Half Baked

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25 Essential Stoner Movies Ranked

If your movie nights could take a few more hits, check out our guide to the best stoner movies! These are essential movies to the marijuana experience, ranging from counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider), top-shelf mainstream films (Pineapple Express, Friday), and cult comedies (Grandma’s Boy, Super Troopers), all featuring icons like Jeff Spicoli and The Dude. Then we took all the movies and sorted them by Tomatometer, lowest to highest.

If you’re seeking a trip guide, something to pair with whatever state you’re in, check out the 25 Essential Stoner Movies! (And don’t forget the 20 best movies to watch high.)

#25

Grandma's Boy (2006)
16%

#25
Adjusted Score: 17953%
Critics Consensus: A gross-out comedy that's more gross than comedic, Grandma's Boy is lazy and unrewarding.
Synopsis: When he and his roommate can't pay their rent, video game creator Alex (Allen Covert) finds himself homeless and moves... [More]
Directed By: Nicholaus Goossen

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 18570%
Critics Consensus: The movie isn't funny, the plot is too thin, and the production values feel more like a TV sitcom than a movie.
Synopsis: Last night, two party-hearty Dudes had an unbelievably sweet time. Too bad, they can't remember a thing, including where they... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#23

Soul Plane (2004)
18%

#23
Adjusted Score: 20174%
Critics Consensus: A raunchy sendup of Airplane! that never really takes off.
Synopsis: Following a ridiculously awful flight that leads to his pet's death, Nashawn Wade (Kevin Hart) files a lawsuit against the... [More]
Directed By: Jessy Terrero

#22

How High (2001)
26%

#22
Adjusted Score: 27553%
Critics Consensus: How High is a sloppily constructed stoner movie filled with lame, vulgar jokes.
Synopsis: Multi-platinum rap superstars Redman and Method Man star as Jamal and Silas, two regular guys who smoke something magical, ace... [More]
Directed By: Jesse Dylan

#21

Half Baked (1998)
29%

#21
Adjusted Score: 29552%
Critics Consensus: You'd have to be high to dig Half Baked's half baked production and scattershot sense of humor -- although maybe that was the point of this Dave Chapelle-led joint.
Synopsis: When a member of their crew gets arrested for killing a New York City police horse by feeding it junk... [More]
Directed By: Tamra Davis

#20

Super Troopers (2001)
35%

#20
Adjusted Score: 36375%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
Synopsis: Always looking for action, five over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously looking... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar

#19

Reefer Madness (1936)
39%

#19
Adjusted Score: 42994%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: High-school principal Dr. Alfred Carroll (Josef Forte) relates to an audience of parents that marijuana can have devastating effects on... [More]
Directed By: Louis J. Gasnier

#18
Adjusted Score: 28114%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Superlative stoners Cheech (Cheech Marin) and Chong (Tommy Chong) realize that one of their pals is developing a strain of... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Chong

#17

Up in Smoke (1978)
47%

#17
Adjusted Score: 48204%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Synopsis: An unemployed pot-smoking slacker and amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) ditches his strict parents and hits the road, eventually... [More]
Directed By: Lou Adler

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 54164%
Critics Consensus: We're the Millers squanders its potential with an uneven, lazily assembled story..
Synopsis: Small-time pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished; trying to help some... [More]

#15
Adjusted Score: 53528%
Critics Consensus: Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.
Synopsis: Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) drive a red convertible across the Mojave desert... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

#14
Adjusted Score: 56907%
Critics Consensus: Tenacious D fan will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100 minute mark.
Synopsis: Musicians JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) begin a friendship that could lead to the formation of the greatest... [More]
Directed By: Liam Lynch

#13

Scary Movie (2000)
52%

#13
Adjusted Score: 56184%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
Synopsis: Defying the very notion of good taste, Scary Movie out-parodies the pop culture parodies with a no-holds barred assault on... [More]
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans

#12
Adjusted Score: 57819%
Critics Consensus: Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though.
Synopsis: When Jay and Silent Bob learn that a "Bluntman and Chronic" movie is being made featuring their comic book counterparts,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#11

