(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)
Where there’s a Willis, there’s a way. A way to make it from TV sitcom star to eternal everyman action movie hero (Die Hard). A way to make a talking baby movie work (Look Who’s Talking) to the tune of $300 million at the box office in the ’80s. And a way to throw it all away with misfires like Bonfire of the Vanities and Hudson Hawk. And a way to get it all back again by kickstarting the ’90s indie boom with Pulp Fiction.
Since then, Bruce has continued to have a wild career, with the occasional crucial movie released at the exact right time to freshen up his image, whether in epic blockbusters (Armageddon), muted horror (The Sixth Sense), twee comedy (Moonrise Kingdom), or sci-fi cult classics (Looper). Recent highlights include Glass, the surprise finale to M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy that started with Unbreakable and Glass, and Edward Norton passion project Motherless Brooklyn. And now we’re ranking all Bruce Willis movies by Tomatometer!
Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.
Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.
Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.
Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.
LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means. New DVD releases! This week we have 2007’s Best Foreign Oscar winner The Lives of Others, a Serenity Collector’s Edition, and other good bets. Read on to see what’s hot (and what’s not) this week in stores.
The Lives of Others (Sony)
If you’re in the mood for a smart, tense drama, you could do much worse than 2007’s best Foreign Oscar winner, The Lives of Others. Yeah, it’s in German, but reading subtitles is a small price to pay for good entertainment these days. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s tale of an East German surveillance operator and the playwright he’s charged to monitor earned an impressive 95 percent on the Tomatometer, making it this week’s best-reviewed new release.
Have you been anxiously awaiting the latest installment of R. Kelly‘s infamous hip-hopera as much as we have? Well, wait no longer — Chapters 13 to 22 of the genre-defying Trapped in the Closet serial are now yours for the taking. Kelly’s bizarre music video saga defies description, so suffice to say that Chapters 1 through 12 involved a host of interconnected characters (many of which are played by Kelly himself), lots of extramarital intrigue, guns, cherry pies, and a midget (“…midget…midget…”), all produced and co-directed by (guess who?) Kelly. Did I mention he was Grammy-nominated for the first five chapters? We can’t wait to see what melodramatic delights are in store for us next.
House of Games (Criterion)
Fans of writer David Mamet‘s critically-acclaimed directing debut, rejoice! House of Games is getting the Criterion treatment. The 1987 psychological thriller stars Lindsay Crouse as an ice-cold shrink and Joe Mantegna as a devious con man, between whom a dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds. The folks over at Criterion have a host of special features, including interviews with Crouse and Mantegna, audio commentary with Mamet and co-star (and card magician extraordinaire) Ricky Jay, and a behind the scenes doc filmed during the original production.
Add this one to the Must-Have list. This version of what’s arguably one of director Paul Verhoeven‘s best efforts boasts two discs full of extended cuts and special features, all in an impenetrable steel case. Well, maybe it’s not impenetrable, but it’ll look awesome on your DVD shelf! Bonus features include a commentary track by Verhoeven, writer Ed Neumeier and exec producer Jon Davison; four deleted scenes; cast, crew, behind-the-scenes, and design photo galleries; storyboard commentary by special effects whiz Phil Tippett; the extended widescreen cut of the film; and loads more featurettes. Grab this unrated collector’s edition and have yourself a RoboParty.
Serenity Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios)
Firefly fans waited with bated breath for the feature-length Serenity to come out in 2005, and bought the first DVD edition in droves. So why give this new Collector’s Edition a look, when many of the special features were available on the first? Two discs, new bonus features, and gorgeous layered packaging, that’s why! Hardcore browncoats and sci-fi fantasy enthusiasts should enjoy features like the “Take A Walk on Serenity” set tour, the “Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity” retrospective, and Joss Whedon‘s account of adapting Firefly from TV-to-film in “A Filmmaker’s Journey,” but they’ll really love the “Session 416” internet episodes and an all-new commentary track by Whedon, and his stars Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass.
