Every Monday we all gather on the Internet or around the proverbial water cooler to discuss how much money such-and-such movie made over the weekend. What does that mean, though? If a movie grosses $500 million in three days, it’s plenty impressive, but how many people actually SAW it? That’s what “Butts in Seats” is all about. Using an average ticket price of $7.86 – the national average ticket price as of Q1 2011 – “Butt in Seats” gives you an idea of just how many people crammed their posteriors into theater seats over the course of the weekend. Note that all attendance figures higher than one million are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand; those that fall below one million are rounded to the nearest ten thousand.
September is a funny time of year for the movies. The summer tentpoles are long gone and the awards-season Oscarbait is only just starting to cry for your attention. What we're often left with are largely solid films -- the crap is saved for the start of the year -- that, for one reason or another, don't have the hype or audience expectations built up that you might expect them to.
That's why Disney's The Lion King 3D, a new conversion of the 1994 animated film, managed to beat out the other three newly opened wide releases over the weekend. Also, it was in 3D only. Using our usual average 3D ticket price of $11.86, that means there were 2.5 million Butts in Seats for the $29.3 million-grossing opener.
The higher ticket price means there's a much narrower gap between the Butts gathered for that and last week's other three newcomers. The previous week's Contagion beat out the others for the No. 2 spot, with $14.5 million at the box office and an attendance of roughly 1.8 million.
Drive is the first total newcomer to place in the charts, at No. 3. The $11 million in tickets sold equates to roughly 1.4 million Butts for the 2D-only feature. The numbers tail off significantly after that, however.
The Help came in at No. 4, with $6.4 million at the box office and 800,000 Butts. It's been a huge performer for Buena Vista, though, with a total domestic gross of $147.4 million and a whopping 18.8 million Butts since its Aug. 10 release.
Last week's other two newcomers round out the fifth and sixth spots. Straw Dogs, the Screen Gems remake of the 1971 thriller from Sam Peckinpah, took in an even $5 million, for 640,000 tickets sold. That's followed closely by The Weinstein Company's Sarah Jessica Parker-starring comedy, I Don't Know How She Does It. The $4.5 million box office total equates to roughly 570,000 Butts.