Dwayne Johnson

(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: Sony Pictures, Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Dwayne Johnson Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

If we had known that The Rock was indeed cooking a biggest-star-in-the-world movie career, we would’ve stuck our noses up in there a lot sooner. Yes, we would have sniffed up those early stinkers Doom and Be Cool, because at least nestled somewhere in there was The Rundown, which featured peak Seann William Scott and a cameo from Arnold Schwarzenegger passing the action torch to this upstart, the man who would be Dwayne Johnson. And indeed Johnson was the action man of the mid-aughts, tacking on the likes of Walking Tall to his brawny resume. And like his action forebears, he made a curve into family comedy, releasing The Game Plan, The Tooth Fairy, and Race to Witch Mountain to the delight, we assume, of some people. On a scale between Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot to Kindergarten Cop, we rate Johnson’s comedy career detour Top Dog.

But things turned around in 2010. That’s the year he jumped face first off a building into the pavement. And thus was born a new action/comedy classic: The Other Guys. Meanwhile, ’70s-style throwback Faster showed a leaner, meaner Johnson back in a hard-hitting groove. He was invited into the Fast & Furious family, helping turn Fast Five into the franchise’s first Certified Fresh entry and a global phenomenon. San Andreas, Rampage, and Skyscraper turned him into the master of disaster, while Moana and Fighting With My Family, which he also produced, are among his highest-rated movies.

Central Intelligence was the first collaboration Johnson had with Kevin Hart, which was merely the opening for the main course: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the unlikely reboot-sequel that connected with audiences and critics worldwide. He, Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan all came back for Jumanji: The Next Level, and we’re taking a look back on all of Dwayne Johnson’s movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#35

Tooth Fairy (2010)
17%

#35
Adjusted Score: 20924%
Critics Consensus: Dwayne Johnson brings the full force of his charm (and his appropriately pale chompers) to the title role, but flat direction and a committee-written script render The Tooth Fairy unacceptably dull.
Synopsis: Rough-and-tumble hockey player Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) is a terror on the ice, earning the nickname "Tooth Fairy" by separating... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lembeck

#34

Baywatch (2017)
17%

#34
Adjusted Score: 35315%
Critics Consensus: Baywatch takes its source material's jiggle factor to R-rated levels, but lacks the original's campy charm -- and leaves its charming stars flailing in the shallows.
Synopsis: When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, the legendary Mitch Buchannon leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a... [More]
Directed By: Seth Gordon

#33

Doom (2005)
18%

#33
Adjusted Score: 23167%
Critics Consensus: The FPS sections are sure to please fans of the video game, but lacking in plot and originality to please other moviegoers.
Synopsis: A team of space marines known as the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, led by Sarge (The Rock), is sent to... [More]
Directed By: Andrzej Bartkowiak

#32

Planet 51 (2009)
23%

#32
Adjusted Score: 26006%
Critics Consensus: Planet 51 squanders an interesting premise with an overly familiar storyline, stock characters, and humor that alternates between curious and potentially offensive.
Synopsis: When astronaut Capt. Charles "Chuck" Baker lands on Planet 51, he thinks he is the first life form to set... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Blanco

#31

Walking Tall (2004)
26%

#31
Adjusted Score: 29622%
Critics Consensus: The Rock makes a competent hero, but the movie is content to let a 2x4 do all the talking.
Synopsis: When decorated military officer Chris Vaughn (The Rock) returns to his hometown in the state of Washington to find work,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Bray

#30

The Game Plan (2007)
29%

#30
Adjusted Score: 32929%
Critics Consensus: Despite The Rock's abundant charisma, The Game Plan is just another run-of-the-mill Disney comedy.
Synopsis: Bachelor football star Joe Kingman (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) seems to have it all. He is wealthy and carefree, and... [More]
Directed By: Andy Fickman

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 35105%
Critics Consensus: Though arguably superior to its predecessor, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is overwhelmed by its nonstop action and too nonsensical and vapid to leave a lasting impression.
Synopsis: In the continuing adventures of the G.I. Joe team, Duke (Channing Tatum), second-in-command Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), and the rest of... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu

#28

Be Cool (2005)
30%

#28
Adjusted Score: 36684%
Critics Consensus: Be Cool is tepid, square, and lukewarm; as a parody of the music business, it has two left feet.
Synopsis: Having made the transition from gangster to movie producer, Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is ready for the next big move.... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#27

Southland Tales (2006)
40%

#27
Adjusted Score: 43708%
Critics Consensus: Southland Tales, while offering an intriguing vision of the future, remains frustratingly incoherent and unpolished.
Synopsis: With the United States under the threat of nuclear attack, the lives of several people converge in a dystopian Los... [More]
Directed By: Richard Kelly

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 44195%
Critics Consensus: Action adventure doesn't get much cheesier than The Scorpion King.
Synopsis: Inspired by the legendary Egyptian warrior, "The Scorpion King" is set 5000 years ago in the notorious city of Gomorrah,... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#25

Gridiron Gang (2006)
42%

#25
Adjusted Score: 45859%
Critics Consensus: The role of probation officer Sean Porter fits Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson like a glove; however, the execution is so cliched, the youths' stories (based on real events), fail to inspire.
Synopsis: A counselor (The Rock) at a juvenile detention facility decides to turn the young inmates in his charge into a... [More]
Directed By: Phil Joanou

#24

Faster (2010)
42%

#24
Adjusted Score: 45568%
Critics Consensus: It's good to see Dwayne Johnson back in full-throttle action mode, but Faster doesn't deliver enough of the high-octane thrills promised by its title.
Synopsis: Following a 10-year prison stint, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) sprints through the gates to take vengeance on those responsible for his... [More]
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 48098%
Critics Consensus: Despite the best efforts of a talented cast, Race to Witch Mountain is a tepid reboot that lacks the magic of the original.
Synopsis: Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson), a Las Vegas taxi driver, is swept up in the adventure of a lifetime when he... [More]
Directed By: Andy Fickman

#22
Adjusted Score: 49211%
Critics Consensus: Aggressively unambitious, Journey 2 might thrill tween viewers, but most others will find it too intense for young audiences and too cartoonishly dull for adults.
Synopsis: Now 17, Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) receives a coded distress signal from an island where none should exist. Knowing that... [More]
Directed By: Brad Peyton

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 51325%
Critics Consensus: In The Mummy Returns, the special effects are impressive, but the characters seem secondary to the computer generated imagery.
Synopsis: Ten years after the events of the first film, Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) O'Connell are settled in... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Sommers

#20

Skyscraper (2018)
48%

#20
Adjusted Score: 65824%
Critics Consensus: Well-cast yet derivative, Skyscraper isn't exactly a towering action thriller feat, but it's solidly constructed enough to stand among the genre's more mildly diverting features.
Synopsis: Will Sawyer is a former FBI agent and U.S. war veteran who now assesses security for skyscrapers. While he's on... [More]