Smiley Face (2007)
68%

#11
Adjusted Score: 67659%
Critics Consensus: Although many of the jokes have been done before, Anna Faris's bright performance and Gregg Araki's sharp direction make Smiley Face more than your average stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Jane (Anna Faris), a struggling but perpetually stoned actress, has a busy day ahead. She has several important tasks on... [More]
Directed By: Gregg Araki

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#9

Ted (2012)
69%

#9
Adjusted Score: 77397%
Critics Consensus: Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script.
Synopsis: When John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy, he made a wish that Ted (Seth MacFarlane), his beloved teddy... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#8

Inherent Vice (2014)
73%

#8
Adjusted Score: 83371%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7
Adjusted Score: 78160%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

#6
Adjusted Score: 82581%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#5

Friday (1995)
78%

#5
Adjusted Score: 78098%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#4

The Big Lebowski (1998)
83%

#4
Adjusted Score: 89050%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#3

This Is the End (2013)
83%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91209%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

#2

Easy Rider (1969)
83%

#2
Adjusted Score: 89836%
Critics Consensus: Edgy and seminal, Easy Rider encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture.
Synopsis: Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), two Harley-riding hippies, complete a drug deal in Southern California and decide to... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Hopper

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 96009%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

The new Planet of the Apes trilogy closes with this week’s War, giving us one more excuse to do another gallery of 24 great apes from the movies. Go bananas!

In The Boss, a titan of industry is sent to jail for insider trading and, upon release, discovers not all her peers are keen on welcoming her back. The Melissa McCarthy comedy inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, the best and worst bosses from movie history.

Three new releases welcome in the new year this weekend, but moviegoers are likely to keep spending their cash on holiday holdovers.

Family audiences have the new toon "Happily N’Ever After," teens will be offered the drama "Freedom Writers," and the comedy crowd will have "Code Name: The Cleaner." Also, the sci-fi drama "Children of Men" expands across the country after a powerful debut last weekend in limited release. Early January is usually home to two kinds of films – weak pictures that can’t cut it during the competitive holiday season and acclaimed films expanding wider hoping for awards. This frame will see just that with current chart-topper "Night at the Museum" hoping for a third reign in the number one spot.

Kids who have had enough of digital penguins will have a chance to see a new animated film this weekend with Lionsgate’s "Happily N’Ever After." The PG-rated film tells the story of Fairy Tale World after Cinderella’s wicked stepmother takes charge. Sigourney Weaver, Andy Dick, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and hubby Freddie Prinze Jr. lend their voices. "After" has a funny premise and with "Shrek the Third" still four months away, some audiences may give this one a try for the time being. Last January, "Hoodwinked" posted some strong numbers playing to the same crowd and bowed to $16.9M over four days with a potent $7,051 average. "Happily" does not have the same marketing strength behind it plus it faces more competition. Last weekend, six films with G or PG ratings sold over $10M
worth of tickets over four days and even with heavy declines, there will be lots of choices for family audiences. Looking to attract the biggest opening among the three new films on Friday, "Happily N’Ever After" enters 2,381 theaters and may take in around $7M this weekend.


The British animated import "Happily N’Ever After."

Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank takes the Michelle Pfeiffer route and plays a teacher schooling a group of inner city kids in "Freedom Writers" from Paramount and MTV Films. Directed by writer-turned-director Richard LaGravenese, the PG-13 film also stars "Grey’s Anatomy" hunk Patrick Dempsey. Teens and urban youngsters will make up the core audience here as Swank’s mature adult following will likely pass on this role. The actress just doesn’t have the commercial chops to anchor a film like this on her own and the buzz is not loud enough for this to become the next "Dangerous Minds." Paramount is hoping that its push on MTV will help bring in the young vote, but the pic lacks the bang to make teens want to spend the bucks. Opening in about 1,200 theaters, "Freedom Writers" could debut with around $5M.


