Best and Worst Basketball Movies

If you’re still amazed that one of the most beloved basketball movies of all time involved Looney Tunes helping to keep Michael Jordan from being imprisoned as an interplanetary sideshow attraction, you forget that basketball’s commercial movie breakthrough came in the form of the howlin’ 1980s Michael J. Fox fantasy Teen Wolf. Or that the Air Bud cinematic universe started with the Golden Retriever shooting hoops and marking his territory at the top of they key. Movies like Semi-Pro, Uncle Drew, and White Men Can’t Jump only further traveled this comedy route.

But after basketball movies exploded onto the scene in the ’80s, the sport also just as quickly got its first classic. One year after Teen Wolf, the underdog drama Hoosiers had audiences everywhere leaping up and cheering for a town no one’s ever heard of somewhere in Indiana. More Certified Fresh basketball hall-of-famers include Gina Prince-Bythewood’s directorial debut Love and Basketball, the Denzel Washington and Spike Lee joint He Got Game, and two of the best sports docs out there: Hoop Dreams and The Heart of the Game.

Now witness all the slam dunks — and a few air balls — as we line up the best and worst basketball movies, each with at least 20 critics reviews, and rank them by Tomatometer!

#39

Crossover (2006)
2%

#39
Adjusted Score: 3174%
Critics Consensus: This heartfelt but incompetent, cliche-ridden sports picture is the cinematic equivalent of an airball.
Synopsis: The lives of a gifted athlete (Wesley Jonathan) and his best friend (Anthony Mackie) change when they take a fateful... [More]

#38

The Cookout (2004)
5%

#38
Adjusted Score: 4930%
Critics Consensus: Good-natured but prepared with an absence of craft, The Cookout is an unappetizing collection of warmed-over jokes.
Synopsis: College basketball player Todd Anderson (Storm P) signs a $30 million deal with the New Jersey Nets and promptly moves... [More]
Directed By: Lance Rivera

#37

Celtic Pride (1996)
8%

#37
Adjusted Score: 7597%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mike (Daniel Stern) and Jimmy (Dan Aykroyd) are disconsolate after watching their favorite team, the Boston Celtics, lose a game... [More]
Directed By: Tom DeCerchio

#36

Juwanna Mann (2002)
10%

#36
Adjusted Score: 11328%
Critics Consensus: With its tired premise, Juwanna Mann's jokes fall flat.
Synopsis: When pro basketball star Jamal Jeffries (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) gets booted from the big leagues after an outrageous on-court... [More]
Directed By: Jesse Vaughan

#35

Rebound (2005)
14%

#35
Adjusted Score: 17397%
Critics Consensus: Rebound ought to entertain its target audience, but there's nothing here for those who've seen The Bad News Bears or its countless derivatives.
Synopsis: Roy McCormick (Martin Lawrence) is a college basketball coach more famous for his temper than for his coaching ability. After... [More]
Directed By: Steve Carr

#34

Eddie (1996)
17%

#34
Adjusted Score: 16514%
Critics Consensus: Whoopi Goldberg may demonstrate that she can coach a basketball team with the best of them, but not even she can whip this dreary script into shape.
Synopsis: Chauffeur Edwina "Eddie" Franklin (Whoopi Goldberg) is fanatical about the New York Knicks basketball team. After she wins a contest... [More]
Directed By: Steve Rash

#33

My Giant (1998)
21%

#33
Adjusted Score: 21708%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Billy Crystal stars as Sammy, an agitated agent lost in the forest of the modern world, who happens upon a... [More]
Directed By: Michael Lehmann

#32

The Air Up There (1994)
21%

#32
Adjusted Score: 21913%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American basketball coach (Kevin Bacon) learns how to play the Kenya way as he scouts a tall African (Charles... [More]
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser

#31

Semi-Pro (2008)
22%

#31
Adjusted Score: 28580%
Critics Consensus: Semi-Pro is an intermittently funny, half-hearted attempt at sports satire, and one of Will Ferrell's weaker cinematic efforts.
Synopsis: In 1976, singer Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) uses the profits from his only hit single to fulfill a longtime dream... [More]
Directed By: Kent Alterman

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 36860%
Critics Consensus: Despite LeBron James' best efforts to make a winning team out of the Tune Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy trades the zany, meta humor of its predecessor for a shameless, tired exercise in IP-driven branding.
Synopsis: When LeBron James and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#29

The Hot Flashes (2013)
36%

#29
Adjusted Score: 36160%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A team of middle-aged Texas women, all former high-school basketball champions, challenges the current team of state champions to a... [More]
Directed By: Susan Seidelman

#28

Wolves (2016)
36%

#28
Adjusted Score: 36250%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Anthony is a standout player on his Manhattan high school's basketball team with seemingly everything going for him: a killer... [More]
Directed By: Bart Freundlich

