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Box Office Breakdown:  Audiences Not Yet Tuckered Out

Rush Hour 3

Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates, Ocean’s, Bourne and now Rush Hour 3.  All six three-quels premiered directly at the top of the heap this summer.

Unfortunately, a six-year gap between the second and third Rush installments may have led to what some would consider slightly disappointing receipts.  On any other occasion, a $50 weekend would be something to brag about.  But considering it pales to the $67.4 million brought in by the 2001 predecessor, it’s only worth a pat on the back.

But really, the Disappointment of the Week honor should really fall on Cuba Gooding Jr.  When you’re accepting rejected scripts from the man who played Norbit, you have to wonder where it all went wrong (two words: Chill Factor).  Sadly, Daddy Day Camp was originally slated to be a straight-to-video release but somehow tested well enough to be released in theaters.  Who knows?  Maybe Gooding can pull a Halle and go straight-from-Oscar-to-Razzie.

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Box Office Breakdown:  Bourne Breaks Bank

Bourne

Matt Damon may still be vying for People magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ title—but he has one thing that George Clooney and Brad Pitt don’t have:  the biggest debut for an August opening ever.

The Bourne Ultimatum‘s $70 million take improved upon the previous Bourne installments and gave Damon his largest weekend to date (and that’s including all three Ocean’s movies).

Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan should be happy that she’s holed up in rehab again—though seeing her movie kicked out of the Top Ten would have probably sent her there anyway.  Apparently theatergoers can only handle one movie about Bratz at a time…

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Box Office Breakdown:  A Homerun For Homer

The Simpsons

Looks like Homer ain’t gonna be needing a deal on donuts anymore….

With a $74 million opening weekend, The Simpsons Movie debuted higher than most of the animated features released…ever.  Only the two Shrek sequels did better.  Quite a head-shaking number since we can still see the series for free on television.  But viewers from every single Springfield in the US—plus a thousand other cities out there—love the family so much, they were willing to pay for more.  Especially when it comes with nudity.

What theatergoers aren’t willing to pay for is more I Know Who Killed Me placed a dismal 9th, possibly due to lack of promotional work by the star.  How ironic that in the end it was Lindsay who was responsible for killing the movie and possibly her career.

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Box Office Breakdown:  Chuck and Larry Outmuscle Harry

ChuckandLarry

Lord Voldemort should be kicking himself.  Wizardry, schmizardry.  All he needed was a bag of outdated gay jokes to bring young Harry down.

Wedding planners everywhere had expected 7/7/07 to be the biggest wedding day of the year, but it was 7/20/07 that proved to be eventful for comedians Adam Sandler and Kevin James.  Their domestic partnership brought in enough guests to outdo Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, though they only gained $2 million more than the Potter juggernaut.  Fan support for Sandler movies has always been strong—which is why I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry is his ninth movie to open at #1.

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Box Office Breakdown:  Competition Schooled By Hogwarts

Harry Potter

Apparently Daniel Radcliffe can bring in the audiences without having to strip…unless that’s what the female theatergoers were secretly hoping for.

Whatever the reason, a record number of voyeurs helped the Hogwarts clan whip up the biggest 5-day total for a non-holiday release.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’s $140 million beat out Shrek 2’s record set in 2004 ($128 million).  The film is now on track to be the largest Potter installment to date.

As for why the producers of Captivity chose to open amongst all the recent family-fare is beyond me.  And yes, I know that’s why they call it counter-programming.  Ironically, while I would have loved to watch Elisha Cuthbert’s character from 24 (the oh-so annoying Kim) be subjected to torture-porn, I really no desire to see her do anything these days.  Apparently I’m not alone….which is why the only other film widely-released this week opened in 12th place.  Now that’s torture.

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Box Office Breakdown: Optimus Is In His Prime

Transformers

We knew that a Michael Bay/ Steven Spielberg venture would be a hit—so what really is there left to say?  Well, did you know that this is Bay’s biggest opening since 2001’s awful Pearl Harbor ($59.1 million)??  Did you know that Shia LeBeouf is the first leading man (he just turned 21, so is a leading man) to have two movies reach the top spot this year?

Moving on…how about that awful showing for License to Wed?  Not that I predicted much for the film—but ouch.  Question is:  which Office actor fared worse in this summer’s box office?  Steve Carell who starred in an obscenely expensive Evan Almighty—a movie that at least managed #1 berth?  Or John Krasinski whose movie clearly looked like a bomb from the get-go but came with low expectations?  That may be something for Dwight Schrute to sort out…

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Box Office Breakdown:  Yippee-Kay-Yay Ratatouille!

Ratatouille

Bruce Willis and Co. may have managed to steer clear of gigantic robots—but they somehow overlooked a group of pesky rats.  Live Free and Die Hard was conveniently positioned one week ahead of this summer’s most anticipated blockbuster…yet squarely in the path of a rodent’s bite.  Nevertheless, the aging John McClane still proved that he can get the job done and earn his keep.

Meanwhile, Ratatouille chewed up the competition with a $47 million dollar debut, although it surprisingly foraged less than most of its Pixar elders (only A Bug’s Life and Toy Story started off lower).  What it did manage to do was help boot Surf’s Up out of the Top 10 leaving room for another Shia LeBeouf feature to transform the landscape in just a matter of days…

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Box Office Breakdown:  Almighty Only Does Alrighty

Evan Almighty

Question: When is being the #1 movie just not enough? (Hint:  You have three chances to answer this question correctly).

Answer(s):

  1. When the critics don’t really have anything good to say about you
  2. When you made less than 1/2 of what your predecessor did on opening weekend
  3. When it cost over $175 million just to create you

Apparently having God on your side doesn’t guarantee you heavenly box office numbers.  Evan Almighty, the follow-up to 2003’s Bruce Almighty, failed to bring in a large congregation this past weekend.  Although it did better than the rest of the flock, it’s $32 million take paled in comparison to Bruce’s $68 million opening.  And then there’s that glaring $175 million bill…

Of course, we shouldn’t feel so badly about Steve Carell’s career.  I have a feeling that God is providing for him in other ways.

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Box Office Breakdown:  Silver Surfer Scores the Gold

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Silver Surfer

Like Ocean’s Thirteen, critics rated Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer better than its predecessor.  And like Ocean’s, Fantastic found its way on top of the ever-revolving box office heap.  With help from a more family-friendly rating (down from PG-13 to a PG), the superhero clan raked in $2 million more in its opening weekend than its 2005 turnout.

But it takes more than just a PG to win viewers over—it apparently takes Jessica Alba in a skin-tight outfit…and the prim and proper Nancy Drew had to learn that the hard way.  The latest incarnation of the beloved character only placed 7th despite the numerous times Julia Roberts’ name had been dropped these past few weeks.  BTW—I feel incredibly bad that daddy Eric Roberts has been continuously trumped by his more famous sister.  Emma is HIS daughter after all.

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Box Office Breakdown:  Lucky Number 13

Oceans 13

Having exhausted all their sequel choices, theater patrons quickly moved on to the latest offering:  Ocean’s Thirteen.  Despite general indifference for the series’ second movie, Steven Soderbergh and friends faced down the unlucky number and rolled the dice again.  Their gamble paid off well this weekend when they took down Captain Jack Sparrow and his mates

Of course, viewers who crave the comfort of familiarity can still manage to have discerning taste.  Eli Roth’s Hostel: Part II only rounded enough voyeurs to rank a mediocre 6th place.  Here’s to hoping that the era of grisly horror movies is once again over…

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