Rango, Adjustment Bureau Give Hope to Box Office
By John Hamann
March 6, 2011
Finishing second is The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon's follow up to True Grit. The Adjustment Bureau belongs in the same weird genre as Rango, as this one is a sci-fi romance (sci-ance? Rom-fi?) based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report). The Adjustment Bureau drew $20.9 million in business this weekend from a slim venue count of 2,840. It had a venue average of $7,375. The Adjustment Bureau is from Universal, who was desperate for a hit. Forgetting Little Fockers, Universal hasn't had a film come close to opening at $20 million since Despicable Me last summer, but now looks poised to have a solid year. Bureau was a $62 million pickup for the studio, so with a solid domestic run and a good result from some international markets, this should be a decent win for the studio.
For Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau and True Grit finally puts the year that included Green Zone and Hereafter out of the collective consciousness and gets the star back on the right path. Green Zone was the Iraq war drama that cost $100 million to make and earned only $35 million at domestic cinemas, and Hereafter was Clint Eastwood's miss that earned a similar amount. Now, with True Grit earning more than $200 million worldwide (so far), and The Adjustment Bureau 70% fresh at RottenTomatoes, Damon is back on top. 2011 looks loaded for the star, as he has Contagion from director Steven Soderbergh, Happy Feet 2, and Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo opening just in time for next year's Oscars.
Landing in third is another new film, Beastly, the Beauty and the Beast tale for teen twi-hard types. Beastly did better than expected, as teenagers bought this dreck, as it earned $10.1 million from 1,952 venues. It had an average of $5,182 for CBS Films. Beastly is another of those sickening teen romance films with a bit of the supernatural added. Critics hated it, with only 12 positive reviews out of a possible 57 being posted at RottenTomatoes. Starring teetering teen stars Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, this one might have been saved by casting Neil Patrick Harris as the blind tutor. Beastly cost $17 million to make, so this one will likely match the production budget before it's through. Next weekend, we get another of these teen romance/supernatural films, Red Riding Hood, and this one at least looks better than Beastly.
Fourth goes to last weekend's eventual number one film, Hall Pass. The Wedding Crasher/Hangover wannabe earned $9 million and dropped 33%. Looks like it's safe to say that the 34% fresh comedy from The Farrelly Brothers is failing to click with domestic audiences. So far, the $36 million New Line release has earned $27 million.
Last weekend's almost number one, Gnomeo and Juliet, gets stomped on by Rango and runs for cover. Gnomeo earned $6.9 million and dropped a hurtful 48% in its fourth weekend. Regardless, Gnomeo has earned more than it had any right to, as its total so far stands at $83.7 million.
Sixth goes to Liam Neeson's Unknown, which has failed to catch fire like Neeson's Taken did. Unknown earned $6.6 million in its third weekend and dropped 47%. Financially, though, the news for Unknown is good – it cost $30 million to make and has already found $53 million on the domestic front.