Weekend US Box Office report: Race To Witch Mountain races to the top

Watchmen's second weekend sees it take a major fall, as The Race To Witch Mountain takes the top spot...

Why so serious?

Dwayne Johnson, better known as the ex-professional known as The Rock, has kind of an impressive box office history. Something about the man resonates with the box office here in the States, because once again he’s launched a picture at number one. Race To Witch Mountain, which was sold on the action and the charisma of Johnson’s cab driver role, faced no serious challenges this weekend and raced to a 25 million dollar opening bow.

Watchmen, however, has not seemed to resonate, sinking to second place on $18 million in receipts. In fact, the movie suffered a massive drop at theaters, which doesn’t bode terribly well for other more adult-minded comic adaptations that might come down the pike. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your opinion on this sort of thing; I think it’s bad, since I buy into the theory that movie fans will seek out the graphic novels. Plus, it keeps Alan Moore busy popping up everywhere to slag off whatever property of his is getting adapted. (Not that I wanted to get into it, but for someone who hates Hollywood for what they do to his properties, he loves the attention it gets him a little too much for me to buy into it totally.)

The Last House On The Left, a remake of a brutal 70s exploitation picture that launched Wes Craven’s career, also struggled a bit at the box office this weekend. The movie captured third place this weekend, but considering the competition, I expected a little bit more than $14.658 million. Given that the box has been booming for most of 2009, this weekend has been a general disappointment. Then again, maybe the darkness of the property was a bit much to sell. I like Garret Dillahunt as much as the next Deadwood fan, but the grainy original Last House is a bit much for me most of the time so a glossy remake kind of hits me wrong.

Meanwhile, Taken (fourth place, $6.65 million) continues to show legs at the box office. The action yarn is starting to really impress with its ability to keep on bringing audiences to theaters. At this point, it has to be running on repeat business. Word of mouth is really doing the film well, as everyone I know who has seen it is raving about it.

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Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail isn’t showing that kind of stamina on screens. While it held on admirably for a while, the movie drops to fifth from second this weekend on receipts of $5.1 million. It has taken in 83.2 million bucks so far and could make a reasonable run to $100 million before it falls out of theaters completely. Also hovering on the cusp of the $100 million club is He’s Just Not That Into You (eighth place, $2.9 million), which needs another 11 million dollars. It also has a pretty good chance at picking that total up before it disappears from the top ten.

With the way they seem to be marching in lockstep, Slumdog Millionaire ($5.025) and Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($3.1) will probably still be on the top 10 next weekend. Fourth and fifth last weekend, sixth and seventh this weekend. Eighth and ninth next weekend wouldn’t be a surprise.

I’m kind of surprised that Coraline held on this week. Given that it had direct competition in the form of Witch Mountain, I thought it would be gone by now. The sweetly weird picture ended the weekend in ninth place with $2.655 million in total.

Miss March, the third new release this weekend, is proving to be a dud. While it did make the top ten, it just barely scraped into the last spot that matters, with a weak 2.35 million dollar debut. Hugh Hefner must be really hurting for money to have agreed to this horrible tie-in with his Playboy empire. Poor devil.

This weekend looks to be a pretty busy one. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts pair up in the romantic spy comedy Duplicity while Nicholas Cage dons another bad wig for Knowing. Let’s hope it’s better than Bangkok Dangerous. There’s also a newly released comedy, I Love You Man, which… yeah, it looks pretty lousy. Confessions Of A Shopaholic-level lousy. Miss March lousy, in fact. Find out next week if it suffers the same fate.