Once again “The Hangover” is the the number one film of the week. Maybe now they’ll stop calling it a “sleeper hit” and just cop to the fact that it’s the normal kind of hit. Pixar came in second with “Up” and the two new films had to fight for their spots in the top five. A summer weekend where the biggest new release only ends up at number three is a bit of a head scratcher – unless you actually saw the film in question. A lot of people thought that remaking the 1974 film “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” was unnecessary, and with the majority of this weekend’s tickets going to holdover titles like “The Hangover” and “Up” instead of the big star vehicle from Tony Scott, I would have to say that a lot of people were right. Meanwhile, Paramount’s “Imagine That” continues the trend of live-action Eddie Murphy flicks that can not get above $6 million in the first three days (see 2008’s “Meet Dave”). It’s kind of sad, really…
|3||Taking of Pelham 1 2 3||$25,000,000||$25,000,000|
|4||Night at the Museum 2||$9,600,000||$143,447,000|
|5||Land of the Lost||$9,153,000||$34,980,000|
|9||Angels & Demons||$4,200,000||$123,300,000|
|10||Drag Me to Hell||$3,864,000||$35,146,000|
Warner Brothers “The Hangover” is once again sitting – OK, pretty doesn’t feel like the right word here – on top of the weekend box office. Todd Phillips’ new “Old School” style comedy saw only a 24% drop over last weekend for an impressive ten day total of $105 million. It took the same studio 17 days to break $100 million with “Terminator Salvation”, and that film had a $200 million budget! As “The Hangover” cost a mere $35 million to shoot, guess which production is expecting fruit baskets and which is expecting pink slips?
At number two for the second week in a row is Pixar’s “Up”. In its third week in release “Up” pulled down a weekend total of over $30 million – $5 million more than “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”, the high profile new release that had designs on the top spot back on Thursday. With a running total of $187 million and a weekday average in the $4.5 million range we should see “Up” coast past $200 million by next Thursday – the second film of 2009 to break that storied barrier since JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek” crossed over one month ago.
Which brings us to our number three: “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3”. Sony was looking for an opening above $30 million, and at one point the R-rated thriller looked like it might get there. Then that “Hangover” kicked back in. The studio was quick to look on the bright side, pointing out that “Pelham” saw the best opening day numbers ever for a Tony Scott picture – not adjusted for inflation of course. Seeing as that statistic puts “Pelham” above such notable titles as “Domino” and “Déjà Vu”, I’m thinking that that was not the headline Scott was aiming for. And just think! Had Travolta been available to do press for “Pelahm”… it probably wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.
“Up” aside, the holdover family films took a back seat this week to the “adults only” “Hangover” and “Pelham” crowds. At number four for the weekend “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” is inching towards $150 million while Universal’s “Land of the Lost” inches toward the cliff. After ten days in theatres the $100 million adventure comedy has yet to break $40 million at the box office – numbers that certainly won’t improve when “Year One” bites into its demographic next week.
Finally, I am contractually obligated to note the spectacular failure that is Paramount’s “Imagine That”. I haven’t seen the movie (and considering this week’s numbers I probably won’t get the chance to before it is pulled off screens) but I have read that the family film isn’t nearly as bad as past live-action Murphy efforts. No matter, after this I doubt if studios will be willing to shell out for Murphy vehicles that feature the living man in the flesh (fat suits don’t count). At this time last year, when “Meet Dave” was tanking in similar fashion, it seemed fun to rip on Eddie. Now it just feels mean. We forget that the man was and is a great comedian…. Should we mock him just because his taste in scripts sucks? OK, yeah. Maybe we should.