Hilary Swank, conjuring Michelle Pfeiffer and Edward James Olmos in "Freedom Writers."

Also expected to put only a small dent into the box office this weekend is the comedy "Code Name: The Cleaner" starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu. Pairing black and Asian actors in an action comedy worked wonders for "Rush Hour," but here audiences will likely find the premise forced. Cedric plays a janitor who is duped into becoming an undercover agent and finds himself in the middle of an arms scandal. Both stars are great supporting players but neither has a track record of anchoring big hit films. Interested moviegoers will probably wait for the DVD. Look for the New Line release to also debut in the vicinity of $5M.


"Codename: The Cleaner" isn’t expected to clean up at the boxoffice.

Expanding nationwide on Friday into 1,200 locations after a powerful limited bow is Universal’s futuristic drama "Children of Men." The Alfonso Cuaron-directed pic about the London of the future where no humans have been born in eighteen years stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine. The R-rated film debuted to $702,982 from only 16 theaters for a sensational four-day average of $43,936. Serious adult moviegoers are the target audience here so the studio’s own CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" will be the primary competitor. Reviews have been strong which will help. For the weekend, "Children of Men" could deliver roughly $7M.


Clive Owen and his golden aura in "Children of Men."

Since the incoming line-up of films is not likely to do too much damage to the box office charts, it should be smooth sailing for "Night at the Museum" which looks to spend its third straight weekend at number one. "Happily N’Ever After" will take away a bit of the family crowd, but overall competition should not be too intense. Coming off of the holiday weekend, the Ben Stiller smash may drop 40% and collect $22M worth of tickets and push its stellar cume to $163M.

Will Smith‘s Golden Globe-nominated performance in "The Pursuit of Happyness" has kept moviegoers interested for three weeks. The Sony hit may slide 40% as well grossing $11.5M which would give the father-son venture $123M to date. "Dreamgirls" has been generating the best averages around since opening. Paramount could witness a 35% drop to around $9M for the frame and lift its cume to $55M.

LAST YEAR: Horror fans powered the new fright flick "Hostel" to the number one spot over the first weekend of 2006 with a $19.6M debut. The low budget Lionsgate hit went on to scare up $47.3M. Holdovers filled up the rest of the top five. "The Chronicles of Narnia" slipped to second with $15.6M followed by "King Kong" with $12.6M. The comedies "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" took up the next spots with $11.9M and $8.4M, respectively. The weekend’s two other new releases bombed miserably. Fox’s comedy "Grandma’s Boy" bowed to just $3M while the actioner "BloodRayne" barely made it into the Top 20 with $1.6M. Final grosses reached $6.1M and $2.4M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The news has been confirmed in an official capacity, but according to a handful of movie sites, James Cameron has found a star for his long-awaited "Avatar." And it’s not the sort of leading man you’re probably expecting…

Joel Moore is (allegedly) the guy, an amusing young actor best known for his work in comedies like "Dodgeball," "Grandma’s Boy," and the upcoming horror flick "Hatchet."

Here’s the report from Cinescape: " According to a Hollywood North Report source, Joel Moore has been all but officially confirmed as one of the leads in James Cameron’s forthcoming science fiction epic, "Avatar."

In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na’vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture."

The studios have been hiding movies from those pesky scribes all year long, but this time they’ve outdone themselves. This week, three movies won’t be screened before getting tossed into the theaters: Neil LaBute‘s remake of "The Wicker Man," starring Nicolas Cage; "Crank," another high-octane actioner starring Jason Statham; and Mike Judge‘s "Idiocracy," a "Futurama"-esque comedy starring Luke Wilson.

What’s odd about this batch of unscreened films is that two of them are directed by established helmers. They include the generally blameless Judge, the man behind such beloved creations as "Beavis and Butthead" and "Office Space," and LaBute, whose filmography is a bit darker ("In the Company of Men," "Your Friends and Neighbors") but has never been uninteresting. Even stranger, "Idiocracy" is opening in limited release, but is bypassing the normal release pattern by playing outside of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.


