Weekend Box Office – FUNNY PEOPLE Tops a Soft Weekend with $23 Million

     August 2, 2009

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The summer-weirdness continues as the weekend’s highest-profile release – director Judd Apatow’s “Funny People” – took first place and still managed to look like a bit of a loser.  Apatow’s star-packed follow-up to “Knocked Up” was a question mark to many box office analysts from the start.  On the one hand, it’s never a good idea to bet against an Apatow comedy; on the other hand, rumor had it that “Funny People” wasn’t that funny.  So what did it all mean in the end?  A respectable $23.4 million weekend take for the funny folks and another disappointing entry in Universal’s summer of regret…

Title Weekend Total
1 Funny People $23,440,000 $23,440,000
2 Harry Potter 6 $17,700,000 $255,463,000
3 G-Force $17,058,000 $66,461,000
4 The Ugly Truth $13,000,000 $54,481,000
5 Aliens in the Attic $7,800,000 $7,800,000
6 Orphan $7,250,000 $26,791,000
7 Ice Age 3 $5,300,000 $181,843,000
8 The Hangover $5,080,000 $255,776,000
9 The Proposal $4,848,000 $148,882,000
10 Transformers 2 $4,600,000 $388,101,000

funny_people_movie_poster.jpg“Funny People” opened on 3,008 screens on Friday to $8.7 million for a none-too-stellar $2,870 per-screen average.  The numbers only got worse on day two as Saturday’s estimates shrunk 15% to $7.4 million.  The post-game analysis of what went wrong here has many suspected culprits: a run-time over 2 hours, a main character with cancer and even – and this seems below the belt – the amateur acting of Apatow’s children.  I’m not gonna wade in here (especially because I haven’t seen “Funny People” yet) but I will offer that, in the year of “Paul Blart”, no film should be considered safe.

If “Funny People” achieved nothing else, at least it can hold its high in the knowledge that it took a bite out of two of the box office’s truly terrible holdovers:  Disney’s rodent adventure “G-Force” and Sony’s romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth.”  Both films stayed in the top five in their second week – with last week’s top performer “G-Force” showing the most resilience with a drop of just 46%.  Katherine Heigl and “Truth” took a stepper plunge (53%) proving that, no matter what Roger Friedman says, the “Grey’s Anatomy” star shouldn’t lose her day job just yet.

action_banner_draco_snape_harry_potter_and_the_half_blood_prince.jpg“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” finally got its date with IMAX screens this week, though it seems the privilege of being in the higher-priced venues may have come too late to make a significant impact on the film’s grosses.  By now most people who are interested in Potter’s magic have seen “Half-Blood”, making the late-entry into those 169 theatres too little too late.  Of course, “Potter” did manage to squeak by “G-Force” to hang on to second place, so that’s a plus.  The sixth film in the franchise is still in a giant 4,393 locations where it continues to out-earn “Order of the Phoenix” by a small margin.

Another new release that no one outside of the Disney Channel’s target demographic has heard much about, “Aliens in the Attic”, managed to grab fifth place from 3,106 locations.  The movie stars “High School Musical” star Ashley Tisdale and seems to borrow liberally form “E.T”… if you want to know more about this one you can damn well look it up yourself.

Down at the lower regions of the top ten we find the summer’s behemoth – “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”.  After six weeks of highly-saturated release, Michael Bay’s opus has passed $800 million in combined domestic and international tallies.  It’s been a good run but, with the loss of the IMAX monopoly and the eminent arrival of “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra” into theatres next Friday, I fear we may have seen the last of the big fucking robots.  In the top ten, I mean.  That baby is gonna play as long as it can get away with…

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