#19

San Andreas (2015)
49%

#19
Adjusted Score: 58252%
Critics Consensus: San Andreas has a great cast and outstanding special effects, but amidst all the senses-shattering destruction, the movie's characters and plot prove less than structurally sound.
Synopsis: A seemingly ideal day turns disastrous when California's notorious San Andreas fault triggers a devastating, magnitude 9 earthquake, the largest... [More]
Directed By: Brad Peyton

#18

Pain & Gain (2013)
50%

#18
Adjusted Score: 58129%
Critics Consensus: It may be his most thought-provoking film to date, but Michael Bay's Pain & Gain ultimately loses its satirical edge in a stylized flurry of violent spectacle.
Synopsis: Danny Lupo (Mark Wahlberg), manager of the Sun Gym in 1990s Miami, decides that there is only one way to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#17

Get Smart (2008)
51%

#17
Adjusted Score: 58998%
Critics Consensus: Get Smart rides Steve Carell's considerable charm for a few laughs, but ultimately proves to be a rather ordinary action comedy.
Synopsis: When members of the nefarious crime syndicate KAOS attack the U.S. spy agency Control, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has to... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#16

Rampage (2018)
51%

#16
Adjusted Score: 68247%
Critics Consensus: Rampage isn't as fun as its source material, but the movie's sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.
Synopsis: Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, an extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla that's been in his care since... [More]
Directed By: Brad Peyton

#15

Snitch (2013)
57%

#15
Adjusted Score: 61761%
Critics Consensus: Though it features one of Dwayne Johnson's more thoughtful performances, the presentation of Snitch's underlying message is muddled by lackluster storytelling and some tonal inconsistencies.
Synopsis: At 18 years old, Jason receives a mandatory 10-year prison sentence after being caught with a package that contained illegal... [More]
Directed By: Ric Roman Waugh

#14

Hercules (2014)
58%

#14
Adjusted Score: 62733%
Critics Consensus: Hercules has Brett Ratner behind the cameras and Dwayne Johnson rocking the loincloth -- and delivers exactly what any reasonable person reading that description might expect.
Synopsis: Though he is famous across the ancient world for his larger-than-life exploits, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), the son of Zeus and... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#13

Jungle Cruise (2021)
62%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79486%
Critics Consensus: Its craft isn't quite as sturdy as some of the classic adventures it's indebted to, but Jungle Cruise remains a fun, family-friendly voyage.
Synopsis: Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE, a rollicking... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 90575%
Critics Consensus: The Fate of the Furious opens a new chapter in the franchise, fueled by the same infectious cast chemistry and over-the-top action fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: With Dom and Letty married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#11
Adjusted Score: 88518%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#10

The Rundown (2003)
69%

#10
Adjusted Score: 74008%
Critics Consensus: The Rundown doesn't break any new ground, but it's a smart, funny buddy action picture with terrific comic chemistry between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Seann William Scott.
Synopsis: Beck (The Rock) is a tight-lipped bounty hunter who doesn't like to use a gun and accepts any job without... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 81503%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry.
Synopsis: Bullied as a teen for being overweight, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) shows up to his high school reunion looking fit... [More]

#8

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
71%

#8
Adjusted Score: 78448%
Critics Consensus: With high-octane humor and terrific action scenes, Fast & Furious 6 builds upon the winning blockbuster formula that made Fast 5 a critical and commercial success.
Synopsis: Since Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian's (Paul Walker) heist in Rio left them and their crew very rich people, they've... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 86151%
Critics Consensus: Like many classic games, Jumanji: The Next Level retains core components of what came before while adding enough fresh bits to keep things playable.
Synopsis: When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#6
Adjusted Score: 93704%
Critics Consensus: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.
Synopsis: Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming... [More]
Directed By: Jake Kasdan

#5

Fast Five (2011)
77%

#5
Adjusted Score: 84788%
Critics Consensus: Sleek, loud, and over the top, Fast Five proudly embraces its brainless action thrills and injects new life into the franchise.
Synopsis: Ever since ex-cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) broke her brother Dom (Vin Diesel) out of... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#4

The Other Guys (2010)
79%

#4
Adjusted Score: 85926%
Critics Consensus: A clever parody of cop-buddy action-comedies, The Other Guys delivers several impressive action set pieces and lots of big laughs, thanks to the assured comic chemistry between Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
Synopsis: Unlike their heroic counterparts on the force, desk-bound NYPD detectives Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) garner no headlines... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#3

Furious 7 (2015)
82%

#3
Adjusted Score: 92414%
Critics Consensus: Serving up a fresh round of over-the-top thrills while adding unexpected dramatic heft, Furious 7 keeps the franchise moving in more ways than one.
Synopsis: After defeating international terrorist Owen Shaw, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 106889%
Critics Consensus: Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering.
Synopsis: Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Merchant

#1

Moana (2016)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 112810%
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney's time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.
Synopsis: An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty... [More]
Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

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Say what you like about blockbuster supremo Roland Emmerich, he sure knows how to pack ’em in the aisles. The director of Independence Dayand The Day After Tomorrow‘s new “historical” epic 10,000 B.C.. has – almost inevitably – come straight in at number one in the UK charts.

This is despite the film’s dreadful reviews, dearth of recognisable stars and a daft concept that liberally shifts around thousands of years of history. The movie is currently at a meagre 10% on the Tomatometer, and the plot’s reliance on large, woolly elephantine creatures has given grizzled hacks carte blanche to dub the film a ‘mammoth disappointment/turkey/flop’ etc.

Nonetheless, gullible punters flocked to see the film, and consequently the money men at Warner Bros. sat on over £2m worth of box office receipts in the first 4 days. This is on top of the pic’s $61 million take in the US. It all just goes to show that Emmerich is once again bulletproof at the box office and, along with maybe Michael Bay, the premier popcorn hitmaker of our age.

Elsewhere indie British comedy The Cottage made a so-so showing, coming in at 6th place. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, who made a remarkable debut with critical darling London to Brighton last year, this new effort was also well received, though not to the same extent. 75% on the Tomatometer was a good return for a film described by Elliot Noble from Sky Movies as, “solid Brit-horror nourishment,” though the filmmakers might have expected better than the £350,000 the film has pulled in so far, especially considering the film’s heavy promotion.

Most interesting however is the cross-Atlantic success of the stupidly-monikered Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. The titular 15 year-old is the latest in a long line of manufactured Disney popstrels with her own records, TV shows and movies to make the mouse big bucks. Complete with creepy footage of screaming preteen white-teethed fans, this concert movie has already proved a cash-cow for the corporation in the States and is now making serious money here too. The film came in at nine in the charts, a scarily impressive showing considering it was only playing on 65 screens.

For its third chart-topper of the year, Warner Bros. is going back in time with its ancient adventure 10,000 BC which aims to revitalize a box office on the verge of extinction. Adding to the mix are Disney’s family comedy College Road Trip and the Lionsgate actioner The Bank Job. With ticket sales hitting a three-month low last weekend, the marketplace has nowhere to go but up.

