Box Office Barometer 9-6-11: Be All You Can Be


I kept asking myself what was coming out this weekend, and forgetting, then asking myself again.  That’s not a good sign.  The new released were The Debt, Apollo 18, and Shark Night 3D, and each one was dropped onto Labor Day weekend because they were trying to be something that they weren’t.

The Debt

Synopsis: The espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel and Stefan about their former colleague David. All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team’s mission was accomplished – or was it? The suspense builds in and across two different time periods, with startling action and surprising revelations.

Starring: Dame Helen Mirren (not really a Dame, but she’s on that level), Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington

Wow, what a synopsis.  There’s so much detail and so many conditions to get to the all important detail, “or was it?”  Basically, Focus Features just spit out a bunch of facts and said “…or maybe not.”  The movie just sounds terrible, because the studio had to write “startling action” and “surprising revelations.”  Those are just things that are inherent in the genres “spy drama” and “thriller.”  Focus must have saw what they had on paper and assumed it would merit a Best Actor or Actress Oscar, and maybe mooch some cred from Munich.  Instead, they got a second-place finish to a 4.5 week-old movie.

Apollo 18

Synopsis: Decades-old found footage from NASA’s abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon.

Starring: Nobody

I wish that Paranormal Activity was a good movie so I could accept all these found footage movies.  But, it’s just an attempt to make a lot of money.  It makes sense: buy low and sell high.  They used the “Apollo” in the name to elicit Apollo 13 comparisons.  They even got NASA to come out and say that this was not a documentary.  Hopefully, this faux-documentary is fading and bad horror movies can again look like this.

Shark Night 3D

Synopsis: Doesn’t matter

Starring: Doesn’t matter either

They got the guy who directed Snakes on a Plane.  People went to see it for two reasons: 1. because it was called Snakes on a Plane, and 2. so we could see Samuel L. Jackson say “I’m sick of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!”  So, when he wants to name his next film “Untitled 3D Shark Thriller,” you have to let him do that.  Otherwise, what else will the protagonists say?

Box Office Results [from Deadline]

1. The Help (DreamWorks/Disney) Week 4.5 [2,843 Theaters]

Friday $3.6M, Saturday $5.3M, Sunday $5.5M

3-Day Weekend $14.6M, 4-Day Holiday $19M, Cume $123.3M

2. The Debt (Focus Features) NEW (Wed opening) [1,826 Theaters]

Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Sunday $3.6M

3-Day Weekend $9.9M, 4-Day Holiday $12.5M, Cume $14.4M

3. Apollo 18 (Dimension/The Weinstein Co) NEW [3,328 Theaters]

Friday $2.8M, Saturday $3M, Sunday $2.8M

3-Day Weekend $8.7M, 4-Day Holiday $10.7M

4. Shark Night 3D (Relativity) NEW [2,806 Theaters]

Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3M, Sunday $2.6M

3-Day Weekend $8.3M, 4-Day Holiday $10.3M

5. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Week 5 [3,193 Theaters]

Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.9M, Sunday $3.1M

3-Day Weekend $7.9M, 4-Day Holiday $10.2M, Cume $162.4M

6. Colombiana (Sony) Week 2 [2,614 Theaters]

Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.7M, Sunday $2.7M

3-Day Weekend $7.4M (-28%), 4-Day Holiday $9.4M, Cume $23.9M

7. Our Idiot Brother (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 [2,555 Theaters]

Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Sunday $2.1M

3-Day Weekend $5.4M (-22%), 4-Day Holiday $7M, Cume $17.2M

8. Spy Kids 4D – 3D (Dimension/Weinstein Co) Week 3 [3,007 Theaters]

Friday $1M, Saturday $1.8M, Sunday $1.8M

3-Day Weekend $4.8M, 4-Day Holiday $6.6M, Cume $31M

9. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (FilmDistrict) Week 2 [2,780 Theaters]

Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Sunday $1.7M

3-Day Weekend $5.1M (-40%), 4-Day Holiday $6.1M, Cume $17.5M

10. The Smurfs (Sony) Week 6 [2,706 Theaters]

Friday $875K, Saturday $1.5M, Sunday $1.6M

3-Day Weekend $4.1M, 4-Day Holiday $5.6M, Cume $133.5M

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