Last weekend's success at the box office didn't last long, as another weak crop of openers has led moviegoers back to apathy. Despite a huge drop, Ghost Rider manages to stay on top, but it was given a challenge by newcomers Number 23 and Reno 911! Billy Bob Thornton's Astronaut Farmer crashed and burned, but Amazing Grace, a small film from director Michael Apted had an impressive weekend as it finished with a top ten spot despite only appearing on 791 screens. Missing from the box office this weekend was anything associated with Oscar, and tonight's ratings for the big show might reflect that.
Ghost Rider Plummets, But Leads Box Office
Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up for February 23-25, 2007
By John Hamann
February 25, 2007
The number one film over Oscar weekend is Marvel and Sony's Ghost Rider, the Nic Cage superhero flick that managed $52 million over four days last weekend. Over this frame, Ghost Rider was not so Marvel-ous, as it dropped a powerful 57%, pulling in a gross of $19.7 million. With a four-day weekend last week, the target audience had ample time to see this one and its follow-up frame ends up hurting. I heard some fair word-of-mouth come out of the weekend, but not enough to pull me away from other activities this weekend. Simply put, the drop isn't a surprise. X-Men: The Last Stand dropped 67% last May, and The Fantastic Four dropped just short of 60%. It's no surprise that this isn't a Spider-Man type drop (38% from an opening of $114.8 million), and with a budget of $120 million, it won't completely hurt the success of this one either. Other sites even have the budget as being lower than the $120 million reported by IMDb, and with its four days coming in at $52 million, we're probably talking franchise anyway. With the drop, Ghost Rider won't rise too far above $100 million, but will most likely outgross the domestic total overseas. After ten days, Ghost Rider has earned $78.7 million, and should finish around $110 million.
Our number two film is The Number 23, a Jim Carrey film that looked good, until you found out that Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin) was involved. The Number 23 earned an okay $15.1 million from 2,759 venues, giving the newcomer an average of $5,473. After Bruce Almighty opened to $68 million back in 2003, I thought Carrey had hit his pace, and at least his next three films would be gold. It wasn't to be. Fun With Dick and Jane opened poorly, earning only $15 million in its opening frame (before going on to $110 million thanks to the Christmas moviegoing season). Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, despite being possibly the best film over the last three years, only earned $34 million total. Now we have the Number 23, a poorly reviewed thriller that struggled over opening weekend. I think if the reviews were better, this one would have opened strongly and would have had better legs next weekend. At RottenTomatoes, Number 23 gathered only ten positive reviews out of a possible 128. That gives this Joel Schumacher disaster a fresh rating of 8%, probably not what you want on your resume. Next up for Carrey is another Dr. Seuss role - this time only a voice performance as Horton in Horton Hears a Who.
Falling to third is Bridge to Terabithia, the Walden Media effort distributed by Disney. Audiences obviously found out that this is not the happiest of children's tales, and its fortunes dropped off. Bridge grossed $13.6 million in its second weekend, off a large-for-the-genre 40%. It is important to note, however, that family films are hurt the most following a long weekend. They can't possibly repeat the Sunday sales that previous weekend had.The gross now sits at a respectable $46.2 million.
Fourth spot this weekend goes to Reno 911!: Miami, another movie based on a TV Show. Considering this one probably cost pennies, 20th Century Fox has to be happy with an opening weekend gross of $10.4 million from 2,703 venues. Reno 911! actually had some fans in the review department, as it somehow managed a 38% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. Although it's obviously not Oscar-bait, Fox had to push this one forward, as director Ben Garant wrote the screen story for Night at the Museum which has earned the studio about $240 million domestic so far.
Eddie Murphy's Norbit drops to fifth, and sadly is the only thing close to Oscar in the top ten. Norbit earned $9.7 million in its third weekend, dropping 42% in the process. Norbit has an outside shot at passing Dreamgirls, which crossed the $100 million plateau last weekend. Currently, Norbit sits with $74.7 million.
Sixth place goes to Music and Lyrics, Warner Bros' forgotten rom-com with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Music and Lyrics grossed $8 million in its second weekend, and dropped a not bad 41% in the process. Still, this one is going to finish nowhere near where WB would like it to, much like their opener this weekend, The Astronaut Farmer. So far, Music and Lyrics has grossed $32.1 million.
Finishing seventh is Universal's Breach, starring Chris Cooper. Breach earned $6.2 million in its second weekend, finding a percentage drop of 41%. Breach may have been hurt the most by the Oscars, as its hard-hitting adult content is what many Oscar watchers are looking for. After two weekends, this Universal flick has earned $20.5 million.
Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls did the expected and plunged hard in its sophomore weekend, not unlike Perry's previous releases. Little Girls earned $5.3 million in its second frame and was off a large 53%. Perry's last film, Madea's Family Reunion, chucked 58% of its first weekend audience in its second frame. The total now for Daddy's Little Girls sits at $25.6 million.
Ninth spot goes to The Astronaut Farmer, a goofy but good-looking film starring Billy Bob Thornton. The ‘be anything you want to be' flick earned only $4.5 million at the box office this weekend, and has to be a large disappointment for Warner Bros. and all involved. It got decent but not great reviews (60% fresh at RottenTomatoes), and couldn't find its way into America's subconscious, as we are all so busy with a bald Britney and a dead Anna Nicole.
Finally, tenth place belongs to Amazing Grace, a British costume drama with Ioan Gruffudd and the great Albert Finney (Miller's Crossing). Amazing Grace came out of nowhere to earn $4.3 million from only 791 venues – it finished the weekend with a respectable venue average of $5,436. The Michael Apted helmed flick earned a 69% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, and audiences took notice. I don't expect this one to stay around a long time, but good for audiences for breaking it into the top ten.
Overall, box office was back to normal as it stayed neck and neck with 2006 totals. This weekend, the top ten earned about $96.7 million, which is right on par with last year's totals of about $95 million. Next weekend brings more dumb in Wild Hogs, but also brings the beloved David Fincher back to theatres with Zodiac, which currently sits at 100% fresh at RottenTomatoes (admittedly with only five reviews counted so far).
Also, just as a reminder, BOP will be doing its fourth annual live Oscar blog beginning at 8:30 ET. Be sure to tune in!