Roland Emmerich follows up his past blockbusters Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow with the action adventure tale 10,000 BC which looks to dominate the box office with ease. Boasting no major stars, the PG-13 film tells the story of a group of prehistoric tribesmen (who happen to speak perfect English) on a treacherous journey to save their kidnapped friends. Warner Bros. has tossed plenty of marketing dollars behind its big-budget offering as it does every spring with an action title not big enough to beat the summer behemoths.

Given the generic story and historical inaccuracies, look for big drops in the weeks ahead. But the opening weekend should be strong for a few reasons. A solid promotional push promises audiences a huge spectacle on the big screen that is worth paying to see. Plus the marketplace has nothing else exciting, especially for teens and young adults, so that key box office demo will show up in large numbers. The studio will be thrilled if the per-theater average can match the film’s title. Attacking 3,410 locations, 10,000 BC may debut with around $32M this weekend.


The main protagonists of 10,000 B.C.

Having completed successful kidpic makeovers for Vin Diesel and The Rock, the Disney machine now turns its attention to Martin Lawrence who stars in his first G-rated flick ever – College Road Trip. The family comedy co-stars former Cosby kid Raven Symone, who also serves as a producer, playing the teenage daughter looking at prospective colleges to attend. The Mouse House has a patented formula when it comes to manufacturing and marketing family content like this. Lawrence and Symone will draw upon two different audience groups to attract sales and the Disney brand name will add extra glow. There is very little competition for this crowd right now so Trip should hit its mark. The opening may not reach the $30.6M of The Pacifier or the $23M of The Game Plan, nor will it be a top spot bow like those two, but a solid debut is assured. Driving into 2,706 theaters, College Road Trip could collect roughly $18M this weekend.


One of the many hijinks in College Road Trip.

Action fans not interested in the era Before Christ can get their kicks from Jason Statham‘s latest pic The Bank Job. The R-rated heist thriller should play exclusively to the actor’s action fans, but don’t expect this one to be among his top-grossing titles. The marketing push has not been as loud as those for his recent film War or his Transporter vehicles plus a more narrow release is planned. Crossover appeal beyond his core base is unlikely. A sack full of about $6M from 1,603 vaults seems likely for The Bank Job this weekend.


Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in The Bank Job.

Last weekend’s top player Semi-Pro will face some direct competition for young men from the new caveman flick. Look for a 45% drop to about $8M for the New Line release giving the Will Ferrell comedy $27M in ten days.

Vantage Point posted a respectable sophomore session and could stabilize in the third outing. Sony may dip by 40% to around $7.5M for a cume of $51M after 17 days. Paramount’s The Spiderwick Chronicles will finally face off against another offering for families thanks to Disney and Martin. A 35% decline would leave the fantasy pic with $5.5M for the session and lift the total to $62M.

LAST YEAR: Shattering records left and right, the Spartan sensation 300 exploded on the scene to a colossal opening of $70.9M. Warner Bros. hauled in a mammoth $210.6M from North America and a towering $456M worldwide. Far back in second but with a solid hold was the comedy Wild Hogs with $27.6M. The dynamic duo combined for nearly $100M in ticket sales over the weekend making it a summer-like frame. Three holdovers rounded out the top five with nearly identical figures. Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia captured $6.8M, Sony’s Ghost Rider took in $6.7M, and Zodiac grossed $6.6M for Paramount.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Try and imagine, if you will, how you might have felt if you had woken up one night during your childhood to find Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson standing over your bed, holding a bag full of teeth.

That’s the goofy premise hinted at by The Tooth Fairy, which, according to Variety, will find Johnson playing “an ordinary man who’s brought in to try to save the tooth fairy kingdom.” The 20th Century Fox comedy is scheduled to start rolling in August.

Directed by Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2, The Santa Clause 3) and scripted by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Joshua Sternin, and Jeffrey Ventimilia, The Tooth Fairy will reunite Johnson with producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who worked with him on The Game Plan.

Before heading to the tooth fairy’s kingdom, Johnson will be seen in this summer’s Get Smart and Disney’s Witch Mountain sequel/reboot/remake/whatever.

Source: Variety

The good news: a slew of new releases await you this week on video shelves! The bad news: woefully few of them are Fresh. That said, you’ve got your pick of twisted horror (Saw IV), harmless star-driven comedy (The Game Plan, Sydney White), French period romance (Moliere), and more. Choose wisely!


Saw IV

Tomatometer: 20%

Jigsaw is back — not for the first time, not for the last time — in the fourth installment of the Saw franchise, helmed by series vet Darren Lynn Bousman. Once again, the metaphor-loving killer pits his victims against themselves in the most meticulously-crafted death traps in movie history, but this time around there’s a twist: Jigsaw died in Saw III. Que incroyable! Gore-hounds will delight in the unrated DVD edition and bonus features like deleted scenes, Bousman’s audio commentary, and his behind-the-scenes video diary.

 


The Game Plan

Tomatometer: 27%

There was a time when The People’s Champion could inspire awe with an arch of the eyebrow; now, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson commands multiplexes with family fare like this Disney comedy, about a pro football player whose bachelor existence is threatened by the arrival of a daughter he never knew he had.

 

Sydney White

Tomatometer: 39%

For more in the vein of lukewarm family-friendly fare this week, look no further than Sydney White, starring former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. A retelling of the classic Snow White story, the college-set rom-com failed to impress most critics, due largely to Joe Nussbaum’s by-the-numbers direction and a predictable plot heavy on Snow White citations. Watch this if you crave 2 hours of lightweight movie watching, or take a leap and check out…

 

Moliere


Tomatometer: 69%

It’s French, it’s a period piece, it’s a romantic drama based on the life of a great artist. But Moliere, starring Romain Duris and Ludivine Sagnier, is also one of only a few of the week’s new releases that has garnered the praise of critics. Following his fortuitous release from prison thanks to the mercy of the rich Monsieur Jourdain, 17th century playwright Moliere comes to live in Jourdain’s house to teach him about the stage, so Jourdain can impress a lady while keeping it secret from his beautiful wife…whom Moliere begins to fall in love with.

The Hunting Party


Tomatometer: 52%

Hunting war criminals seems an arduous enough task for military types, but for fame-hungry reporters (and filmmakers like Morgan Spurlock, whose upcoming doc chronicles his search for Osama bin Laden) it’s a career-defining challenge. In writer-director Richard Shepard’s black comedy, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, and Jesse Eisenberg head to Sarajevo to find a man called The Fox, based on the real-life story of a group of journalists who tried to find and apprehend Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.

Blonde Ambition


Tomatometer: N/A

Audiences beware: Jessica Simpson is now a “movie star,” as evidenced by her first true starring vehicle. Produced by dad Joe Simpson, and featuring a slew of cameos and appearances by the likes of Rachael Leigh Cook, Luke Wilson, Penelope Ann Miller, Andy Dick, and (sigh) Penny Marshall, Blonde Ambition represents everything that is wrong with the movies — namely, that castmembers like the luminous, capable actress Rachael Leigh Cook are relegated to supporting roles while Simpson bounces her way around the screen as a small-town girl who falls in love with the mailroom boy (Wilson) while climbing unwittingly up the corporate ladder.