Other Safe Bets This Week
The foul-mouthed little boys of South Park invade home theaters with Season 10, taking cracks at the Nintendo Wii, World of Warcraft, and Family Guy.
ABC’s award-winning serio-comedy about the world’s mousiest personal assistant (America Ferrera) and the cutthroat “beautiful” people at the fashion magazine she works at is now out on DVD.
This collection gathers four films from the Austrian director’s career — The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, and Funny Games — for an alternative to the usual Hollywood offerings.
It’s a 1960s science fiction spectacular! Japan’s Toho Studios bring you not one, not two, but three creature features from the golden age of monster movies and the land of Godzilla: Varan the Unbelievable, The Mysterians, and Matango: The Curse of the Mushroom People!
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
This independently financed actioner cost a reported $26 million to make, smashed countless priceless sports cars during production (including the Enzo Ferrari crashed by star Eddie Griffin during a promotional event) and bombed at the box office. Of the 23 critics who reviewed it, guess how many recommend Redline? That’s right. Zero.
Faring ever so slightly better than Redline, this Bruce Willis–Halle Berry stinker was too chock full of inane twists and turns for most critics. If the allure of watching the “Virtual Lives: The Making of Perfect Stranger” special feature appeals to you, then good; it’s pretty much the only bonus feature on the disc.
Separately, Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, and Jason Bateman are all arguably funny performers; thrown together in this third-wheel rom-com, critics found them not only unfunny but largely unlikeable. But hey, that’s why we have the term “wait until DVD.”
This most recent offering from Christian shingle Fox Faith follows a spoiled young man (Drew Fuller) who has to perform a series of spiritual character-building tests in order to receive his inheritance. Cute little pipsqueak Abigail Breslin co-stars. This might be a bit saccharine, but it’s family friendly.
Until next week, happy renting!
Universal looks to score its first number one hit in nearly a year this weekend with the new Steve Carell comedy "Evan Almighty" which hits the multiplexes on Friday targeting a broad family audience.
Reaching out to adult moviegoers are MGM with the John Cusack chiller "1408" and Paramount Vantage with the Angelina Jolie starrer "A Mighty Heart." Overall, the marketplace could slow down a bit this weekend before another wave of high-profile summer blockbusters arrives towards the end of June.
The sixth consecutive sequel to open at number one has a different formula up its sleeve. "Evan Almighty" loses Jim Carrey from "Bruce Almighty," drops the rating from PG-13 to PG, and shifts the plot over to a Biblical story while courting family audiences. Michael Bay isn’t the only one with a transformer at the box office this summer. Universal’s big-budget comedy offering should easily top the charts, however the financial picture will be very different. Steve Carell, whose starpower has blossomed since the 2003’s "Bruce," takes over as the lead playing a TV anchorman-turned-congressman who is told by God to build an ark because a mighty flood is coming. Morgan Freeman reprises his supporting role as the big G.
On a budget rumored to have ballooned to $175M thanks to extensive special effects and overages, "Evan Almighty" stands as one of the priciest comedies ever. The loss of Jim Carrey means it has almost no chance of reaching the $68M three-day opening weekend gross of "Bruce" from four years ago when it shocked the film industry by kicking "The Matrix Reloaded" out of the top spot in only its second frame. It reached a domestic haul of $242.8M. "Evan Almighty" could conceivably gross half the amount of "Bruce," while costing twice as much to produce. Does that mean it will lose money? Not necessarily. "Evan" would love nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of "Night at the Museum," another effects-driven comedy led by a popular comedian aimed at families, which has grossed over $570M worldwide. If it can tap into that crowd, then it will be a divine road ahead.
"Evan"’s trim running time of about 90 minutes will help since multiplexes can schedule numerous showtimes per day. Competition will come from current chart-topper "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," another action-comedy sequel tamed down to a PG to cater to eight-year-old boys on summer vacation. Teens and young adults who have to wait until the fall to see new episodes of Carell’s "The Office" may line up for "Evan" and give it a try, despite the negative reviews. There’s not much else exciting that demo right now. And given its themes, moviegoers in the Bible Belt may contribute some solid sales on opening weekend as the studio is wisely targeting churches in its marketing outreach. Opening in 3,602 theaters, "Evan Almighty" could premiere to about $40M this weekend.
