Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Miami" trumps "Caribbean"

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” finally, FINALLY got knocked out of the top spot at the box office this weekend by Michael Mann’s infinitely better “Miami Vice.” The latter grossed a little over $25 million dollars this weekend, which isn’t bad but pretty much destroys the notion of the movie making any sort of profit. The rumored $150 million budget is going to be nearly impossible to reach, even with tremendous word-of-mouth (which sadly, the demanding flick is unlikely to have). This was one of the best surprises of the summer and it’s a shame it won’t come close to reaching the heights of significantly lesser films.

“Pirates” added another $20,492,000 to the bank for a total of $358.4 million. Meh. Moving on.

In the #3 slot was the teenage revenge comedy “John Tucker Must Die” whose biggest “name” is 28-year-old Jesse Metcalfe (playing 17) from “Desperate Housewives.” I don’t know quite how this movie managed to make $14 million this weekend, but I chalk it up to the aggressive marketing and its MySpace campaign. Seriously, I don’t quite get this success… but whatever, I guess.

“Monster House” took a surprisingly sharp drop of 48.2% for an okay $11.5 million weekend. This confounds me as well—I’d swear this strong kids movie would’ve had better legs than this. Maybe too much scariness caused poor word of mouth among overprotective (and likely Christian) parents?

Bombing hard in the #5 slot, “The Ant Bully,” which boasted the voices of Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Nicolas Cage and Paul Giamatti, made a scant $8,145,000. This has been a rough month for Giamatti—two bombs in a row. Even that impressive voice cast couldn’t supercede the movie’s awful trailers.

“Lady in the Water” and “Clerks II” took sharp plunges of 61% this weekend—one from poor word-of-mouth, one due to most of the fanbase showing up last week. “Lady” is at $32 million right now and might have difficulty reaching 50. Huuuuge bomb for Shymalanadingdong. “Clerks” on the other hand will find its way to about $25 million, more than 5 times its budget.

Woody Allen’s “Scoop” made a little over $3 million in a moderate-wide opening in 538 theaters, for an average of $5,581. Most box office reports are calling this opening “good,” but I’m not sure. It’s certainly not bad, but in this few theaters, this really should’ve done better. Time will tell though, as will if the movie expands or not. Better performance than Allen’s last few comedies, but it doesn’t quite look like it’ll match “Match Point’s” success.

On the other hand, “Little Miss Sunshine” had a fantastic limited bow as expected. Opening in only 7 theaters, “Sunshine” grossed $357,000, a stunning average of $51,000 per theater. The Fox Searchlight crowd-pleaser boasted mostly sold out shows over the course of the weekend, and the opening was on par with the openings of “Thank You for Smoking” and “I Heart Huckabees.” However, while those films were successful, Searchlight will be mighty disappointed if “Sunshine” doesn’t exceed those movies’ $15-25 million grosses. Given “Sunshine” is more of a crowd-pleaser than those films and the marketing dollars being pumped into it, I would imagine Searchlight is hoping for something more along the lines of $50 million. We’ll have a better idea in the next few weekends, as the movie opens wider.


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