Buena Vista courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Buena Vista/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All John Cusack Movies Ranked

John Cusack pulled off the tricky act of being one of those It kids of the ’80s without having that distinction become an albatross hanging across his career once the decade ended. Cusack found breakthrough roles in just about every permutation of the teen comedy in the spandex and big-hair era: the hormonal-driven (One Crazy Summer), the bizarro creations (Better Off Dead), the rom-com (The Sure Thing). But Cusack had an erudite quality that separated him from his contemporaries, drawing him to name directors like John Sayles (Eight Men Out) and Cameron Crowe, the latter of whom he worked with to close out the decade with perhaps the best romantic-comedy in a decade full of classics: 1989’s Say Anything….

Cusack of the 1990s represented a maturation that allowed him to fit into just about any mold: drama (The Thin Red Line), comedy (Bullets Over Broadway, The Grifters, Being John Malkovich), romance (Pushing Tin), and even action (Con Air). Some movies combined all the genres, like 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank (in which he plays a hitman attending his high school reunion), one of those high-concept Hollywood movies that endures for decades after release.

2000’s High Fidelity may have been the last we’ve seen of Cusack in classic rom-com leading man form, as in the ensuing years he’s been putting more work into genre fare, and playing shadowy figures and villains. Highlights from this ongoing period include 1408, 2012, and Grand Piano. Meanwhile, 2015’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy is just about as good as anything he’s done in his career. And now we’re taking a look back with all John Cusack movies ranked by Tomatometer!


The Contract (2006)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Frank Carden (Morgan Freeman), one of the world's greatest assassins, is handed a lucrative contract to kill a highly secretive... [More]
Directed By: Bruce Beresford


The Prince (2014)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A retired assassin is drawn back into his former life and a confrontation with an old rival when his daughter... [More]
Directed By: Brian A. Miller


Reclaim (2014)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) risk their lives to uncover the truth behind their newly adopted daughter's disappearance... [More]
Directed By: Alan White


Arsenal (2017)

Adjusted Score: 4355%
Critics Consensus: Aside from an opportunity to watch a mustachioed Nicolas Cage acting from under a wig and behind a prosthetic nose, Arsenal has depressingly little to offer.
Synopsis: The Lindel brothers, Mikey and JP, only had each other to rely on growing up. As adults, JP finds success... [More]
Directed By: Steven C. Miller


Shanghai (2010)

Adjusted Score: 4596%
Critics Consensus: Shanghai is crippled by a weak story and fatally undermined by clunky direction, making for a period political drama that lacks all of its key components.
Synopsis: In the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, an American intelligence official (John Cusack) investigates a friend's death in... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom


Drive Hard (2014)

Adjusted Score: 7221%
Critics Consensus: Hitting the pavement with an empty tank of inspiration, Drive Hard goes through its action beats in fits and starts before puttering out completely.
Synopsis: A driving instructor (Thomas Jane) who used to race autos is forced to drive a getaway car for a thief... [More]
Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith


The Bag Man (2014)

Adjusted Score: 11162%
Critics Consensus: Busy with attitude and light on intrigue, The Bag Man is a mystery box with nothing surprising inside.
Synopsis: A criminal waits in a seedy motel and waits for his boss after killing several men to steal a bag.... [More]
Directed By: David Grovic


Cell (2016)

Adjusted Score: 12657%
Critics Consensus: Shoddily crafted and devoid of suspense, Cell squanders a capable cast and Stephen King's once-prescient source material on a bland rehash of zombie cliches.
Synopsis: A graphic novelist (John Cusack) begins a desperate search for his estranged wife (Clark Sarullo) and son (Ethan Andrew Casto)... [More]
Directed By: Tod Williams


Distorted (2018)

Adjusted Score: 12722%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lauren and Russell Curran decide to move away from the bustle of the city and into the peaceful oasis of... [More]
Directed By: Rob King


The Raven (2012)

Adjusted Score: 26639%
Critics Consensus: Thinly scripted, unevenly acted, and overall preposterous, The Raven disgraces the legacy of Edgar Allen Poe with a rote murder mystery that's more silly than scary.
Synopsis: In 19th-century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) makes a horrifying discovery: The murders of a mother and daughter resemble... [More]
Directed By: James McTeigue