‘Til next week, happy renting!

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,

Jigsaw’s twisted games return for another late-October round of torture fun with Saw IV which should allow the lucrative franchise to claim the biggest horror opening of the year for the second straight time. The R-rated gorefest follows last year’s Saw III which bowed to $33.6M this very weekend setting a new debut record for the series. Jigsaw’s death in that installment did not stop a fourth flick from being produced since the most popular horror movie villains never truly die anyway. Although III set a new opening weekend record for the Lionsgate series, it did not match Saw II‘s overall $87M gross and instead finished a bit behind with $80.2M. Still, with small budgets (Saw III was produced for $12M) this cash cow continues to churn out profits and shows no sign of stopping.

The audience for Saw IV is clearly defined and new fans are not likely to be generated. Competition will come primarily from last weekend’s number one opener 30 Days of Night which will suffer a sharp fall this weekend. Otherwise, there is not much to distract genre fans on the weekend before the pumpkin holiday. The marketing has been on par with previous films, but as the franchise ages it risks losing fans who may have had enough with three helpings already. Plus this year has seen a wide assortment of horror films crash and burn which has led to some fright fatigue. Another factor could be the World Series which last year only affected Saw III‘s Friday bow but this year will cut into both Saturday and Sunday business. Many young adults may opt for the torture that the Red Sox are inflicting on the Rockies instead. Saw IV opens on Friday in 3,183 locations and could take in about $29M over three days.


Saw IV

Steve Carell provides some laughs to those not interested in Halloween horror. Following the relatively disappointing $100.3M gross for his $175M budgeted comedy Evan Almighty, the funnyman returns in the dramedy Dan in Real Life playing a depressed widower who falls for his brother’s girlfriend during a family reunion weekend. Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook co-star. The PG-13 film is not a full-fledged comedy so it won’t attract the entire Carell fan base that has grown rapidly over the years thanks to The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the hit sitcom The Office. Also Buena Vista is not releasing the film too wide so the numbers will be kept to a manageable level. Dan should skew mostly to an adult audience so a cluttered marketplace filled with options for mature moviegoers will be a factor too. A poor title won’t help either. Though reviews have been generally positive for this lovable loser tale, a large number of moviegoers might just wait for the DVD on this one. Dan in Real Life stumbles into more than 1,700 theaters on Friday and could collect about $9M.


Steve Carell in Dan in Real Life

Last weekend vampires ruled the box office with 30 Days of Night, but this time a steep fall is guaranteed. Horror pics always drop hard on the second weekend and add in the arrival of Saw which will steal away the same audience, and a 55% decline could result. That would give Sony about $7M for the frame and a decent ten-day total of $27M. Tyler Perry‘s hit comedy Why Did I Get Married? has little in the way of new competition to deal with which means another good hold is likely. The Lionsgate pic may slide by 40% to around $7M as well and boost its 17-day total to $48M.


30 Days of Night

The Game Plan has been the fall season’s top grosser and Disney once again has no threats opening against it. The Rock‘s durable hit should dip by 30% to roughly $6M for a cume to date of $76M. George Clooney’s well-reviewed legal drama Michael Clayton will face some competition for adults from Steve Carell this weekend, but a solid hold does seem likely. A 30% drop would put the Warner Bros. title at $4.5M for the session and lift the sum to $28M.

LAST YEAR: Like clockwork, Saw III came in and dominated the pre-Halloween box office with a franchise-best $33.6M debut grossing more than the rest of the top five combined. The Jigsaw pic eroded fast and ended up trailing Saw II‘s total tally and finished with $80.2M. Holding tight in second place was Martin Scorsese‘s crime saga The Departed with $9.8M in its fourth assignment and the lowest drop in the top ten. The magician drama The Prestige followed closely in third with $9.6M. The war drama Flags of Our Fathers ranked fourth with $6.3M while the animated hit Open Season placed fifth with $5.9M. Opening to dismal results outside the top ten was the Tim Robbins drama Catch A Fire with only $2M on its way to a horrible $4.3M. Platforming in only seven sites was the ensemble drama Babel which went on to gross $34.3M and win the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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.


30 Days of Night

Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.


The Comebacks

Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend’s other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition

Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director’s chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.


Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone
Yet another new option for adults looking for serious fare is the Halle BerryBenicio Del Toro starrer Things We Lost in the Fire. The Paramount release about a widow who seeks comfort from her dead husband’s drug-addicted friend will play to a mature audience and skew more female. The R-rated film has generated some good early reviews and both leads have Oscars on their shelves, but it will not be enough to compete with the other films targeting the same crowd. Berry showed in April that she can only open a picture so much when her thriller Perfect Stranger bowed to a $4,211 average even though A-lister Bruce Willis co-starred. With a not-so-wide release in about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Things We Lost in the Fire might debut with around $3M.


Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in Things We Lost in the Fire

Freestyle Releasing has booked the few remaining empty screens out there for its teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour. As one of the only PG-rated suspense pics ever made, the film will try to attract younger teenagers not interested in sports-themed comedies. With only 1,100 theaters, a quiet marketing campaign, no stars, and zero buzz, a weak debut of about $1M could result.


Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

After a potent number one debut, Tyler Perry‘s hit comedy Why Did I Get Married? should suffer a big fall in its second weekend if history is any indicator. Sophomore drops for the filmmaker’s previous offerings include 50% for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 58% for Madea’s Family Reunion, and 57% for Daddy’s Little Girls. Lionsgate should see a 50% fall to about $10M this weekend giving the ensemble relationship tale $37M in ten days.

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

Five new films push their way into nationwide release on Friday hoping to challenge two-time champ The Rock making for what should be a free-for-all at the North American box office with many different studios having a realistic shot at claiming the number one spot. Among the top contenders are Sony’s crime thriller We Own the Night, the Lionsgate comedy Why Did I Get Married?, and the George Clooney vehicle Michael Clayton which expands nationally after its scorching debut in limited release. Adding to the mix are the costume drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the baseball tale The Final Season. The box office race should be a tight one with as many as four films likely to reach the low double digit millions.

Oscar nominated actors Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix face off as brothers on different sides of the law in the new action thriller We Own the Night. The R-rated pic co-stars Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes and will target an adult audience with a slightly male skew. The former Marky Mark proved his box office pull last spring as the only major star in Shooter which bowed to $14.5M and a $5,176 average by targeting the same audience. Things will be more difficult this time because of the intense competition for mature audiences especially from Michael Clayton. But Night‘s biggest advantage over Michael is that it has two commercial stars instead of just one. The combo should lead to a slim edge at the cash registers.

Despite its awkward title, Night has been pushing itself as an action-packed thriller with faces people love to watch. Reviews have been mixed and with such a crowded field, it will be hard to stand out as a must-see option. Starpower should be the main factor here and showdowns between two solid actors are usually popular with ticket buyers. Opening in over 2,000 theaters, We Own the Night could debut to about $12M.


