There were two things Footloose wasn't at this weekend's box office.

It wasn't No. 1.

More important, it wasn't another fall bomb.

The dance remake grossed $16.1 million Friday-Sunday to finish, as estimates stand now, just behind Hugh Jackman's Real Steel.

While Footloose had been expected by some to debut at No. 1, as the Kevin Bacon original did, its start is still a good one for a movie that reputedly cost about $25 million.

Good starts were in short supply as Hollywood's season of pain continued.

The Thing, a prequel of a remake, opened to just $8.7 million, while The Big Year barely made $1 million for each of its stars, Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

"I don't know if bird watching just didn't appeal," Fox exec Bruce Snyder said of the latter avian-oriented comedy.

The Thing reputedly cost $40 million; The Big Year was made for $28 million.

The films join a parade of box-office busts that have been launched since Labor Day. The hall of shame includes Sarah Jessica Parker's I Don't Know How She Does It and Daniel Craig's Dream House.

Anna Faris' and Chris Evans' What's Your Number? dropped out of the Top 10 after a brief two-weekend stay. The $20 million comedy is at $19 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo's latest count, throwing its flop status into debate. 

Taylor Lautner's Abduction also got bounced from the Top 10. While the $35 million movie has made less than that domestically, it's shown muscle worldwide, and is at about $56 million overall. The bottom line: You can say the Twilight kid isn't as much money when he's he's not in a Twilight movie, but you can't say he's not money at all.   

The new Pedro Almódovar movie, The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas, was a rarity: a smash. Theater for theater, it grossed eight times what Real Steel did, making $231,000 at six locations.  

Real Steel contented itself with its second-straight weekend win. For a big-budget movie about boxing robots, however, Its two-weekend worldwide total isn't all that huge: $108 million.

If only every movie could be like The Smurfs, which crossed the $400 million overseas to up its global take to $542 million, or, slightly more than Empire Strikes Back

Here's a complete look at the weekend's top movies, as compiled from the studios' domestic estimates and Box Office Mojo stats:

  1. Real Steel, $16.3 million
  2. Footloose, $16.1 million
  3. The Thing, $8.7 million
  4. The Ides of March, $7.5 million
  5. Dolphin Tale, $6.3 million
  6. Moneyball, $5.5 million
  7. 50/50, $4.3 million
  8. Courageous, $3.4 million
  9. The Big Year, $3.3 million
  10. The Lion King, $2.7 million

(Originally published Oct. 16, 2011, at 9:49 a.m. PT)

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