River Runs Red (2018)

Adjusted Score: 12721%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A vengeful judge takes the law into his own hands when two cops kill his young son during a routine... [More]
Directed By: Wes Miller

Adjusted Score: 29209%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Emerson, a disgraced CIA agent, guards Katherine, a code operator, in a top secret CIA installation in Britain. When heavily... [More]
Directed By: Kasper Barfoed


War, Inc. (2008)

Adjusted Score: 31856%
Critics Consensus: War, Inc. attempts to satirize the military industrial complex, but more often than not it misses its target.
Synopsis: Assassin Brand Hauser is sent to Turaqistan to carry out a hit. Occupied by the US corporation Tamerlane, Turaqistan is... [More]
Directed By: Joshua Seftel

Adjusted Score: 37550%
Critics Consensus: Despite its famous cast, the movie lacks sympathetic characters and is only funny in spurts.
Synopsis: For an awkward, self-conscious girl like Kiki (Julia Roberts), being the personal assistant to a beautiful megastar like Gwen (Catherine... [More]
Directed By: Joe Roth


Martian Child (2007)

Adjusted Score: 38263%
Critics Consensus: Despite some charms, overt emotional manipulation and an inconsistent tone prevents Martian Child from being the heartfelt dramedy it aspires to be.
Synopsis: Wanting to experience fatherhood, a man (John Cusack) adopts a youngster (Bobby Coleman) who has an unusual crisis of identity,... [More]
Directed By: Menno Meyjes


Must Love Dogs (2005)

Adjusted Score: 41748%
Critics Consensus: Despite good work from its likable leads, the romantic comedy Must Love Dogs is too predictable.
Synopsis: Sarah (Diane Lane), is 40 and recently divorced. Believing Sarah needs to date more, her sister, Carol (Elizabeth Perkins), creates... [More]
Directed By: Gary David Goldberg


Dragon Blade (2015)

Adjusted Score: 36152%
Critics Consensus: Dragon Blade is beautifully staged and choreographed, but between the battles, its talented cast is overwhelmed by a dull story and choppy editing.
Synopsis: An exiled Chinese general (Jackie Chan) offers shelter to a renegade Roman (John Cusack) and his legion, then becomes involved... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Lee


Igor (2008)

Adjusted Score: 41170%
Critics Consensus: With an animation style that apes Tim Burton, and a slew of cultural references that aren't clear enough to reach the crowds, Igor's patched together antics make it hard to see who the film is trying to please.
Synopsis: Lab assistant Igor (John Cusack) dreams of becoming a mad scientist like his master, Dr. Glickenstein. When the doctor runs... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Leondis


2012 (2009)

Adjusted Score: 49242%
Critics Consensus: Roland Emmerich's 2012 provides plenty of visual thrills, but lacks a strong enough script to support its massive scope and inflated length.
Synopsis: Earth's billions of inhabitants are unaware that the planet has an expiration date. With the warnings of an American scientist... [More]
Directed By: Roland Emmerich

Adjusted Score: 41346%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A staunch advocate of healthy living, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (Anthony Hopkins) opens a sanitarium that promotes his progressive, if... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker


The Paperboy (2012)

Adjusted Score: 49537%
Critics Consensus: Trashy and melodramatic, The Paperboy is enlivened by a strong cast and a steamy, sordid plot, but it's uneven and often veers into camp.
Synopsis: In 1969 Florida, reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) returns to his hometown to write a story about death-row inmate Hillary... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels


True Colors (1991)

Adjusted Score: 46343%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: College roommates Tim Gerrity (James Spader) and Peter Burton (John Cusack) seem as if they'll be friends forever despite their... [More]
Directed By: Herbert Ross

Adjusted Score: 47845%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Assigned to oversee the development of the atomic bomb, Gen. Leslie Groves (Paul Newman) is a stern military man determined... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé


The Ice Harvest (2005)

Adjusted Score: 51989%
Critics Consensus: The Ice Harvest offers a couple of laughs, but considering the people involved, it should be a lot funnier.
Synopsis: As the attorney for a mobster (Randy Quaid), Charlie Arglist (John Cusack) has access to some not-so-clean money, which he... [More]
Directed By: Harold Ramis