John Cusack hopes to avoid the current horror curse at the box office with his new psychological thriller "1408." The MGM release finds the actor playing a writer who checks into a haunted hotel room that many have died in. Samuel L. Jackson co-stars in the PG-13 pic. Scary movies have been slaughtered at the cash registers lately. Even star-driven adult thrillers have struggled as witnessed by openings of $11.2M for "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis, $10M for Hilary Swank‘s "The Reaping," $10M for Kevin Costner‘s "Mr. Brooks," and $7.6M for Luke Wilson‘s hotel-themed "Vacancy." Managing to surge a bit higher were Sandra Bullock‘s "Premonition" with $17.6M and Jim Carrey’s "The Number 23" with $14.6M. "1408" may not scare up that much business given consumer apathy towards fright flicks right now. Plus Cusack and Jackson are not really known for packing them in on opening weekend unless there are bigger stars present. Checking into 2,678 theaters, "1408" might take in about $12M this weekend.
Angelina Jolie headlines this weekend’s serious offering for adult audiences, "A Mighty Heart." Directed by Michael Winterbottom ("The Road to Guantanamo," "Welcome to Sarajevo"), the R-rated film finds the Oscar-winning actress playing Mariane Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and documents her struggle to find her kidnapped husband in Pakistan. In a summer of sequels and effects-driven action pictures for kids on vacation, Paramount Vantage is going after the adults that are often neglected at this time of year. Reviews for "Heart" have been strong with Jolie already earning kudos buzz and the film should appeal to the same audiences that came out for other acclaimed political thrillers like "United 93" ($11.5M, $6,395 average), "The Constant Gardener" ($8.7M, $6,444), and "Syriana" ($11.7M, $6,699). Competition will come from "Ocean’s Thirteen" and "Knocked Up" which have both been playing well with the 30-plus crowd. Debuting in about 1,350 theaters, "A Mighty Heart" might open in the vicinity of $7M.
Last weekend, Fox’s "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened at the top and was just one of six sequels to land in the top ten. Its 2005 predecessor tumbled 59% in its second weekend thanks to poor word-of-mouth and intense competition from newcomers "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Wedding Crashers" which stole over $90M worth of ticket sales away from holdover pics. "Silver Surfer" has been greeted with marginally better responses and will not face as much competition from the incoming class this weekend, although "Evan Almighty" will be gunning for that PG-loving family crowd. A drop of 55% would give the new "Fantastic Four" saga around $25M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $103M.
"Ocean’s Thirteen" will see some of its adult audience get pulled away by the weekend’s two new mature-skewing flicks. A 40% decline will leave the caper sequel with roughly $12M pushing the total to $91M after 17 days for Warner Bros. Universal’s comedy sensation "Knocked Up" will smash through the $100M mark this weekend, probably on Friday. Look for a 30% fall to around $10M boosting the cume to $108M.
LAST YEAR: Adam Sandler scored his usual table at the top spot with his comedy "Click" which bowed to $40M for Sony on its way to $137.3M domestically and over $235M worldwide. The Disney/Pixar toon "Cars" dropped to the runnerup spot but dipped only 31% to $23.3M. Sophomores "Nacho Libre" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" were both hit hard and tumbled by more than 50% each to $12.7M and $9.8M, respectively. Focus launched the Tyrese Gibson actioner "Waist Deep" to a solid $9.4M from just over 1,000 theaters on its way to $21.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Bruce Willis has been chatting up some lucky web readers over his upcoming reemergence in "Live Free or Die Hard," talking movies and alienating "Armageddon" director Michael Bay along the way. Today: Bay’s response!
