Weekend Wrap-Up

Underworld Rises, Inkheart Flops

By John Hamann

January 25, 2009

Oops. She doesn't seem to like getting wet.

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Gran Torino, despite the hard Oscar snub, still finishes third for Clint Eastwood. After an MLK-inflated gross of $22 million in the previous frame, Gran Torino fell a terrific 27% to $16 million, despite no Oscar push. In the Wednesday and Thursday following nominations, Gran Torino was actually the number one film on both those days, which shows that Clint doesn't need awards to continue draw crowds. Gran Torino is now going to be easily Clint's highest grosser, as it has earned $97.6 million so far, and will cross $100 million by the start of next weekend.

Fourth goes to Hotel For Dogs, which actually moves up a spot from fifth last weekend. The Paramount release that opened lower than expected last weekend earned $12.4 million in its second weekend, off a solid 27%. The problem for Hotel for Dogs is budget, as this one cost $75 million to make, and has a gross so far of $37 million.

Thanks to a bevy of Oscar nominations - and 841 more venues - Slumdog Millionaire moves from tenth spot last weekend to fifth spot this weekend with a gross of $10.6 million. Ten nominations propelled Danny Boyle's little film that could up from its $5.8 million gross last weekend, an increase of 80%. This is its highest rank and biggest gross of its now 11-week run, and in my opinion propels it to the front of the pack for Best Picture consideration. This $15 million Fox Searchlight pickup has now earned the studio $55.9 million, and is the reason I put up with all this awards nonsense - little films that should be seen by a wider audience are, at least this year. With a few wins come Oscar night, Slumdog could be a $100 million winner - and that's just domestic sales.


My Bloody Valentine 3-D finishes sixth, and despite being a 3-D release, can't hold its audience in its second weekend. My Bloody Valentine pulled in $10.1 million, but had a pretty significant drop of 53%. Still, the Lionsgate release has pulled in $37.8 million so far, and should add another $20 million to that total before it's done. Had this one not come out in 3-D, I think its gross would have been half that.

Finally showing up in seventh is Inkheart, the new kid-aimed release from Warner Bros. The effects-laden Brendan Fraser flick (where have you heard that before?) got off to a slow start, earning only $7.7 million from a quite telling venue count of 2,655 theatres. With Bedtime Stories just out of the top ten, here comes what was marketed as a very similar thing. Add to that Brendan Fraser looking like he wasn't sure if he was on the Journey to the Center of the Earth set, and we have a mess, leaving Inkheart with a 36% fresh rating and nowhere to go but out. The good news here is that foreign sales seem to be successful, with over $15 million in the bank already from the UK and Germany. Warner Bros.' biggest problem is the $60 million production budget, and leaves me wondering why they didn't wait until at least the end of February to release this one.

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