Pushing Tin (1999)

Adjusted Score: 49445%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances by the leads, but the generic ending needs help.
Synopsis: Two air traffic controllers (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton) who thrive on living dangerously compete to outdo each other on... [More]
Directed By: Mike Newell

Adjusted Score: 51691%
Critics Consensus: Clint Eastwood's spare directorial style proves an ill fit for this Southern potboiler, which dutifully trudges through its mystery while remaining disinterested in the cultural flourishes that gave its source material its sense of intrigue.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of John Berendt's book, a young journalist, John Kelso (John Cusack), travels to Savannah, Ga., to cover... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood


Shadows and Fog (1992)

Adjusted Score: 52615%
Critics Consensus: Shadows and Fog recreates the chiaroscuro aesthetic of German Expressionism, but Woody Allen's rambling screenplay retreads the director's neurotic obsessions with derivative results.
Synopsis: A serial strangler is on the loose, and a mob of neighborhood vigilantes is on the hunt. When several neighbors... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen


Blood Money (2017)

Adjusted Score: 31403%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three friends on a wilderness excursion find a fortune stashed in the woods. Now they must outrun the white collar... [More]
Directed By: Lucky McKee


Adult World (2013)

Adjusted Score: 55691%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An aspiring poet (Emma Roberts) takes a job as a clerk at an adult bookstore and tries to make her... [More]
Directed By: Scott Coffey


Con Air (1997)

Adjusted Score: 59935%
Critics Consensus: Con Air won't win any awards for believability - and all involved seem cheerfully aware of it, making some of this blockbuster action outing's biggest flaws fairly easy to forgive.
Synopsis: Just-paroled army ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is headed back to his wife (Monica Potter), but must fly home aboard... [More]
Directed By: Simon West


Chicago Cab (1998)

Adjusted Score: 32009%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A nameless Chicago cab driver (Paul Dillon) picks up more than 30 different passengers over the course of a typical... [More]


One Crazy Summer (1986)

Adjusted Score: 46169%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After graduating from high school, art school hopeful Hoops McCann (John Cusack) struggles to complete his application to the Rhode... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland


City Hall (1996)

Adjusted Score: 56782%
Critics Consensus: City Hall explores political corruption with commendable intelligence, but this web of scandal struggles to coalesce into satisfying drama.
Synopsis: Tragedy strikes when a child is caught in the crossfire between a cop and a mobster on the streets of... [More]
Directed By: Harold Becker


Serendipity (2001)

Adjusted Score: 64370%
Critics Consensus: Light and charming, Serendipity could benefit from less contrivances.
Synopsis: On a magical night when they are in in their 20s, Jonathan (John Cusack) meets Sara (Kate Beckinsale). He finds... [More]
Directed By: Peter Chelsom


Tapeheads (1988)

Adjusted Score: 60343%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Unemployed pals Ivan (John Cusack) and Josh (Tim Robbins) decide to start Video Aces, a company that produces music videos.... [More]
Directed By: Bill Fishman

Adjusted Score: 62552%
Critics Consensus: Though this by-the-numbers true procedural seems basic, The Frozen Ground presents a welcome return for Nicolas Cage in a solid performance.
Synopsis: A teenage escapee (Vanessa Hudgens) provides a critical break in the case, as an Alaskan detective (Nicolas Cage) hunts a... [More]
Directed By: Scott Walker

Adjusted Score: 67126%
Critics Consensus: Narratively unwieldy and tonally jumbled, Maps to the Stars still has enough bite to satisfy David Cronenberg fans in need of a coolly acidic fix.
Synopsis: Driven by an intense need for fame and validation, members of a dysfunctional Hollywood dynasty have lives as dramatic as... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg


Grace Is Gone (2007)

Adjusted Score: 64318%
Critics Consensus: A refreshing departure from the current crop of Iraq war dramas, Grace is Gone is a heartfelt, finely acted portrayal of grief and healing.
Synopsis: Stanley Phillips (John Cusack) receives the kind of news that every spouse of a soldier dreads: His wife, Grace, has... [More]
Directed By: James C. Strouse