No, these aren’t the sad movie critics waiting in vain to see "The Wicker Man"….

So we’re going to play that increasingly popular party game: Guess the Tomatometer! (If the studios continue to stop screening movies beforehand, GTT may replace the NFL and Nascar as one of the most popular games in America.) But we’ll make it easier for you with some super unscientific calculations. The average Tomatometer of the movies not screened for critics is just under 15 percent; Basically, we’ve taken the average Tomatometer of unscreened films plus the average Tomatometer of the key participants’ films divided by two. By factoring in the combined Tomatometers of LaBute, and stars Cage and Ellen Burstyn, we’re guessing "The Wicker Man" will wind up around 42 percent. Utilizing Judge’s and Wilson‘s Tomatometers, "Idiocracy" may wind up in the area of 38 percent. And since the directors of "Crank" are relative newcomers, we’ll use Statham, Amy Smart, and Dwight Yoakam to guesstimate that "Crank" will end up around 32 percent. Feel free to knock as many points off as you feel is necessary.


…and no, this is not a metaphor for what the studios think those mean ol’ critics will do to the opening weekend grosses.

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
————————————————
69% — Snakes on a Plane
28% — Silent Hill
27% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
23% — Phat Girlz
16% — Grandma’s Boy
15% — Underworld: Evolution
11% — The Benchwarmers
10% — Ultraviolet
10% — When a Stranger Calls
7% — Date Movie
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
6% — Material Girls
6% — See No Evil
5% — Doogal
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Stay Alive
0% — Zoom

This week at the movies, we’ve got Oliver Stone paying tribute to the heroes of 9/11 ("World Trade Center," starring Nicolas Cage); two youngsters trying to start a dance dance revolution ("Step Up," starring Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum); a school for young superheroes ("Zoom," starring Tim Allen and Courteney Cox); and an evil website ("Pulse," starring Kristen Bell). What do the critics have to say?

Oliver Stone has never been the subtlest of directors, nor has he shied away from controversy or conspiracy-mongering. So it’s something of a surprise to critics that with his latest, "World Trade Center," he has tackled a subject (the 9/11 attacks) rife with talk of dark machinations and created a straightforward, apolitical tale of heroism. Based on a true story, "World Trade Center" stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as a pair of Port Authority police officers who became trapped in the ruins of the World Trade Center while attempting to rescue others. Critics say the narrow human focus is one of the strengths of the film, along with its stunning visuals and an old-fashioned sense of resilience and heroism. At 70 percent on the Tomatometer, "World Trade Center" may be a cut below Paul Greengrass‘ 9/11 film "United 93" (90 percent), but it’s a worthy examination of a day that will live in infamy. It’s also Stone’s best-reviewed film since "Nixon."


Nicolas Cage as real-life officer John McLoughlin in "World Trade Center"

"Step Up" tells the story of a hip-hop dancer from the wrong side of the tracks (Channing Tatum) and a privileged ballerina (Jenna Dewan) who overcome their differences to make beautiful music together on the dance floor. Sound familiar? It should, if you’ve seen "Saturday Night Fever," "Save the Last Dance," or "Dirty Dancing." Perhaps the Bee Gees presciently spoke for the critics of "Step Up" when they sang, "You should be dancing," for the scribes say the film is at its best in its electrifying dance sequences, but dramatically flat otherwise. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are putting this baby in a corner.


"Step Up": Do fries come with that shake?

The studios apparently believe "Pulse" is pretty lifeless, and that "Zoom" is full of cinematic gloom. What else could explain the fact that the Kristen Bell J-horror remake and the Tim Allen superhero comedy, respectively, were not screened for critics? It’s time to bust out those crystal balls and guess those Tomatometers, people.


