Sunday, February 08, 2009

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: We're Just That Into You

Valentine’s Day doesn’t come until next weekend but there was a lot of love at the box office this weekend. I couldn’t throw specific dates at you but I don’t recall the last time I saw such slight declines across the board in the Top 10. You just know that when a disappointment like THE UNINVITED drops off only 38% in its second week, something isn’t right.

Of course, the most love went to the impressive ensemble comedy, HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. The film is based on a the popular novel of the same name, which was essentially based on one line of dialogue from the “Sex and the City” television series. All they need to do now is develop the film into a Broadway musical and then develop a film based on that and the cycle will be complete. I suppose there could be a book encapsulating the entire process. Or better still, maybe they could refer to it in the next “Sex and the City” movie. No matter really as the film, which was originally slated for last October, proved to be another hit for Jennifer Aniston, who, after MARLEY & ME, has finally found her box office stride.

The girl power generated from the romantic comedy’s success made its way down to kids too as CORALINE finally found its way to screens. This film was originally slated for release last year and surpassed industry expectations in its new weekend. Not only did the stop-motion animation film, based on the Neil Gaiman children’s book, play well to kids, it also played well to cult audiences who have been waiting for a new Henry Selick film ever since his last, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

There was a lot more love shown to holdovers than any other new releases. Last week’s champ, TAKEN, found itself, uh, taking in another $20 million, off only 17% from last week. Liam Neeson, the action star – who knew? Maybe they’ll reissue DARKMAN to capitalize on his newfound action hero role. Hmm, probably not. Clint Eastwood couldn’t get any love from the Oscar people but GRAN TORINO continues to pull in solid cash, falling off less than 10% this week for a grand total of over $120 million. Kevin James must be laughing a lot harder than any of us are as I’m sure he never imagined that PAUL BLART: MALL COP would spend a month in the Top 5 and pass the $100 million mark, which it is sure to do by next weekend. And Best Picture favorite, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE continues to pull in droves of people desperate for hope. With only two weeks to go before the Oscar telecast, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE remains the only Best Picture nominee in the Top 10.

All that holding over left little room for THE PINK PANTHER 2 and PUSH to find their own love. The Steve Martin sequel opened about $8 million lower than its predecessor. I’d say that puts an end to this embarrassing series. And PUSH had a hard time getting past its limited run to find the wide X-MEN audience it so clearly was trying to rip off.

NEXT WEEK: Given the current economic climate, I’m not sure this film has the best timing but CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC will make the jump from page to screen. Tom Tykwer goes Hollywood with THE INTERNATIONAL, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. And given that next Friday is the 13th, what better time could there be to release the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake?

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