Adjusted Score: 71041%
Critics Consensus: Its flagrantly silly script -- and immensely likable cast -- make up for most of its flaws.
Synopsis: Four pals are stuck in a rut in adulthood: Adam (John Cusack) has just been dumped, Lou (Rob Corddry) is... [More]
Directed By: Steve Pink


Cradle Will Rock (1999)

Adjusted Score: 66805%
Critics Consensus: Witty and provocative.
Synopsis: As labor strikes break out throughout the country, New York is alive with cultural revolution. Nelson Rockefeller (John Cusack) commissions... [More]
Directed By: Tim Robbins


Floundering (1994)

Adjusted Score: 62700%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An out-of-work loser (James LeGros) is driven to action by the IRS, his girlfriend and the characters who cross his... [More]
Directed By: Peter McCarthy


Max (2002)

Adjusted Score: 71248%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted in the execution of its provocative "what-if?" premise.
Synopsis: This is the story of a young artist named Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor) and his relationship with a Jewish art... [More]
Directed By: Menno Meyjes

Adjusted Score: 79000%
Critics Consensus: Gut-wrenching and emotionally affecting, Lee Daniels' The Butler overcomes an uneven narrative thanks to strong performances from an all-star cast.
Synopsis: After leaving the South as a young man and finding employment at an elite hotel in Washington, D.C., Cecil Gaines... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels


Runaway Jury (2003)

Adjusted Score: 78361%
Critics Consensus: An implausible but entertaining legal thriller.
Synopsis: After a workplace shooting in New Orleans, a trial against the gun manufacturer pits lawyer Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) against... [More]
Directed By: Gary Fleder

Adjusted Score: 75811%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fiona Flynn (Moya Farrelly) and Kieran O'Day (Aidan Quinn) cross the class divide to find love in 1930s Ireland. Fiona... [More]
Directed By: Paul Quinn

Adjusted Score: 79228%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In an Arctic village in 1931, British mapmaker Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin) selects 12-year-old Eskimo Avik (Robert Joamie) as his... [More]
Directed By: Vincent Ward


Better Off Dead (1985)

Adjusted Score: 77437%
Critics Consensus: Better Off Dead is an anarchic mix of black humor and surreal comedy, anchored by John Cusack's winsome, charming performance.
Synopsis: Lane Meyer (John Cusack) is a teen with a peculiar family and a bizarre fixation with his girlfriend, Beth (Amanda... [More]
Directed By: Savage Steve Holland


Grand Piano (2013)

Adjusted Score: 81430%
Critics Consensus: Grand Piano is so tense in its best moments -- and appealingly strange overall -- that it remains rewarding in spite of its flaws.
Synopsis: A concert pianist who has stage fright finds a threatening note written on his sheet music just moments before a... [More]
Directed By: Eugenio Mira


The Jack Bull (1999)

Adjusted Score: 20566%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Wyoming horse trader (John Cusack) clashes with a rancher (L.Q. Jones) who abused his horses and their Indian caretaker.... [More]
Directed By: John Badham

Adjusted Score: 84383%
Critics Consensus: A high-concept high school reunion movie with an adroitly cast John Cusack and armed with a script of incisive wit.
Synopsis: After assassin Martin Blank (John Cusack) has trouble focusing on his work, resulting in a failed assignment, he returns to... [More]
Directed By: George Armitage

Adjusted Score: 85725%
Critics Consensus: The Thin Red Line is a daringly philosophical World War II film with an enormous cast of eager stars.
Synopsis: In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick


1408 (2007)

Adjusted Score: 86373%
Critics Consensus: Relying on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, 1408 is a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack.
Synopsis: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena -- before he checks into... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom


Chi-Raq (2015)

Adjusted Score: 90973%
Critics Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
Synopsis: The girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader (Nick Cannon) persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

Adjusted Score: 23731%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Factory worker Joe (John Doe) leaves Los Angeles and embarks on a road trip through the desert on his vintage... [More]
Directed By: Abbe Wool


The Sure Thing (1985)

