Box Office - Decade at a Glance: January - April 2007
By Michael Lynderey
December 1, 2009
February '07 livened things up some with a few respectable earners. The biggest was Ghost Rider, a PG-13 superhero adventure that broke out to a surprisingly strong $45 million opening and $115 million total. This was an excellent score for Nicolas Cage's hit-and-miss career, even if the movie wasn't any good. Continuing with the theme of bad movie gone good at the box office, Eddie Murphy's astoundingly absurd Norbit, another dip in the salty waters of the fat-suit pool, opened with $34 million and finished with a scary $95 million. In fact, badly reviewed comedies doing well was a bit of a trend, whatwith the Diane Keaton/Mandy Moore team-up Because I Said So scoring a fairly solid $42 million. February can boast of only one really good title getting upper-tier box office attention: Disney's book-based Bridge to Terabithia - marketed as a fantasy but really a drama, with an unexpectedly tragic ending - opened with $22 million and finished with a leggy-as-all-get-out $82 million, a classic example of a well-made children's film finding an audience.
The lower-grossing rank had some movies worth watching, led by Hugh Grant and the adorable Drew Barrymore's fun romantic comedy Music & Lyrics, which gave them both a good total ($50 million total). Also around were the effective Chris Cooper-Ryan Phillippe spy thriller Breach ($33 million), intermittently-very funny TV-based comedy Reno 911!: Miami ($20 million), Billy Bob Thornton's less vulgar-than-usual work in drama The Astronaut Farmer ($11 million), and the historical adventure Amazing Grace, which broke out from limited release to an above-expectations $21 million. Elsewhere, Tyler Perry had his first (and thus far only) box office disappointment with Daddy's Little Girls, which finished with his lowest total - $31 million; this one is easy to explain - while Perry wrote and directed the film, he did not appear in it, and unlike most of his movies, this one wasn't based on one of his plays. A distinctly imperfect storm, it was.
Also on the radar in February, the horror boom didn't slow down any, even if the box office for those titles did - Kristen Stewart had a good lead role in PG-13 ghost story The Messengers ($35 million total), slow-paced, Hopkins-less prequel Hannibal Rising ($27 million) probably finished off that cannibalistic-leaning franchise for good (until the inevitable Lambs remake, of course), and Jim Carrey's stab at dark thriller, The Number 23 ($35 million), was summarily ignored by audiences hungering for Carrey's comedic talents. Actually, when I first heard of that project, I thought it was going to be a comedy, and I suspect I'm not the only one who wishes that was so.
Compared especially with the meek March '06, 2007's edition of the month played out like a summer month hijacked from its natural habitat and plugged into the spring. First, dorky mid-life crisis comedy Wild Hogs capitalized on its carefully-assembled package of star power (John Travolta, Tim Allen, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence), apparently relatable premise, and broad comedy that appealed to both children and adults; it opened with $39 million and finished with a jaw-dropping $168 million, keeping alive the tradition of the really bad March comedy uber-blockbuster. Next, on the 9th, Zack Snyder's comic book-based historical adventure 300 wowed with its remarkable visual style and opened with a distinctly summer-esque $70 million; it finished with $210 million and introduced Gerard Butler as a perpetually-rising star (he went beyond perpetual in 2009, actually). Between this one and Ghost Rider, comic book films were thoroughly continuing their 2000s' reign supreme at the box office. Next, Will Ferrell's team-up with Jon Heder proved to be another one of his hit sports comedies - despite the potentially off-putting ice-skating theme, Blades of Glory opened to a strong $33 million and finished with a leggy $118 million. Clearly, at this point, Ferrell still had it. And to finish off the hit parade, Disney's Meet the Robinsons was another bright and bubbly CGI adventure, and one that came painfully close to finishing with $100 million - after opening at $25 million, it totaled at a so-close to the mark $97 million. March could contain only so many three-digit earners, and so Robinsons ended up the odd man out.