No surprises in tame weekend box office: “The Other Guys” hits #1

Just as was predicted by nearly everyone as the weekend began, Will Ferrell — with a little help from a few other A and A- listers and broad critical agreement that the movie is no classic but is, in fact, funny — is back on top of the nation’s box office with a very healthy estimated take of $35.6 million for “The Other Guys.” That number from Box Office Mojo is exactly .6 north of the higher end of what was predicted previously by most prognosticators. It’s also a healthy chunk of what Nikki Finke says was a $90 million budget for the very broad action-comedy directed by Ferrell cohort Adam McKay. Ferrell and company also seem to be doing a good job of holding on to their core audience of young males. Considering that Ferrell’s been on top for a while now, you might expect his audience to be aging with him but, as the song says about the young at heart, fairy tales can come true.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in Also, as Anthony d’Allesandro reminds us, Sony must be young at heart as well as they seem to having a consistently strong summer. Personally, I’d like to think there’s a bit of Louis B. Mayer mojo still lingering at the company’s Culver City grounds, which belonged to MGM until the mid-eighties. It is important to remember that Ferrell is, however, not a huge draw internationally, probably because a lot of his humor is verbal and plays off quirks of North American culture that might be obscure elsewhere. I mean, what is a Singaporean or Austrian to make of “Stay classy, San Diego!”?

#2 was, of course, “Inception,” which finally left the top spot in week 4 and dropped a modest 32.3% in its fifth weekend. The science fiction caper earned a tidy $18.6 million, which gets it to over $227.7 million so far, or thereabouts and, I’d say, well on its way to the $300 million mark. My skepticism that “Step Up 3D” could exceed earnings over the prior two films in the series was well earned. However, it did sufficiently well for Summit and Disney, hitting the better side of studio projections, Allesandro says, with an estimated $15.5 million. Apparently, given the mixed critical consensus cited, which is practically a rave for this kind of a tween-skiewing film, it doesn’t suck nearly as much as it could have, and that probably helps. Indeed, many of the critics are citing the dance numbers strongly enough to attract my curiosity. (I’m a sucker for a good dance number — emphasis on “good.”)

Moving down the charts,  Sony’s “Salt” continued to hold decently at an estimate of $11.1 million. Last weekend’s #2 picture, Paramount/Dreamworks’ “Dinner for Schmucks,” had a rather large drop of over 55% percent in it’s second weekend, dropping three places to the #5 spot. In a funny way, while few are arguing it’s particularly great, this film really seems to be dividing people over the question of whether it’s funny or unfunny, mean or nice. (David Medsker came down on the negative side, I came down on the positive — and I’m usually the tough-guy around here.)

Still, things are looking fairly rosy for Steve Carrel as he seamlessly transitions from television to movie star. His other hit comedy, albeit one only featuring his heavily accented voice, “Despicable Me,” is now at over $209 million and was very inexpensive by CG animation standards with only a $69 million budget. That must be music to the ears of the folks over at Universal, who really needed a hit.

Despicable Me

As for limited releases, there’s actually too much interesting stuff happening for me to go into. However, as one might have guessed, Joel Schumacher’s “12” did the worst business of anything. In the critic-driven world of the arthouse, Mr. Schumacher has the cards seriously stacked against and this one was getting some of the worst reviews of his career, which is saying something. As always, you can read a lot more about it and many vastly better received movies over at Indiewire. Also, I had to look hard to find out how “Middle Men” did. Suffice it to say that, while I had mixed feelings about the movie, I think it deserved better and the folks at Paramount have been awfully nice to us on this film, which shouldn’t make a difference in how I root, but I’m human and it kind of does. At least, it beat the crap out of “12.”

  

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Ice-cold weekend box office news: “Inception” steals a dreamy threepeat

Leo and a guy named Joe in

Yeah, I’m really late on this — blame a big press day yesterday and three deadlines today and you’ve got your reason. On the upside, for once, we’re dealing in “actuals” from Box Office Mojo, not estimates. However, I’ll keep things short, which will be sweet.