Adjusted Score: 88509%
Critics Consensus: Though its final outcome is predictable, The Sure Thing is a charming, smartly written, and mature teen comedy featuring a breakout role for John Cusack.
Synopsis: Gib (John Cusack), a college freshman, keeps striking out with women. When he learns that a beautiful Californian (Nicollette Sheridan)... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner


Anastasia (1997)

Adjusted Score: 88187%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful animation, an affable take on Russian history, and strong voice performances make Anastasia a winning first film from Fox animation studios.
Synopsis: The evil wizard Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) puts a hex on the royal Romanovs and young Anastasia (Meg Ryan) disappears when... [More]
Directed By: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman


Eight Men Out (1988)

Adjusted Score: 89569%
Critics Consensus: Perhaps less than absorbing for non-baseball fans, but nevertheless underpinned by strong performances from the cast and John Sayles' solid direction.
Synopsis: The Chicago White Sox, who are set to play the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series of 1919, are at... [More]
Directed By: John Sayles

Adjusted Score: 92119%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Warm-hearted family tale of a girl's cross-country trek to find her father, set during the bleak days of the Depression... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Kagan


Never Grow Old (2019)

Adjusted Score: 90378%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A once-peaceful frontier town becomes a den of vice after vicious outlaw Dutch Albert and his gang arrive and begin... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Kavanagh


The Grifters (1990)

Adjusted Score: 92739%
Critics Consensus: Coolly collected and confidently performed, The Grifters is a stylish caper that puts the artistry in con.
Synopsis: Hard-as-nails Lily Dillon (Anjelica Huston) works as a swindler for dangerous bookie Bobo (Pat Hingle), probably the only man she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears


Love & Mercy (2014)

Adjusted Score: 97820%
Critics Consensus: As unconventional and unwieldy as the life and legacy it honors, Love & Mercy should prove moving for Brian Wilson fans while still satisfying neophytes.
Synopsis: In the late 1960s, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson stops touring, produces "Pet Sounds" and begins to lose his grip... [More]
Directed By: Bill Pohlad


High Fidelity (2000)

Adjusted Score: 96311%
Critics Consensus: The deft hand of director Stephen Frears and strong performances by the ensemble cast combine to tell an entertaining story with a rock-solid soundtrack.
Synopsis: Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is the owner of a failing record store in Chicago, where he sells music the old-fashioned... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

Adjusted Score: 99672%
Critics Consensus: A gleefully entertaining backstage comedy, Bullets Over Broadway features some of Woody Allen's sharpest, most inspired late-period writing and direction.
Synopsis: Struggling 1920s playwright David Shayne (John Cusack), having failed to secure financing for his latest work, reluctantly makes a deal... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen


Say Anything... (1989)

Adjusted Score: 100654%
Critics Consensus: One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything... is equally funny and heartfelt -- and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere.
Synopsis: In a charming, critically acclaimed tale of first love, Lloyd (John Cusack), an eternal optimist, seeks to capture the heart... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

The North American box office exploded thanks to the scorching debuts of the
crime drama
American Gangster

and Jerry
‘s animated comedy
Bee Movie
combined for over $85M in ticket sales. Following weeks of sluggish business
where the marketplace failed to match 2006 levels, this weekend’s box office
enjoyed a healthy bounce over last year and kicked off the holiday movie season
with a bang.

Washington and Crowe both scored new career highs with the estimated $46.3M
opening weekend for the crime saga
American Gangster

which dominated the multiplexes. Universal opened the R-rated tale in 3,054
theaters and generated a scorching $15,175 average per location. Directed by
Ridley Scott,
Gangster tells the true story of a drug kingpin who built up a heroin empire in
Harlem in the early 1970s. The opening easily beat out the former all-time
biggest debuts for the Oscar-winning actors: Washington’s
Inside Man
$29M and Crowe’s Gladiator with $34.8M.

American Gangster enjoyed the second highest launch of the year for an
R-rated film trailing only 300‘s
$70.9M. Much of the success came from strong sales from young males and the
urban audience which saw it as a
today’s generation. The same audience also helped to power
Eminem‘s R-rated
hip hop drama 8 Mile
to a surprising number one opening of $51.2M in November of 2002. Brian Grazer
produced both Mile and Gangster. Reviews were mostly favorable and
early Academy Award buzz could help the film in the weeks ahead. Despite the
long running time of nearly two hours and forty minutes, moviegoers lined up and
found their showtimes.

