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your box office explained

Your Box Office Explained: Jackass 3D Shatters Records, Ribs

This Weekend's Winners: Paramount’s Jackass 3D earned a retina-separating $50 million, while Summit Entertainment’s Red proved that Americans still love action, especially when it's powered by fossil fuel.

Honorable Mention: Though more of a Clydesdale than a thoroughbred, Secretariat is nonetheless carrying the load admirably well: It lost only a quarter of its audience last weekend, earning $9.5 million in its second weekend, bring its total winnings to nearly $28 million.

How it all went down: Thank heaven for Obamacare, as the cast of Jackass 3D will surely benefit from the elimination of pre-existing condition requirements. On most Hollywood films, hands are wrung when a cast member is hurt, but for Jackass 3D, injuries were part of the marketing: Bam Margera proudly boasted that only two-thirds of the way through production, half of the cast had been hospitalized. He alone contributed three broken ribs and a shoulder to Jackass 3D's medical tab.

Of course, bones weren’t the only things broken: Jackass's premium ticket pricing meant that the movie not only shattered the franchise's own box office records, but those for any film ever released during the month of October, too.

For this feat, we must thank America’s young men: 60 percent of the film's audience was male, and two out of three ticket buyers were of them were under the age of 25. (We'll sleep better knowing that most of these impressionable lads are still covered by their parents’ insurance policies.) Paramount’s MTV Films reached them through unique synergy with its cable channel, using actual jackasses to endorse the film’s antics, as well as a collegiate outreach tour, which clearly worked wonders: A naughty studio marketing chief leaked Vulture NRG tracking numbers from late last week that showed an astonishing 90 percent of men under 25 were aware of the film, 61 percent of them had "definite interest" in seeing it, and that it was the first choice of one in four of them.

Meanwhile, Summit Entertainment was aiming for audiences more likely to break hips than ribs with the Helen Mirren—starring elderly actioner Red. So what if nearly 60 percent of its audience was over 35? The DC cult comic adaptation proved that a fresh idea, well-executed, can be a lively dancer: Box office actually increased markedly from Friday night ($7.3 mil) to Saturday ($9.2 mil), a sign that even if it won’t play as long as its relatively hoary stars — median age: 59 — Red likely has a long life ahead of it in theaters.

Finally, speaking of gray hair, Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter appeared in just a handful of theaters in New York, L.A., and Toronto and made just shy of $40,000 per screen — a sign that people not only believe in life-after-death, but in life after 80, too.

Photo: Paramount