Sunday, March 12, 2006

Failure to Launch? I Don't Think So!


All last week, the jokes were flying endlessly about the title of Paramount Pictures' new romantic comedy Failure to Launch, starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker. Many critics and analysts claimed that the title may as well be a self-fulfilling prophecy for the film's success. Whomever came up with that title is indeed getting the last laugh today, as the movie took an easy victory at the box office, claiming the #1 spot from Madea's Family Reunion with an estimated opening gross of $24.6 million, an impressive per-theatre average of over $8 thousand in upwards of 3,000 theatres. Proving that there was an audience eagerly awaiting a strong romantic comedy, the movie make almost a million more its opening weekend than McConaughey's previous rom-com hit How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days made three years ago. That movie went onto make over $100 million.

The original comedy was joined this weekend by two very different remakes fighting it out for second place. According to estimates, Disney's The Shaggy Dog, starring Tim Allen as a man who changes into a dog, eeked out the victory with an opening weekend take of roughly $16 million in over 3,500 theatres.

The Wes Craven produced remake of his own 1977 horror film, The Hills Have Eyes, this time directed by Alexandre Aja, was off to a good start on Friday, but dropped back over the weekend to a respectable opening of $15.5 million in 900 fewer theatres than The Shaggy Dog.

Dropping down to fourth place, the Warner Bros. thriller 16 Blocks, starring Bruce Willis and Mos Def, had the smallest second weekend decline of the movies opening last week, and it stayed perched above the other returning movies with $7.3 million, bringing its gross to $22.7 million.

Having passed the total gross of Tyler Perry's previous film over the weekend, Madea's Family Reunion took another 54% drop and ended up at #5 with $5.8 million and a cumulative gross of $55.7 million.

Disney's other dog movie, Eight Below, lost some of its family business to The Shaggy Dog, but still earned another $5.4 million over the weekend. So far, it has grossed $66.4 million in four weeks, and is currently the third highest grossing film to open in 2006.

Last week's other new films took sharp drops with 20th Century Fox's teen comedy Aquamarine pulling slightly ahead of Kurt Wimmer sci-fi-action film Ultraviolet, starring Milla Jovovich, in their second weeks. The former made $3.65 million in its second weekend, while the latter took in $3.6 million, putting it neck and neck with Sony's hit comedy remake The Pink Panther for eighth place. Starring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau, the latter has grossed more money than any other movie opening in 2006 after just five weeks.

20th Century Fox's romantic comedy spoof Date Movie held onto the Top 10 with $2.5 million, bringing its box office gross to $44.2 million. Having doubled its production budget, one can probably expect the inevitable Date Movie 2 to spoof Failure to Launch.

After a brief Oscar run in 2005, the long delayed period drama The Libertine, starring Johnny Depp, finally received a national roll-out into just 815 theatres where it made an unimpressive $2.2 million.

Surprisingly, the sharpest decline from last weekend was suffered by the concert film, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which took a 68% drop in its second weekend, despite strong reviews before opening. Apparently, Chappelle's many fans were expecting something different from his comeback. It made less than $2 million this weekend, to bring its total to $9.6 million, but it dropped down to the bottom of the Top 12.

After losing the Best Picture Oscar to Crash last Sunday, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain took a 49% tumble after losing 395 theatres. Still, it has grossed over $81 million, significantly more than the controversial Oscar victor.

Opening in limited release, the erotic drama Ask the Dust, starring Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek, made roughly $72 thousand in 7 theatres, while the Alfonso Cuaron sheperded Mexican comedy Duck Season made roughly a third that amount in 6 theatres.