Phoenix and Wahlberg in We Own the Night

Taking on those boys with some machismo of his own, George Clooney heads into wide release with his legal drama Michael Clayton which Warner Bros. has drummed up plenty of awards buzz for. The R-rated pic bowed to a sizzling $47,994 average last weekend from its platform bow in the Clooney-friendly towns of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. This weekend, the thriller will face the real test when it enters every major market across the 50 states. Thanks to his political outspokenness, the Academy Award winning actor has become a polarizing figure. He could easily win an election to become mayor of Hollywood, but in other parts of the country people would gladly pay theaters to not play his movies.

Clayton will test his drawing power since the film has no other box office anchors in it. Co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack are well-respected, but they don’t sell tickets. There is plenty of direct competition which is why the film got a head start a week early. Buzz from its red hot platform bow has spread helping to build interest. The crowd will consist of the same people that opened Syriana to $11.7M, The Black Dahlia to $10M, and Zodiac to $13.4M. Night will take away some males and Elizabeth will steal some females so a huge gross will be hard to find. But over the long-term the film could have legs. Expanding into 2,511 locations, Michael Clayton stands as the widest of the new offerings and may capture around $11M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Clooney as Clayton

Tyler Perry‘s latest relationship comedy Why Did I Get Married? finds trouble brewing when four married couples come together for an annual winter getaway. The writer/director’s films have always tapped into his loyal fan base with African American women at the core. His 2005 smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman surprised the industry with its first-place debut with $21.9M and a $14,771 average and was followed a year later by Madea’s Family Reunion which grew bigger with a $30M launch. Perry’s last pic Daddy’s Little Girls, also a February release, saw more modest numbers with a $11.2M opening as the filmmaker did not star in the pic.

Married does not have the promotional value of Black History Month or the help of Presidents Day which Girls had early this year. However, Perry’s new film will not face any direct competitors for its target audience. Girls had to face the second weekend of Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy Norbit which offered some audience overlap. Plus Married boasts more starpower with Perry back on screen and an added boost will come from Janet Jackson who is always a strong draw at the box office with the target audience every time she makes a rare appearance in a movie. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate is unlike anything else in the marketplace right now and with few buzzworthy films aimed at black moviegoers in recent months, it should successfully connect. Debuting in 2,011 theaters, Why Did I Get Married? might open with roughly $12M this weekend.


Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?
Another female-driven film, but taking place centuries ago and across the pond, is the historical drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age which finds Cate Blanchett reprising the role of the British Queen which made her a star nine years ago. The PG-13 pic also finds Geoffrey Rush returning and adds Clive Owen to the mix telling the story of the later years of the monarch’s 16th century reign when threats from Spain and a possible love affair at home led to new challenges. Though at the core a costume drama like its predecessor, Universal’s marketing has played up the action and adventure elements in hopes of attracting men looking for warfare and battle scenes. That may backfire when word gets out that there is actually very little action on screen.

The first Elizabeth opened in limited release in November 1998 and rolled through awards season that winter eventually reaching an impressive $30M while never playing in more than 600 theaters. It also bagged seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Now the studio is hoping that a built-in audience will want to take another trip to the past. Though the first was an acclaimed picture, no real demand ever surfaced for a sequel. So it will be tough for Golden Age at the box office especially with all the competition. Female-led dramas often struggle in the marketplace since it is often too hard for adult women to drag men with them to the multiplex for these stories. New films from Clooney and Wahlberg offer more cross-gender appeal. Ordering her troops into 2,000 theaters on Friday, Elizabeth: The Golden Age might take home about $8M over the three-day period.


Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush in Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Likely to strike out at the box office this weekend is the high school baseball pic The Final Season which stars Sean Astin, Larry Miller, and Powers Boothe. The PG-rated film offers no starpower and has generated very little excitement for itself in the marketplace. Most sports fans interested in the national pastime will tune into the playoffs on their television sets this weekend. A quick trip to DVD is assured for this one which has no guarantee to clinch a spot in the top ten. Opening in about 1,000 theaters, a weekend take of just $2M could be in the works.


The Final Season

Among holdovers, The Game Plan surprised the industry two weeks in a row by taking the number one spot. Given its strong legs and continued lack of competition for the family audience and younger teens, a third round on top is not totally out of the question. Should all the newbies eat into each other and all fail to reach the $12M mark, the Disney kidpic by default may stay put. A 25% decline would give The Game Plan a third weekend tally of $12.5M pushing the 17-day total to a solid $58M.

Paramount and DreamWorks were caught by surprise by the lack of strength for the opening of the Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid. With nothing to keep it afloat, a 45% decline might be in order especially since adults will be distracted by a wide assortment of other options. That would give the Farrelly brothers a sophomore session of about $7.5M and a cume of only $25.5M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Sony used the Friday the 13th before Halloween to launch the sequel to one of the most successful horror films in history and captured the number one spot. The Grudge 2 bowed on top with $20.8M accounting for more than half of its $39.1M final. Eventual Oscar champ The Departed slipped to second with $19M easing only 29% for Warner Bros. The Robin Williams political comedy Man of the Year debuted in third with $12.3M before finishing with a disappointing $37.3M for Universal. Rounding out the top five were the Sony toon Open Season with $11.1M and New Line’s fright franchise flick Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning with $7.5M for a steep 60% plunge. Opening with weak results in sixth was the action pic The Marine with $7.1M on its way to $18.8M for Fox. The religious-themed drama One Night with the King bowed to $4.1M with a good $4,518 average and finished with $13.4M for 8X.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Ben Stiller‘s new comedy


The Heartbreak Kid
stumbled in its opening frame and
forced the overall box office to plunge to the worst October weekend in eight
years. Incumbent family comedy
The Game Plan
posted a strong sophomore hold and
retained its position as North America’s most popular film. But two other new
releases did nothing to energize the multiplexes as the top ten films together
grossed what just the top three pictures did a year ago on this same weekend.
The calendar may say October but the dismal box office grosses make it seem like
September never ended.

Surprising industry watchers once again, Disney’s
The Game Plan
held onto the
number one spot for a second time grossing an estimated $16.3M for a slim 29%

decline. That gave
The Rock‘s first entry into the world of kid’s movies a solid
$42.8M in only ten days allowing the PG-rated comedy to already surpass the
total
grosses of his last two films

Gridiron Gang
($38.4M) and
Doom
($28M). All three pics were number one openers. Last weekend, many expected
Game Plan to
debut in second place behind
The Kingdom
while this weekend
Heartbreak was
widely seen as debuting on top. In both cases the quarterback daddy flick
swiped the top spot and with little family competition in the weeks ahead, a
trip to the $100M club could be in the works.

 


Disney is still benefiting from the fall season’s shocking lack of product for
families. For the third consecutive weekend, seven of the top ten films carried
R ratings
giving parents few other options for their children. The studio has virtually no
foes to deal with until
Jerry Seinfeld‘s animated pic
Bee Movie hits theaters on

November 2. Game Plan‘s second weekend drop was even smaller than the 40%
decline that the studio’s
Vin Diesel family film
The Pacifier experienced in
March 2005 on its way to a stunning $113.1M tally. The Game Plan now looks
certain to surpass the $90.5M of 2002’s The
Scorpion King
to become The
Rock’s highest grossing film in a lead role.

