Real Steel and The Ides of March both debuted in line with expectations this weekend.

First Place Debut of $27.3 Million for ‘Real Steel’

on October 10, 2011 by Daniel Garris

As was widely expected, Real Steel easily led this weekend's box office with $27.32 million. The Disney released DreamWorks film starring Hugh Jackman opened towards the higher end of pre-release expectations. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Real Steel delivered the third largest Columbus Day weekend debut of all-time (behind only 2009's Couples Retreat and 2000's Meet the Parents). After opening with $8.53 million on Friday, Real Steel held up nicely over the rest of the weekend to record an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.20 to 1. That is a good early sign for the film's holding power going forward, as is it's A rating from CinemaScore. The film's strong increase on Saturday also indicates that the film is connecting with family audiences.

Real Steel received an added boost from IMAX grosses, as it grossed $3.2 million from 270 domestic IMAX locations.

With the aid of Real Steel this weekend, Disney's total domestic grosses for the year have now surpassed the $1 billion milestone.

Given the film's pricey production budget and marketing costs, Real Steel will need to perform especially well internationally. The film was off to a solid international start this weekend with $22.1 million. That places the worldwide start for Real Steel at $49.4 million. Key international debuts this weekend included $6.9 million in Russia, $5.4 million in Australia and $2.9 million in Mexico.

Sony's The Ides of March debuted in a distant second place with $10.47 million. The George Clooney directed political thriller starring Clooney and Ryan Gosling opened on the lower end of pre-release expectations. The Ides of March was produced for a modest $12.5 million and played in 2,199 locations. The film opened nearly on par with the $10.37 million grossed by 2007's Michael Clayton in its first weekend of wide release. However, whether or not The Ides of March can duplicate the strong holding power of Michael Clayton remains to be seen. The Ides of March registered a so-so B rating from CinemaScore. The film's opening weekend audience skewed fairly heavily towards female moviegoers (58 percent) and moviegoers 35 and over (60 percent).

Like Disney, Sony's total domestic grosses for the year have now surpassed the $1 billion milestone.

Dolphin Tale fell two spots and 34 percent to claim third place with $9.13 million. After a terrific hold last weekend, the 3D family film from Warner Bros. took a bit of a punch from Real Steel this weekend, which is a bit surprising given that Real Steel isn't solely a family film. With that said, Dolphin Tale continues to exceed expectations with a 17-day gross of $49.04 million and could experience a stronger hold next weekend. Dolphin Tale is currently running 31 percent ahead of the pace of last year's Secretariat and is currently on course for a final domestic gross in the $75 million to $80 million range.

Sony's Moneyball fell two spots and 38 percent to finish in fourth with $49.21 million. The critically acclaimed baseball drama starring Brad Pitt continues to display good, but not great, holding power. Moneyball has grossed $49.21 million in 17 days, which places the film 8 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's Burn After Reading and 21 percent behind the pace of last year's The Social Network. At its current pace, Moneyball is headed for a final domestic gross in the neighborhood of $70 million.

50/50 rounded out the weekend's top five with $5.65 million. The Summit release starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen fell a solid 35 percent from last weekend's debut. 50/50 has grossed $17.48 million through ten days of release. While the film certainly isn't lighting the box office on fire, it is having a respectable run so far given its $8 million production budget and solid early holding power.

Not holding up as well was Sony's Courageous. Despite an A+ rating from CinemaScore, the low-budget faith-based film was down a sizable 47 percent to take sixth place this weekend with $4.87 million. Courageous has grossed $16.16 million in ten days, placing it 30 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's Fireproof. If Courageous follows in the footsteps of Fireproof, it could begin to hold up much better starting next weekend.

Additional reporting by Phil Contrino.

Follow @DanielBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional box office updates.

Tags: Courageous, 50/50, Moneyball, Dolphin Tale, The Ides of March, Real Steel

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