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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sorry, Simba -- Moneyball is King of the Jungle

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 7:25 AM

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Back in 1994, The Lion King's Simba gave his competitors fair warning via song -- "I'm gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware" -- but that didn't stop Moneyball from dominating San Francisco's box office this weekend. In fact, you could say it was a home run for the Oakland A's baseball flick starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie is based on Michael Lewis's 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Nationwide, The Lion King still reigned supreme. Its theatrical rerelease in 2D and 3D grossed $22.1 million in its second weekend, while Moneyball generated $20.6 million during its first weekend.

But it doesn't come as a huge surprise that Moneyball did well in San Francisco. Patrick Corcoran, the director of media and research for the other NATO -- the National Association of Theatre Owners -- told SF Weekly that baseball fans did not let Pitt or Billy Beane down. Ticket sales for Moneyball averaged $16,159 across 53 screens in the San Francisco movie market (which encompasses Oakland) for a total of $856,427, whereas The Lion King averaged $13,133 across 43 screens -- or $654,719.

It's also notable that San Francisco Moneyball sales outperformed Los Angeles ($14,159 per screen) and New York ($13, 631 per screen), the two largest markets. Nationally, the movie made $6,516 per screen.

If you haven't seen Moneyball yet, go! Jonah Hill gives a great, unexpected performance that puts him above the fray of playing variations of himself in every movie à la Superbad costars Michael Cera and Seth Rogen. Writer Aaron Sorkin turns baseball economics into the stuff of Oscars, much the way he did with computer coding and tech rivalries in The Social Network.

Unfortunately, we can't pit A's and Giants fans against each other, as Corcoran said he was unable to break down the revenue between Oakland and San Francisco. We're just glad no fights broke out in the theater.

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Taylor Friedman

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