Crowe, DiCaprio Chihuahua Chow
By John Hamann
October 12, 2008
Why do Screen Gems films work? Marketing. I had a friend bugging me to see Quarantine more than ten days ago, due to an effective trailer and TV ad. I had people asking me in the office if Quarantine was the movie to see this weekend. Its viral marketing campaign became a discussion point, which is exactly what Screen Gems was looking for. While the movie was held from critics until opening weekend (which is usually a sign of trouble), early reviews for Quarantine are actually quite good. At the time of this writing, 20 reviews had been counted and only six were negative. It has a horror-free weekend next frame (unless you count W., the George Bush biopic) before Saw V opens on October 27th.
Finishing a disappointing third is Body of Lies, the Ridley Scott-directed film that stars Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. Body of Lies is another international thriller that has under-whelmed at the box office. Body took in a slim $13.1 million from 2,710 venues and finished the weekend with an average of $4,841. The film opened at the lower end of tracking estimates, which left a $6 million spread for most of the openers (Quarantine opened at the high end of tracking, Body of Lies the low end). Warner Bros. must have thought they had an easy win with Body of Lies, as it has two supposed superstars in lead roles. Yes, DiCaprio was in Titanic ($600 million domestic), and has three other $100 million films - Catch Me If You Can ($164 million domestic), The Aviator ($102 million domestic) and The Departed ($133 million domestic). However, his last, Blood Diamond, might be the most telling. Blood Diamond was a film where Leo was really the only big name, and it finished with $57 million despite a 67% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes and a December release date.
Russell Crowe has done a good job resurrecting his career following numerous run-ins with police, hotel clerks and telephones. After hitting rock bottom with Cinderella Man ($61 million domestic) and A Good Life ($7 million domestic), he made some better choices, co-starring in 3:10 to Yuma ($54 million) with The Dark Knight, and then American Gangster ($130 million) with Denzel. Obviously, he hasn't built up enough goodwill with North American audiences just yet. Espionage thriller may have also been the wrong choice, as Body of Lies joins a crop of international thrillers that have failed, like Bangkok Dangerous, Stop Loss, and of course, Blood Diamond.
Eagle Eye, the Paramount/DreamWorks thriller that debuted at number one a few weekends ago and had an excellent hold last weekend (39% drop) finishes fourth this weekend. The Shia LaBeouf starrer earned $11 million and had another good hold, dropping 38% compared to last weekend. With a budget of $80 million and a gross so far of $70.5 million, this will end up a win for the studio following international returns and home video. Look for it to finish with $90-95 million.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist drops from third last weekend to fifth this weekend. Nick and Norah earned $6.5 million in its sophomore frame, off 43% from its opening weekend. This one is a win for Sony, as it cost only $10 million to make, and made $11.3 million over opening weekend. With this weekend's totals added, Nick and Norah have a total so far of $20.8 million.