"Sometimes when we touch/ the horror’s just too much"

Also in theaters this week, in limited release: "Half Nelson," starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled inner city teacher, is at a whopping 95 percent on the Tomatometer; the Czech surrealist horror film "Lunacy" is at 80 percent; "House of Sand," a visually remarkable Brazilian epic, is at 80 percent; "Conversations With Other Women," a tale of a romantic reunion starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, is at 70 percent; "The Trouble With Men and Women," a low-budget Brit relationship drama, is at 50 percent; "Poster Boy," a drama about the gay son of a senator, is at 43 percent; and "The Ordeal," a dark Belgian horror import, is at 43 percent.

Recent Oliver Stone Movies:
———————————–
16% — Alexander (2004)
50% — Comandante (2003)
48% — Any Given Sunday (1999)
51% — U-Turn (1997)
74% — Nixon (1995)

Recent Nicolas Cage Movies:
————————————
61% — Lord of War (2005)
59% — The Weather Man (2005)
42% — National Treasure (2004)
82% — Matchstick Men (2003)
90% — Adaptation (2002)

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006 (Best To Worst Tomatometer Score):
————————————————
28% — Silent Hill
27% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion
24% — Phat Girlz
16% — Grandma’s Boy
15% — Underworld: Evolution
11% — The Benchwarmers
10% — Ultraviolet
10% — When a Stranger Calls
7% — Date Movie
7% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
6% — See No Evil
5% — Doogal
5% — BloodRayne
5% — Stay Alive

After some furious debate over David Germain‘s discussion of films "not screened for critics," RT takes a look at the Tomatometers and respective B.O. performances of the flicks withheld from critics so far this year.

Films Not Screened For Critics In 2006:
————————————————
29% — Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion (Feb. 24)
17% — Grandma’s Boy (Jan. 6)
16% — Underworld: Evolution (Jan. 20)
10% — When a Stranger Calls (Feb. 3)
9% — Ultraviolet (Mar. 3)
8% — Date Movie (Feb. 17)
7% — BloodRayne (Jan. 6)
6% — Stay Alive (Mar. 24)
5% — Doogal (Feb 24)
4% — Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (Mar. 24)
Average Tomatometer not screened for critics: 11%

As Germain noted, this is becoming a common trend; in 2006, 10 films have already been withheld from those mean old scribes, with "The Benchwarmers" and "Phat Girlz" joining that illustrious list this week. Apparently, the whole of the studio system is terrified that the following exchange will take place within the coveted teen and young adult demographic:

Teen No. 1: "Man, am I ever stoked to be first in line to see ("Date Movie"/ "Underworld: Evolution"/ "The Benchwarmers," etc.)! This film will certainly be off the chain! Oh look, there’s my friend!"

Teen No. 2 (running, looking frantic): "Bad news, homie. David Denby, Andrew Sarris, AND Stephanie Zacharek all dissed ("Date Movie"/ "Underworld: Evolution"/ "The Benchwarmers," etc.). They say it’s really stupid."

Teen No. 1: "Curses! I’m getting out of the line for this movie, and I shall not be seeing it on its opening weekend. Dear fellow, perchance is ‘The Best of Youth‘ still playing in the local arthouse?"

The phrase "critic-proof" has entered the lexicon for a reason: it perfectly sums up a certain type of move, one that the studios still feel is necessary not to screen.

And what do the critics have to say about these films? Unsurprisingly, the average is an 11 percent on the Tomatometer. Of the twenty worst reviewed wide releases of the year so far, these ten films occupy the top slots. Still, that doesn’t mean too much; "Big Momma’s House 2" was screened for critics, got a six percent on the Tomatometer, and still made a lot of money. So while the films that aren’t screened are by no means cinematic gems, there’s an excellent chance they will make lots of money regardless.

When the staff of Rotten Tomatoes is not meticulously analyzing the films of Bergman, Ozu, and Bresson, we’ve been known to watch (and unironically enjoy) such critically drubbed flicks as "Stealth," "Black Knight," and the collected works of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Some movies aren’t "good" per se, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have potential audiences. Studios should know this better than anyone; they made the movies.