The folks over at AICN hit the motherlode of fanboy crushing come to life this week when a certain forum poster named "Walter B." turned out to be none other than "Die Hard" star (Walter) Bruce Willis. Willis first emerged May 5 in a discussion over "Die Hard 4"’s PG-13 rating, encouraging skeptical readers to be patient because, PG-13 or no, "DH4" would be the best series installment yet.
The next day he returned to anonymously discuss the film, identifying himself as "someone who worked on the picture"; eventually he disclosed his true identity, but not before dropping the diss on Michael Bay (with whom he worked on 1998’s "Armageddon": "[Bay] would have ruined DH4. Few people will work with him now, and I know I will never work with him again."
Later, he added more on the "Armageddon" experience: "I loved working with all the guys, the actor [sic] I mean. It was a great crew, but a screaming Director does not make for a pleasant set experience."
Writing on his own blog, Bay hit back at the comments:
"Hard to believe it really is Bruce saying that stuff on AICN. I loved working with Bruce. He gave me a big hug one month ago at the GM party and we talked for 20 minutes. We even talked about working together again! I mean it would be sad if he felt this way – he’s never one to hide his feelings – I say sad, in that he wouldn’t be man enough to say it to my face. But truly sad that such a big time actor would have to hide on a little talk back section. So I really don’t believe this story.
I find it also totally odd that my agents at William Morris got the call from Bruce’s people to inquire if I would like to helm Die Hard 4, but I was already on Transformers."
Willis has been busy "unofficially" discussing "Die Hard 4" in the media of late (see his live courtside F-bomb endorsement at a recent Nets playoff game). Perhaps it is because, as he posted on AICN, he just really wanted to bypass the Hollywood hype machine and get down to discussing the flick with "real" people on the internet. He certainly has been entertaining the wide-ranging variety of questions lobbied at him on the AICN forum; read the full thread for an entire day’s worth of tense "is he or isn’t he Bruce Willis" talk (a reader finally verifies it’s Willis via video chat, before AICN honcho Harry Knowles gives his official confirmation).
Some highlights of the thread (click here to read at AICN):
"The lesson of Tears [of the Sun] was never start a film without a finished script."
"And Perfect Stranger was ruined by the producers."
"Live Free or Die Hard" hits theaters June 29 (and, if Bruno is to be trusted, will be good).
Awaiting the arrival of their webslinging hero, North American audiences avoided the multiplexes and held onto their money rejecting the slate of new releases that Hollywood dumped into theaters. That allowed the hit suspense pic "Disturbia" to retain its number one position for the third consecutive weekend despite the fact that the overall box office tumbled to its worst showing of 2007.
For the third straight weekend, moviegoers made the teen thriller "Disturbia" the top choice spending an estimated $9.1M on the Paramount release. After 17 days, the PG-13 sleeper hit has raked in a impressive $52.2M and could be headed for a $70M final. Produced by DreamWorks for only $23M, "Disturbia" is the first film to stay on top for back-to-back-to-back frames since Ben Stiller’s holiday season smash "Night at the Museum." Also, Paramount got to enjoy five straight weeks at number one with the Shia LaBeouf hit which followed on the heels of the two-week reign of "Blades of Glory." The last studio to accomplish this feat was Buena Vista in 2004 when "The Incredibles" claimed the top spot for two weeks followed by a three-week reign for "National Treasure."
The best opening among the new releases came from the new supernatural thriller "The Invisible" which landed in second with an estimated $7.6M from 2,019 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,767 per location, the PG-13 chiller about a teen whose spirit must solve his own murder was the fifth scary movie of the month to hit cinemas. "Invisible" had the least starpower of the four new releases, but used its creepy premise to connect with teens and young adults.
Nicolas Cage suffered his worst action opening since becoming a hero in the genre with his latest offering "Next" which stumbled into third place with a weak $7.2M debut, according to estimates. The Paramount release, which was expected to top the charts this weekend, averaged a feeble $2,642 from 2,725 theaters. Cage scored a hit earlier this year with the comic book actioner "Ghost Rider" which has taken in nearly $116M to date, but he couldn’t get action fans to make a return trip to the multiplexes with "Next" which was equally panned by critics. The film about a Las Vegas magician who can see two minutes into the future opened in several international markets as well this weekend and hit the top spot in France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In all markets, "Next" is trying to grab whatever business it can before "Spider-Man 3" makes its global launch this coming week.