#27

Blue Chips (1994)
37%

#27
Adjusted Score: 37228%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) is a college basketball coach who has to improve his team's standing -- by any means... [More]
Directed By: William Friedkin

#26

Teen Wolf (1985)
42%

#26
Adjusted Score: 43982%
Critics Consensus: Though Michael J. Fox is as charismatic as ever, Teen Wolf's coming-of-age themes can't help but feel a little stale and formulaic.
Synopsis: When high school nerd Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) learns from his father, Harold (James Hampton), that being a werewolf... [More]
Directed By: Rod Daniel

#25

Space Jam (1996)
44%

#25
Adjusted Score: 48034%
Critics Consensus: While it's no slam dunk, Space Jam's silly, Looney Toons-laden slapstick and vivid animation will leave younger viewers satisfied -- though accompanying adults may be more annoyed than entertained.
Synopsis: Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the... [More]
Directed By: Joe Pytka

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 46976%
Critics Consensus: In spite of its young leading man's heroic efforts to hold it all together, a muddled message prevents The Basketball Diaries from compelling as a cautionary tale.
Synopsis: Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) is consumed by his life as a high school basketball star. Pressured by a wicked coach... [More]
Directed By: Scott Kalvert

#23

Air Bud (1997)
45%

#23
Adjusted Score: 45549%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Diffident in the wake of his father's death, high schooler Josh (Kevin Zegers) struggles to adapt to his new home... [More]
Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

#22

Just Wright (2010)
47%

#22
Adjusted Score: 49979%
Critics Consensus: Well-intentioned but formulaic, Just Wright has winning leads but can't overcome its preponderance of cliches.
Synopsis: Physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) lands the dream job of working with basketball superstar Scott McKnight (Common). All goes... [More]
Directed By: Sanaa Hamri

#21

The Mighty Macs (2009)
47%

#21
Adjusted Score: 48318%
Critics Consensus: Its heart is obviously in the right place, but The Mighty Macs is too blandly formulaic to transcend the genre's many clichés.
Synopsis: In 1971, Immaculata College finds a new coach, Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino), to head its women's basketball team. Right from... [More]
Directed By: Tim Chambers

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 49341%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Increasingly estranged from his own daughter, a boozy busboy (Sam Rockwell) gets a shot at redemption when an old friend... [More]
Directed By: James C. Strouse

#19

Glory Road (2006)
55%

#19
Adjusted Score: 61423%
Critics Consensus: As formulaic as sports movies get, this underdog story still triumphs on the strength of its inspiring story.
Synopsis: After being appointed the new coach of the 1966 Texas Miners, Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) decides to build a team... [More]
Directed By: James Gartner

#18

Like Mike (2002)
57%

#18
Adjusted Score: 58838%
Critics Consensus: A pleasant and innocuous diversion for kids, but adults may have trouble sitting through the movie's predictable plotlines and schmaltz.
Synopsis: Fourteen year old, hoops-loving Calvin Cambridge (Lil' Bow Wow) has a dream: to be a famous basketball player -- to... [More]
Directed By: John Schultz

#17

Uncle Drew (2018)
60%

#17
Adjusted Score: 65502%
Critics Consensus: Kyrie Irving's crossover to comedy is amiable enough to score with basketball fans, but Uncle Drew is held back by formulaic plotting and too much product placement.
Synopsis: After draining his life savings to enter a team in the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem, Dax is... [More]
Directed By: Charles Stone III

#16

O (2001)
64%

#16
Adjusted Score: 67692%
Critics Consensus: Though well-intentioned and serious in its exploration of teen violence, O is an uneven experiment that doesn't quite succeed.
Synopsis: Moving the classic tale of "Othello" onto the basketball courts of a high school, the story focuses on a young... [More]
Directed By: Tim Blake Nelson

#15

Coach Carter (2005)
64%

#15
Adjusted Score: 69202%
Critics Consensus: Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson.
Synopsis: In 1999, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#14

Linsanity (2013)
65%

#14
Adjusted Score: 65248%
Critics Consensus: Linsanity offers a compelling enough look at its basketball star subject for fans and curious viewers, even if it never really delves below the surface.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong chronicles the rise of basketball star Jeremy Lin, the first man of Chinese/Taiwanese descent to play... [More]
Directed By: Evan Leong

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 66595%
Critics Consensus: This sports bio documentary is given a few fresh angles, including culture clash issues, and the friendship that develops between Yao and his interpreter.
Synopsis: This documentary chronicles Yao Ming's first year of playing in the National Basketball Association. When Ming signs with the Houston... [More]

