‘Cloud Atlas’: Moviegoers Shrug So ‘Argo’ Is Winning Box Office

"Argo" is on pace for No. 1 with $13M in its third week.  The Tom Hanks sci-fi saga "Cloud Atlas" is looking at $10M, "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" at $9.5M " as "Chasing Mavericks" and "Fun Size" fizzle

"Argo" is winning the box office in its third week of release as four wide-opening movies, including the Tom Hanks sci-fi epic "Cloud Atlas," failed to generate much enthusiasm Friday.

Ben Affleck's Iran hostage thriller took in $3.9 million from 2,855 screens and is on track for about $13 million over the three days. Friday’s take raises the overall domestic gross for “Argo" to $52 million. With a budget of $44 million and most of its foreign run ahead, it's a hit for Warner Bros.

"Cloud Atlas" is looking at a $10.3 million first weekend after bringing in $3.4 million from 2,008 screens Friday.

Also read: 'Cloud Atlas': What the Critics Think of 'The Matrix' Team's Divisive Epic

Warner Bros., which is distributing in North America, had hoped for more out of "Cloud Atlas." Analysts had projected an opening of $13 million going into the weekend. Its challenging material — the adaptation of David Mitchell's sprawling sci-fi 2004 novel tells six interweaving stories — and nearly three-hour run time may have proved daunting to audiences. It earned just a "C+" CinemaScore from those who saw it, so word of mouth won't be strong.

“Cloud Atlas” is the first film from the Wachowskis’ — the team behind "The Matrix" — in four years. With a $100 million budget, it's among the most expensive independent movies ever. Andy and Lana Wachowski directed the film along with Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”). Hanks and Halle Berry top an ensemble cast that includes Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae  and Susan Sarandon.

Open Road Entertainment’s R-rated horror film “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” debuted with $3.5 million from 2,931 locations on Friday. That projects to an $9.5 million weekend, well below the $20 million bow of the original “Silent Hill,” which opened No. 1 in April 2006.

With a "B+," Fox’s PG-rated “Chasing Mavericks” had the best CinemaScore of any of the openers. But it took in less than $1 million Friday from 2,000 locations. That means a roughly $2.5 million weekend, and the surf film starring Gerard Butler may not even make the top ten.

The same is true for Paramount’s teen comedy “Fun Size," which took in $1.3 million from 3,014 screens, which pencils out to a $3.7 million weekend. It’s the first PG-13 film developed by Nickelodeon Movies to be released in the U.S. Written by Max Werner, it marks the directing debut of Josh Schwartz. Audiences gave it a "B" CinemaScore.

Paramount’s found-footage horror thriller “Paranormal Activity 4,” which was No. 1 last week with a $32 million opening, is looking at around $9 million for the weekend after taking in $3.1 million Friday from 3,412 locations.

Sony’s PG-rated "Hotel Transylvania" is still going strong in its fifth week and took in $2.5 million from 3,276 theaters Friday, which also translates to a roughly $9 million weekend. Its overall gross is now $123 million.

Lionsgate’s “Alex Cross” brought in $1.6 million from 2,541 theaters Friday, which will put it around $5.4 million for the three days. Another horror film, Summit’s “Sinister,” took in $1.7 million, which projects to a $5.3 million weekend.

Sony's "Here Comes The Boom" brought in $1.6 million at 2,491 locations and should do $5 million for the three days. Its overall gross is $26 million .

While no movie broke out, there was depth in the marketplace, so the overall weekend is only about 10 percent down from the comparable weekend last year, when "Puss and Boots" opened to $34 million.

If “Argo’ hangs on to win the weekend in its third week of release, it will be first film to do so since “True Grit” pulled off the feat in January, 2011.

Earlier …

“Cloud Atlas” has mind-boggling scope, a trio of acclaimed directors including the creators of “The Matrix,” the biggest budget ever for an independent film and Tom Hanks and Halle Berry topping an all-star cast. But it’s no lock to win the box office when it opens this weekend.

With a projected opening of around $13 million, "Cloud Atlas" faces strong competition from Ben Affleck’s resilient “Argo,” which is back for its third week and figures to finish in the same  range, say industry analysts.

After that it's a logjam. Video game-based “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” debuts, and it will compete with last week’s No. 1 film, “Paranormal Activity 4,” for the horror crowd. Sony's over-achieving animated kids film  "Hotel Transylvania" is still going strong and remains in 3,276 theaters in its fifth week. Those three films are likely to finish a few million below the top two, the analysts say,

Add to that mix two youth-skewing openers, the monster-wave surfing film “Chasing Mavericks” and the teen comedy “Fun Size" and you have a very crowded marketplace.

