Box Office - Decade at a Glance: September - December 2006

By Michael Lynderey

November 18, 2009

Borat's first ride on a Sybian went about as well as expected.

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A typically overcrowded line-up awaited September 2006. First, since Labor Day '05 headlined a very respectable opening on the part of Jason Statham's Transporter 2, Lionsgate Films craftily programmed yet another Statham actioneer, Crank, into the same weekend in 2006. But the performance was not repeated - Crank opened with $10 million to the Transporter 2's $16 million, and finished with $27 million to T2's $43 million. Still, for its often very entertaining combination of kinetic action, crude comedy, and violence, Crank got itself a big fanbase on video, and a sequel, to boot. The weekend's other films were even less impressive - basketball film Crossover ($7 million total) and The Wicker Man ($23 million), yet another PG-13 horror remake (I know I sound like a broken record with this PG-13 horror stuff, but I work with what the material I'm given). The Wicker film, as you may recall (or hopefully, you don't) contained the now infamous moment when Nicolas Cage proudly dons a bear suit - and indeed, it was that very moment that inspired me to finally realize that a bear suit scene was just about the only thing missing from Cage's masterful earlier film, Con Air. Anyway, September 8th gave us three more non-winners: Tony Jaa's martial arts-fest The Protector ($12 million total), Ben Affleck's try for an Oscar nod, Hollywoodland ($14 million), and The Covenant ($23 million), which was yet another PG-13 hor...

But at least it wasn't a remake of anything. September 15th provided no rescue from this dead zone - giving us Zach Braff's follow-up to Garden State (The Last Kiss, $11 million), Brian DePalma's tackling of The Black Dahlia case ($22 million), another inspirational sports movie (Gridiron Gang, $38 million), and CGI baseball (Everyone's Hero, which was co-directed by Christopher Reeve and took in $14 million). Braff looked to be on the road to big-screen stardom after Garden State, but the box office of the Last Kiss and later The Ex put a block in that road (too bad, because Last Kiss was a fairly effective drama). Dahlia, on the other hand, was the very talented DePalma's last wide release to date, and I hope it is not the last. As for Gridiron, it was yet another middle-of-the-road entry in the frankly very confusing career of one Dwayne Johnson; trying to figure out just how big of a star he is based on his filmography is like a puzzle that's almost impossible to sort out.


The last two weeks of September upped the ante considerably. First, Jackass: Number Two opened its gallery of violent shenanigans on the 22nd, taking in a $29 million weekend and an incredibly impressive $72 million total (this to the first film's $64 million). I couldn't tell you why they haven't made a third one yet, but you know what they say about gift horses (Jackass 2 was also the last time we saw Johnny Knoxville on the big screen, and if anyone was wondering where he went - I do not know). Not much to report on for the rest of the weekend - just a pricey WWI film with James Franco, Flyboys ($13 million total), an Oscar early-starter that wasn't (All the King's Men, $7 million), and the not-necessary to explain Jet Li's Fearless ($24 million). It's the 29th that delivered some hits - yet another CGI thing about woodland animals, Open Season, finished with a powerful $84 million, while Ashton Kutcher's team-up with Kevin Costner, Coast Guard-themed The Guardian, actually completed its run with a pretty decent $55 million. As previously noted, Kutcher has starred in a respectable hit for almost every single year since 2003, something many may not realize; as for Costner, he's mostly spent the decade playing second-banana, and I'd say he makes a fine character actor. Finally, the weekend also saw the release of School for Scoundrels ($17 million total), ostensibly a vehicle for Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder but really another chance for more delicious misanthropy courtesy of Billy Bob Thornton; and the Queen ($56 million), which headlined that eventually Oscar-winning performance by Helen Mirren (her winning was something that was generally accepted even before the movie came out, thus making said Oscar race very boring).

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