The webslinger sequel is poised to shatter records around the world thanks to both intense anticipation and weak competition. The mega-budgeted franchise film will have the domestic marketplace virtually to itself next weekend since there is zero excitement for any other film. Sony has even planned out Spider-Man Week in New York City which kicks off on Monday with the special black carpet premiere in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival with director Sam Raimi and the stars attending. Just like with the first Peter Parker flick from a half-decade ago, "Spider-Man 3" is not only kicking off the summer movie season, but it is arriving in a marketplace on life support in desperate need of a hero. The first "Spider-Man" opened to a then-record $114.8M and accounted for a whopping 77% of all ticket sales in the top ten. The new installment is swinging into an even weaker competitive environment and on more screens which could lead to a more dominant launch.
The Anthony Hopkins–Ryan Gosling thriller "Fracture" dropped a reasonable 36% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.1M. With $21.3M collected in ten days, the New Line release looks to find its way to $35-40M domestically.
"Blades of Glory," the year’s second biggest comedy after "Wild Hogs," slipped 32% to fifth place and grossed an estimated $5.2M for Paramount. With a budget of just over $60M, the Will Ferrell hit has taken in $108.1M and should skate to a $120M finish. Disney’s animated film "Meet the Robinsons" held up well thanks to no new kids competition and dipped 31% to an estimated $4.8M pushing the cume to $88.4M. The year’s top-grossing toon looks to end its run a bit north of the $100M mark.
Focus widened the run of its British action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" by expanding from 825 to 1,272 sites and grossed an estimated $4.8M this weekend for a decent $3,758 average on the sophomore frame. That represented a slim 18% dip in the gross but a steeper 47% drop in the average with the cume rising to $12.5M. The $16M production could conclude its North American run with $21-23M adding to its $49M tally from overseas.
The horror flick "Vacancy" suffered the worst fall in the top ten dropping 45% from its poor debut to an estimated $4.2M. Sony’s $19M thriller starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale has taken in just $13.9M to date and looks to limp to around $20M overall.
Wrestling fans ignored the new "Stone Cold" Steve Austin action pic "The Condemned" which debuted in ninth with a wimpy $4M, according to estimates. The R-rated film about ten death row inmates in a contest for survival was dead on arrival averaging a pathetic $1,732 from 2,310 sites for Lionsgate. Rounding out the top ten was Ice Cube’s family comedy "Are We Done Yet?" with an estimated $3.4M, off 34%, for a $43.8M sum. Sony should reach about $50M.
Jamie Kennedy’s new comedy "Kickin’ It Old Skool" flopped in its first weekend as the Yari Film Group release bowed to an estimated $2.8M from 1,816 locations for a miserable $1,542 average. It was a far cry from the actor’s 2003 spring comedy "Malibu’s Most Wanted" which debuted to $12.6M on its way to a solid $34.4M. Kickin’ was the ninth wide release this year to fail to reach the top ten on opening weekend.
Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Sony’s underperforming thriller "Perfect Stranger" dropped 46% to an estimated $2.2M putting the cume for the Halle Berry–Bruce Willis suspense pic at $21.6M. A disappointing $25M final seems likely for the star-driven bomb. The Warner Bros. chick flick "In the Land of Women" has grossed over $8M in its first ten days which is far from impressive. Look for a $12-14M finish for the Adam Brody clunker.
Buena Vista’s runaway smash comedy "Wild Hogs" finally left the top ten after eight long weeks. Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy, the PG-13 pic took in an estimated $1.9M, off 33%, boosting the total to $158.8M. A final tally of $163-165M seems likely.
