Today starts a new weekly feature, “Monday Morning @ the Movies,” in which I will give the play-by-play of the past weekend’s box office numbers. It will only subtly answer the question, “Why is there a picture of a lion staring down a bunch of dolphins?”
None of the new films hit it big, so it was a time for the holdovers to shine.
1) DOLPHIN TALE ~$14.2 Million Weekend (Total: $37.5 Million)
In a surprise twist, “Dolphin Tale” jumped (flipped?) up to the #1 movie in America. “Dolphin Tale” which, despite my last post on the topic, is NOT a film about a sadomasochistic dolphin who kidnaps Ashley Judd, requiring Morgan Freeman to save her yet again. It will have a few more big weeks until Dreamworks’ likely piece of crap “Puss n’ Boots” debuts in late October and attracts large audiences of families who forgot that the intelligent and fun “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” were followed-up by two really bad movies.
2) MONEYBALL ~$12.5 Million Weekend (Total $38.4 Million)
“Moneyball” needs to stay strong to guarantee Best Picture and Best Actor (Brad Pitt) Oscar nominations. I would still bet that it becomes one of the ten Oscar nominees, especially with “Moneyball” writer Aaron Sorkin’s “The Social Network” a major contender last year.
3) LION KING 3D ~$11.1 Million Weekend (Total $79.6 Million)
Yes, Disney’s already made almost $80 Million on this 3D re-release of “The Lion King.” Originally meant to be a two-week-only run, it might become one of Disney’s top films of the year. This almost certainly will start a trend to take old movies, add 3D, and re-release. “Titanic” is the next one up.
So, what about the movies that opened this weekend? Not so impressive.
4) 50/50 ~$8.9 Million Weekend (NEW)
“50/50”, reviewed here, was originally supposed to star James McAvoy (“Wanted”, “The Last King of Scotland”) and I can’t imagine it being as good. Cancer comedy is a tough sell, but “50/50” only made about a third of what the other Seth Rogen cancer comedy “Funny People” debuted with last year. Yes, Adam Sandler is a bigger draw than Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but hopefully that ends soon.
5) Courageous ~$8.8 Million Weekend (NEW)
Never heard of “Courageous”? Then, stop your sinning for a second and pay attention. “Courageous” is one of those very Christian films that tries to trick people into thinking it’s just a normal cop drama while also filling theaters with busloads of Christians (not joking, many mega churches carted people to this movie by bus.) It’s already exceeded its $2 Million budget. The company’s now done football players, firefighters, and policemen. What’s next? Here’s to a film about the hardships of blog writers and how Jesus can save us all!
Author’s Note: After the time of writing, the final numbers were released. “Courageous” not surprisingly had a Sunday surge and ended-up with $9.0 Million, enough to push it above “50/50” and into fourth place.
6) Dream House ~$8.2 Million Weekend (NEW)
Shame on you. SHAME! Jim Sheridan directed “My Left Foot”, “In America”, and “In the Name of the Father” and won Oscars. Naomi Watts was Oscar worthy in “21 Grams” and Rachel Weisz won an Oscar for “The Constant Gardener”. Daniel Craig is freaking James Bond. Combine all of that talent and what do you get? A horribly reviewed, cliched haunted house film where the trailer gives everything away. It’s so bad it barely beats “Abduction” on Rottentomatoes (8% vs. 5%). Speaking of …
7) Abduction ~$5.7 Million Weekend (Total $19.1 Million)
“Abduction” continues its fade, now guaranteeing that it won’t make back its budget. This is good not only for movie lovers everywhere, but for all people who demand actors to have the ability to act. This last group clearly does not include “Twilight” fans.
8 ) What’s Your Number? ~$5.6 Million Weekend (NEW)
Anna Faris’ number is pretty disappointing. Maybe those ads saying “From the star of The House Bunny and Scary Movie” weren’t the big seller the studio thought they were. Of course, I knew that from the first time I saw that commercial and burst out laughing. Anna Faris, who can be the Goldie Hawn of our generation, deserves a good movie. This is not it.
9) Contagion ~$5.0 Million Weekend (Total $64.7 Million)
10) Killer Elite ~$4.9 Million Weekend (Total $17.4 Million)
Author’s Note: “Contagion” did not hold its audience (maybe people were sick of it? Sorry, horrible pun …) and “Killer Elite” moved up to 9th place in the final numbers. All other positions remained the same, with different numbers.