By Katey Rich
Well, I hope we're all proud of ourselves. After spending last weekend boosting January box office to record levels and paying money to see a monster movie that, while not a great work of art, was at least original, we're pretty much back to our old ways. Meet the Spartans, a parody exactly like all the other parodies that have come in recent years (Epic Movie, Date Movie, et al), took the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, with $18.7 million. That's less than half of what Cloverfield made when it topped last weekend's charts, but virtually identical to the take from Epic Movie a year ago, which proves that we as moviegoers never learn. There was no critical roundup for this movie on Friday, since there were no press screenings (obviously), but The Hollywood Reporter can tell us what we missed: "To relieve the deadening tedium, viewers can amuse themselves by counting the product placements." Wow.
Coming in at #2 was a hero who resembles those 300-parodying Spartans, Rambo, whose latest vigilante outing in the jungle slid in just under Spartans with $18.1 million. That's actually significantly more than Sylvester Stallone made with his last nostalgic retread of an old character, Rocky Balboa, which pulled in $12 million on its opening weekend in December 2006.
The weekend's other wide release, Untraceable, came in at #5, just under holdovers 27 Dresses (#3, $13.6 million) and Cloverfield (#4, $12.7 million). The Diane Lane cyber-thriller made $11.2 million. The switcheroo between 27 Dresses and Cloverfield is interesting, given that the monster movie was the box-office behemoth last weekend. Given that all the fervent fanboys likely faned out to see it on opening weekend, though, Cloverfield will probably continue sinking quickly in the box office rankings.
In perhaps the happiest news of the weekend, Juno crossed the $100 million mark, coming in at #6 with another $10 million. It was joined in the top ten for the first time by another Best Picture nominee, There Will Be Blood, which expanded to nearly 500 new theatres and earned $4.8 million, good for 8th place.
In-between the Oscar nominees was The Bucket List, hanging in there with $10 million at #7. And rounding out the top ten were National Treasure: Book of Secrets, at #9 with $4 million, and Mad Money at #10 with $4.6 million, miraculously hanging on to the top ten despite being virtually ignored in its release last weekend.
A number of other Oscar nominees made wider expansions over the weekend to cash in on the publicity, though none managed the same leap that Blood did. You can see their rankings in the full top 20 after the jump, courtesy of Box Office Mojo. The biggest movers were No Country for Old Men, which expanded to 289 more screens and doubled its box-office take, and Michael Clayton, which barnstormed 1,000 extra theatres to boost its revenue by 4,000%. Atonement, on the other hand, added 100 screens but saw its box-office take drop. Expect more craziness from these movies as they try to capitalize on Oscar success, especially if we get word that there will actually be a ceremony. Fingers crossed!
|TW||LW||Title (click to view)||Studio||Weekend Gross||% Change||Theater Count / Change||Average||Total Gross||Budget*||Week #|
|1||N||Meet the Spartans||Fox||$18,725,000||-||2,605||-||$7,188||$18,725,000||-||1|
|7||3||The Bucket List||WB||$10,210,000||-27.5%||2,915||-||$3,502||$57,684,000||$45||5|
|8||11||There Will Be Blood||ParV||$4,887,000||+66.1%||885||+496||$5,522||$14,764,000||-||5|
|9||7||National Treasure: Book of Secrets||BV||$4,664,000||-38.2%||2,154||-809||$2,165||$205,421,000||-||6|
|11||8||Alvin and the Chipmunks||Fox||$4,550,000||-34.5%||2,430||-532||$1,872||$204,159,000||$60||7|
|12||N||How She Move||ParV||$4,158,000||-||1,531||-||$2,715||$4,158,000||-||1|
|15||19||No Country for Old Men||Mira.||$2,503,000||+106.1%||1,107||+289||$2,261||$52,036,000||-||12|
|16||9||I Am Legend||WB||$2,195,000||-55.1%||1,405||-1,120||$1,562||$251,650,000||-||7|
|18||13||Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street||P/DW||$1,250,000||-53.4%||936||-571||$1,335||$50,632,000||$50||6|
|19||14||The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything||Uni.||$1,234,000||-52.7%||1,016||-324||$1,214||$10,281,000||-||3|