co-written by George Clooney, who also stars. It debuted with $10.4 million. Clooney's face is split on the poster with co-star Ryan Gosling, whose "Drive" opened with $11.3 million in August by comparison.
Last weekend's #1 movie, "Dolphin Tale," slid gracefully to #3 with $9.2 million for a $49.1 million total — a decline of just 34 percent. Brad Pitt's "Moneyball" took in $7.5 million to land at #4 with a $49.3 million total.
The Joseph Gordon-Levitt/ Seth Rogen dramedy "50/50" was #5, with $5.5 million in its second weekend of release. The low-budget picture has made $17.3 million playing in roughly two-thirds the number of theaters as "Real Steel."
"The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence" took $54,000 in just 18 theaters in its debut.
Next weekend's new releases include a pair of blasts from the past: the remake of "Footloose" and the remake-turned-prequel "The Thing." They'll open alongside a handful of smaller pictures with big stars including "Fireflies in the Garden" (Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds), "Trespass" (Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman), "Father of Invention" (Kevin Spacey) and "Texas Killing Fields" (Sam Worthington). "The Big Year," which stars Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin, debuts as well.
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