Talk about a dead weekend. Only one new release in the top ten to speak of and it was a middling romantic-comedy that no one really cared to see. Yes, even women were turned off. Maybe it was because the promotional posters for Playing for Keeps made Gerard Butler’s character look like a drug dealer. If that’s the case, “playing for keeps” takes on a completely different meaning. Or perhaps women couldn’t buy Butler and Jessica Biel as being married, now separated. There is a thirteen-year age gap between them. It’s not like seeing Jack Nicholson finally sweeping Helen Hunt off her feet in As Good As It Gets, because that’s “Jack”, man. At least with when Butler was with Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth the years between them was in the single digits – nine years, but still. But let’s forget all the romantic crap and see what people were really watching this weekend.
At number one the blunt instrument himself, James Bond. Trusty and reliable, Skyfall got one last hurrah to stick to the pack of vampires and wwolves that were occupying the top spot. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will hit theaters on Friday and have a blockbuster opening. As it stands Skyfall has grossed more than $918 million worldwide and has $1 billion in its sights. It has become Sony Pictures’ highest grossing release of all time, surpassing all the Spider-man released thus far.
Coming in at number two, as Mr. Sandman somehow managed to make Bella and Edward fall asleep, was DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians. The film will cause the studio to lose $50 million on account of its poor performance both in the U.S. and abroad. Having just recently finished watching the picture I can see why there would be a disconnect. It has a holiday theme, but kids might be confused as to why Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman are all together in the same movie. Even worse is having a villain named “Pitch Black”. (Insert Vin Diesel joke here). And the biggest hero, Jack Frost, was previously a poor holiday movie starring Michael Keaton. It’s sitting at $61.9 million now after three weekends and cost $145 million. You do the math.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (or TTS:BDP2 for short) is still playing to die hard viewers that can’t get enough of Michael Sheen hamming it up big time as Aro. What? You thought they were paying to see Bella, Edward, and Jacob? Come on. Aro is so much cooler. Well, not as cool as Jasper or the character Lee Pace played (seriously, this guy needs more work Hollywood). It’s possible that it can make it to $300 million, but it is sitting with $268 million. I’m thinking it will top out at close to $295 million before it leaves theaters. While these vampires are on the decline, a man of repute who was rumored to be a vampire hunter (Lincoln) is motoring right along and is the current prestige choice for audiences that are in the mood for that sort of thing. By midweek it will have crossed the $100 million mark. An impressive feat considering it is playing on barely above 2,000 screens.
Life of Pi, a beautiful film to gaze upon, is holding steady, but it is far from the performer 20th Century Fox was hoping it would be. Ang Lee’s drama and the lack of word of mouth is preventing it from getting nine figures overall. Overseas, early returns from Asia indicate that the film is making hand over fist as compared to the domestic numbers. Don’t put it past Fox to push Pi quite a bit in the coming weeks as Christmas looms. They want families to go see this as opposed to seeing Billy Crystal take a baseball bat to the nuts in “Ow! My Balls!” I mean Parental Guidance.
We have finally arrived at that romantic comedy Playing for Keeps. It is the box office equivalent of getting a piece of coal in your stocking. The sad part is that the opening weekend will trump the entire gross of Butler’s recent film Chasing Mavericks. I was one of the few that saw it in theaters and could count the other people in the theater with me on one hand. Butler, who arrived on the scene in a big way in 300, seems to take any film that comes his way, which is understandable. Actor’s got to provide for the family and all. But you’re only as good as your last hit. And with Gerard Butler those have come with the assistance of both Jamie Foxx (Law Abiding Citizen) and Katherine Heigl (The Ugly Truth). I won’t count The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston, because that film broke even when you factor in the cost of marketing. Up next for Butler: the comedy anthology Movie 43 followed by Olympus Has Fallen, which is not about a camera breaking on the pavement as I had originally thought.
The good news for Wreck-It Ralph is that it has nearly matched its production costs. The bad news is that the film has not been a hit generator overseas. Red Dawn is close to completing its run. For a genre release $37 million is acceptable. But its original budget was $65 million and it had been on the self due to MGM’s bankruptcy issues. Flight finishes in ninth place, but look for it to stick around if it gets some notice in awards season for Denzel Washington’s performance. Closing out the top ten is Killing Them Softly, the crime drama that netted Brad Pitt his worst opening as a leading man since 1997′s Seven Years in Tibet. After getting an “F” CinemaScore rating you knew word of mouth would make this release DOA. Instead of The Weinstein Company giving KTS a 2400 screen commitment, they should have expanded the hell out of Silver Linings Playbook over the weekend. That comedy finished just outside the top ten as it stayed at 371 locations and took in an estimated $2.2 million.
Tags: box office, box office report, Flight, Killing Them Softly, Life of Pi, lincoln, Playing for Keeps, Red Dawn, Rise of the Guardians, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, weekend box office, weekend box office report, Wreck-It Ralph