See Also:
"Not Screened For Press" Trend Growing in 2006

Lions Gate’s "Hostel," which was produced for less than 5 million clams, had a pretty spectacular opening weekend at the box office, bringing in an estimated $20.1 million from about 2,200 theaters. "Hostel" drew similar numbers to last year’s "White Noise," but had a tougher climb because A) it’s rated R, and B) it’s not as stupid.

Second and third place went to two multiplex juggernauts: Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" tucked an additional $15.4 million into its $247.5 million collection plate, while Universal’s "King Kong" stuffed another $12.4 million into its $192.2 million banana patch.

The top five was rounded out by another pair of hang-arounders: Sony’s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $12.2 million ($81.3 million total) and Fox’s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" raked in another $8.3 million ($66.4 million total).

Debuting (hilariously) in 13th and 19th place, respectively, were Fox’s "Grandma’s Boy" ($2.9 million from 2,000 theaters) and Romar’s "BloodRayne" ($1.2 million from 985 theaters). Expect both to be on DVD in time for tax day.

Next Friday sees the release of three new titles: Disney’s basketball drama "Glory Road," Paramount’s comedy "Last Holiday," and Fox’s romantic action drama "Tristan and Isolde."

For a closer look at the weekend numbers, please do stop on by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a bunch of madmen ("Hostel"), a notorious lover ("Casanova"), a dhampir ("BloodRayne"), and a dude who lives with his grandma ("Grandma’s Boy"). Which of these movies will score with critics?

It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times: a group of young people stray off the beaten path, only to fall into the clutches of bloodthirsty crazies who inflicts torture upon them with sadistic glee. Heck, it was told a couple weeks ago ("Wolf Creek"). So what? Sometimes it’s how you tell it, and the critics say "Hostel" is told very well. Yes, scribes say, Eli Roth‘s film is grisly, but it’s also terrifyingly exciting and makes for some incisive social commentary. At 88 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Hostel" may be worth a stay, if you like this sort of thing.

Giacomo Casanova was the world’s greatest lover, a man of endless appetites who led an impossibly colorful life (which was probably embellished in his autobiography, but is a classic nonetheless). So you couldn’t go wrong with a movie about the notable rake, right? Right? Well, the critics say this period comedy romp, starring Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller, isn’t quite as romping as it should be, and despite noteworthy visuals, the film is frothy without being particularly ribald. Worse, the man whose name is synonymous with cad-dom chooses monogamy! At 41 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Casanova" is getting no love.

The people behind both "BloodRayne" and "Grandma’s Boy" must have made a new year’s resolution to not screen their films for critics. Here at Rotten Tomatoes, we feel it’s admirable to stick to your guns, when so many of us end up breaking our resolutions almost immediately. Unfortunately, the strategy sends a message to the world that perhaps these movies aren’t very good.

Recent Heath Ledger Movies
————————————-
88% — Brokeback Mountain (2005)
67% — Two Hands (2005)
39% — The Brothers Grimm (2005)
53% — Lords of Dogtown (2005)
54% — Ned Kelly (2004)

The four-day estimates for New Year’s Weekend (12/30 to 1/2) are in, and it seems that Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" has snatched the #1 spot back from "King Kong," if only by the slimmest of margins.

The "Chronicles" pulled in an estimated $32.8 million over the four-day frame, giving it a pretty impressive grand total of $224.8 million. Close in the Narinaical footsteps was the massive primate known as "King Kong," which made about $31.5 million in the same time-frame, giving Peter Jackson‘s epic adventure tale a total of $174.3 million to date.

Third, fourth, and fifth place went to a trio of late-season comedies: Jim Carrey‘s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $21 miliion ($64.5m total), Steve Martin‘s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" did $19.3 million ($55.1m total), and Jennifer Aniston‘s "Rumor Has It…" settled for $11.6 million ($26.7m total).

The first weekend of 2006 sees the release of some wildly varying little flicks. Uwe Boll‘s "BloodRayne," Eli Roth‘s "Hostel," and the stoner comedy "Grandma’s Boy" will battle for a piece of the early-January box office pie.

As always, you can check out some more numbers at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page. (And Happy New Year to all!)

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