US Box Office Report: Eagle Eye Soars

Shia LaBeouf is the planet's biggest box office draw right now. Eagle Eye proves it. Yikes

Furry face Shia stars in Eagle Eye...

There’s something I don’t really get. Shia LaBeouf is somehow the biggest star on the planet, and I have absolutely no idea how or why he’s gotten this way. His lifetime gross is nearly $975 million in the United States alone. He made $316 million and counting off of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and in 2007 he grossed over $485 million between turns in Disturbia, Surf’s Up, and Transformers. His debut film, Holes, made $67 million in 2003. His new movie, Eagle Eye, has taken number one this weekend with an impressive $29.2 million box office debut.

I have no idea what in the hell Shia the Beef’s appeal is, but apparently he’s got it. Either that or he’s the biggest genius at picking scripts Hollywood has ever seen, because he’s made more money at the box office over the last two years than anyone except Christian Bale (and all his box office points have come from one mighty movie which finally fell out of the top 10 this week).

Let’s move on before I bust a blood vessel in my brain trying to figure this out.

Also kind of confusing is the strong performance for Richard Gere and Diane Lane’s romance/drama Nights in Rodanthe. The two were box office gold in Unfaithful (thanks in no small part to lots of Diane Lane nudity and the many sex scenes), so it’s unsurprising to see them reunite once more for a little bit of the old romance. Considering the rating, there’s little or no nudity this time, which makes its success somewhat puzzling. I guess doing a really good movie can erase the memories of box office failures like Dr. T and the Women and Judge Dredd. To Diane’s credit, she’s done really well in romances and comedies since then, so that might have something to do with it.

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Samuel Jackson’s latest, Lakeview Terrace, falls from its lofty perch last week to third this week, bringing in an additional $7 million after topping last week’s box office (which I stupidly forgot to write about, feel free to kick me in the comments). Burn After Reading, last week’s second place film, rounds out the top five with a fifth-place $6.169 million . The film that slides into fourth place is, well, kind of odd.

The fourth place film, with $6.514 million at the box office is Kirk Cameron (!!) in Fireproof. Debuting on only 800 screens, the religious-themed drama about firefighters proves that marketing to a niche audience is a great idea. This film has received absolutely no publicity outside of churches, yet here it is with a seriously good weekend box office. (Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, which landed in tenth place with $3.16 million is further proof of this, though Perry targets urban audiences rather than religious ones.)

Igor finds itself a victim of marketing. While sixth place this week ($5.5 million) and fourth place last week is good, just imagine how well the movie would have done had it been released a little bit closer to Halloween. Even an October release date would’ve perked the movie up a little bit. Or maybe some Botox would’ve helped, as some Botox was no doubt needed on the set of seventh-place Righteous Kill, given that the combined age of the two actors starring in that film is 133.

That number, 133, is higher than the IQ of the morons who went out to see My Best Friend’s Girl last week. Fortunately, they’ve all gotten distracted by shiny things, and last week’s third place film sinks quickly to eighth this weekend on a take of $3.8 million. This floater can’t be flushed fast enough for me.

While Dane Cook got too much attention this week, Spike Lee just isn’t getting any. His latest film, the confusing war picture Miracle at St. Anna, posts a quiet debut with $3.5 million dollars, good for ninth place at the box office. This picture has quite possibly the longest, least interesting trailer in movie history. It’s a war movie, there’s some element of the supernatural, it’s a police procedural… come on, Spike. Pick a genre and try not to suck at it.

Falling out of the top 10 this weekend for the first time in 11 weeks is the movie I referenced above, The Dark Knight. It’ll still get to $525 million or more at the US box office, but unless there’s a big Halloween push as folks try to get their Joker makeup right, it’s on its way out at the box office. It was a great run for a great film, but even the best of movies runs out of audience eventually. Sad.

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Next week has a loaded release schedule as Simon Pegg’s How To Lose Friends and Alienate People comes out next to the excrement of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Also coming out is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (featuring teen romcom puppy Michael Cera), the thriller Blindness, Flash of Genius, and An American Carol. That’s a whole lot of movies. Some of them are obviously dumps before the holiday box office, and some are award grabs. Your guess is as good as mine.