For the second weekend in a row, Shutter Island is the number one film in the country – a victory tempered only by the soft overall attendance on this last week of February, by the continuing bad weather on the East Coast and by the lack of any strong competition offered by Kevin Smith’s new release Cop Out. But hey, a win is still a win, right?
Director Martin Scorsese enjoyed a career-best debut for Shutter Island last week – Oscar nominations be damned! This week the thriller fell an estimated 46% to take in another $22.2 million dollars – which, as luck would have it, was more than enough to hold onto first place for a second week in a row (another Scorsese first for those of you who are keeping score).
With its estimated gross now standing at $75 million, Shutter Island is well ahead of where the director’s most commercially successful film, 2006’s The Departed, was after its second weekend. The Departed grossed over $132 million domestically after claiming an Oscar for Best Picture, of course – a little box office bump that Shutter Island apparently won’t have to count on to get past $100 million.
But Shutter Island won’t be able to count on another weekend of bad weather and weak competition either, unfortunately. I am referring mainly to Cop Out – the latest high-profile, star-laden newcomer to perform below its box office potential. Now, if all you knew about Warner Brothers’ Cop Out was what you had seen during its recent TV spots, this weekend’s $18 million premiere might not seem so underwhelming. The fact is that few poorly-executed comedies begin their trip to the big screen with more inherent potential.
The original script for Cop Out (then known as “A Couple of Dicks”) was among the most lauded members of 2008’s screenplay “Blacklist.” Kevin Smith was such a fan that he signed on to direct, making it the first feature film that Mr. “Too Fat to Fly” had not written himself. Smith hired Bruce Willis and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan to star, setting up what looked like a cool modern-take on those 80s buddy-cop comedies. Potential.
I can’t say at what point in its evolution Cop Out went so horribly wrong. All I know is that whatever happened, critics are not impressed. The film is rocking a Rotten Tomato score of just 20%. Audiences were a bit more forgiving, however, and Cop Out will end its first weekend with an estimated $18.5 million from 3,150 locations, or a per-screen average of $5,800. That’s about what Warner Brothers planned on after seeing the tracking data, though well below what would have made them happy. The good news here is that the Cop Out budget was a relatively thrifty $30 million.
This weekend’s second newcomer, The Crazies, lands in third with an estimated $16.5 million from its 2,476 locations. That’s a per screen average of over $6,600 – not far off of Shutter Island‘s second week mark. So far, The Crazies seems to be a critical anomaly – a horror remake that critics do not hate. At the moment, in fact, the film’s Rotten Tomato score is well above that of Shutter Island. The film’s $20 million budget also means that Overture should see a nice profit from Crazies – as long as things don’t drop off too drastically by next weekend.
And that is a real possibility for all the film’s on this week’s top ten because March 5th will finally bring the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland – the first 3D feature to play in this post-Avatar world of ours. Speaking of Avatar, the world’s most insanely profitable movie marked another milestone this weekend when its domestic total surpassed the $700 million mark on Saturday – its 72nd day in theatres. This week Avatar lost about 125 screens and still held on to 86% of last week’s grosses. Can Burton’s Wonderland put a dent in Cameron’s? Stay tuned.