#12

More Than a Game (2008)
71%

#12
Adjusted Score: 71419%
Critics Consensus: Though the film may not delve as deep as some would prefer, More Than a Game is an inspiring documentary featuring likable youngsters, a positive message, and some exciting in-game footage.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Kristopher Belman chronicles the early career of basketball superstar LeBron James. James and four other talented teammates were a... [More]
Directed By: Kristopher Belman

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 78527%
Critics Consensus: Despite the predictability of its plot and its similarity to Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester has an honest, solid feel to it and good rapport between Connery and Brown.
Synopsis: A unique relationship develops between an eccentric, reclusive novelist and a young, amazingly gifted scholar-athlete. After the novelist discovers that... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 78443%
Critics Consensus: White Men Can't Jump provides a fresh take on the sports comedy genre, with a clever script and a charismatic trio of leads.
Synopsis: Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) is a white basketball hustler who banks on black players underestimating his skills on the court.... [More]
Directed By: Ron Shelton

#9

He Got Game (1998)
80%

#9
Adjusted Score: 80689%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#8

Quantum Hoops (2007)
81%

#8
Adjusted Score: 80687%
Critics Consensus: Dry and upbeat, this story of overachieving academics struggling as underdog athletes is a winner (even if their basketball team isn't).
Synopsis: The men's basketball team at Caltech attempts to break a 21-year losing streak in the final game.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Rick Greenwald

#7
Adjusted Score: 83678%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Disney comedy about a professor who invents a revolutionary flying rubber, which he dubs "flubber". Not only does the professor's... [More]
Directed By: Robert Stevenson

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 87843%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#5

The Way Back (2020)
84%

#5
Adjusted Score: 98320%
Critics Consensus: The Way Back's occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck's outstanding work in the central role.
Synopsis: Jack Cunningham was a high school basketball superstar who suddenly walked away from the game for unknown reasons. Years later,... [More]
Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 90883%
Critics Consensus: This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.
Synopsis: Filmed over a period of seven years, director Ward Serrill profiles Bill Resler, a university professor who coaches a basketball... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ward Serrill

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 87565%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The story of Lithuania's 1992 Olympic basketball team whose athletes won the bronze medal.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Marius A. Markevicius

#2

Hoosiers (1986)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 95002%
Critics Consensus: It may adhere to the sports underdog formula, but Hoosiers has been made with such loving craft, and features such excellent performances, that it's hard to resist.
Synopsis: Failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) gets a chance at redemption when he is hired to direct the basketball... [More]
Directed By: David Anspaugh

#1

Hoop Dreams (1994)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101622%
Critics Consensus: One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of all time, Hoop Dreams is a rich, complex, heartbreaking, and ultimately deeply rewarding film that uses high school hoops as a jumping-off point to explore issues of race, class, and education in modern America.
Synopsis: Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St.... [More]
Directed By: Steve James

Look out! Starship Troopers and Transformers are about to assault your senses in HD, and soon you can choose Harold and Kumar’s adventures. This week’s new releases are mostly stinkers (The Eye, Semi-Pro), but Dirty Harry’s got your back with a fantastic new box set. Are you feeling lucky, punk?


Make it a Blockbuster…download…night?

Are video stores headed the way of the dinosaur? Not if Blockbuster can help it. The rental chain has begun testing new in-store download kiosks where customers can zip in, ATM-style, and download movies right onto their digital media players. The goal is to have you in and loaded in 30 seconds — that is, only if you have the Archos media player, which you can buy in a Blockbuster store, which you can use portably or plug into a TV set…which sounds all too troublesome to us lazybones DVD buyers.

Choose Your Own Harold and Kumar Adventure!

Those folks over at New Line must be smoking the good stuff, because making the release of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay a Choose Your Own Adventure-style DVD is inspired, to say the least. In addition to switching between new and alternate scenes, you can get up close and personal with the real Harold Lee and “the guy who plays George W. Bush.” Look for it July 25.

An HD Transformers extravaganza!

The web is abuzz with the official news that a Transformers Blu-Ray release will hit stores September 2, supervised by director/spectacle aficionado Michael Bay himself. The 2-Disc Special Edition is expected to boast no less than 30 extras, featurettes, trailers and Easter eggs — all in glorious, ear-shattering, eye-popping HD.

Another Starship Troopers sequel is coming…

Casper Van Dien is back as Johnny Rico, Roughneck soldier and extinguisher of space bugs, in the third installment of the saga that began with Paul Verhoeven‘s 1997 boob-, bomb-, and bug-filled satire. Ed Neumier makes his directorial debut with Starship Troopers: Marauder, which comes to DVD and Blu-Ray August 5; if you’re really Starship crazy, you can buy the entire trilogy the same day.