 



The weekend’s big disappointment came from the Ben Stiller-Farrelly brothers
collaboration

The Heartbreak Kid
which debuted in second place with an
estimated $14M from 3,229 theaters. Averaging a mediocre $4,345 per site, the
R-rated film marked the first reteaming of the actor with the filmmakers since
the
1998 sleeper smash

There’s Something About Mary
which grossed a stunning $176.5M
that year. Heartbreak was universally expected to open at number one
and was thought to have the potential to capture at least $20M in opening
weekend business for DreamWorks and Paramount. The budget was more than $60M,

according to the studios.

 



For Stiller, Heartbreak‘s opening was half the size of the bows of his other
recent comedies like
Night at the Museum
($30.4M),
Starsky and Hutch
($28.1M), and Along Came Polly ($27.7M). Those were PG or PG-13 films but the
comedian was still expected to draw a large crowd this weekend. However
for the Farrelly brothers, the performance was better than the $12.4M of their
last pic
Fever
Pitch
in 2005 and the $9.4M of 2003’s
Stuck
on You
. Reviews were

mostly negative which is par for the course with these types of comedies.

 



The Heartbreak Kid put Stiller’s box office power to the test and the results
were discouraging. Most of the comedian’s hits feature other big stars to help
bring in
a paying audience. This time Stiller was the only major name and audiences did
not bite. In fact the launch was very similar to that of rival R-rated romantic
comedy
Good Luck Chuck which debuted to $13.7M and a better $5,227 average just two
weeks ago. That film offered some star wattage from both genders with
Dane Cook and
Jessica Alba.


Universal’s Middle East drama
The Kingdom

dropped 46% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.3M and placed third. The
Jamie Foxx pic has taken in
$31.4M in ten days and should find its way to $50-55M. Sony’s action-horror
sequel
Resident Evil: Extinction
fell 47% to an estimated $4.3M and pushed its

17-day cume to $43.5M.
 




 

Failing to find an audience on opening weekend was the fantasy adventure film
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
which bowed to an estimated $3.7M from a
very wide 3,141 theaters for a dismal $1,186 average. The PG-rated pic from the
new venture between Fox and Walden Media targeted young boys but got
nowhere at the box office. Seeker‘s debut was even worse than the $5M launch of
Dragon Wars from just two weeks ago which went after the same audience.
But thanks to a sluggish marketplace, Seeker‘s weak opening still landed the
film in the top five even though its nearly $40M budget will take much time to
recoup.


The Lionsgate comedy
Good Luck Chuck  grossed an estimated $3.5M, off 44%, for a
$29.1M sum. The dance drama
Feel the Noise
delivered a seventh place
debut with an estimated $3.4M from just 1,015 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,350
per site, the PG-13 film played to urban teens and came from the new
Sony/BMG film division.
 



A trio of R-rated films rounded out the top ten. The long-lasting Western
3:10 to Yuma
once again enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten sliding only 28%
to
an estimated $3M in its fifth frame for a solid cume of $48.6M for Lionsgate.
The Warner Bros. vigilante thriller
The Brave One
dropped 39% to an estimated

$2.3M giving
Jodie Foster
and her gun $34.3M to date.
Mr. Woodcock
claimed the
ten spot for New Line with an estimated $2M, down 31%, and a new total of
$22.3M.
 


The weekend’s most notable fireworks came in limited release as the increasingly
crowded arthouse scene saw some red hot numbers from awards hopefuls.

George Clooney
led the way with his legal thriller



Michael Clayton
which bowed
in only 15 theaters but grossed an estimated $704,000 for an astounding
$46,933 average. Powered by strong reviews and starpower from the Oscar-winning
actor, the R-rated film is hoping to keep the momentum going when it
expands nationally on Friday into more than 2,400 theaters.


A pair of acclaimed filmmakers enjoyed encouraging sophomore expansions with
their latest efforts and delivered the next best averages.
Wes Anderson‘s comedy
The Darjeeling
Limited
widened from two New York houses to 19 locations in seven
markets and grossed an estimated $553,000 for a powerful $29,099
average. Fox Searchlight will continue to open in more cities over the next two
weekends before going nationwide into more than 800 playdates at the end of the

month. Ang Lee‘s NC-17 romantic thriller
Lust, Caution also held up very well as
it entered new cities. The Focus release went from a solo Manhattan house to
17 venues and collected an estimated $369,000 for a potent $21,696 average.
Totals stand at $$477,000 for Lust and $781,000 for Darjeeling.

 




Also expanding and still generating good averages in their third frames were
Sean Penn‘s
Into the Wild
and
Brad Pitt‘s

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
. Paramount Vantage widened
Wild from 33 to 135 houses and
grossed an estimated $1.3M for an impressive $9,593 average. Warner
Bros. made a leap from five to 61 locations with Jesse and made off with an
estimated $408,000 for a respectable $6,689 average. Cumes are $2.5M and
$746,000 respectively and each film will continue to add more cities and
theaters in the weeks ahead.
 



Not faring well in its national expansion was the drama The
Jane Austen Book Club
which grossed an estimated $1.5M from 1,232 sites for a weak $1,247
average. Last weekend, the Sony Classics release averaged $4,700 from only 41
venues. Total sits at $2M.



Three films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. The Focus mob thriller
Eastern Promises

dipped 33% to an estimated $2M giving the
David Cronenberg

David
Cronenberg
pic

$14.3M overall. A decent $20M final seems likely which would put it about
one-third below the $31.5M of the director’s last film
A History of Violence

which
also starred
Viggo Mortensen
.

Sony’s Beatles-themed musical feature
Across the
Universe
continued to have
great legs easing a mere 8% in its fourth outing to an estimated $1.9M. With $8M

in the bank from limited release, the Julie Taymor-directed pic goes wide on
Friday into more than 700 sites. Universe joins the music-themed films

Hairspray
and
Once
as movies with some of the best legs at the box office over the last
several months. But it was a sad tune for Universal’s teen comedy
Sydney White

which tumbled 49% to an estimated $1.3M for a weak total of just $10.2M. Look
for a poor $13M finish.
 


The top ten films grossed a disappointing estimate of $61.9M which was down a
substantial 37% from last year when
The
Departed
debuted in first place with $26.9M; and off 23% from 2005 when


Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
opened in the top spot with
$16M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Following a six-week streak of R-rated films topping the charts, The Rock‘s family comedy The Game Plan led the box office last weekend. Now, adult fare comes back to claim the crown with the new Ben Stiller comedy The Heartbreak Kid which is aiming for an easy number one debut. Also opening nationally are the fantasy adventure The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and the music-filled drama Feel the Noise. With the Columbus Day holiday falling on Monday, some students will have extra time off making for a solid start for the month of October.

