Even though Hurricane Irene’s nowhere near Hollywood, the storm– which, to be more precise, was recently downgraded to “Tropical Storm” status after proving to be lazier than meteorologists had predicted– has been just as disastrous for the bottom lines of Tinsletown’s movie studios as it’s been to the East Coast: thousands of theaters were shut down this weekend, resulting in the second-worst B.O. weekend we’ve seen in 2011 (only Superbowl weekend was worse). So, who came out on top, and who bombed? Find out below, my gentle Examiner readers…
There were a number of new films in theaters this weekend– Our Idiot Brother, Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, Colombiana— but none of them proved strong enough to knock The Help from its perch atop the box office top-ten. Before we get into our analysis of the numbers (and we use that word very loosely), let’s see what the top ten’s looking like for the weekend. If you’re a studio executive, you may want to brace yourself– these numbers are going to depress the hell out of you:
1. The Help: Weekend $14.5m, Cume $96.8m
2. Colombiana: Weekend $10.2m
3. Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark: Weekend $9.2m
4. Rise of The Planet of The Apes: Weekend $8.5m, Cume $148.3m
5. Spy Kids 4: Weekend $6.2, Cume $22.2m
6. Our Idiot Brother: Weekend $6m
7. The Smurfs: Weekend $4.7M, Cume $125.9M
8. Conan The Barbarian: Weekend $3.2M, Cume $16.7M
9. Fright Night: Weekend $3M, Cume $14.2M
10. Crazy, Stupid, Love: Weekend $3M, Cume $69.6M
So. Things worth noting.
For one thing, The Help is a runaway hit, having stayed atop the top ten for a few weeks now and just inches away from crossing the $100m mark. The flick– a bit of a melodrama starring friend-of-Jim-Carrey Emma Stone, Viola Davis, and that redheaded chick– is an adaptation of a novel of the same name, and…well, we really don’t have much to add to this one. Wasn’t anything we were interested in before, isn’t anything we’re interested in now. Congrats to all involved, though: if nothing else, this is gonna raise Stone’s profile in Hollywood, and that’s a good thing– we need more Emma Stone (just ask Carrey).
Meanwhile, Luc Besson’s Colombiana pulled off a bit of an upset here by landing in second-place: was anyone expecting this film to do that well? Sure, a $10.2m opening isn’t “that well”, but on this weekend, the film gets the bragging rights of “highest-grossing new film for the weekend”. Starring Zoe Saldana, the film’s another in a long line of “damaged-goods chicks with guns” films from the French director (see also: virtually every other film Luc Besson’s ever been involved in). Nice that it opened higher than any other new film this weekend, but will it hold? We’ll have to see what word-of-mouth does for this one.
Had we been placing bets on which new film would do best this weekend, we would’ve put our money on Troy Nixey’s Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark: the film had an effective trailer, a buzzed-about director, and the name “Guillermo Del Toro” slapped all over every bit of marketing released by the studio– those’re all good things. But the audience reception has been cold (a “C-” CinemaScore, for instance) and critics haven’t been thrilled with the film (at last we checked, the flick was sitting just about 50% on Rotten Tomatoes), and everyone we’ve spoken to that’s seen it has warned us away. Hmmm.
A $9.2m opening isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but it must help that the film’s budget is relatively low (~$25m). Director Nixey gained some attention a few years back online with his short “Latchkey’s Lament” (seek it out on YouTube, people), and– from what we’ve seen– the guy’s got a strong visual style and a firm grip on atmosphere. Maybe the next one will be better? Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Moreover, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a new film actually directed by Guillermo Del Toro in the near future (hint: we’re gonna have to wait until 2013).
Don’t Be Afraid wasn’t the worst newcomer, though: that dubious honor goes to Our Idiot Brother, which didn’t even land in the top five. The Paul Rudd-starring, R-rated comedy (is the “Summer of R-rated Comedy” over? Discuss) earned just $6m this weekend, which is– in a word– disastrous. Maybe DVD’ll be better? In other news, Rise of The Apes continues to rake in the green, with a new total that’s skirting $150m. Who would’ve thought– all the way back in May, when the summer was starting– that the newest Planet of The Apes movie would be one of the year’s surprise hits, both critically and financially? Not you, that’s who. Not you, and Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci.
Also, “News From Last Week’s Releases”: Conan bombed. Hard. Like, really hard. But not as hard as Fright Night, which fell to the #9 spot. Ouch.
Stay tuned for more as it becomes available, folks, and– as always– feel free to sound off in the comments section below if you’ve got anything you’d like to add to all this. See any of the new movies that hit theaters this weekend? Were they good? Wondering what the hell happened to Conan (hint: it bombed)? Wanna rag on Fright Night s’more? Well, hit the comments section and let us know: we wanna hear what you think about all this, folks.
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