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Well, it took awhile, but something has finally come out of Project Greenlight that’s making money. It’s tempting to insert some Ben Affleck joke here, but instead I’ll get right to the point: I’m referring, of course, to the engaging young star of that competition’s second film, The Battle for Shaker Heights, Shai LaBeouf, whose staring turn in the studio thriller Disturbia topped the weekend box office with an impressive $23 million from 2,925 theatres for a $7.8k average.
Combined with one other piece of news out of Hollywood this week, LaBeouf has emerged as a rising star.
That news, of course, is that LaBeouf has been tapped by Spielberg and Lucas to star alongside Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones IV. Now I continue to assert that this sequel is a bad idea (Ford is now a good bit older than Connery was when he played Indy’s father in The Last Crusade), but it’s definitely a high-profile project that’s sure to make a ton of money and have LaBeouf’s agent’s phone ringing off the hook. As I frequently point out here, that’s the power of the box office.
And that’s not the only good news coming out of Disturbia‘s numbers, if you ask me. I also love David Morse, who is well cast as a creepy neighbor who may be a serial killer in this modern reworking of Rear Window. That soft-spoken menace has become kind of a trademark for Morse, who earns his paychecks in movies like this, 16 Blocks, and The Negotiator (and he does a lot with a small but eerie part in 12 Monkeys), but has terrific dramatic potential, as anyone who caught the last season of House can attest, or if you’re one of the twenty or so people that saw The Crossing Guard. I also like director D.J. Caruso, who did some terrific work on the last season of The Shield, which almost made up for the awful Two For the Money. LaBeouf is the big winner here, but hopefully these numbers will open up some doors for Morse and Caruso as well.
In second place, Blades of Glory continues to prove what big business comedy is, raking in $14 million, down just 37%, and bringing its total to $90 million. I wonder how long it will be before Jon Heder takes a stab at something dramatic, and if he’ll be any good at it. Meet the Robinsons was in third with $12 million, down 27% and gaining fast on Blades, making its total haul $72 million so far. It’s official, Vic- you were right. If this cracks tripple-digits, which it seems on pace to do, it’s a big victory for 3D and for Disney.
The awful-looking thriller Perfect Stranger opened poorly with $11.5 million and a $4k average to land in fourth place. It’s a strange world we live in where Shai LaBeouf takes the box office crown while Bruce Willis and Halle Berry languish in fourth. Poor Bruce… I love the guy, but his hopes of remaining in that list of A-list actors are really pinned on Live Free of Die Hard (much like Harrison Ford’s are on Indy IV), and I’m not sure that’s a good sign. Are We Done Yet? had a reasonable hold to finish in fifth with $9.2 million, down 35%, for a respectable $35 million total. Here’s hoping Ice Cube follows this up with something I’d actually like to see.
Pathfinder tried and failed to capitalize on 300‘s success (it looked like they poured a bunch of money into marketing after that movie’s success), opening in sixth place with $4.8 million and a $2.7k average. We can only hope that this is the last we’ve seen of Karl Urban, who between this and Doom has lost more money than some actors will make in their entire careers. Wild Hogs followed with $4.6 million, down 30%, and making its total $152 million. I tell you, if you’d shown me the trailler for that movie and then told me it was going to make $152 million, I’d have laughed in your face. But I guess that’s why I’m here doing this and not in some studio greenlighting movies, even if we’d all be better off.
The Reaping continues to tumble, falling 54% to $4.5 million and bringing it’s total to $19 million, and probably won’t even cover the cost of the billboards they put up to promote it. 300 finally took a hit, dropping 48% to $4.3 million and bringing its total to a staggering $200 million dollars. And Grindhouse collapsed in its second weekend, crashing 63% to $4.2 million, a $1.6k average, and a total of just $19 million. If Miramax was the house that Quentin built (as Harvey Weinstein often referred to it), then the newly formed Weinstein Company could be the house that Quentin collapsed. Now maybe Harvey can work some of that old marketing magic when he splits the films up for a second release- which seems certain now- but things are definitely looking bleak for the once-mighty exec.
A couple of movies opened very poorly outside the top ten. Redline, for instance, came in at number eleven with $3.9 million from 1,600 theatres for a weak $2.4k average. I guess hot chicks and fast cars weren’t enough to draw the teenage boys; with a $26 million budget, Chicago Pictures looks to lose a bungle on that one. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres (title’s not as funny as they seem to think it is) did even worse, coming in fourteenth with $3 million, but a not-quite-disastrous per-screen average of $3.4k from 877 theatres. No budget reported, but this one must have cost next to nothing, and with such a targeted release, First Look will probably do alright with it. Much like the Reno!: 911 movie, this is basically a big ad for the show. No such excuses can be made for poor Ray Liotta’s Slow Burn, which was savaged by critics and made less that $800,000 from 1,163 theatres for a per screen average of $669 dollars. No doubt about it; Liotta’s is a fine character actor (Narc and Blow in particular), but he’ll never carry a movie again.
So that’s it for this week, fellow movie nuts. Tune in next week when Ryan Gosling tries to capitalize on that Oscar nom opposite Anthony Hopkins (doing his best Hannibal Lechter impersonation) in Fracture; Edgar Wright returns to spoofing genre films in Hot Fuzz, another Kasdan child tries to follow in his father’s footsteps with In the Land of Women, and Luke Wilson tries to recapture some box office glory by jumping on the horror bandwagon in Vacancy. See you then.