Paramount and DreamWorks settled for a second place debut for their latest
animated film Bee
which grossed an estimated $39.1M in its opening weekend. The
PG-rated toon averaged a sturdy $9,954 from 3,928 locations and performed just a
bit below the levels of recent November animated titles. Last year, the penguin
pic Happy Feet
bowed to $41.5M while the previous year’s
Chicken Little

launched with $40M. The two went on to gross $198M and $135.4M, respectively,
from the North American market. Co-written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld, Bee
Movie enjoyed virtually no competition in the current marketplace for family
audiences. Critics were not too kind, but ticket buyers showed interest on the
opening weekend. For 2007, the toon posted the fourth biggest debut for an
animated film after
Shrek the Third

($121.6M), The
Simpsons Movie
($74M) and


Suffering the largest sophomore drop in franchise history,
Saw IV
tumbled 65%
from its top spot bow and grossed an estimated $11M. The Lionsgate title has
still banked an impressive $51.1M in ten days and should finish with nearly

Buena Vista’s
Dan in Real Life

fared much better in its second weekend dropping a slim 31% to an estimated
$8.1M. With $23M in ten days, the romantic comedy might find its way to around
$50M despite playing in less than 2,000 theaters.

Sony’s vampire thriller

30 Days of Night

declined by 42% and took in an estimated $4M lifting the total to $34.2M. Buena
The Game Plan

followed in sixth with an estimated $3.9M, off only 37%, for a cume to date of

Neglected and landing in seventh place was the new
John Cusack
drama Martian
which opened with an estimated $3.7M. Playing in 2,020
locations, the PG-rated story of a man that adopts a boy who says he’s from Mars
averaged a pitiful $1,807 for New Line. Child was the seventh wide release in
the past six weeks to debut with an average of less than $2,000.

Three adult-skewing fall pics followed.
George Clooney‘s
legal thriller
Michael Clayton
collected an estimated $2.9M, down 41%, for a sum of
$33.2M for Warner Bros. Lionsgate’s
Did I Get Married?
got hit hard by Denzel’s arrival tumbling 52 to
an estimated $2.7M. Cume is $51.2M. The Miramax mystery Gone
Baby Gone
captured an estimated $2.4M, off 37%, for a $14.9M total.

Warner Independent saw a solid platform bow for its documentary
Darfur Now

which saw an estimated $24,000 in ticket sales from only three theaters.
Averaging $8,000 per venue, the Don Cheadle-narrated film will expand on Friday
to more cities.

Three October titles fell sharply and left the top ten this weekend. Disney’s
latest re-release of


Nightmare Before Christmas
saw its post-Halloween sales slump 55% to
an estimated $1.5M for a cume of $12.8M. A $15M final seems likely. The
We Own the Night

fell 59% to an estimated $1.4M. The Sony release has taken in $27.7M and could
make it to $30M. The spoof comedy
The Comebacks

grossed an estimated $1.5M, down 56%, and has collected a disappointing $11.9M
for Fox. Look for a $13M final.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $124.1M which was up 14% from last
year when Borat debuted
in first place with $26.5M; and up 8% from 2005 when Chicken Little
opened in the top spot with $40M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya,

This week at the movies, we’ve got crime lords (American Gangster,
Denzel Washington and
Russell Crowe), busy bees (Bee Movie,
starring Jerry Seinfeld), and kids from another planet (The Martian Child,
starring John Cusack). What do the critics have to say?

It’s a crime flick starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe that’s directed
by Ridley Scott. How could this possibly go wrong? According to critics, it
American Gangster
tells the story of a low-level criminal
(Washington) who moves up the ladder when his boss dies; Crowe plays an
outcast cop on his trail. Pundits say Gangster is a remarkable entry into
the crime genre, with excellent performances, a compelling sense of moral
ambiguity, and an outstanding eye for 1970s period detail. At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, American Gangster is Certified Fresh. (Check out
this week’s Total Recall, where we examine some notable organized crime films from the

"Pour your salt like this from now on or you’re out of the gang."

