The folks at Relativity Media must be feeling as powerful as Olympian warriors.
The small distributor celebrated its biggest movie debut ever over the weekend as "Immortals" topped the box office with a better-than-expected $32 million. With future Superman Henry Cavill leading the cast, the 3-D epic set in ancient Greece successfully fended off the latest new releases from Adam Sandler and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sandler's "Jack and Jill," in which the comedian plays dual roles as a twin brother and sister, was #2 with a $26 million debut. The film's opening was less than that of his "Just Go With It" from earlier this year and most Sandler comedies in general. The broad comedy had a reported $79 million production budget. The "Jack and Jill" opening weekend number was barely enough to beat last weekend's #1 movie, "Puss in Boots," which was #3 this weekend with $25.5 million for a $108.8 million total.
DiCaprio's "J. Edgar" opened at #5 with $11.5 million. The Clint Eastwood-directed biopic played on significantly fewer screens than "Immortals" or "Jack and Jill." None of the weekend's new wide releases have been well-received by film critics, with "Jack and Jill" suffering the worst fate of the three. The film sat with a paltry 3 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer at press time.
"Tower Heist" dropped 49 percent in ticket sales during its second weekend of release, landing at #4. The caper comedy was directed by Brett Ratner, who made headlines last week when he stepped away from producing the 2012 Academy Awards broadcast following his use of a distasteful homophobic slur at a "Tower Heist" Q&A. "Tower Heist" star Eddie Murphy also stepped down as Oscar host shortly thereafter. The caper comedy made $13.2 million over the weekend for a $43.9 million total.
Filmmaker Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" earned $265,000 in just 19 locations. The dark and fantastical film has enjoyed impressive reviews from film critics (with Kirsten Dunst's performance figuring prominently) and had been available on iTunes for some time already.
Next weekend's new releases include director Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," with George Clooney in a role that has already generated Oscar buzz, and a little movie called "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1."
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