Sunday, August 24, 2008

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Death Pulls Out of the Race

Ordinarily, a week with four major wide releases is unheard of. I suppose though when all four of those releases are not expected to do great business, there’s no harm in dumping them all at once. DEATH RACE, the one where Joan Allen slums it in a Jason Statham testosterone fest for a fat pay cheque, was expected to pull out in front but it was ultimately shut out by last week’s leftovers and a cute little Playboy bunny. Can you say emasculating?

The Ben Stiller comedy, TROPIC THUNDER stayed strong in first place. Out of the gate on Friday, the film was trailing the Anna Faris vehicle and unexpected box office draw, THE HOUSE BUNNY but a the boys came out in droves on Saturday, allowing for TROPIC THUNDER to pull out ahead. Still, THE HOUSE BUNNY take was better than expected, scoring the highest average of any film in release, and should move the very funny Faris up a few notches in the Hollywood standings. DEATH RACE trailed in third, earning a pretty mediocre $12 million. That’s double what his sleeper hit, THE BANK JOB, did last spring but people actually liked that one so I would expect this third place finish will be forgotten as soon as it steps off the podium next week.

This week’s other two wide releases barely registered. The Fred Durst directed, THE LONGSHOTS, in which Ice Cube coaches a little girl football team (can’t you hear the roar from the crowd?), barely broke the Top 10. At least he didn’t miss the Top 10 altogether, which for a major release, might as well mean you never had a release date. The Rainn Wilson vehicle, THE ROCKER, opened on Wednesday to get a head start and still came in last. The film’s average came in under a grand and it’s total of $2.75 million was only good enough for a 12th place finish. I’m pretty sure by Olympic standards, that means neither film even managed to qualify.

Woody Allen’s beautiful VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA couldn’t hold on to its spot in the Top 10 but it did hold on to 80% of its audience. Coming in at number 11, the film earned an average of $4,339, higher than most in the Top 10, for a total of $3 million. The film is well on track to be Allen’s biggest hit since MATCH POINT and could even surpass that if its expansion goes well. Also below the Top 10 – and also starring Penelope Cruz for that matter – the dry satire, ELEGY (also starring Ben Kingsley), added 86 screens to its theatre count and shot up over 800%. It’s per screen average ($5,466) is second only to THE HOUSE BUNNY and it performed better than the expensive Focus Features Sundance acquisition, HAMLET 2. The Steve Coogan laugher opened softly on 103 screens before its wider release next week but only pulled in half the house, with an average $4,223. It’s going to need some major word of mouth in order to fill the seats next weekend.

Speaking of NEXT WEEK: More August dumping … Vin Diesel must save the world in BABYLON A.D. A bunch of unknowns go to COLLEGE. Don Cheadle jumps on the terrorist bandwagon in TRAITOR. And the guys who brought you EPIC MOVIE and MEET THE SPARTANS (and who apparently never do anything other than make spoof films) are back with DISASTER MOVIE, where everything just watched this summer gets spit on. When is someone going to spit on them, man?

No comments: