US Weekend Box Office Report: Burn After Reading hits

Burn After Reading sizzles, as the Coen Brothers take the top spot at the US box office.

See? Even George popped along to see Burn After Reading...

For those of you not in the know, a hurricane smashed into the fourth-largest city in America during the middle of the weekend. I’m sure you all heard about that. However, I’m pretty sure nobody has been talking about how once that hurricane devastated Houston, it continued to move up through America, knocking out power and downing trees in its wake. This was a massive storm, and even though I’m a good thousand miles from Texas, when the system moved through my area packing 80-mile-per-hour winds, pretty much my entire city lost power. Three days later, things are still all messed up. That’s why this box office report is a bit later than usual.

After the previous weekend’s release of one major film, this week had a serious slate of films put out. There was something for every audience, and even a film I forgot to mention. Whoops. The four movies, unsurprisingly, dominated the weekend box office. Given that none of them really stepped on one another’s toes, there was plenty of money and audience to share.

The eagerly awaited (by me) new film from the Coen Brothers, Burn After Reading, was not a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination, either in movie quality or in box office performance. After the smash success of No Country For Old Men and all the positive mainstream press that got for the best brother combination in movie history, Burn After Reading’s $19.1 million dollars and opening weekend victory should not come as a surprise.

Also unsurprising is the continued success of Tyler Perry. Despite his movies consistently taking a critical beating, his audience continues to support their cross-dressing man in droves. His latest film, The Family That Preys, took second place this weekend with $17.4 million dollars. Even more fortunate for moviegoers, this time Mr. Perry doesn’t don his Madea fat suit! Huzzah! Maybe this success will keep him out of ludicrous outfits! Then again, Eddie Murphy got an Oscar nomination and followed that up with Norbit.

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The movie I forgot to mention last week, Righteous Kill, brings Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino together for the first time since Michael Mann’s Heat. Unlike Heat they actually spend most of their time together in this film. Unfortunately, it’s 30 years too late for anybody to actually give a damn, thanks to both actors phoning in most of their roles over the past 10 years. Still, the two together draw well, and a third-place $16.3 million dollar take isn’t too shabby. Despite myself, I plan on seeing it.

Fourth place this weekend went to a movie called The Women. Apparently, it’s about an intergenerational group of women who bond at a resort. Taking a brief glance at the cast list, and the distinct lack of males involved, I can safely assume that The Women’s audience fits the title. $10.1 million dollars worth of female box office is a good opening performance for a stereotypical chick flick that features the boom mic prominently. (Seriously, watch the trailer!) In other news concerning our forthcoming gynocracy, The House Bunny continues to hop along well in what’s been a very strong summer for girl power films. The Anna Faris comedy slips to sixth place, but performs strongly yet again, with $4.15 million dollars.

Tropic Thunder, fortunately not a movie about the weather, sinks to fifth place after fighting for first last week. Still, the movie has grossed $103 million so far, and they have to be pleased that they’re back above the movie that beat them last week. Nicolas Cage’s Bangkok Dangerous isn’t very dangerous at the theaters, as it tumbles from first all the way down to eighth place with a weekend total of only $2.59 million dollars. Ouch. Even The Dark Knight (seventh place, $4.13 million) outperformed that, and it’s been out for over two months!

Traitor finds itself betrayed by the box office yet again, sinking to ninth place on $2.13 million bucks. Death Race crashes the top 10 for the last time, with $2.06 million stuffed into its ashtrays. Next weekend isn’t loaded, but it’s got enough to send these two packing, unless Bangkok Dangerous manages to out-slide Traitor.

Samuel L. Jackson is the hardest-working man in Hollywood. I think he’d turn up for a role in my nonexistent zombie film if I promised him $500 and a round of golf at the local country club (kind of like an upper-class Reggie Bannister, who has been whoring out his Phantasm fame in all manner of independent, no-budget horror film these days). Lakeview Terrace, his latest starring role, bows this weekend. Better him than Dane Cook.

Oh, wait. Dane Cook also has another starring role this weekend, with My Best Friend’s Girl making its debut. Damn it. What has to happen to make this guy go away? Seriously, I hate Dane Cook.

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I like Ricky Gervais, but his release this weekend, Ghost Town, looks like an absolutely awful film. Igor, another CGI animated feature, might have a bit more promise as it taps into the early Halloween spirit more effectively. While the weather is still a bit too warm, we’re getting closer and closer to ghouls, ghosts, and slasher films on TV. I can’t wait!

There’s some legitimately interesting films in limited release this weekend (Blindness for one), so here’s hoping they widen these films and shovel all copies of Dane Cook’s latest offering back into the manure pile where it belongs.