The top ten films slumped to an estimated $57.4M which was down 33% from last year when "RV" opened at number one with $16.4M; and down 26% from 2005 when "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" debuted on top with $21.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
In the battle of the single-word-titled thrillers, "Fracture" beat out "Vacancy" but neither could dislodge "Disturbia" from the number one spot this weeend. It was mostly a sluggish frame at the North American box office as the top ten slumped to its third worst level of 2007.
Shia LaBeouf enjoyed his first back-to-back stint in the top spot with the suspense hit "Disturbia" which held up well in its sophomore frame grossing an estimated $13.5M. Off only 39%, the Paramount release of a DreamWorks production averaged a solid $4,464 from 3,015 sites. Teen-oriented thrillers typically fall by more than 50% on the second session. Produced for a mere $23M, "Disturbia" has grossed an impressive $40.7M in its first ten days and could be headed for a $65-70M finish.
Leading the weekend’s crop of new movies was the murder thriller "Fracture" as ticket buyers spent an estimated $11.2M watching Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling go at it. The R-rated film from New Line averaged a solid $4,574 per theater from 2,443 sites. Reviews were mostly good which helped since the film skewed to a mature adult audience.
Will Ferrell scored the third $100M blockbuster of his career, and second in nine months, with "Blades of Glory" which ranked third in its fourth weekend with an estimated $7.8M. Down 44%, the Paramount title is still the widest release in the marketplace with 3,459 locations and the cume has hit $101.1M. The comedy star’s other trips to the century club in a lead role were with 2003’s "Elf" ($173.4M) and last summer’s "Talladega Nights" ($148M).
Opening weaker than expected in the fourth slot was the horror entry "Vacancy" with only $7.6M, according to estimates. The R-rated pic about a couple stranded in a motel where videotaped killings take place averaged a mild $2,979 from 2,551 playdates. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star in the Sony release. Fright fatigue may have hurt "Vacancy"’s opening as the $19M-budgeted film was the fourth scary flick this month to be aimed at moviegoers. Young adults made up most of the audience as studio research showed that 66% of the crowd was under the age of 25 and 52% was female. "Disturbia"’s better-than-expected hold also made an impact.
Disney followed in fifth with the animated hit "Meet the Robinsons" which grossed an estimated $7.1M in its fourth frame, down 43%, for a total of $82.2M.
Shooting up the best average among all wide releases in the marketplace was the new British action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" which premiered to an estimated $5.8M from 825 theaters for a potent $7,075 per venue. The R-rated buddy cop flick from the creative team behind 2004’s cult hit "Shaun of the Dead" earned glowing reviews and tapped into a built-in audience of fans. "Fuzz" outgunned "Shaun" in all ways beating the latter’s September 2004 bow which delivered $3.3M from 607 theaters for a $5,487 average. Produced for $16M, "Hot Fuzz" has already grossed an impressive $48.5M overseas including $41M from the United Kingdom.
Close behind in eighth was the new chick flick "In the Land of Women" which opened poorly with an estimated $4.9M from 2,155 theaters. Averaging a weak $2,281 per location, the PG-13 film stars Adam Brody as a young man who meets a houseful of women when caring for his sick grandmother. "Women" was the fifth wide opener of the past two weeks to fail to reach a $3,000 average in its debut frame.
Rounding out the top ten were two films that that have been showing how differently starpower can affect the box office. The Halle Berry–Bruce Willis thriller "Perfect Stranger" collapsed in its second weekend and tumbled 63% to an estimated $4.1M. With only $18.1M locked up in ten days, Sony should find its way to roughly $25M followed by a quick trip to DVD. On the other hand, Buena Vista’s blockbuster comedy "Wild Hogs" starring Tim Allen and John Travolta remained in the top ten for the eighth consecutive weekend with an estimated $2.9M, off 39%, boosting the cume to $156.2M. It is the highest-grossing non-Spartan film of the year.
Four films fell out of the top ten this weekend. The year’s biggest smash "300" dropped 49% to an estimated $2.3M in its seventh adventure and lifted its staggering domestic total to $204.7M. Budgeted at only $60M, the stylish war epic should end its North American run with an amazing $207-210M. That would amount to nearly three times its opening weekend gross which is rare these days for effects-driven action films that debut with monster bows. "300"’s legs have been strong overseas too where it has tallied $216.8M for a mammoth global gross of $421M and counting.