Almost a decade after There’s Something About Mary became a sleeper smash, directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly reunite with Stiller for another raunchy relationship comedy with The Heartbreak Kid. A remake of the 1972 film written by Neil Simon, the Paramount release stands as another number one hit inherited from the DreamWorks factory. The pic tells the story of a man who marries too early and then falls for another woman during his honeymoon. In the past year, the R-rated envelope-pushing comedies Borat, Knocked Up, and Superbad grossed nearly $400M in combined domestic box office proving that there is gold to be mined in this genre when films are made well and deliver the laughs that audiences want.

Plus star-driven comedies with major Hollywood faces routinely lure moviegoers away from the home and into the multiplexes. Heartbreak will probably not reach the $30.7M opening weekend figure of Knocked Up which had more buzz plus opened in June when most college students were out of school. But reviews so far have been quite good for this type of film so adults will certainly give it a try. And with so many dark and serious films about outlaws, vigilantes, and terrorists out there, audiences definitely want something light and funny right now. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, The Heartbreak Kid may debut with about $27M this weekend.


Ben Stiller and Malin Aklerman in The Heartbreak Kid

The time-travel adventure film The Seeker: The Dark is Rising heads into very wide release (possibly too wide) this weekend aiming for young boys in fantasy mode. Rated PG, the Fox release is based on the popular series of novels and will try to tap into a built-in audience of readers. Of course this is no Harry Potter and currently The Rock is doing a good job bringing in business from the lads so it will be an uphill battle at the box office. Overall buzz does not seem too strong so a huge crowd is not expected. Also there is no real starpower so the film will have to rely on special effects and fans of the literary property. Attacking 3,141 venues, The Seeker may generate around $9M over the weekend.


The Seeker

A Harlem rapper discovers Reggaeton music in Puerto Rico in the urban drama Feel the Noise from producer Jennifer Lopez. Sony is using her name prominently in the marketing which makes sense since there is not much starpower on screen. Latino and African-American youth are being targeted by the PG-13 film which should play mostly to a teen audience. The pic has a clear shot at this crowd since Seeker and The Game Plan skew younger and The Heartbreak Kid and The Kingdom will play older. The studio is trying to tap into the same audience that came out in surprisingly potent numbers for its past films like You Got Served and Stomp the Yard. Noise will open in half as many theaters and the buzz is a bit softer so the numbers will undoubtedly be smaller. Still an impressive average is likely. Stepping into 1,000 locations, Feel the Noise might bow to around $5M.


Feel the Noise

Opening in just 15 theaters in a handful of cities is the George Clooney legal thriller Michael Clayton from Warner Bros. In the R-rated pic, the Oscar-winning actor plays a hotshot attorney who is called in to manage a crisis when his firm’s top litigator suffers a breakdown while defending a top client. Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack co-star. Reviews have been strong and the studio hopes that buzz from a few select markets will spread when Clayton expands nationally next weekend. But a crowded marketplace for serious adult dramas will make things tough.


George Clooney in Michael Clayton

The Rock‘s kidpic The Game Plan delivered a powerful debut last weekend and with little competition from new releases, plus the Columbus Day holiday, a solid hold should result. Seeker will distract a few young boys, but overall it shouldn’t be that much of a threat. A decline of 30% could occur giving the Disney hit around $16M for the session boosting the ten-day cume to an impressive $42M.

The Middle East drama The Kingdom has been ranking number one during the week since kids are busy with school and less able to see Game Plan. Universal should see a 45% drop to about $9.5M which would put the Jamie Foxx actioner at $32M after ten days. Look for Resident Evil: Extinction to slide 50% to roughly $4M leaving Sony with $43M to date.

LAST YEAR: October kicked off with a bang with the top spot debut of Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed with $26.9M. Warner Bros. went on to gross $132.4M domestically and $288M worldwide plus scored four Oscars including the coveted Best Picture statue. Opening in second place with $18.5M was Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning which was the first of three horror sequels that month. New Line found its way to $39.5M. Sony’s toon hit Open Season dropped to third with $15.6M in its sophomore frame. The Lionsgate comedy Employee of the Month bowed in fourth with $11.4M on its way to $28.4M. The Guardian rounded out the top five with $9.6M in its second weekend.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In a fierce head-to-head battle,
The Rock‘s
family comedy The
Game Plan
upset
Jamie Foxx‘s
action thriller The
Kingdom
this weekend and became the first PG-rated film since June to
open at number one. The wrestler-turned-actor collected an estimated $22.7M in
ticket sales for his first kidpic and exceeded industry expectations going into
the weekend. Disney’s latest hit comedy averaged a solid $7,307 from 3,103
theaters. Game marked The Rock’s second biggest opening ever in a lead role
after 2002’s The Scorpion King which bowed to $36.1M.

The film is the latest to take a macho action star and put him in a
family-friendly situation involving kids. In
The Game Plan
,
The Rock plays a superstar quarterback and stylish bachelor who finds out he has
a daughter. The studio found success with the same formula two years ago with
Vin Diesel‘s
The Pacifier
which debuted much better than expected with $30.6M on its way to an amazing
$113.1M. Game Plan also tapped into a family audience starving for
entertainment as the past several weeks have been dominated by adult fare and
R-rated movies for older teens. Studio research showed that 52% of the audience
was female, 53% was under 25, and two-thirds of the crowd consisted of families.
With a CinemaScore grade of A, and most October releases offering nothing
exciting for kids, Disney should expect playability for many weeks to come.


Settling for the runnerup spot but still generating solid results was
The Kingdom
which
premiered to an estimated $17.7M. The Universal release averaged an impressive
$6,335 from 2,793 locations. Carrying the R rating, the
Peter Berg-directed
film finds Jamie Foxx leading a team of FBI agents into Saudi Arabia to
investigate an attack on Americans living there. Critics were mixed in their
reviews.
Jennifer Garner
,
Chris Cooper,
Jason Bateman,
and Jeremy Piven
co-star. Unlike Game Plan, Kingdom faced plenty of competition
given that the marketplace offered several other serious films aimed at adult
audiences.


Last weekend’s top film
Resident
Evil: Extinction
collapsed in its second frame tumbling 66% to an
estimated $8M for a ten-day tally of $36.8M. The Sony threequel should finish up
in the same neighborhood as its predecessor
Resident
Evil: Apocalypse
which grossed $50.7M three years ago at the same time
of year.



Lionsgate followed with a pair of pics. The romantic comedy
Good Luck Chuck

fell 54% to an estimated $6.3M for a cume of $23.6M in ten days. A $35M final
seems likely. The Western
3:10 to Yuma

grossed an estimated $4.2M, off only 32%, for a $43.9M total.


Jodie Foster‘s
crime thriller The Brave
One
dropped 49% to an estimated $3.7M and raised its sum to $30.8M for
Warner Bros. New Line’s
Billy Bob
Thornton
comedy
Mr. Woodcock
followed in seventh place with an estimated $3M, down 39%,
giving the pic $19.6M to date.


The mob pic
Eastern Promises
fell sharply by 49% to an estimated $2.9M for Focus
while Universal’s teen comedy
Sydney White

took in an estimated $2.7M falling 48%. Cumes stand at $11.2M and $8.6M,
respectively.