Yes, Christopher Nolan fans, his thriller is apparently not at all too smart for movie audiences, once again showing some real legs with a nice weekend total for “Inception” of roughly $27.5 million. (I really need to see it, don’t I? You know I just caught up with “Kick-Ass” last week, however…) In second place, the new wide release, which might not be great cinema but which I found actually funny, “Dinner for Schmucks,” did a decent $23.5 million, though the movie feels pricey at a $69 million budget.

The week’s other new releases, which really did look weak to me on Friday, proved to be just that, coming in behind two other solid hits, “Salt” and “Despicable Me.” “Charlie St. Cloud” and “Cats vs. Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” had a photo finish at the fourth and fifth place spots, making roughly $12.4 and $12.3 million, respectively. Since “St. Cloud” cost about half as much to make as “Kitty Galore,” it’s definitely the lesser loser, but at $44 million it’s still got a long way to go to profitability.

I’m running out of steam quickly, but that’s not true for either of the two limited releases I’ve been dealing with here to various degrees, “Get Low” (which I seem to like the least of any critic) and “The Extra Man,” where I’m a tad more positive than most.  On the other hand, “The Kids Are All Right” performed well, but not brilliantly, in its first weekend in semi-wide release. (I need to see that, too.) Indiewire has the details for those of you who need specifics, like numbers and stuff.

  

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Comic-con — notes written with tired feet

Comic-Con has gotten so enormous and so unfriendly to writers (and, in different ways, other folks I’m sure also) that it even nearly did in a high end reporter with gazillions of studio contacts like Anne Thompson. I’ll save my no doubt semi-cynical reflections on the thing for later, but here are just a few movie stories from the con that I have time to write about it in a very brief window.

* You might consider going from Tolkien to a ride at Disneyland a major artistic comedown, but Guillermo del Toro obviously thinks otherwise and is a huge fan of what I admit is also my favorite ride at the park. The Wrap has more, oddly enough with no mention of the mansion. Was this another event? Still nice to see that the monster-loving del Toro’s uncensored speaking style hasn’t been cleaned up by PR standards and practices.

People Guillermo del Toro

Also from “The Wrap”: Dominic Patten writes that Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” lived up to its name.

* I can’t watch the video here, but you can apparently see a now-bearded Joss Whedon personally confirm that Jeremy Renner will, indeed, play Hawkeye in “The Avengers.” Oh, and I guess that means that Whedon really is directing it, after all, official like.

* “The Green Hornet” is sounding a bit more fun to me.

* The perceptive and usually geek friendly Ms. Thompson was not personally wowed by “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” but she reports the audience at the screening she attended was. She does however have a video interview with writer-director Edgar Wright, which I haven’t had time to watch yet.

* I just had a bit of snafu/disappointment in terms of getting some good stuff for later on “Green Lantern” but the folks in Hall H had their geek buttons well pushed, it appears. (Not among them, a friend of mine here, who waited 2.5 hours in line and didn’t make it in, six people from the front of the line. He should have made it three hours.)

* An item having nothing to do with Comic-Con. According to a sexual harrassment suit, Casey Affleck appears to have a problem. I hope it’s only a legal one.

* Meanwhile, back in the real world where people pay to see movies, “Inception” is ruling the roost but sharing some of the wealth with the Angelina Jolie action vehicle, “Salt.”

Angelina Jolie in an arresting moment in

  

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Your Good Friday trailer: “Salt”

As Easter weekend continues, I’ll be catching up on few odd trailers and videos I haven’t had a chance to include up to now. We’re starting with what’s looking like a moderately intriguing action/spy thriller starring Angelina Jolie allowing her to bother and bewilder, and possibly even bewitch, two of the best actors and highly competent action performers in the biz, Liev Schreiber and Chiwitel Ejiofor.

I’m not sure about the mix of what looks like a rather serious tone with unexplained near superhuman antics, but then again maybe versatile veteran director Phillip Noyce (“Rabbit Proof Fence,” “A Clear and Present Danger”) and almost-as-veteran screenwriters Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland will finally be giving us that female James Bond/Jason Bourne we’ve been waiting for.

h/t Screenrant

  

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