Moneyball Does Boffo Box Office, But Finishes Second To Lion King 3D

Writing about baseball here at Baseball Nation doesn't often give us the opportunity to use words like "boffo", so the report that Moneyball had earned over $20 million in its first weekend of theatrical release at least gave me the excuse to put that word in a headline. That link has some details of Moneyball's box office numbers:

After winning on Friday, Moneyball had to settle for second place for the weekend with an estimated $20.6 million from 2,993 locations. It topped The Benchwarmers ($19.7 million) for best start ever for a baseball movie, and it also ranked fifth all-time among sports dramas.

That's remarkable considering this film almost didn't get made; Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh was dumped from the film more than two years ago after wanting to make it with this wacky concept:

As we also reported previously, he was going to animate one of the important characters, the "stats guru" Bill James.

An animated Bill James? That's not true in real life and it likely wouldn't have worked as a cartoon. In this article Brad Pitt sings the praises of replacement director Bennett Miller and audiences clearly agreed.

I love the lingo that Hollywood types put into articles about movies like this. Check out this from Variety:

Rory Bruer, prexy of worldwide distribution at Sony, said "Moneyball" played mostly to over-25 auds (64%), but added that the film likely will broaden to younger moviegoers in the coming weeks.

"A film like 'Moneyball' during opening weekend attracts mostly an older audience," Bruer said. "So there's not that call to action like there is with films that attract younger audiences."

Years ago, Variety used to abbreviate words like "prexy" and "auds" to save print space. Obviously, they don't need to do that online, but continue to do so for tradition's sake. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter says Moneyball could earn as much as another popular film did a year ago:

Moneyball, based on the real-life story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, played decidedly older, with 64 percent of the audience over the age of 35, but played relatively evenly among men and women. Sony believes the pic will ultimately do four times its opening number. The studio launched Moneyball in roughly the same frame it used last year to open The Social Network, which debuted to $22 million on its way to earning $97 million in North America.

Moneyball is apparently on its way to becoming one of the top-grossing sports films of all time. Athletics fans only wish its subject had been so successful.

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