With only days left in the summer movie season, a stunning five new releases elbowed their way into theatres this weekend. And not one was a match for The Expendables. Sylvester Stallone’s testosterone parade easily held its place at number one for its second weekend; earning an estimated $16.5 million and bringing its new domestic cume to $64.8 million.
|3||Eat Pray Love||$12,000,000||$47.1|
|5||The Other Guys||$10,100,000||$88.1|
|7||Nanny McPhee Returns||$8,310,000||$8.3|
|10||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||$5,035,000||$20.7|
I can’t remember the last time five new releases – and wide releases at that – were shoehorned into just one weekend. Around this time last year we saw four new films debut; although one of those was Ponyo, which opened in less than 1,000 sites. The fact that five movies – each at close to 2,000 sites – only managed an average estimate of $11 million between them speaks volumes about the level of interest paid to your average end of summer launch.
That general lack of enthusiasm was good news for The Expendables. The R-rated action extravaganza fell an estimated 52%, giving it more than enough muscle to stay on top of the pack.
Fox’s Vampires Suck was the clear leader among the new releases. The cheapy Twilight spoof came in second this weekend, earning an estimated $12.2 million from 3,233 locations. With the $6.3 million it took in over Wednesday and Thursday, the $20 million pic has now earned an estimated $18.5 million in five days; putting it about even with the studio’s 2007 release Epic Movie at its own three day mark.
Warner Brothers’ Lottery Ticket placed fourth, though its lower location count means the film’s per screen average was actually well above Vampires Suck. The comedy brought in an estimated $11.1 million at 1,973 sites. That makes it a blockbuster compared to Ice Cube’s August 2008 release The Longshots. That film earned just $11.5 million in its entire run.
The obligatory cheap horror remake from Weinstein/Dimension, Piranha 3D, just missed the top five. The $24 million film brought in an estimated $10 million from 2,470 runs – 85% of which screened the film in 3D. That means that, even with a ticket price premium, Piranha 3D is looking pretty toothless. It is already well behind Dimension’s 2009 release Halloween 2, which was considerably cheaper to make and brought in $6 million more in its first weekend in theatres.
The final two entries on our list of unappealing weekend releases each failed to break nine million. In the case of Nanny McPhee Returns, the sequel to the nearly forgotten family film Nanny McPhee from 2006, the low first weekend estimate of $8.3 million is completely understandable. And, as the film has already brought in over $60 million in overseas grosses, Universal is probably not too put out by the film’s performance.
Miramax’s The Switch, however, is in real trouble. The fertilization comedy (some ideas just feel wrong from the start, don’t they?) made an estimated $8.1 million from just over 2,000 sites. Despite the multiple TV appearances by Jennifer Aniston, America’s erstwhile sweetheart, in support of the movie and the presence of fan-favorite Jason Bateman in one of his first starring roles, The Switch is already well-behind fellow fertility film The Back-Up Plan after three days. Try to spin that into something positive.
Finally, there’s more bad news for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Edgar Wright’s film dropped over 52% in its second weekend, coming in at the very bottom of the top ten. That drop puts the final nail in my hopes for a fan-led Scott Pilgrim resurgence.
Next week we’ll get to see how well Avatar has fared seven months after it became “The Biggest Movie of All-Time.” An even longer, “Special Edition” of the film will debut in just over 700 3D locations. New 2D competition The Last Exorcism and Takers have a big screen count advantage, though I’m pretty wary about betting against Avatar.