Despite a holiday weekend with some interesting openers, it was last weekend's champs that rose to the front of the box office again. Openers included Ice Cube's Are We Done Yet?, an appropriate title for the most unnecessary of sequels; Firehouse Dog, a kids' movie from Fox; The Reaping, an insipid quasi-religious movie with Hillary Swank; and Grindhouse, the Tarantino/Rodriguez effort that everyone was keeping an eye on. In the end, it was a Will Ferrell repeat, as Blades of Glory managed to keep its second weekend drop-off in check.
Weekend Wrap-Up for April 6-8, 2007
No Easter Treats for Reaping, Grindhouse
By John Hamann
April 8, 2007
Easter has never been a great long weekend to open a film unless you're a Scary Movie. Last year over Easter weekend, Scary Movie 4 took the prize as the biggest Easter movie ever with an opening of $40.2 million over three days. Over the same weekend, the CG animated The Wild flopped, grossing only $9.7 million over the same frame. In 2005, Miss Congeniality 2 was roadkill, earning only $14 million over its opening weekend. In 2004, The Passion of the Christ moved from fifth to first, earning $15 million in its seventh weekend. That weekend, The Passion left openers like The Alamo and The Whole Ten Yards in the dirt. This weekend, things weren't much different – openers disappointed and holdovers ruled the day.
The number one film for the second straight weekend is Blades of Glory, the Will Ferrell/Jon Heder figure skating comedy. After earning $33 million from its debut frame, Blades followed that up with a fair total of $23 million. The Paramount release dropped 30% compared to last weekend, not bad considering Talladega Nights lost 53% of its audience in its second frame, and Anchorman (which had a more similar opening) lost 51%. Blades of Glory now has a very healthy total of $68.4 million, especially when considering its budget of only $60 million. $100 million should now be a lock for this one.
Finishing second is Meet the Robinsons, the Disney animated feature. Meet the Robinsons had a strong second weekend, finishing with $17 million, off 32% from its debut frame. Over a competitive weekend, The Robinsons had the most venues at 3,413 and carried a venue average of $4,949. Last weekend, the animated film earned $7.1 million from 581 venues showing the film in 3-D, so its strength probably lies there again this weekend. So far, Meet the Robinsons has earned $52.2 million, and will have little problem earning at least $80 million.
Third place brings us the first of four openers, the abysmal and unnecessary Are We Done Yet? Unfortunately, I am not done yet with this franchise, as the sequel to Are We There Yet? earned $15 million from Friday-to-Sunday and $19.1 million since Wednesday. With a quick drop-off next weekend, maybe we won't see Are We Done Kicking This Dead Horse Yet? The Sony feature stayed true to the original by being completely awful. The original film earned a rotten rating of 12% (13 liked it out of 110 possible) and the sequel fared even worse, coming in at 8% fresh with most critics giving it a pass. At RottenTomatoes, only five out of 64 found something to like here, and those five must have been either drunk or feeling very generous. I can only hope that Are We Done Yet? doesn't behave like its predecessor – it dipped an ungodly 12% in its second frame, and followed that up with drops of 35%, 22% and 24%.
Finishing fourth is Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's ode to the drive-in days. I had this pegged to lead the weekend – maybe even break out into the $30 millions, but it wasn't to be. Grindhouse earned only $11.6 million from 2,624 venues – it had an average of $4,417. With all of the hype surrounding this opening, it should have been a sure bet, but it did have a few things working against it. Grindhouse, consisting of two films – Planet Terror and Death Proof, timed in at three hours and five minutes. However, the long film excuse went out with the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, as that film found about $73 million over its first five days and was three hours and 20 minutes long. Grindhouse also had a stigma as being a film that was definitely not for kids – not in the Passion of the Christ way, more in The Devil's Rejects kind of way. Lastly, this sort of thing isn't for everyone – Planet Terror alone had enough bubbling skin and chewed off legs to put conservatives in the nuthouse. Reviews were fantastic – especially for the genre. Of the 105 reviews counted at RT, 88 were positive, giving the double-feature a fresh rating of 84%. Hopefully, word-of-mouth here is great (it should be – the crowd I saw it with went nuts) and Grindhouse has some good holds in the weekends to come.
Flopping into fifth is The Reaping, Hilary Swank's horror bible show. The Reaping earned only $10.1 over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend with an additional $1.9 million on Thursday. These totals must have been a letdown for WB, as they marketed the hell out of this one. Released to only 2,603 venues, The Reaping had a venue average of $3,872. A busy marketplace and bad reviews killed The Reaping, which looked like a strong contender for top spot only a weekend ago. The Reaping had a strong trailer, an Oscar winning actress and what looked to be excellent special effects. However, critics howled. Reviews were as bad as Are We Done Yet? – and that's saying something. At RottenTomatoes, only seven out of a possible 83 found something to like here, leaving Ms. Swank with a fresh rating of 8%.
Finishing sixth is 300, the venerable war film that won't quit. In its fifth weekend, 300 earned another $8.8 million as it wills itself toward $200 million. The Gerard Butler flick dropped 23% this weekend, an excellent hold considering the genre and factoring in Easter Sunday. The film about the Spartan army has earned $193.9 million against a budget of only $65 million.
Seventh goes to Wild Hogs, as the Disney flick gets some competition from Are We Done Yet? for demographic as well as for worst film in the top ten. Wild Hogs earned $6.8 million in its sixth weekend, and was off only 21% compared to last weekend. So far, this Disney feature has earned $145.5 million.
Eighth spot goes to Shooter, the Mark Wahlberg action flick. Shooter earned $5.8 million this weekend and drops 31% compared to last weekend. The Paramount release has now earned $36.7 million.
Those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continue their freefall, landing in ninth after three weekends of release. TMNT earned $4.9 million, off a large 47% from the previous frame. After opening to $24.3 million only a few weeks ago, TMNT now has a total of only $46.7 million – too bad Are We Done Yet? won't disappear that fast.
Finally in tenth we have Firehouse Dog, Fox's attempt at non-animated family fare. Unfortunately, this dog is not hot, and earns only $4 million in three days and $5.3 million over five (which probably isn't that far off the budget).
Overall, things aren't as great as they could be, and all eyes should be on Grindhouse as to why things aren't better. The top ten earned $107.1 million, which easily exceeds last year's top ten of $98.3 million. When we look at last year's Easter frame (April 14th - 16th), the box office beats that total as well, as that Easter's top ten pulled in $106.3 million.