Disney To Make Movies for Fairies

After you’re done fueling your testosterone levels with Starship Troopers, get in touch with your softer side with the first of four all-new direct-to-DVD Disney films…about fairies! Disney’s had enough of the lame super sequels — Ariel’s racked up a lot of mileage over the years — so they’re turning their attentions to Peter Pan sprite Tinkerbell, who will appear along with her fairy BFFs and talk for the first time in Disney history — unless you count Julia Roberts in Hook, which we admittedly don’t count either.

Click for this week’s new releases!

The Eye


Tomatometer: 21%

One thing might appeal to you about this poor American rehashing of a decent Asian horror film, and that is its star: Jessica Alba. Thankfully, there’s plenty of her to be seen — and a perverse enjoyment to be had from watching her blind “concert violinist” emote around a darkened condo.

Bonus Features:

It’s a 2-disc release with precious little content to warrant the splurge. A digital copy of the film accompanies the DVD — but why, oh, why, would you want to watch it more than once?

Semi-Pro



Tomatometer: 20%

Will Ferrell is up to his usual tricks as Jackie Moon, a 1970s R&B singer (“Love Me Sexy”) turned hoops team owner/player/coach faced trying to lead his ragtag team to league victory; zaniness ensues. The comic’s faithful can forgive the film’s intermittent laughs just for the sight of Ferrell in short shorts, but what about everyone else?

Bonus Features:

You’ll get a digital copy and unrated version of the film in the 2-disc “Let’s Get Sweaty” Edition, plus extended and deleted scenes…but if you hate the film, these extras will just pour more Will Ferrell-flavored salt into the wound. Decide if you’re enough of a Ferrell fan first.



Meet the Spartans


Tomatometer: 02%

The guys behind the “Fill-In-the-Blank” Movies are back again, skewering all things 300. If you revel in gay Spartan jokes, and snort at yet another Britney Spears jab, then you and this movie deserve each other.

Bonus Features:

Pop-up trivia and a cast and crew commentary accompany this…who are we kidding. No amount of extra features could make this DVD worth your while.

Control

Tomatometer: 88%

Thank goodness for good movies! Anton Corbijn‘s stirring, excellent biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis is finally here — a hauntingly intimate, jolting, and lyrical look at the tragic life and death of the pre-fame legend, cut short right as the band was on the brink of post-punk stardom.

Bonus Features:

Immerse yourself in an interview and commentary track with Corbijn, and then marvel at lead Sam Riley and fellow actors (who performed their own songs, filmed live for the movie) in extended concert scenes. Corbijn’s music videos for Joy Division and The Killers also appear on the release.


Boarding Gate

Tomatometer: 26%

The poster says it all: Asia Argento in her underwear and stilettos, pistol in hand. But, buyer be warned: there may be little else to redeem Olivier Assayas‘ stylized neo-thriller, which also features Michael Madsen and a strange turn by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

Bonus Features:

A single making-of featurette makes this a skimpy DVD title; rent it, unless you’ve got to bolster your private Asia Argento home video collection.


Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Tomatometer: N/A

Ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? You should, considering this “ultimate” set of all five Dirty Harry films comes with a passel of uber cool collector’s items, plus a feature-length documentary on the man himself, Clint Eastwood, and all-new commentaries by Eastwood, John Milius, James Fargo, and film critic Richard Schickel.

Bonus Features:

Here’s the loot: five reproduced lobby cards, a poster-sized map of San Francisco detailing Harry’s hunt for the Scorpio killer, never before seen production correspondence, a 40 page hardcover book, and — best of all — a replica Dirty Harry wallet with metal badge and I.D. card.


The Onion Movie

Tomatometer: N/A

America’s finest news source (and employer of hilarious headline writers) The Onion gets its own feature-length movie this week, skewering the news and entertainment industry with signature snark. With a nod to the Kentucky Fried Movie — though leagues below that mark in terms of, well, jokes that work — The Onion Movie won’t be the best new release of the week, but it will probably be more worth your while than Meet the Spartans.

Bonus Features:

Justly deleted scenes and outtakes aren’t funny if the material isn’t funny. But there is some hope, in the form of Mr. Steven Seagal (at the 1:00 mark):

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

North American film fans heard the call of the elephant and stampeded to the box office to see the animated Dr. Seuss pic Horton Hears a Who, which enjoyed the largest opening weekend of the year so far. The testosterone flick Never Back Down launched to decent numbers; however, the virus thriller Doomsday was dead on arrival in its debut. But ‘toon power was able to revitalize the marketplace, sending the top 10 above the $100M mark and ahead of year-ago levels for the first time in a month.

Jim Carrey and Steve Carell lent their voices to Horton and ticket buyers responded, spending an estimated $45.1M on the Fox hit for a strong number one premiere. The G-rated tale bowed ultrawide in 3,954 locations and averaged a sturdy $11,406 per theater. The Whoville story generated the fourth best March opening ever, behind 300 ($70.9M), Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M), and the original Ice Age ($46.3M) and also landed the fifth largest opening in history for a G-rated film.