Jerry Seinfeld lends his distinctive brand of observational humor to
Bee Movie
, a CGI feature about our
pollen-producing pals and their interactions with people. Seinfeld stars as the voice of a recent bee graduate
looking for a purpose in life. Leaving the hive for the first time, he comes
into contact with a human (Renée Zellweger) and becomes concerned over
humanity’s rampant consumption of honey. Critics say Bee Movie is
elevated by Seinfeld’s witty humor, but otherwise, this is an amiable but
forgettable affair. At 57 percent on the Tomatometer, this is no killer Bee.
(Check out RT’s interview with Seinfeld

That’s gold, Jerry, gold!

On a good day, John Cusack is one of the most likeable actors in the movies. Unfortunately, he can’t sell a middling script. In
The Martian Child, Cusack
stars as a widowed sci-fi writer who forms a bond with a boy who hides in an
Amazon.com box and claims to be an extraterrestrial; strange events lend
credence to his claims. Critics say that Cusack and 10-year-old

Bobby Coleman
are excellent, but they bemoan the film’s story, which takes an intriguing premise and weighs it down with clichés and
sappiness. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, this Martian is lost in

"I emailed Amazon. We can send him back for a Nintendo Wii!"

Also opening this week in limited release:
Diva, a
re-release of the 1981 French action classic, is at 100 percent;
Joe Strummer: The Future is
, a documentary about the late, great singer of the Clash, is at
94 percent on the Tomatometer (check out our interview with director Julien
here); Sharkwater,a documentary that explains the importance of are sharp-toothed friends in the
global ecosystem, is at 75 percent;
Fat Girls
, an indie comedy about a
pair of high school outcasts, is at 60 percent; and
Darfur Now
, a doc
about efforts to end the genocide in Sundan, is at 45 percent.

"The power of indie compels you…The power of indie compels

Finally, props to
unbreakable_samurai, who, like
Toshiro Mifune in
defeated all challengers in correctly guessing
Saw IV
‘s 17 percent

Recent Denzel Washington Movies:
87% — Inside Man (2006)
57% — Déjà Vu (2006)
82% — The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
66% — Out of Time (2003)

Recent John Cusack Movies:
77% — 1408 (2007)
46% — The Ice Harvest (2005)
36% — Must Love Dogs (2005)
72% — Runaway Jury (2003)
63% — Identity (2003)

Following a sluggish fall season, November kicks off with a bang this weekend with two high profile films both reaching for the number one spot while appealing to vastly different audiences. Paramount and DreamWorks target kids with the animated comedy Bee Movie from Jerry Seinfeld while Universal goes after adult audiences with its crime drama American Gangster which pits Denzel Washington against Russell Crowe. With little overlap in business, the overall North American box office should surge and finally beat out year-ago levels leading to a solid kickoff for the holiday movie season.

A decade after conquering the television world, Jerry Seinfeld aims to take over the land of film with Bee Movie. The PG-rated toon tells the story of a bee that must try to save his world from those nasty humans that take their honey. Also lending vocal talents are Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Oprah Winfrey, and Chris Rock who snagged the coveted ‘and’ credit for what amounts to about 60 seconds of dialogue. Timing for the Paramount/DreamWorks release is as good as it gets. Not only is early November a hot time for kids movies to score at the box office but the marketplace has suffered a virtual drought when it comes to family-friendly entertainment this fall with The Game Plan being the only major contender. Parents are dying to take their kids to something else, anything else.

