Weekend Wrap-Up

Hurricane Irene and Summer Doldrums Drop Box Office

By John Hamann

August 28, 2011

Dangerous beauty.

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Showing up in third is a film that was once a Miramax release a few years ago, but we see it today as a Film District release. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark stars Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce, but the real star here is Guillermo Del Toro, delivering his fantastic style of weirdness. That style only did okay this weekend, as Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was only able to muster $8.7 million from 2,760 screens. This one was made for $28 million (IMDBbsays $12.5 million) back in 2009, but struggled to find a release date when Miramax was shuttered. It won't cook up too much for FilmDistrict, but won't be a disaster either. Critics were mixed, with RottenTomatoes carrying 59 positive reviews, and 41 negative. The trailer looked good to me, and I will definitely be picking this one up on DVD.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes continues to hold onto a top five spot, despite being out to theatres for four weekends. After picking up $16 million in the last frame, the storm knocked back these crazy apes, but didn't knock them down. Rise earned $8.7 million in its fourth frame, and dropped 46%. The James Franco flick has now earned $148.5 million, and could finish with as much as $170 million.

Fifth is Our Idiot Brother, which I hoped would do much better this weekend. The R-rated Paul Rudd comedy looked great on paper (and in the trailer) but I wonder if Harvey Weinstein should have tried some of the marketing ideas put forward in the funnyordie.com piece (check it out for yourself), as I felt the marketing wasn't good enough for this one. Our Idiot Brother earned only $6.6 million from 2,555 venues, and had a sad venue average of $2,578. This is unfortunately two misses in a row now for Rudd, as he appeared in How Do You Know?, the Reese Witherspoon disaster released last Christmas ($30 million domestic gross, $120 million budget). Our Idiot Brother was best reviewed new film of the weekend (66% fresh at RottenTomatoes), but couldn't turn those reviews into R-rated comedy gold a la Bridesmaids or Horrible Bosses. Picked up at Sundance for $6 million, this one won't die versus that cost. It's the marketing bill it's going to have to pay for... somehow.

We've got a very sad group of holdovers taking up the bottom rungs this weekend. Finishing sixth is Spy Kids: Rodriguez Needs a New Franchise. The fourth Spy Kids film earned only $5.7 million in its second frame, after a debut last weekend well below expectations. Spy Kids 4 fell 51% versus its $11.6 million debut. The good news here for the Weinsteins is that this Spy Kids cost only $27 million to make, and it has a running total so far of $21.7 million.


Seventh goes to those damn Smurfs, now in the top ten for five agonizing weekends. This weekend The Smurfs earned $4.8 million and dropped 38% (not nearly enough), as the $110 million animation hybrid continues to dominate the globe. The little blue devils have now earned $126 million domestically, and over $200 million overseas as well. We are doomed to have Smurf films forever.

Last weekend's debut films occupy the eight and ninth spots this weekend. Conan the Barbarian, which finished fourth last weekend, slides to eighth in its second weekend. It earned only $3.1 million and dropped a wild 69%. Conan was made for $90 million and has a gross so far of $16.6 million. Yes, ouch. Fright Night, which finished sixth last weekend, drops to ninth in this frame, pulling in a gross of $3 million. It dropped 63%, and now has a gross of only $14.2 million against a $30 million budget.

Crazy Stupid Love holds onto a top ten spot for another weekend. After grossing $4.8 million in the last frame, the Steve Carell flick held well this weekend, pulling in $2.9 million and dropping only 39%. The $50 million Warner Bros. flick has now pulled in $69.5 million, and is just getting started overseas.

Overall, you don't have to be a weather man to know things are going to be bad. The top 12 films delivered only $73.2 million, which compared quite badly with last year's take of $95 million, when Takers was on top. Next weekend, three new films show up: The Debt, with Helen Mirren, Shark Night 3D from Relativity Media, and Apollo 18 from The Weinsteins, which figure the entire year's slate should be released in three weekends. Hopefully things will turn around a bit for this weekend's holdovers as well.

Top Weekend Box Office for 8/26/11-8/28/11 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Help DreamWorks $14,333,000 - 28% $96,630,000
2 Colombiana Sony/Columbia $10,300,000 New $10,300,000
3 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Miramax $8,689,317 New $8,689,317
4 Rise of the Planet of the Apes Twentieth Century Fox $8,650,000 - 46% $148,456,277
5 Our Idiot Brother Weinstein Co. $6,588,000 New $6,588,000
6 Spy Kids: All the Time In the World Weinstein Co. $5,727,000 -51% $21,710,000
7 The Smurfs Paramount $4,800,000 - 38% $126,000,000
8 Conan the Barbarian Warner Bros. $3,100,000 - 69% $16,575,575
9 Fright Night DreamWorks $3,029,000 - 63% $14,207,000
10 Crazy, Stupid, Love Warner Bros. $2,905,000 - 39% $69,529,000
11 30 Minutes or Less Sony/Columbia $2,600,000 - 59% $31,700,000
12 Final Destination 5 Warner Bros. $2,465,000 - 68% $37,825,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Circumstance Roadside Attractions $45,000 New $45,000
  Higher Ground Sony Pictures Classics $22,905 New $22,905
  One Day Focus Features $2,173,858 - 57% $9,429,879
  Cowboys & Aliens Universal $2,330,705 -45% $93,477,180
  Captain America: The First Avenger Paramount Pictures $2,155,000 - 48% $168,677,000
  Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 WARNER BROS. $2,355,000 -48% $370,596,000
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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