US Box Office Report Gets Smart

Ron rounds up this week's US box office takings - what is the American public spending its money on at the cinema now?

Finally, the moviegoing public has gotten smart. Maxwell Smart that is. Your number one movie at the box office last weekend, with $39.1 million dollars in well-earned cash money, is Get Smart. I won’t talk too much about it, since I reviewed it at this very website, but I was very surprised by the movie, and completely unsurprised to learn that it dominated the weekend’s other new entry.

The second movie bowing this weekend was the new Mike Myers vehicle, The Love Guru. Myers has been everywhere lately promoting his movie, and the best he could come up with was a fourth-place $14 million total. Maybe people are finally getting a better nose for avoiding crap at the cinemas, or maybe Mike Myers’ time as Mr. Goofy Character has come to an end. It’s been a long time since the last Austin Powers film (and he’ll go back to Austin Powers in a hurry, mark my words), and this particular movie makes Goldmember look like Caddyshack.

Of the holdovers, Kung Fu Panda continues to track strongly, bringing in $21.7 million dollars for a strong second-place finish. The Panda was barely able to edge out last week’s box office champ, The Incredible Hulk, who is looking significantly less green this weekend with $21.5 million dollars in gross, a 61% dip from last week’s chart-topping bow; however, with $96.4 million dollars soaked up so far, Marvel has to be pretty happy with how the whole remake/redo/reboot of a 5-year-old film franchise worked out.

The Happening, the pseudo-comeback movie from maligned director M. Night Shyamalan, did fairly well this weekend, with a fifth-place finish. The last of the films in the top 10 to pick up a gross total in the eight-digit range, Night doesn’t appear to be falling from the top 10 any time soon. For a restricted film from a guy who had become something of a joke, The Happening has performed surprisingly well. Thus far, it is the third-highest-grossing R-rated movie this year, trailing behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and of course, eighth-place Sex and the City ($6.4 million this weekend, $132.3 million dollars overall).

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Two movies stand poised on opposite sides of the $300 million dollar barrier. This weekend, Iron Man (ninth place, $4 million gross) crossed the blockbuster line. During its eight-week run so far, it’s taken in a staggering $304.7 million dollars. Next weekend, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (sixth place, $8.4 million dollars) will cross that barrier. Indy’s taken in $290.8 million dollars so far, and considering how well it has been performing, a week should be plenty of time to bring in $9.2 million dollars.

Seventh-place You Don’t Mess With The Zohan took in $7 million dollars. I love coincidences like that, don’t you? It gives me something to say about a movie I have no intention of ever watching, unless forced to at gunpoint by, say, the ominous criminals from the tenth-place suspense flick The Strangers ($1.9 million),which is another movie I never got around to seeing.

Next weekend is a tale of a more traditional summer mismatch. The latest animated juggernaut, from Disney/Pixar, squares off against a hyper violent comic book adaptation. Wall-E, from the creators of among other things The Incredibles, looks to destroy everything in its path in a cute and cuddly manner. This one won’t even be close.

Wanted, the glossy action yarn helmed by the man behind the highest-grossing Russian language film ever, Timur Bekmambetov, puts Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy together with Morgan Freeman (who is apparently everywhere) in this adaptation of the Mark Millar comic. Yes, Angelina Jolie is a huge star, but when has she ever been money at the box office? Aside from Tomb Raider, she’s more famous for being pretty than for being a box-office draw (anyone could’ve played Mrs. Smith, and aside from a good gross for the Nic Cage remake of Gone in 60 Seconds and some voice work), she’s been mostly negligible on the big screen. This trend won’t change, and going against a Pixar cutesplosion won’t help her any.