It was a rough weekend to be an exhibitor as business, on one of the traditionally worst weekends of the year, was worse than usual. According to official studio estimates the Top 12 movies managed to generate only $51.61M (still, better than the $44.4M I projected Friday night), making this the worst weekend for Hollywood in five years.
The last weekend to perform this badly was Sept. 5-7 of 2003, when David Spade was at the top of the box office heap in the poorly-received Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. In fact, the current three-day period is the seventh-worst of this decade, and, although the National Treasure franchise makes Nicolas Cage far more relevant at America’s multiplexes than David Spade, there is reason for concern.
Bangkok Dangerous (Lionsgate), the Nicolas Cage vehicle directed by Pang Brothers, managed just $2.7M on its opening day, received an 11 percent bump on Saturday for $3M, and it will add an estimated $2.1M on Sunday for a meager $7.8M opening. That is the Academy Award winner’s fourth-worst wide opening in a decade ahead of only Bringing Out the Dead ($6.19M), The Weather Man ($4.24M), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin ($7.2M) and Next ($7.1M).
Not only has Nicolas Cage been making more bad movies than good ones (his last six movies have received an average of 24 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), his films are getting release dates traditionally reserved for bad movies. Two of the worst release dates every year are the weekend after Labor Day and the last weekend of April. Cage‘s film prior to December blockbuster release National Treasure: Book of Secrets, was Next, which opened the last weekend of April 2007 (a few days before Iron Man‘s release).
Everything performed a bit better than I projected Friday night. As one studio exec told me this morning, “People had to see something.” Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) scored another $7.5M, barely missing a fourth consecutive weekend win. The Ben Stiller-directed R-rated comedy is now just shy of $97M domestic.
The Anna Faris comedy House Bunny (Sony) has edged The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) for No. 3 with $5.9M and a solid new cume of $37M. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight has reached $512M after a $5.71M 3-day. Rounding out the Top five is Traitor (Overture), starring Don Cheadle, which picked up another $4.66M for a new cume of $17.6M.
REVISED THREE-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Bangkok Dangerous (Lionsgate) -$7.8 million, $2,943 PTA, $7.8M million cume
2. Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks/Paramount) — $7.5 million, $2,176 PTA, $96.81 million cume
3. The House Bunny (Sony) — $5.9 million, $2,156 PTA, $36.99 million cume
4. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) — $5.71 million, $2,039 PTA, $511.73 million cume
5. Traitor (Overture) — $4.66 million, $2,210 PTA, $16.79 million cume
6. Babylon A.D. (20th Century Fox) — $4 million, $1,167 PTA, $17.19 million cume
7. Death Race (Universal) — $3.59 million, $1,032 PTA, $28.86 million cume
8. Disaster Movie (Lionsgate) — $3.3 million, $1,106 PTA, $10.49 million cume
9. Mamma Mia (Universal) — $2.71 million, $1,424 PTA, $136.25 million cume
10. Pineapple Express (Sony) – $2.4 million, $1,331 PTA, $84.15 million
11. Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Weinstein) — $2.2 million, $3,066 PTA, $16.11 million cume
12. Mirrors (Fox) – $1.82 million, $638 PTA, $27.76 million