Judd Apatow and friends (and the studio promotional vehicle) tried as hard as they could, but they couldn't hold back the martial arts tandem of Jackie Chan and Jet Li (who could, really?) as The Forbidden Kingdom fought its way to the top of the weekend box office, taking in $20.9 million on 3,200 screens, compared to $17.3 million on 2,800 screens for Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That's about $6,500 a screen for Jet Li and Jackie Chan; but the $6,200 take per screen for Jason Segel and Kristen Bell is nothing to sneeze at, either.
The great news for the movie industry: Even though moviegoing is down for this time of year, the weekend managed to best the same weekend last year. That's good news for the film industry anytime, but is especially welcome in our less-than-perfect economic times. And the lesson they'll surely take from all of this: More martial arts movies and more from the Apatow Factory (if that's even possible, considering how many movies he churns out in a year as some combination of producer/director/writer).
Coming in at a distant No. 3 was Prom Night, which is to be expected since horror films usually have a strong opening weekend and then taper off. Horror fans are loyal, after all, and they almost always head to the movies on opening weekend. The horror remake's take was $9.7 million on 2,700 screens.
The week's sob story: Al Pacino doesn't have the power to fight off a litany of negative reviews and a terrible trailer, apparently, as 88 Minutes opened in fourth, bringing in $6.8 million on 2,200 screens. Still, that's more than one might expect for a movie that was called "preposterous," "absurd," "ridiculous," "ludicrous," "guilelessly, idiotically misogynist," "a stinker" and even a "slimy, slug-minded mystery thriller" by some of the world's top film critics.
Rounding out the weekend box office top 10 are: 5. Nim's Island, $5.7 million; 6. 21, $5.5 million; 7. Street Kings, $4.0 million; 8. Horton Hears a Who, $3.5 million; 9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, $3.2 million; 10. Leatherheads, $3.0 million.