Guinea Pigs Win Out Over Wizard
By John Hamann
July 26, 2009
Finishing third is more of the ugly, just in a different form. The Ugly Truth earned $27 million from 2,882 venues. Starring Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) and Gerard Butler (300), reviews for this one were even worse than G-Force, yet it still managed to earn as much as it did. The good-looking leads would have helped as well as Heigl playing a woman's woman and Butler playing a real "guy". The Proposal, the summer's biggest rom-com, is in its sixth weekend, so audiences for this type of thing were hungry for something new. While I get all of this, The Ugly Truth is 16% fresh at RottenTomaotes, and this is not one of those films that got a bad percentage because a whole bunch of writers gave it two stars out of four instead of two and a half out of four. Words like disaster are used in The Ugly Truth's reviews, along with crass, unbearable, brainless, imbecillic – do I need to go on? And how do we think The Ugly Truth ends? With her spitting on him or flipping the jerk the bird? Doubtful.
Fourth spot goes to Orphan, the nicely marketed horror flick from Warner Bros. and Joel Silver. Despite what I considered good marketing, Orphan could only pull in $12.8 million, as North America continues to pull away from the horror genre. Drag Me To Hell, the early summer horror flick from Spider-Man director Sam Raimi, opened similarly at $15.8 million, despite being 92% fresh at RottenTomatoes. While Orphan is miles away from that one in temrs of quality, it was still the best reviewed opener of the weekend by a country mile, coming in at 44% fresh.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs finished fifth this weekend after a second place finish last weekend, and fell hard as G-Force took over all the 3-D screens in North America. Ice Age 3 earned $8.2 million in its fourth weekend, dropping 53% in the process. This is now a well-documented discussion about how the new wave of 3-D theaters are causing big drops for 3-D films when the next comes along, as movie theaters stop charging the 3-D premium. It happened to Up (50% drop in weekend six), it happened to Coraline (54% drop in weekend four) and now it's happening to Ice Age 3. The good news for Fox is that Ice Age 3 has already earned $171.3 million domestically, and over $450 million overseas.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen blissfully drops to sixth. The Michael Bay effort earns $8 million in its fifth weekend, as it propels itself toward $400 million. Revenge fell 42% this weekend and has a running total of $379.1 milllion.
The Hangover is seventh and holds well (again) in the Year of the Comedy. The Hangover – now in its eighth weekend of release – earns $6.5 million and slips only 21%. The Todd Phillips comedy now has a running total of $247.1 million against a production budget of $35 million.
The Proposal, despite the opening of the ugly Ugly Truth, surprisingly still manages to hold its audience this weekend. The Sandra Bullock rom-com earned $6.4 million and dropped only 23% from the previous frame. The Paul Blart of rom-coms now has a running total of $140.1 million, against a production budget of only $40 million.
Ninth goes to Public Enemies, as everything and its dog passes Bruno. The Johnny Depp semi-miss earned $4.2 million, dropped 46%, and has a current total of $88.1 million. This one cost Universal $100 million to make, a number Public Enemies won't earn domestically.
That means Bruno, which dropped a hideous 73% last weekend, drops from fourth to tenth. Bruno earned $2.7 million and had another nasty drop of 67%. What once looked like a winner now has a domestic tally of $56.5 million.
Overall this weekend, things aren't great, but that's mostly because we are living in the year-ago shadow that was The Dark Knight. In its second weekend, The Dark Knight earned $75.2 million, about $10 million more than our top two combined. A year ago, the top 12 films at the box office earned $174 million; this year, the top 12 films earned $141.1 million. Next weekend brings Funny People, the new Judd Apatow flick with Sandler and Rogen, and Aliens in the Attic, an 86 minute family film from Fox, that I have yet to hear of.
||Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince
||The Ugly Truth
||Columbia Pictures (Sony)
||Warner Bros. Pictures
||Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
||Twentieth Century Fox
||Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
||Warner Bros. Pictures
||Walt Disney Pictures
||(500) Days of Summer
||The Hurt Locker
Click here for all weekend data
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations