September 23, 2008

Box Office Update 9/19-9/21: Lakeview Terrace Takes Aim at the Top

This week saw Samuel L. Jackson carry Lakeview Terrace to the top of the box office heap. I saw the film, and it was a good one, but I completely believe that it is Jackson's star power and cult appeal that pushed this one to the top of the chart. I was sure that it was going to be Dane Cook's star power and cult appeal that would lead the box office this week. I cannot say that I am disappointed to have been proven wrong. How well either one will hold onto an audience is anyone's guess.

Lakeview Terrace, a thriller set in California in the shadows of wildfires, centers on racial and personal issues that develop between hard nosed LAPD office Abel Turner (Jackson) and the interracial newlyweds that have moved in next door (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington). It is a film built on reactions and it works very well until the final act. However, Jackson turns in a wonderful scenery chewing performance that is absolutely electric and just about what you would expect from the star.

Three other new releases join Lakeview in the top ten, continuing the wholesale turnover of the top ten as the summer films are slowly but surely pushed out. The House Bunny and The Dark Knight are the lone remnants of the summer of 2008 and next week they are sure to be pushed out, making way for films of the Fall.

Coming in third place, well off my predicted placement, is the Dane Cook/Kate Hudson romantic comedy My Best Friend's Girl. A comedy that is definitely a step up from Cook's last vehicle, Good Luck Chuck, although this does feel a bit like a sequel. It definitely had some laugh out loud moments, but it lacked an overall cohesion and the much needed heart. I suspect that this will not last long, despite my initial prediction.

Right behind it is the family film Igor, a family movie that goes too far down the rabbit hole and loses its way under the weight of traditional family movie expectations. Now, if it had gone all the way with its Nightmare Before Christmas inspirations, this could have been something special.

Lastly, all the way down in eighth place is the supernatural Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town. I have not yet seen the film, but plan on correcting that in the near future. The movie centers on an anti-social dentist who, after a near death experience, can see dead people. Greg Kinnear plays one of the dead who enlists his help in rescuing his living ex (Tea Leoni) from marrying the wrong guy. I have heard good things, hopefully it will pay off.

Among the remaining films, I am happy to find Burn After Reading holding strong with its second place finish. Also, it has to be mentioned that The Dark Knight continues to show strong legs, slipping less than 30%, unbelievable. There has been only one weekend during its run where the film fell more than 50% and that was in its second weekend, a drop that had to be expected considering its astronomical open. In box office terms, it currently stands as the number one film of the year, the second all time (27th when adjusted for inflation), and fifth all time worldwide. On top of all that, it is an absolutely phenomenal film.

Next week will see new competition from the Shia Labeouf action/thriller Eagle Eye, the Richard Gere/Diane Lane romance Nights in Rodanthe, and Spike Lee's WWII drama Miracle at St. Anna.

Four movies dropped off the top ten this week: Tropic Thunder (11), Death Race (13), Traitor (15), and Bangkok Dangerous (16).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NLakeview Terrace$15,004,672$15,004,6721
21Burn After Reading$11,028,257$36,135,2212
3NMy Best Friend's Girl$8,265,357$8,265,3571
4NIgor$7,803,347$7,803,3471
53Righteous Kill$7,424,479$28,534,2332
62Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys$7,271,899$28,128,1592
74The Women$5,417,779$19,321,0112
8NGhost Town$5,012,315$5,012,3151
97The Dark Knight$2,915,174$521,890,02710
106The House Bunny$2,662,650$45,587,1315

Box Office Predictions Recap
In recent weeks I have seen the highs and lows when it comes to my ability to guess the top ten hits for a given week. I think this week it is safe to day that I am comfortably in the middle. Aside from my simply terrible guess of My Best Friend's Girl at the top, most of my guesses were in the ballpark. I was actually surprised to see the Dane Cook comedy so far off my predicted pace. Perhaps his fan base has reached its limit? The rest of the list was pretty much in the right place.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
31My Best Friend's Girl$8,265,357$16 million
12Lakeview Terrace$15,004,672$14 million
23Burn After Reading$11,028,257$12 million
44Igor$7,803,347$9 million
55Righteous Kill$7,424,479$8.5 million
66Tyler Perry's The Family that Preys$7,271,899$8 million
87Ghost Town$5,012,315$7.5 million
78The Women$5,417,779$5 million
99The Dark Knight$2,915,174$4 million
1010The House Bunny$2,662,650$3.5 million

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