‘End of Watch’ Earns $13.2 Million to End Box-Office Tie

“End of Watch,” a police drama from Open Road Films, collected $13.2 million in weekend box-office sales in the U.S. and Canada to lead all other movies and break a rare tie for first place.

“House at the End of the Street,” a horror film from Relativity Media, collected $12.3 million, according to an e-mailed statement today from Hollywood.com Box-Office, an industry researcher. The two films initially tied for first place with $13 million in revenue. “Trouble With the Curve,” starring Clint Eastwood, finished third with $12.2 million.

The No. 1 finish is a win for one of Hollywood’s smaller distributors in a weekend when sales overall fell. “End of Watch” is from Open Road Films, a joint venture of cinema operators Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., while “House at the End of the Street” is from Relativity Media LLC. Sales for the top 12 films declined 29 percent from the year-ago period.

“We’ve seen the trend over these last several weeks of fairly tepid box-office results, and I guess this weekend kind of continued that trend,” said Paul Sweeney, a media analyst at Bloomberg Industries.

“End of Watch” stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as police officers assigned to patrol the most dangerous neighborhoods of South Los Angeles. The hazards increase after they run afoul of a particularly ruthless gang.

Haunted House

In “House at the End of the Street,” “The Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence plays a teen who learns too much about a double homicide committed years earlier in the house next door. Elisabeth Shue is featured as the girl’s mother. The film was expected to take in $14.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

“It’s a younger demo, a male demo,” Sweeney said of the target demographic for both films. “Those are always tough demos to hit for Hollywood.”

“Trouble with the Curve” from Warner Bros., stars Eastwood as aging professional baseball scout Gus Lobel, who tries to keep his job while battling failing eyesight and a trend toward computer-based scouting. His daughter, played by Amy Adams, tries to help by accompanying Lobel on an important scouting trip. Justin Timberlake co-stars as a washed-up pitcher who is attracted to the young woman.

Sales Forecast

The film was expected to generate $18.7 million in opening-weekend sales, the estimate of Box Office Mojo.

“It’s a modest disappointment,” Sweeney said. “Clint Eastwood movies, while they may not always be blockbusters, tend to play well over the next few weeks” after release.

Industry analysts have speculated whether Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention, in which he conducted a “dialogue” with an empty chair, would influence the public’s interest in his film, Sweeney said. A Pew Research Center poll found that Eastwood’s appearance was the highlight of the convention, ahead of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.

“This is his first release after his performance at the convention so investors I’ve spoken to were looking to see how this might impact the opening,” Sweeney said.

Among returning films, “Finding Nemo 3D,” a re-release of the 2003 animated hit, fell to fourth from second place, taking in $9.6 million for Walt Disney Co. The film is the fifth release in Disney’s plan to re-issue classic films in a three-dimensional format.

‘Resident Evil’

“Resident Evil: Retribution,” the fifth installment in the zombie-invasion franchise, fell to fifth place from first with $6.7 million in sales. The film stars Milla Jovovich as Alice, a skilled warrior who battles zombies and the powerful corporation that created them.

“Dredd,” an action film from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., opened in sixth place with $6.3 million in sales. The movie stars Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, a remorseless enforcer of justice in a future America dominated by powerful criminals. Olivia Thirlby co-stars as a rookie cop that Dredd is assigned to train. The film follows Walt Disney Co.’s 1995 movie, “Judge Dredd,” which starred Sylvester Stallone.

“The Master,” director Paul Thomas Anderson’s tale of a troubled World War II veteran who is ensnared by a cult, was seventh with sales of $4.4 million.

The film, from Weinstein Co., stars Joaquin Phoenix as a veteran struggling to adapt to peacetime life and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the charismatic leader of a spiritual movement. It has attracted attention because of comparisons between Hoffman’s character and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films fell to $75 million from the year-earlier period, Hollywood.com said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 2.5 percent to $7.92 billion, with attendance up 1.3 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 END OF WATCH       $13.2    2,730   $4,818   --    $13.2    1
 2 HOUSE AT THE END    12.3    3,083    3,985   --     12.3    1
 3 TROUBLE WITH CURVE  12.2    3,212    3,786   --     12.2    1
 4 FINDING NEMO (3-D)   9.6    2,904    3,320  -42     30.2    2
 5 RESIDENT EVIL        6.7    3,016    2,222  -68     33.5    2
 6 DREDD (3-D)          6.3    2,506    2,505   --      6.3    1
 7 THE MASTER           4.4      788    5,572  496      5.4    2
 8 THE POSSESSION       2.6    2,598    1,017  -54     45.3    4
 9 PARANORMAN (3-D)     2.3    1,617    1,451  -24     52.6    6
10 LAWLESS              2.3    2,614      875  -47     34.5    4
11 THE BOURNE LEGACY    1.6    1,431    1,125  -44    110.4    7
12 TIMOTHY GREEN        1.5    1,752      881  -41     48.7    6

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $75.0 $105.9 -29

Year-to-date Revenue

2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $7,921 $7,731 +2.5 Year-to-date Attendance: +1.3%