Other R-rated films suffered horrendous drops as they tumbled out of the top ten. Losing two-thirds of its audience was Fox’s adventure "Pathfinder" which grossed an estimated $1.7M in its second weekend. The Viking pic has collected a puny $8M in ten days and looks headed for a wimpy $10M finish. Maybe casting some Spartans would have helped.
Hilary Swank’s horrorfest "The Reaping" grossed an estimated $1.6M, down 65%, boosting the mild cume to $22.7M. The $53M double feature "Grindhouse" crashed 68% in its third try and took in an estimated $1.4M putting its 17-day take at $22.7M as well. Both films should end up in the $25M vicinity.
Miramax expanded its Richard Gere drama "The Hoax" from 413 to 1,069 theaters but saw weekend sales slip 11% to an estimated $1.3M. The average was diluted down to a poor $1,216 as the cume inched up to only $5.1M.
In limited release, Paramount Vantage widened its Molly Shannon pic "Year of the Dog" from seven to 33 sites and grossed an estimated $139,000 for a $4,200 average. Cume sits at $280,000 with more cities being added this Friday. Fox Searchlight’s "The Namesake" collected an estimated $765,000 from 327 locations in its seventh weekend averaging $2,339 for a cume of $9.8M to date.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $70.1M which was down an unsettling 26% from last year when "Silent Hill" opened at number one with $20.2M; and off 10% from 2005 when "The Interpreter" debuted on top with $22.8M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Paramount replaced itself at the top of the North American box office chart as its new teen thriller "Disturbia" opened ahead of expectations in first place bumping the studio’s two-week champ "Blades of Glory" into the runnerup spot.
The weekend’s other new suspense thriller "Perfect Stranger" starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis disappointed and landed in fourth place. Four other new films debuted in wide release but generated little interest from moviegoers. Overall, the marketplace suffered the usual late spring slowdown as for the first time since February, the top ten failed to sell $100M worth of tickets.
Rising star Shia LaBeouf scored a big victory over the weekend with the thriller "Disturbia" which shot straight to number one debuting with an estimated $23M. The PG-13 pic was given the widest release of the frame’s six new entries playing in 2,925 theaters and generated a strong $7,872 average. A modern day version of Alfred Hitchcock’s "Rear Window," Disturbia played to a young female audience as studio research showed that 57% of the crowd was female and 75% was under 35.
Just before the film’s opening day, the studio announced that LaBeouf had been cast opposite Harrison Ford in its next "Indiana Jones" film. The news may have helped to generate more excitement for Disturbia which was the only major choice for teenage girls this weekend. The safe rating and fairly good reviews may also have contributed. The $20M production looks to become a profitable vehicle.
After its two-week run at the top, Will Ferrell’s comedy hit "Blades of Glory" slipped to second place dropping a moderate 38% to an estimated $14.1M. The 17-day cume stands at a potent $90.2M. Like "Disturbia," "Blades" was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by its new parent Paramount.
Slipping only 28% was Disney’s animated comedy "Meet the Robinsons" with an estimated $12.1M which lifted the total to $72M. With no new films for young kids this weekend, "Robinsons" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten.
Halle Berry and Bruce Willis failed to turn their starpower into box office bucks as their new suspense thriller "Perfect Stranger" debuted weaker than expected in fourth place with an estimated $11.5M. The critically-panned Sony release averaged a mediocre $4,322 from 2,661 theaters. With its R rating, "Perfect Stranger" played to an adult audience with a female skew. Studio research showed that women made up 54% of the audience and a very high 70% were 25 or older. The opening was weaker than the bows of other films headlined by Berry like "Catwoman" ($16.7M) and "Gothika" ($19.3M).
