Ah, September. While recent years have showed that something of quality, or something that strikes a chord with audiences, can succeed, more often than not it's essentially one of the two remaining dumping grounds on the calendar. Whether it's something that studios don't have faith in or award contenders that didn't quite pan out, box office expectations crash hard once the calendar flips to September. Last week had the weakest showing for the top films at the box office since the end of April. This week isn't much better.
Weekend Wrap-Up for September 14-16, 2007
By Tim Briody
September 16, 2007
The number one film is Jodie Foster's vigilante drama The Brave One, with an estimated $14 million. Plenty of reviews summed it up as a female Death Wish, as Warner Bros. was clearly hoping that this film would be supported by Foster name as a box office draw, which helped fuel 2002's Panic Room ($30.1 million) and 2005's Flightplan ($24.6 million, in September), as well as other successful "female empowerment" films, like Double Jeopardy (also released in September, by the way). Reviewers were not terribly kind, only rating it 42% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. While Foster's recent major releases, including the two mentioned previously and last year's Inside Man have all opened well and finished with very consistent totals of around $90 million, her streak is certainly broken with The Brave One.
Second place goes to last week's winner, the western 3:10 to Yuma. Down a pretty decent 35.1% from last week with $9.15 million, it's in the early stages of positioning itself as a sleeper contender for end of the year awards consideration. Studio Lionsgate was probably hoping for an even smaller decline, but it's baby steps. Another week or two of drops like that keep it fresh in the minds of viewers as we creep closer to awards season. More box office never hurts a film's chances, either. After ten days in theaters, the James Mangold pic has earned $28.5 million.
In third place we have our second opener, the comedy Mr. Woodcock, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Seann William Scott. Thornton is starting to make a habit out of these September comedies where he plays a hardass. In any event, it's a slight step up from last year's School for Scoundrels, as Mr. Woodcock earned $9.1 million, ahead of Scoundrels' $8.6, confirming that the difference between Stifler and Napoleon Dynamite is about $500,000. Scoundrels topped out at $17.8 million, so there's not going to be a lot in the way of legs, but $20 million is probably a good final total.
In fourth we have our final new release of the weekend. Dragon Wars, starring nobody you've heard of and released by Freestyle Releasing (yes, exactly) earned $5.3 million in 2,275 theaters. Normally, we'd be torching a performance like this, especially with a reported $75 million negative cost, but considering the circumstances that it's a virtually unknown distributor who got over 2,000 screens and it's already earned $54 million overseas, this isn't bad at all. It's essentially an advertisement for its DVD release where it's sure to pick up a cult following.
Superbad still hangs in fifth place with $5.2 million, down 35% from last week. The film's total now stands at $111.3 million after five weekends. With its spiritual sibling Knocked Up due out on DVD next week, there might be a few more declines in the 30% range and lower as it creeps closer to that movie's $148.4 million.
After a record-setting Labor Day release, it's been tough times for Rob Zombie's Halloween. Last week it fell 62% and this weekend it dropped another 50% to $5 million and sixth this weekend. Nobody is really upset at this, as it's all been gravy after the first weekend since it only cost $15 million to make and has earned $51.2 million after three weekends. A final total of $60 million is a fine ending for this franchise reboot.
In seventh place and in its seventh weekend of release, The Bourne Ultimatum just won't go away. It fell a mere 24.2% from last week to $4.1 million with $216.1 million in the till. It's looking at a final total of $230 million. The performance of this movie, and this franchise, has been nothing short of astounding.
Balls of Fury adds another $3.3 million as it lands in eighth place for the weekend. The second effort this year from the Reno 911! guys Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, the ping-pong comedy starring Christopher Walken has now earned $28.8 million in three weekends.
The final entry in the Summer of the Three-quel, Rush Hour 3 clings to ninth this weekend with $3.3 million. It now stands at $133.1 million after six weekends. It was nine years ago this week that the original Rush Hour opened to a surprise $33 million and finished $141.8 million, a total that Rush Hour 3 might just barely reach.
Mr. Bean's Holiday spends its final weekend in the top ten, placing tenth with $2.6 million, down just 21.6%, the smallest drop in the top ten. With the rest of the top ten completely devoid of appropriate family viewing, it's not surprising that this is the case. The Rowan Atkinson sequel has earned $24.8 million domestically, all gravy considering the millions earned overseas.
Despite the middling total of The Brave One, this week's top ten total of $61.3 million actually beat the top ten films from last year, which totaled $57.3 million and was lead by The Rock's Gridiron Gang. Next week brings more comedies, including the horribly mis-marketed Good Luck Chuck and Amanda Bynes' Sydney White, as well as another Resident Evil film, this time subtitled Extinction.