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Box Office: Sandler, DiCaprio can't beat No. 1 'Immortals' [Updated]

November 13, 2011 | 10:01 am

Immortals was the No 1 film athte box office this weekend
"Immortals" fought off the competition at the box office this weekend, emerging victorious with the No. 1 title.

The film, an expensive 3-D sword-and-sandals epic, claimed the top spot with a solid $32 million, according to an estimate from distributor Relativity Media. That was enough to fend off Adam Sandler's cross-dressing comedy "Jack and Jill," which took in a decent $26 million. The Clint Eastwood-directed "J. Edgar" biopic, meanwhile, collected a modest $11.5 million.

"Immortals" marks Relativity's biggest self-released opening ever. That's welcome news for the independent studio, many of whose films -- including "Machine Gun Preacher" and "Take Me Home Tonight" -- have failed to resonate with audiences in recent months. The company made a big bet on "Immortals," spending about $80 million to produce the Tarsem Singh-directed picture and at least $50 million more to market it. 

The audience for "Immortals" was composed largely of young males, a demographic that has proved difficult to lure into theaters in recent months. About 66% of the audience -- 75% of which was younger than 35, and 60% of which was male -- opted to shell out a few extra bucks to watch the movie in 3-D. The film attracted a diverse crowd, as roughly 35% of the audience was Hispanic. Moviegoers assigned "Immortals" an average grade of B, according to market research firm CinemaScore -- the same score that both "Jack and Jill" and "J. Edgar" received this weekend.

"Immortals," set in ancient Greece and starring future "Superman" Henry Cavill, was produced by the filmmakers behind the 2006 blockbuster "300."

"Immortals" will fail to generate the kind of revenues that film did, however," as "300" ended up raking in more than $450 million worldwide. This weekend, "Immortals" opened internationally in 35 foreign markets, collecting an estimated $36 million. The film performed especially well in the United Kingdom, Russia and Greece, claiming the No. 1 spot in each country. Relativity is not self-releasing the film overseas, however -- the company presold the film to a number of foreign distributors, minimizing the upside if "Immortals" is successful abroad.

"Jack and Jill" is one of the lowest debuts Sandler has had with a broad commercial comedy. In the last decade, most of the actor's similarly themed films have started off with between $30 million and $40 million. The opening for "Jack and Jill" is only slightly higher than that of 2009's "Funny People," the Judd Apatow-directed comedy about cancer that premiered with about $22 million.

Sony Pictures spent about $79 million to make "Jack and Jill," which appealed to a 53% family audience this weekend. While Sandler's films typically maintain strong holds at the box office, a number of kid-centric pictures are opening around Thanksgiving and will present some serious competition.

The film could make up some ground overseas, where Sandler's big comedies have crossed the $100-million milestone in recent years. The movie -- which received a dismal 3% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- grossed $2.7 million from Mexico and Colombia this weekend.

Eastwood's film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, appealed largely to an older crowd this weekend. About 66% of those who saw the picture were older than 50.

While "J. Edgar" earned the best reviews of any new film released this weekend, critics did not like it nearly as much as some of Eastwood's other recent movies. In an effort to spread positive word-of-mouth about the picture, Warner Bros. released the movie in seven theaters on Wednesday. Including those midweek grosses, the film has now made $11.6 million.

"J. Edgar," which was produced for about $35 million, opened to slightly less than Eastwood's last film, "Hereafter." That movie also earned middling reviews, debuting last year with $12 million and ultimately collecting $32.7 million domestically. The film did far better abroad, however, where it grossed $72.5 million. It remains to be seen how "J. Edgar" -- which has far more American themes than the supernatural "Hereafter" -- will fare internationally.

[Updated at 12:57 p.m. Nov. 13: Is Justin Timberlake the latest Hollywood star to hold surprising clout overseas? The singer-turned-actor is hardly Johnny Depp, but his last few films have done better abroad than domestically. "In Time," his sci-fi action flick released in the U.S. three weeks ago, has already collected $53.7 million abroad compared to its $30.7-million stateside tally. The Andrew Niccol-directed movie is currently playing in 53 foreign countries and has performed best in Russia, where it has grossed $13.2 million. The film, which also stars Amanda Seyfried, has yet to open in a number of major international markets, including France and Japan.

The last film in which the actor had a major role, July's romantic comedy "Friends With Benefits," also did well abroad. The movie costarring Mila Kunis made $93.7 million of its $149.5 million global total internationally. Even "Bad Teacher" -- the raunchy summer comedy in which he had a supporting role -- and last year's "Yogi Bear" -- in which he voiced the animated sidekick Boo Boo -- sold slightly more ticket sales in foreign countries than in the U.S.

Here are the top 10 current movies at the domestic box office, with international grosses when available, according to studio estimates and

1. "Immortals" (Relativity): Opened to $32 million. $36 million overseas in 35 foreign markets.

2. "Jack and Jill" (Sony): Opened to $26 million. $2.7 million overseas in two foreign markets.

3. "Puss in Boots" (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation): $25.5 million on its third weekend, down 23%. $4.5 million overseas in four foreign markets. Domestic total: $108.8 million. International total: $48.1 million.

4. "Tower Heist" (Universal/Relativity): $13.2 million on its second weekend, down 45%. $7.6 million overseas in 36 foreign markets. Domestic total: $43.9 million. International total: $20.6 million.

5. "J. Edgar" (Warner Bros.): Opened to $11.5 million. Domestic total: $11.6 million.

6. "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" (Warner Bros./New Line): $5.9 million on its second weekend, down 54%. Domestic total: $23.2 million.

7. "In Time" (Fox/New Regency): $4.2 million on its third weekend, down 45%. $8.5 million overseas in 53 foreign markets. Domestic total: $30.7 million. International total: $53.7 million.

8. "Paranormal Activity 3" (Paramount): $3.6 million on its fourth weekend, down 57%. $7.1 million overseas in 52 foreign markets. Domestic total: $100.8 million. International total: $88.6 million.

9. "Footloose" (Paramount): $2.7 million on its fifth weekend, down 39%. Domestic total: $48.9 million.

10. "Real Steel" (Disney/DreamWorks): $2 million on its sixth weekend, down 42%. $12 million overseas in 41 foreign markets. Domestic total: $81.7 million. International total: $147.5 million.]


Movie review: 'J. Edgar'

Relativity Media is at a crossroads

Movie Projector: 'Immortals' poised to conquer box office

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Henry Cavill stars in "Immortals." Credit: Relativity Media