Ice Cube had a decent second weekend for his comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" which fell by 36% to an estimated $9.2M. That gave the Sony release a cume of $33M after 12 days. Its predecessor enjoyed a much slimmer 12% dip to $16.3M in its second weekend on its way to $82.3M. "Done" might find its way to the vicinity of $55M.
Fox’s Viking actioner "Pathfinder" limped into sixth place with a weak $4.8M opening, according to estimates. The R-rated film averaged a mild $2,791 from 1,720 locations.
The rest of the top ten was filled with four films separated by only $400,000. Buena Vista’s motorcycle comedy "Wild Hogs" grossed an estimated $4.6M, down only 30%, for a stellar cume of $152.2M. Hilary Swank’s horror flick "The Reaping" tumbled 55% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.6M giving Warner Bros. $19.8M in 11 days.
The mighty "300" broke through the double century mark over the weekend both domestically and internationally. In North America, the Warner Bros. smash dropped 48% to an estimated $4.3M boosting the total to $200.8M. Overseas, "300" collected an estimated $14.8M this weekend to lift the international haul to $204.1M giving the Spartan epic a global tally of $405M and counting. The stylish war film is now the highest grossing March release ever having surpassed the old record holder "Ice Age: The Meltdown" which grossed $195.3M last spring.
Rounding out the top ten was the Quentin Tarantino–Robert Rodriguez flop "Grindhouse" which plunged 63% in its sophomore session to an estimated $4.2M. Budgeted at $53M, the double feature has taken in just $19.7M in its first ten days and looks headed for a weak $25-27M finish for The Weinstein Co.
In addition to the three new wide releases that debuted in the top ten, another three opened outside of it with weaker results. The car racing pic "Redline" bowed to an estimated $4M from 1,607 sites for a slow $2,492 average per theater. The first title from rookie distributor Chicago Pictures stars Eddie Griffin and targeted young males.
First Look opened the animated film "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" to the tune of $3.1M, according to estimates, giving the R-rated film an average of just $3,521 from 877 locations. Lionsgate made no impact with its Ray Liotta actioner "Slow Burn" which bowed to an estimated $805,000 from 1,163 playdates for a puny average of $692 per theater.
Three films fell out of the top ten this weekend. Mark Wahlberg’s sniper pic "Shooter" dropped 47% to an estimated $3.1M putting its total at $42.1M. The $60M Paramount release should end its run with $47-49M. Fox’s family film "Firehouse Dog" held up well in its second weekend, despite collecting low overall grosses. The PG-rated drama dipped 28% to an estimated $2.8M for a cume of $9.9M after 12 days. Warner Bros. took in an estimated $2.1M for the animated actioner "TMNT," off 56%, for a total of $50.7M. Look for a $53-55M final.
Platforming to solid results was the Molly Shannon comedy "Year of the Dog" which bowed in seven New York and Los Angeles sites and grossed an estimated $112,000. The Paramount Vantage release averaged $16,049 and will open in nine additional cities this Friday boosting its theater count to more than 30.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $92.5M which was down 14% from last year when Scary Movie 4 opened at number one with $40.2M; but up 29% from 2005 when The Amityville Horror debuted on top with $23.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Just a few weeks ago Halle Berry was telling everyone that there would never be a "Storm" spinoff movie (as if anyone actually expected one), and now she’s on record as saying that if the "Catwoman" character is ever resurrected for a "Justice League" movie … she won’t be expecting any phone calls.
At a recent press junket in support of her new thriller "Perfect Stranger," the lovely Ms. Berry was tossed a few "Cat"-related questions. And let’s just say she didn’t mince words: "No, no … You guys didn’t like Catwoman the first time, and I’m not a masochist … I make movies for people, and if people don’t really want to see that, then I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, obviously." Which is a good answer, I suppose, but if she makes movies for "the people," how does she explain "Swordfish," "Gothika," and, well, "Perfect Stranger"?
So between "Storm" fizzling out and "Catwoman" stuck in the kennel, I guess we won’t be seeing Halle Berry in any more comic book movies. Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely up to you … but I say it’s a good thing.