Bee Movie falls into the lucrative category of digitally animated comedies about talking creatures featuring the voice of a popular comedian. Last November’s Happy Feet with Robin Williams opened to $41.5M, the previous year’s Chicken Little bowed to $40M, and 2004’s Shark Tale debuted with $47.6M. Bee has the slick animation and funny situations that kids like but also features humor that adults will enjoy too so it will play to a broad audience. And the millions of Seinfeld fans that have had nothing but DVD box sets every Thanksgiving will finally have some new material they can check out from their favorite comic. Critics have not been very kind but that should not affect the grosses that much. The studio’s marketing blitz will be enough to make children demand a trip to the local megaplex. With a highly commercial product, no competition for the family audience, and an ultrawide launch in over 3,500 theaters, Bee Movie could win the box office battle this weekend and gross about $42M.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie

Boasting a much higher bodycount this weekend is Ridley Scott‘s American Gangster starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe which will shoot up some solid numbers from adult audiences. The R-rated drama tells the true story of Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas who built up a mammoth empire selling heroin. Crowe plays the detective out to shut him down. Starpower from the three names, all of whom have won or been nominated for Oscars multiple times, will be the driving force at the turnstiles. Universal’s $90M+ production also has garnered strong reviews which will help the cause and has been backed by an effective marketing push. The running time of nearly two hours and forty minutes will cut back on the amount of times each auditorium can play the film. Even multiplexes that double-screen the picture will probably run out of seats on Friday and Saturday nights.

Gangster should play out like a Denzel movie more than anything else since his box office track record is the strongest and has more consistency than those of Scott and Crowe. Having scored ten career number one openings to date, Washington has seen his top bow come from last year’s Inside Man which debuted to $29M and a $10,275 average. Last fall’s organized crime hit The Departed opened to $26.9M and a $8,912 average and makes for a good comparison given its genre, starpower, acclaim, rating, and length. Gangster will attract a larger African American audience than Scorsese‘s award winner did so an opening north of $30M seems likely. Appeal to men and women will be equally strong. Many adult dramas have struggled at the box office this fall but American Gangster has the firepower to go out there and pull in paying audiences. Plus the weekend’s other major offerings will not eat into its customer base by too much. Heading into 3,054 theaters, American Gangster might debut with around $34M this weekend.

Washington and Crowe in American Gangster

After starring in the year’s second highest grossing horror film 1408, John Cusack hits the big screen again in the family drama Martian Child. The PG-rated film finds the actor playing a writer whose adopted son claims to be from Mars. Parents looking for a movie that they can see with their kids this weekend will be lining up for Jerry and his insect pals so Child will face an uphill battle. New Line hopes that there will be room in the marketplace for a live-action pic for kids but even The Game Plan in its sixth session will be a force to be reckoned with. Invading over 2,000 theaters, Martian Child might take in roughly $6M.

John Cusack in The Martian Child

Following its strong top spot launch, the horror flick Saw IV is sure to fall hard on the second weekend. Sophomore drops amounted to 47% for Saw II and 56% for Saw III and the decline should get even larger for the fourth installment. A 60% plunge would give Lionsgate about $13M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $51M.

Look for a better hold from Steve Carell‘s dramedy Dan in Real Life. The Buena Vista title enjoyed a solid average and has generated good word-of-mouth. The weekend’s new releases may not provide too much competition so a decline of 35% could result. That would put Dan at around $7.5M for a total of $22M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Crashing into multiplexes on a tidal wave of buzz was the raunchy comedy Borat which only debuted in 837 theaters but scored a potent top spot bow of $26.5M for a sizzling average of $31,607. The Fox blockbuster was the only film in 2006 to hit number one while playing in less than 2,000 venues. Final grosses reached $128.5M domestically and over $260M worldwide. Two new kidpics split the family audience and followed in second and third. Disney’s Tim Allen sequel The Santa Clause 3 bowed to $19.5M on its way to $84.5M while Paramount’s animated comedy Flushed Away debuted close behind with $18.8M before finishing with $64.5M. Falling to fourth was Saw III with $14.8M for Lionsgate while the Warner Bros. crime thriller The Departed rounded out the top five with $7.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com,

Described by The Hollywood Reporter as "a cross between E.T. and Parenthood" is the upcoming family film "The Martian Child." John Cusack ("High Fidelity") and Amanda Peet ("The Whole Nine Yards") are set to play the lead roles, and Menno Meyjes ("Max") will be in the director’s chair. First-time feature screenwriters Jonathan Tolins and Seth Bass will be adapting David Gerrold’s short story. Plus Joan Cusack‘s set to play the sister of John’s character … which is great because they really are siblings, and because Joan’s usually pretty hilarious.

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