Another A-lister's new movie, however, was avoided like the plague.
The Adam Sandler-cowritten and produced Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star finished way outside of the Top 10, with a three-day take of less than $1.5 million.
The porn comedy was low budget, reportedly costing less than $10 million, and it was low on on-screen star power, with apologies to stand-up Nick Swardson, but it wasn't exactly a little movie. It opened on 1,500 screens (where, if you do the math, it averaged less than a thousand bucks from each.)
Among the films from Sandler's Happy Madison Productions, Bucky Larson is the least of the least, opening smaller than Blockbuster-desperation-night rentals such as Grandma's Boy.
As things turned out—and they didn't turn out well for Hollywood—Bucky Larson was not the weekend's worst-opening wide-release movie. That distinction went to the horror movie Creature, starring Greek's Aaron Hill, which "grossed" $220 at each of its 1,507 theaters for a "grand total" of $331,000.
Contagion, by comparison, scored a healthy $23.1 million. Still, the Steven Soderbergh thriller, which boasts a Ocean's Eleven-sized cast, including Paltrow, Matt Damon and Kate Winslet, cost $60 million, so the start seems OK, rather than great.
As you might have deduced from all the weak debuts, Hollywood's fall season got off to a considerably smaller start than last year's. The brightest light was supplied by comic Kevin Hart's concert film, Laugh at My Pain, which made $2 million at less than 100 theaters.
Elsewhere, even The Help tumbled, with ticket sales down 40 percent. Nonetheless, the film, which spent three weekends at No. 1, climbed to nearly $140 million domestically.
Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, Friday-Sunday, per estimates as compiled by Exhibitor Relations: