Box Office - Decade at a Glance: January - April 2008
By Michael Lynderey
December 15, 2009
After 2007's March gave us no fewer than three $100 million titles, March '08 had just one of those to show for itself - and just as many times before, that film was a colorful CGI adventure. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! took its all-star voice cast (Jim Carrey + Steve Carell) to a $45 million opening and a strong, leggy $154 million total, mostly due to fair reviews and a lack of other films of interest, especially for children. It probably ought to be noted that at this point in their careers, the animated films of both Carell and Carrey were heftily outgrossing their live-action output. The month's #2 and #3 spots went to cases of box office disappointment and pleasant surprise, respectively: Roland Emmerich's prehistoric 10,000 BC diverted from his usual disaster movie path to give us the misadventures of some unentertaining cavemen, and struck out with a $35 million opening and $94 million finish, just around its $100 million or so budget; on the other hand, Las Vegas-set poker film 21 matched college students against Machiavellian professor Kevin Spacey, turning its glitzy setting and generally appealing premise to a $24 million opening and strong $81 million total. This one really came out of nowhere, but Vegas movies seem to perform almost preternaturally well, so what are you gonna do?
The remainder of the March pack was led, for better or worse, by Martin Lawrence's really pretty bad comedy College Road Trip ($45 million), with its self-explanatory plot and supporting parts by teen idoless Raven-Symoné and the terrifying Donny Osmond. Elsewhere, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns was one of his more middling performers, reducing Madea to a cameo and finishing at $41 million (his second lowest total at that point). Next, PG-13 ghost movie Shutter more or less followed the standard 2008 gross of such films, finishing with $25 million, while high schoolers dabbled in mixed martial arts in Never Back Down ($24 million), parody abounded to mixed results in Superhero Movie ($25 million), Owen Wilson fought off high school bullies in Drillbit Taylor, another Apatow-produced nerd comedy ($32 million), disgruntled brutes roamed about in the loud, post-apocalyptic sci-fi mess Doomsday ($11 million), and back-from-war (but not for long) drama Stop-Loss tried to use its MTV-friendly cast (Channing Tatum, Ryan Phillippe) to lift itself above the curse of being a serious drama, but to no avail - $10 million total for that one.
However, receiving better critical notices than pretty much all the other March films was '70s-set thriller The Bank Job; this was another Jason Statham vehicle for Lionsgate - one of four releases he'd star in that year - and it finished with a typically Stathamesque $31 million. Indeed, by this point, Statham's thrillers had the consistent box office of a low-budget version of Denzel Washington. Finally, the month was home to one of Simon Pegg's less beloved comedies, Run Fat Boy Run; that one finished with $6 million, and I think it may have had something to do with a lack of truth in advertising - Simon Pegg is not actually fat.