Horton took advantage of star power, the popularity of the Seuss brand, and an open marketplace with few options for families to help it post the year’s best debut. But the film went beyond just parents and kids — the studio reports that 47 percent of the audience was non-family, with teens kicking in a significant contribution. Budgeted at $85M, the animated feature also garnered glowing reviews from most critics. Horton also bowed in 29 international markets this weekend, and captured an estimated $14.2M tally.

Animated films opening in March usually enjoy strong legs thanks to the Easter holiday and school vacations. Ice Age‘s opening weekend represented only 26 percent of its eventual $176.4M domestic final. Fox’s 2005 film Robots witnessed a 28 percent share, Meltdown played like a sequel and saw 35 percent, and last year’s Disney offering Meet the Robinsons grabbed 26 percent. Horton should follow in the same footsteps, as direct competition in the coing weeks is not too fierce, leading to possibly $150-175M from North America alone.

Trailing the animated elephant were the woolly mammoths of 10,000 BC. The not-so-accurate account of prehistoric times fell 54 percent in its second outing to an estimated $16.4M and pushed the total to $61.2M after 10 days. Given the bad reviews, negative word-of-mouth and the genre, the sharp decline was expected. The Warner Bros. title is playing almost exactly like another spring historical actioner, 2002’s The Scorpion King. The Rock starrer generated similar numbers with a $36.1M debut and $61.3M 10-day take before concluding with $90.5M. 10,000 BC should find its way to the same vicinity domestically. Overseas, the prehistoric pic collected a mighty $38M this weekend as it saw top spot debuts in the United Kingdom, Korea, and Russia and second place launches in France and Italy. The international cume has risen to $73M putting the global gross at an impressive $134M.

So far this year, moviegoers have been showing up in the same numbers, but have spread their dollars across a wider selection of movies than in 2007. Overall domestic box office is up 4 percent compared to the same period last year, and when factoring in the annual increase in ticket prices, total admissions are up only a slight amount. But at this point in 2007, six films had crossed the $50M mark, including three that broke the $100M barrier; this year, none have reached nine digits yet, but a whopping 10 have vaulted ahead of $50M (not including Horton, which is just days away from surpassing that mark).

The Mixed Martial Arts drama Never Back Down debuted to mediocre results and landed in third place with an estimated $8.6M from a wide 2,729 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,155, the PG-13 high school tale is the first in-house production from new distributor Summit and played to an audience of young males. Research showed that 59 percent of the audience was male and 60 percent were under 21. Never was budgeted at $20M.

Martin Lawrence’s second comedy of the year, College Road Trip, dropped a moderate 42 percent in its second weekend,, grossing an estimated $7.9M. With $24.3M collected in 10 days, the G-rated family flick should end up in the neighborhood of $45M.

Sony’s action thriller Vantage Point has been enjoying surprisingly strong legs, and slipped only 27 percent this week, to an estimated $5.4M for a solid cume of $59.2M. Rival actioner The Bank Job posted an even greater hold, sliding only 17 percent in its sophomore frame to an estimated $4.9M, giving Lionsgate $13.1M in 10 days. The high-octane pics should reach about $75M and $27M, respectively.

Universal suffered a dismal opening for its futuristic virus thriller Doomsday, which bowed to just $4.7M, according to estimates, from 1,936 theaters. The R-rated pic averaged a miserable $2,450 and should find its real audience on DVD this summer.

Will Ferrell‘s basketball comedy Semi-Pro fell 49 percent to eighth with an estimated $3M, pushing the total for New Line to $29.8M. Look for a final of roughly $35M, making it the comedian’s lowest-grossing lead performance in a wide release since 1998’s Night at the Roxbury.

Sony’s The Other Boleyn Girl dipped only 28 percent to an estimated $2.9M for a cume of $19.2M. The kidpic The Spiderwick Chronicles rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $2.4M, off 49 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Final grosses should reach $26M and $70M, respectively.

Warner Independent had a mixed weekend with its pair of limited release titles. The Naomi Watts thriller Funny Games opened in 289 theaters and grossed an estimated $520,000 for a dull $1,800 average. But its promising platform release Snow Angels added one Los Angeles site and took in an estimated $26,000 from three sites for a potent $8,667 average. The Kate Beckinsale starrer expands to the top 10 on Friday during its third session.

Three solid box office performers fell from the top 10 this weekend. Fox’s sci-fi flick Jumper dropped 42 percent to an estimated $2.1M, lifting the total to $75.8M. The $85M Hayden ChristensenSamuel L. Jackson actioner should conclude with about $80M. It’s already banked $100M overseas and counting.

