Box Office - Decade at a Glance: September - December 2007
By Michael Lynderey
December 3, 2009
10/07 was one of the weakest Octobers of the decade, led as it was by a lonely two $50 million+ earners; both of those came from Lions Gate Films, and indeed were part of the studio's two most popular franchises: Saw and Tyler Perry.
First, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? - his best film to date, if I may say - opened with a strong $21 million and finished with a fine $55 million. This was a return to form for Perry, after the slight disappointment of Daddy's Little Girls, and it marked the first year in which he'd direct not one but two films - something he would do again in 2008, 2009, and, it looks like, 2010. The man is the most prolific major director working today. Also prolific was the Saw series - after all, regardless of the fact that villain John Saw (not his actual name, I know, but it's close enough) was now dead, the franchise kept going posthumously. A $31 million opening, $63 million total was in store for Saw IV - a dip from part III's sum, but more than enough incentive for the show to go on for another year (or three).
The rest of the month had some good stuff to offer: George Clooney very serious in thriller Michael Clayton ($49 million); Steve Carell showing his sensitive side with dramedy Dan in Real Life ($47 million), and Ben Affleck's re-invention as director, mystery Gone Baby Gone ($20 million) - another one of those '07 Oscar films with a shady ending. Also fairly Oscary in theory if not in practice were big-star thriller Rendition ($9 million), Cate Blanchett's grandstanding in sequel Elizabeth: the Golden Age ($16 million), and Halle Berry-Benicio Del Toro drama Things We Lost in the Fire ($3 million), a good little film that failed to find an audience. That one was Berry's last big role to date, although it looks like she's teaming up with Tyler Perry in 2010. Speaking of last roles - the events of October '07 may have played a big part in Joaquin Phoenix's decision to leave acting: his team-up with Mark Wahlberg, the interesting '88-set cop drama We Own the Night, finished with a mild $28 million, and his other film, dramatic thriller Reservation Road, incredibly failed to expand past 39 theaters, despite the presence of co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Connelly. The box office Gods were not smiling down on Phoenix.
Fans of flops had other things to see - Ben Stiller's team-up with the Farrelly Brothers, so-so remake The Heartbreak Kid, disappointed on a major scale, finishing with a $36 million well below your typical Stiller film; Walden Media's fantasy The Seeker: the Dark is Rising failed to drum up another franchise, totaling at a meek $8 million; and choppy Alaskan horror thriller 30 Days of Night didn't metamorphose into a Halloween hit, ending up with only $39 million - and thereby making this into one of the slowest Octobers for horror in a while. If you wanted to scream just in time for Halloween, though, you could've always checked out The Comebacks ($13 million total) - a pretty bad sports movie spoof that was so terrifyingly unfunny it scared even the most hardened ghosts, goblins, and succubi among us.