Jumping into the top ten was the musical film
Across the
Universe
which grossed an estimated $2.1M from only 339 theaters for a
solid $6,047 average. Sony widened the release slightly from 276 locations and
will continue to expand in the weeks ahead. Universe has banked $5.5M to
date in limited release.




Two films from acclaimed directors enjoyed sizzling platform debuts in New
York City this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s
Wes Anderson
pic The
Darjeeling Limited
debuted on Saturday and grossed an estimated $140,000
from only two theaters for a powerful two-day average of $70,000. The distrib
will add 17 more theaters in six additional markets on Friday.
Ang Lee, the
first non-white man to win the Oscar for Best Director, debuted his latest film
Lust, Caution in one
Manhattan location and was greeted with an estimated $62,000. Focus will expand
the NC-17 film throughout October.




Among arthouse titles expanding,
Sean Penn‘s
Into the Wild

grossed an estimated $669,000 from 33 sites for a sturdy $20,271 average for
Paramount Vantage. Warner Bros. averaged $18,400 with its
Brad PittCasey
Affleck
period saga

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
which took in
an estimated $92,000 from five theaters dipping 38%. Not as lucky as it widened
was the Tommy
Lee Jones
drama
In the Valley
of Elah
which brought in an estimated $1.5M from 762 locations for a
weak $2,008 average. Cume is $3.5M for Warner Independent.


Dead on arrival in wide release was the ensemble drama
Feast of Love

with Morgan
Freeman
. The MGM release opened to an estimated $1.8M from 1,200 playdates
for a dismal $1,462 average.


Three movies fell out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal’s smash
actioner The
Bourne Ultimatum
dropped 39% to an estimated $1.7M for a superb $222.8M
domestic total. The Matt Damon hit is the year’s only threequel to surpass the
grosses of both of its two predecessors. A final North American gross of around
$229M should result. Overseas, Ultimatum has also overpowered the two
prior Bourne pics with its international gross of $161.7M putting the
global gross at a stellar $384.5M.




The smash teen comedy
Superbad
dropped 47% to an estimated $1.7M boosting the cume to an
amazing $118.9M. Sony should end up with roughly $123M. On the other hand,
Freestyle Releasing has captured a mere $10M with its fantasy adventure
Dragon Wars
which is
fading fast and should conclude with only $12M.



The top ten films grossed an estimated $73.2M which was down 13% from last
year when Open Season
debuted in first place with $23.6M; but up 3% from 2005 when
Flightplan
stayed
in the top spot with $14.8M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

 

After two weeks of rule by Jodie and Milla, the boys come charging back in what could be a fierce fight for the number one spot. Jamie Foxx heads up the Middle East political thriller The Kingdom while The Rock targets a kinder and gentler audience with his family comedy The Game Plan. With little to no overlap in customers, both films should have room to breathe. Also debuting but in a moderate national release is the Morgan Freeman pic Feast of Love.

After scoring four consecutive $100M grossers this summer, Universal aims for another trip to the number one spot with its new military drama The Kingdom. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx leads the cast playing an agent with the FBI that assembles a talented team of experts to go to Saudi Arabia against government orders to investigate a suicide bomber’s attack against Americans. Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, and Jeremy Piven co-star in the R-rated pic. The studio is hoping to reconnect with the same audience that powered its 2005 Iraq War drama Jarhead to a strong $27.7M bow. It’s even used Kanye West‘s music in its advertising just as it did two years ago.

The Kingdom is part of a handful of fall flicks to deal with political issues in the Middle East. As one of the first ones out of the gate, it may not suffer from the backlash against this genre that may eventually be created. Marketed as a revenge picture featuring Americans fighting back against those who wronged us, the Peter Berg-directed film should tap into a certain segment of the audience that will find comfort in this type of fare. But competition for adults will be a factor especially considering how seven of the top eight films last weekend were rated R. Reviews have been mixed, however starpower is ample which should compensate. Infiltrating more than 2,700 theaters, The Kingdom might open with approximately $19M this weekend.


Jamie Foxx and co. in The Kingdom.

A superstar quarterback’s life is thrown into disarray when he meets the daughter he never knew he had in Disney’s The Game Plan starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The PG-rated entry enters multiplexes in the early weeks of the football season and at a time when there are zero options for families meaning the timing could not be better. The concept should sell to moms, dads, and kids alike. Plus, the studio found great success with this format two years ago when it put muscular action star Vin Diesel into the family comedy The Pacifier and drove $30.6M worth of business into theaters on opening weekend.

Of course Diesel, Ice Cube, and other macho men have been showing their softer side in kidpics lately so the idea is not totally new. The studio’s sneak previews last weekend helped to get more buzz out there with the target demo and with the lack of direct competition, Game Plan should have smooth sailing with parents and children. The marketing push has been effective as Disney has proven with films like Wild Hogs that it can sell just about any type of star-driven comedy to the public. Charging into about 2,800 locations, The Game Plan could grab around $17M this weekend.


The Rock stars in The Game Plan.

Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Selma Blair star in the new drama Feast of Love which quietly enters the marketplace on Friday as the frame’s third new wide opener. Directed by Robert Benton, the R-rated collection of intertwining stories set in Oregon will play exclusively to a mature adult audience. MGM has not been pushing the film too much and the release is not very wide so the film’s potential is limited. Women should outnumber men by a small margin. Landing in about 1,200 sites, a $2M debut could result.


Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear in Feast of Love.

The Tommy Lee Jones drama In the Valley of Elah will expand to roughly 700 theaters nationwide on Friday as it enters its third weekend of release and will try to pop into the top ten. The Paul Haggis-directed pic got off to a solid start by platforming in nine theaters to a $14,840 average. However, things slowed down considerably last weekend during its expansion to 317 playdates which eroded its average down to $3,996. The Warner Independent title struggled as it moved into more major markets and this weekend should see its average get diluted further. A weekend tally of about $2M seems likely.


Tommy Lee Jones in Elah.

A mighty tumble awaits current box office champ Resident Evil: Extinction which is coming off of the biggest bow in the series. The first two Evil pics each suffered a steep 62% drop in the second weekend. A similar drop should result for this third chapter giving Extinction about $9.5M for the frame and $38M in ten days.

The Dane CookJessica Alba comedy Good Luck Chuck is also following up on a solid debut. Most of the fans of the actors probably came out upfront so a 50% fall to around $7M seems likely. That would give Lionsgate a ten-day cume of $24M.

LAST YEAR Sony topped the charts with its animated offering Open Season which debuted to an impressive $23.6M on its way to $85.1M. Ashton Kutcher voiced the number one film and starred on-screen opposite Kevin Costner in the second place pic The Guardian which opened to $18M. the Buena Vista release went on to collect $55M. Jackass: Number Two fell two spots to third with $14.6M losing half of it audience. Launching in fourth was the Billy Bob Thornton comedy School for Scoundrels with $8.6M for MGM on its way to $17.8M. Jet Li‘s Fearless rounded out the top five with $5M for Focus.

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