Also read: Transgendered Lana Wachowski: I Made ‘Cloud Atlas’ to Change Those Who Want to Lynch Me

“It’s the last weekend before the holiday movie season begins,” Exhibitor Relations senior analyst Jeff Bock told TheWrap, pointing to the arrival of Disney’s animated “Wreck-it Ralph” on Nov. 2 and Sony’s James Bond thriller “Skyfall” on Nov. 9.

“Over the years, this October weekend has typically been sort of a grab-bag batch of movies in this slot, " Bock added. "This year, it’s a goodie bag. The question is can any of these movies go beyond their target audience?”

If "Argo" rises to the top spot in its third week, it would be the first movie to manage the feat since "True Grit" in January of 2011.

Also read: Ben Affleck: 'Argo' Is a 'Hard Movie to Sell' (Exclusive)

The very strong word of mouth on Ben Affleck's political thriller — it received a rare "A+" CinemaScore from audiences — is translating into just the sort of staying power Warner Bros. envisioned for the awards contender. And with "Cloud Atlas" opening, the studio could well have a 1-2 finish.

Warner Bros. put up $20 million of the estimated $100 million “Cloud Atlas” budget and is distributing the film in North America. The rest was covered by smaller investments, foreign rights sales and by Andy and Lana Wachowski, who directed the film along with Tom Twyker (“Run Lola Run”).

Their adaptation of David Mitchell's sprawling sci-fi 2004 novel tells six interweaving stories that show how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future. One soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

"Forrest Gump" it ain't. With a running time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, the R-rated film will challenge moviegoers.

“Cloud Atlas” will likely be a contender for editing and effects awards and the acting has drawn praise as well. Nearly all of the players — Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae  and Susan Sarandon also star — portray several characters of varying race and gender.

Also read: 'Cloud Atlas' Review: Bends the Brain Without Touching the Heart

But “Cloud Atlas” was one of the most divisive films when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and it has split critics, with some branding it pretentious and plodding, and others hailing its bold visual style and narrative. The review are good but not great. Sixty-six percent of the notices on Rotten Tomatoes are positive, 62 percent at Movie Review Intelligence.

The social media signs aren't strong. Three days prior to its release, "Cloud Atlas" had 109,514 "likes" on Facebook, according to tracking service Boxoffice.com. By comparison, Sony's time-travel tale "Looper" had 232,896 three days prior to its Sept. 28 release. On Twitter, "Looper" had 11,247 mentions five days prior to its release, "Cloud Atlas" had 7,192.

The screen count for the R-rated film is a not-so-wide 2,008 locations including Imax,  which indicates that Warner Bros. knows it is dealing with a unique property that will require special handling. That was true back  in 1999, when it launched the Wachowskis' “The Matrix.” But no one is suggesting "Cloud Atlas" will launch a $1.6 billion franchise.

Open Road Entertainment, which had a surprise No. 1 movie with "End of Watch last month, will have a tougher time with “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.” The R-rated horror film is based on the video game “Silent Hill 3" and is a sequel to “Silent Hill,” which opened No. 1 with $20 million in April 2006.

When her father disappears, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) is drawn into an alternate reality that holds answers to the nightmares that have plagued her since childhood. Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell return as co-stars along with Carrie-Anne Moss. Michael J. Bassett steps in as director and co-wrote with Martin Solibakke.

The presence of "Paranormal Activity 4" and "Sinister" could cut into its audience, but social media activity is solid and Open Road has aggressively marketed "Revelation." It has the film in 2,931 theaters and will get a boost from the 3D premiums. Open Road says it will be happy if it hits $10 million with "Revelation." The production budget was in the $20 million range.

Fox’s “Chasing Mavericks” is based on the life of young surfer Jay Moriarity. It follows his quest to ride America's most dangerous waves, and his friendship with Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), the Santa Cruz local who takes him under his wing.

Also read: 'Chasing Mavericks' Review: Surfing Saga Wipes Out on Dry Land

Newcomer Jonny Weston plays Moriarity, and Elisabeth Shue and Abigail Spencer co-star. Michael Apted directed the last three weeks of principal photography after Curtis Hanson was forced to pull out for health reasons.

Fox has the PG film in roughly 2,000 theaters.

Teen comedy “Fun Size,’ distributed by Paramount, is the first PG-13 film developed by Nickelodeon Movies to be released in the U.S. Written by Max Werner, it marks the directing debut of Josh Schwartz.

Victoria Justice plays Wren, whose plans go awry when she's forced to babysit her brother, who disappears into a sea of Halloween trick-or-treaters. With her best friend and two nerds at her side, she needs to find her brother before her mom (Chelsea Handler) finds out.  Thomas McDonell, Jane Levy, Josh Pence and Johnny Knoxville co-star.

The Twitter and Facebook buzz has been slow for a young-skewing film. Paramount, with its second release in as many weeks after months with none, has the film in 3,014 theaters.