The $70M adventure comedy Fool’s Gold collected an estimated $1.7M, off 38 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Warner Bros. looks to end with just under $70M. Step Up 2 the Streets, the latest teen dance drama to score with audiences, took in an estimated $1.5M, down 51 percent. With $55.4M taken in thus far, the Buena Vista release will reach close to $60M, putting it within striking distance of the $65.3M gross of 2006’s surprise smash Step Up.

The top 10 films grossed an estimated $101.3M, which was up less than 1 percent from last year — when 300 remained at number one in its second weekend with $32.9M — and up 13 percent from 2006, when V for Vendetta debuted in the top spot with $25.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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

This week's UK Box Office Top EightA slow week at the nation’s theatres saw Jason Statham surprisingly emerge as the king of the box office. The chrome-domed mockney thesp stars in crime caper The Bank Job, which narrowly overcame Will Ferrell’s new comedy Semi-Pro in a less-than-epic struggle for the number one spot.

This time of year is notoriously slow for cinema releases, with studios usually sitting on their big guns for summer releases and instead using the period as a dumping ground for their less-than-promising, lower budget offerings. This year executives at the big five have bucked the trend a bit – Paramount’s Cloverfield and Fox’s Jumper together raked in big bucks.

This week, though, has seen normal service resumed, with the soulless accountants totting up the profits from The Bank Job and Semi-Pro sure to be disappointed with their takings; the films both scraped less than a million each. The Stath can at least console himself with the fact that The Bank Job received surprisingly good reviews — with an 81% score on the Tomatometer, but Semi-Pro had no such luck. No fewer than three quarters of critics gave the pic a negative review, with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw labelling the film “chillingly devoid of laughs”.

It was the big-budget behemoths still lurking in the charts that took the biggest financial hit from the lackadaisical British cinema-going public. Arthritis-riddled killing machine Rambo took in 59% less cash than last week, with studio Sony’s spat with the Odeon cinema chain surely biting into their much-needed profits. The film fell from 3rd to 9th in the charts.

Handheld beasty-mash-up Cloverfield also finally relinquished its slimy grip on a top ten place. The J.J. Abrams produced, ahem, monstrosity tumbled from 9th to 17th place, taking in 74% less moolah than the previous week.

Even RT fave Alvin and the Chipmunks – previously impervious to bad reviews, cinema-going trends and the vagaries of basic human decency – was finally abandoned by its army of loyal fans and also dropped out of the top ten. However, we’re sure the be-suited bean counters at Fox, in between sips of Cristal obviously, will still congratulate themselves on the film’s $22 mill take in the UK alone.

Will Ferrell
scored another number one hit but attracted smaller-than-expected crowds to his
new basketball comedy Semi-Pro
leading the North American box office to slump to its worst showing in three
months. Opening in semi-national release, the period romance The Other Boleyn Girl
performed well but the comedy Penelope
stumbled and barely made the top ten.

Ferrell’s latest attempt to mine laughs out of sports came in the form of Semi-Pro
which opened atop the charts this weekend to an estimated $15.3M. The New Line
release averaged a decent $4,906 from 3,121 sites but did not match the numbers
of the funnyman’s other recent hits like Blades of Glory
($33M), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
($47M), and Anchorman
($28.4M). Those were all rated PG-13 allowing the comedian’s teen fans to buy
tickets while Semi-Pro carried the more restrictive R which most likely affected
ticket sales. It was the lowest gross for a number one film since
Jodie Foster‘s
The Brave One
which debuted to $13.5M last September.

Sony’s hit assassination thriller
Vantage Point

fell to second place but enjoyed a good hold dropping 43% to an estimated $13M.
The ensemble actioner has banked a terrific $41M in ten days and has benefited
from a highly effective marketing push by the studio. Look for a domestic final
of $70-75M.

Holding up even better was the fantasy adventure The Spiderwick Chronicles
with an estimated $8.8M. The Paramount pic slipped only 33% and is taking
advantage of a marketplace lacking other options for families.




Sony scored a solid debut for its period drama The Other Boleyn Girl
which bowed to an estimated $8.3M from only 1,166 locations for an impressive
$7,118 average. It was the best per-theater performance of any film in the Top
20. Starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson,
the PG-13 film played overwhelmingly to young women. Studio research indicated
that the audience was 72% female and 66% under 35. Reviews were not very
positive.

Jumper
jumped down to fifth dropping 40% to an estimated $7.6M giving Fox $66.8M to
date. Buena Vista’s urban dance pic Step Up 2 The Streets
followed with an estimated $5.7M, off 41%, for a $48.6M cume. The Matthew McConaugheyKate Hudson
reunion pic Fool’s Gold
 grossed an estimated $4.7M, down only 28%, and raised its sum to $59.1M
for Warner Bros.

