Wanna See Something Really ‘Scary’?

     April 16, 2006

The kids were out of school this Good Friday, and if they weren’t givin’ props to the lord or shootin’ up junk in a Baltimore back alley with that fool Lester Krebs who been collectin’ disability ever since Anna May Jefferson’s window AC unit dropped seven stories onto his good-for-nothin’ head, they was swarmin’ the ‘plexes to see ‘bout that Scary Movie 4 nonsense what with the Tom Cruise funnin’. But after a nearly $20 million Friday (the franchise’s biggest single-day take), the film barely ended up cracking $40 million for the weekend, which must be some kind of dubious record, though that was still good enough to double Ice Age: The Meltdown’s third week take on its way to racking up 2006’s second largest opening.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you estimates the likes of which God has never seen…

Title (New Releases in Bold) Weekend Total

Scary Movie 4 $41,020,000 $41,020,000

Ice Age: The Meltdown $20,000,000 $147,188,000

The Benchwarmers $10,000,000 $35,980,000

The Wild $9,559,000 $9,559,000

Take the Lead$6,700,000 $22,517,000

Inside Man $6,292,000 $75,285,000

Lucky Number Slevin $4,600,000 $14,140,000

Thank You for Smoking $4,450,000 $11,498,000

Failure to Launch $2,599,000 $83,171,000

V for Vendetta $2,170,000 $65,991,000

ATL $1,345,000 $19,653,000

Phat Girlz $1,250,000 $5,248,000

That The Weinstein Company’s first blockbuster is a holdover from their Miramax days probably doesn’t bother them a whit. This surprisingly durable franchise, which has accounted for one more sequel than the series, Scream, it was initially spoofing, is now just $100 million away from passing Austin Powers as the top grossing comedy franchise of all time (i.e. if you categorize the Home Alone movies as primarily family fare) however, given that steep Friday-to-Sunday, it’ll most likely need a fifth installment to claim that title. And while we’re talking milestones, I also have a feeling that Scary Movie 4 might become the first $40 million opener to not crack $100 million domestic, which could very well put the kibosh on the Weinstein’s plans to belabor this utterly pointless franchise (especially since this latest entry cost $45 million to produce).

Disney’s took a half-hearted stab at the family demographic this weekend with the animated The Wild, and wound up with a paltry $9 million debut that did nothing to challenge the primacy of Ice Age: The Meltdown, which took down another $20 million as it closes in on the $176 million domestic tally of the first Ice Age. Had Disney made an effort to promote The Wild, this might’ve been a story, but the studio’s still in flux following the recent Pixar deal that placed John Lasseter in charge of its animated division’s future. The Wild is just an uninspired holdover from a sad era.

Inside Man is starting to look a little leggy, but it’s going to be a fight to reach the century mark now, especially with seven wide releases on the way over the next two weeks. For Spike’s sake, I’d love to see the film get there, though I’ve a feeling this movie won’t really clean up until it hits the next revenue window.

Thank You for Smoking added 716 screens this weekend, but didn’t find much of an audience. Meanwhile, the big limited release champ was Hard Candy, which did a mammoth per screen of $30,000 in two locations. That was far better than the tepid debuts for The Notorious Betty Page and Kinky Boots, neither of which could muster up a $10,000 per in their first frame. Don’t expect either title to expand. As for limited holdovers, Friends with Money continues to draw ‘em in, while Brick appears to be a cult classic in the making (i.e. it ain’t doin’ all that hot).

Next weekend brings the poorly reviewed American Dreamz, the as-yet-unreviewed Silent Hill and the looks-like-an-inconsequential-episode-of-24 The Sentinel.

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