September 16, 2008

Box Office Update 9/12-9/14: Burn After Reading Rises to the Top

I must say that I was surprised to find Burn After Reading sitting pretty atop this week's box office charts. I was sure that Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys was going to take the top spot. I have (like many others) shortchanged Perry's ability to draw an audience for whatever reason. I was determined not to let that happen again, and here I go and pick incorrectly. Such is life. I am not upset, as I loved the latest Coen Brothers film.

Burn After Reading is a magnificent piece of pointless absurdity. Seriously, the screenplay is masterfully constructed around an insignificant maguffin that whips all involved into a frothy frenzy of thriller tinged comedy. It is the sort of film that was clearly intended as a purge from the bleak Oscar winner No Country for Old Men. Believe me, it worked. The film is a weird crowd pleaser that draws in audiences with its big name stars and then delivers an experience unlike anything many of them have likely seen before. The film is completely and utterly pointless. It is great to see that people went out to see it and helped the Coens to the biggest opening of their career.

Following not too far behind is Tyler Perry's latest film, Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys. I have not seen the film, but it is clear that Tyler Perry has a loyal audience, and this will be sure to turn a profit. It opened a bit lower than his last film, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, but not terribly far off. This will likely show decent legs over the next few weeks.

Next up is yet another new wide release in Righteous Kill. The Al Pacino/Robert Deniro pair-up would seem like a potent combination, unfortunately the film fails to deliver more than mediocrity, and that would be generous. I suspect that as the bad word spreads, this film will slip pretty quickly.

Rounding out the top four is the final new wide release of the weekend, The Women, based on the 1939 film of the same name. This is another film that I have not seen, but it has not been very well received and will likely slip away in short order. The film stars Annette Bening, Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, and a cast made up entirely of women. That's right, not a single guy.

This weekend is notable as it is the first one that finds The Dark Knight outside the top five in two months. It is rare for a movie to be a top ten finisher for two months, but top five? Unbelievable. Prior to its release I suspected that it would finish no higher than $375 million, and I thought I was being generous. Here we are following its 9th weekend and it is nearing $520 million. It should also be said that while it did finish in 7th place, it was not without a fight. There was less than $60,000 separating 5th through 7th, with Tropic Thunder and The House Bunny narrowly edging it out.

Next week will see new competition from the Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town, the Samuel L. Jackson thriller Lakeview Terrace, the John Cusack animated flick Igor, and Dane Cook's My Best Friend's Girl.

Four movies dropped off the top ten this week: Babylon A.D. (11), Mamma Mia! (12), Disaster Movie (13), and Pineapple Express (17).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NBurn After Reading$19,128,001$19,128,0011
2NTyler Perry's The Family that Preys$17,381,218$17,381,2181
3NRighteous Kill$16,288,361$16,288,3611
4NThe Women$10,115,121$10,115,1211
52Tropic Thunder$4,183,405$102,974,0695
64The House Bunny$4,154,427$42,008,4594
73The Dark Knight$4,128,153$517,792,7649
81Bangkok Dangerous$2,592,656$12,723,7872
107Death Race$2,056,415$33,232,4954

Box Office Predictions Recap
I guess it is safe to say that I am back on track. The past couple of weeks have been disasters for my weekly round of guesstimations. This week I was not completely on point, but in most cases I was pretty close. I was actually happy to be wrong about Burn After Reading, as that movie is just a shade away from brilliance. As for the rest of my guesses, they were all in the right ballpark. Hopefully I can keep this up next week.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
21Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys$17,381,218$18 million
12Burn After Reading$19,128,001$14 million
33Righteous Kill$16,288,361$13 million
44The Women$10,115,121$9 million
55Tropic Thunder$4,183,405$6 million
76The Dark Knight$4,128,153$4 million
87Bangkok Dangerous$2,592,656$3.5 million
68The House Bunny$4,154,427$3.25 million
99Traitor$2,131,639$2.5 million
1110Babylon A.D.$1,864,585$1.5 million


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