Two films tied for eighth place with an estimated $4M each. Summit debuted
its Christina Ricci
pic Penelope
in 1,196 locations and averaged a mild $3,349. The PG-rated film appealed to a
more female audience and saw direct competition from the solid launch of
Boleyn
. Reviews were mixed. Oscar king
No Country For
Old Men
expanded from 1,101 to 2,037 sites to capitalize on its
Academy Award attention and climbed back into the top ten. Miramax has grossed
$69.6M to date and should be headed past the $80M mark domestically.

Another Oscar winner Juno
placed tenth with an estimated $3.4M, down just 19%, and upped its total to
$135.1M. Fox Searchlight’s indie sensation jumped up to number 16 on the list of
top-grossing 2007 releases surpassing its parent studio’s expensive summer
action sequels
Live Free or
Die Hard
and

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
. Ellen Page’s Juno is also the
highest-grossing female-led film since 2002’s Academy Award-winning musical
Chicago
which
was headlined by
Catherine
Zeta Jones
and
Renee
Zellweger
.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.7M which was down a troubling 28%
from last year when Wild
Hogs
opened at number one with $39.7M; and off 4% from 2006 when
Madea’s Family
Reunion
remained in the top spot with $12.6M in its second weekend.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya, www.boxofficeguru.com

A triumvirate of films opens this weekend, but all will bow to the power of the mighty Will Ferrell and his latest outrageous comedy, Semi-Pro.

Will Ferrell storms the box office this weekend with his latest sports comedy, Semi-Pro. This time the funnyman takes on the world of professional basketball, following in the footsteps of 2007’s figure skating pic Blades of Glory and 2006’s racing flick Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. There is no question this kind of film is directly in Ferrell’s wheelhouse so he should slam another one out of the park – sorry, let me try that again… so this weekend should be a slam dunk for him.

Almost exactly a year ago, Blades of Glory opened with $33M on its way to a $118.5M final gross. In August of 2006, Talladega Nights opened with $47M on its way to $148M. The major differences between those two films and Semi-Pro is that the previous two were rated PG-13 while Semi-Pro has landed an R rating, and that people may be tiring of seeing Ferrell doing the same shtick over and over again. The rating will keep some of the young folks who dig Ferrell’s irreverent comedy, away from theaters. The shtick may keep some viewers away, but the fans will come out in droves and it shouldn’t hurt the overall grosses too much, as the film is the only major player in town. Opening on over 3,000 screens, Semi-Pro could gross $35M this weekend.


Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro.

Two other smaller films, both headlined by women, also open this weekend. First is The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. The film finds the two playing sisters, both trying to win the heart of the King of England. While both are critical darlings (and have a countless number of male fans), neither one is considered a big box office draw. Johansson’s biggest opening weekend (for a live action film) was 1998’s The Horse Whisperer, which opened to $13.6M. Portman of course starred in three episodes of the Star Wars saga, but if you exclude those films, her highest opening weekend was $25.6M for V for Vendetta back in March of 2006. That sounds reasonably impressive until you realize her next highest opening weekend for a film in which she had a leading role was last winter with Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium which opened with $9.6M.

The Other Boleyn Girl will likely cater to an audience of older women, although the joint star power of Johansson and Portman could bring in a somewhat younger crowd, as will Eric Bana who plays the aforementioned King. However the film opens on only about 1,000 screens and will likely get lost in the shuffle. While the film isn’t a romantic comedy and in fact has a twisted and scandalous storyline, there are no less than three romantic comedies still in the marketplace all of which cater to the same demographic. Look for The Other Boleyn Girl to open with around $5M.


The Boleyn girl and the other Boleyn girl.

The final new release this weekend is the long awaited Penelope starring Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and James McAvoy. The movie tells the tale of a woman who is forced to hide a family curse which will only be lifted if she can find true love. The film has aspects of science-fiction and fantasy which makes it a little different than the other romantic comedies out right now, but even with Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon’s name attached, the film will most likely get buried. Opening on around 1,200 screens, look for Penelope to gross around $4M this weekend.


Christina Ricci as Penelope.

Last weekend’s champ Vantage Point will likely lose business to the Ferrell juggernaut, but should still have a reasonable hold this weekend. Look for the ensemble political thriller to fall around 40% to around $14M.

LAST YEAR: Disney jumped all over the box office with the smash Wild Hogs, which grossed $39.7M making it the largest opening in March history for a live-action film (until the following weekend when 300 shattered the mark). The critically acclaimed Zodiac debuted in second place with $13.4M. Two-time champ Ghost Rider grossed $11.6M, while a second Disney film, Bridge to Terabithia made $8.9M. Jim Carrey‘s crossover into horror, The Number 23, crashed 56% and collected $6.5M in its second weekend.

This week
at the movies, we’ve got hapless hoopsters (Semi-Pro, starring
Will
Ferrell
, Woody Harrelson, and
Andre Benjamin), snouted socialites (Penelope,
starring Christina Ricci
and James McAvoy), and scandalous siblings (The Other Boleyn Girl,
starring Natalie Portman,
Scarlett Johansson, and
Eric Bana). What do the
critics have to say?

Will
Ferrell has made a mini-career for himself yuking it up in wacky sports
comedies. Some, like


Talladega Nights
and
Blades
of Glory
, were
winners with the critics, while others (Kicking and Screaming, anyone?)
have fallen below the Mendoza Line. It appears the pundits are putting his
latest, Semi-Pro, in the latter category. Ferrell stars as Jackie Moon,
the owner of a struggling American Basketball Association (yep, the league with
the red, white, and blue ball) squad that’s on the verge of folding; worse, the
NBA may soon buy the only solvent ABA squads, so the team has to start winning
in a hurry. The pundits say that while Semi-Pro offers occasional laughs,
its shooting percentage isn’t all that high; it’s never as deliriously funny as
it should be, and sags under the weight of too much sentiment. At 23 percent
on the Tomatometer, Semi-Pro is looking as pretty as a Ben Wallace free
throw.




"So you guys will watch this but not Brothers Solomon?
Come on!"

A lonely
lass with a swine’s schnoz, Penelope (Christina Ricci) isn’t your average girl.
And the scribes say Penelope isn’t your average movie
— and despite
moments of enchantment, this modern-day fairy tale is something of a mixed bag.
Penelope is a poor little rich girl who suffers from a strange curse: she’s got
a pig snout, and can only be saved by the proper suitor. The critics say Penelope
is never short on whimsy and charm, but it’s uneven and a little short on magic.
It’s currently at 55 percent on the Tomatometer. (Check out our inventory of
fairy tales for grownups here.)




Penelope getting ready to practice some American Ninja moves.

The Other Boleyn Girl has all the makings of a juicy tale of period intrigue: a
love triangle, political machinations, and a stellar cast. Unfortunately,
critics say the film can’t quite put all the pieces together. Based upon the
bestseller by Philippa Gregory, Boleyn is the story of two sisters
(Natalie Portman and
Scarlett Johansson)
vying for the ardor of the King of England (Eric Bana) — and finding themselves in a romantic tug-of-war that
threatens to destabilize the nation. The pundits say the movie looks terrific,
and the plot has intrinsic interest, but Boleyn ends up devolving into
over-plotted, melodramatic territory while leaving certain elements of its plot
underdeveloped. At 45 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics aren’t quite in
love with this Girl.




“Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo, so long ago when there was nothing but our love.”

Also
opening this week in limited release:

  • Chop
    Shop
    , the story of a 12-year-old orphan fending for himself in gritty New
    York City, is at 88 percent.


  • Beyond
    Belief
    , a doc about a pair of Boston women who travel to Afghanistan after
    their husbands are killed by terrorism, is at 80 percent.

  • Chicago
    10
    , which combines documentary footage and animation to tell the story of
    the riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, is at 78 percent (check out
    our take from Sundance
    here).

  • The
    Unforeseen
    , a doc about the fragile balance between home-ownership and the
    environment, is at 75 percent.

  • City
    of Men
    , the follow-up to
    City of God
    , about a group of youngsters
    growing up amidst the drug trade in Rio, is at 71 percent.

  • Bonneville,
    a road movie starring
    Jessica Lange,
    Kathy Bates, and
    Joan Allen, is at 45
    percent.

  • Vivere,
    the story of three desperate women on the run, is at 40 percent.

 




"Cool, we can make our 80 million margaritas out here."
 

And
finally, props to
Splendidisolation,
man in the water,
I am evil homer,
kubla,
ilovetacobell,
bwozar07, and
Pilgermann, who all, ahem, got ‘er done by
successfully guessing that
Witless Protection
would earn a big zero
percent Tomatometer. Good to see some folks around these parts aren’t totally
lacking in wit.
 

Recent
Will Ferrell Movies:

————————————

44% —
The
Wendell Baker Story
(2007)

69% —
Blades
of Glory
(2007)

73% —
Stranger
than Fiction
(2006)

72% —

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
(2006)

41% —
Winter
Passing
(2006)

Recent
Christina Ricci Movies:

————————————–

66% —
Black
Snake Moan
(2007)

23% —
Home
of the Brave
(2006)

20% —
The Gathering (2006)

23% —
I
Love Your Work
(2005)

16% —
Cursed

(2005)