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.
It looks like most of the country trusted Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's comedy skills, and gave the terrible trailer for Baby Mama a pass, as the film raked in $18.3 million on 2,543 screens to open at No. 1 at the weekend box office. Not too far behind was Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, which took in $14.6 million on 2,510 screens.
It's a big win for Tina Fey, who proved she not only can create, write, produce, and star in the funniest comedy on TV, but that she can also open a movie at the box office -- even despite lackluster reviews. Turns out it paid to be a chick flick this weekend, as two-thirds of the moviegoers who turned out to watch Fey hire childish surrogate Poehler were women, while two-thirds of those paying to see Harold and Kumar take another trip were men.
This weekend, moviegoers resurrected the horror genre from the pits in which One Missed Call and The Eye put it in earlier this year (along with The Ruins, which is slowly deteriorating from the top ten), by making Prom Night the highest grossing movie at this week's box office (raking in just a little over $22 million), but it wasn't the only new release that made it out strong. Street Kings, a crime thriller starring a very discombobulated cast (Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, Cedric the Entertainer and Hugh Laurie... I kid you not) fell into the second spot with $12 million, while Smart People brought in $4.2 million, earning a spot in seventh place (that's like a C average, which is not very smart at all, but considering it was released in selected cities, it's a pretty triumphant premiere). Box office sweetheart, 21, took a fall to third place, which pushed the rest of its fellow champs down, especially George Clooney's Leatherheads (let's just hope this kills the forever mundane football genre once and for all). The biggest surprise of the week is seeing Superhero Movie and Drillbit Taylor still holding on to the top ten for dear life. (Whoever is still going to see these two movies needs to seriously reevaluate their movie choices and go see something better next week.)
1. Prom Night, $22.7 million
2. Street Kings, $12 million
3. 21, $11 million
4. Nim's Island, $9 million
5. Leatherheads, $6.2 million
6. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, $6 million
7. Smart People, $4.2 million
8. The Ruins, $3.25 million
9. Superhero Movie, $3.1 million
10. Drillbit Taylor, $2 million
For the second week in a row, Sony's 21 emerged as the highest box office grosser, tackling a football movie, stomping a botanical gross out and sinking Jodie Foster's first kiddie movie since Bugsy Malone. 21 cashed in 25,000 purple chips, 25,000 black chips, and 4,000 green chips at the box office cashier's window, none of which came from yours truly. I saw it on a free screener and disliked it for turning an exciting, unpredictable novel into a dull, clichéd and predictable movie. My hatred must be due to my not being in the age bracket for such collegiate hero worship bullshit, I mean shenanigans.
Universal counted on my age bracket to show up at Leatherheads, the George Clooney -- Renee Zellweger football starrer. Enough old fogeys showed up to give it a respectable second place finish, but a Universal exec said she was "disappointed" with second place. I believe the D word she wanted was "delusional," as that's what Universal was if it expected the 35 and over crowd to show up in a bigger configuration than the teenagers who sprouted from their loins. They should thank the lucky stars that share the sky with their logo that $13.5 million worth of horny old women and dirty old men drove their Little Rascals down to the theater to ogle Dr. Ross and Bridget Jones. Leatherheads is a rom-com/sports movie set in the 1920's, a time that must seem like10,000 B.C. to the 12-year old boy itching to see someone younger than their parents.
In an interview, Jodie Foster said Nim's Island, the third place finisher this week, was the first movie of hers she could take her kids to. She neglected to mention that she couldn't take her kids to her 11-year old co-star Abigail Breslin's last movie either. Nim's Island dug up $13.3 million worth of buried treasure, making it respectable but no Harry Potter. Nim placed ahead of the other novel adaption opening this week, Scott B. Smith's The Ruins. The tale of flesh eating vines in Apocalyptoland chewed $7.8 million worth of ass off its pretty stars, tasty enough for fifth place. A dollar's a dollar, no matter how earned, says Horton, whose who hearing hoedown hopped down to fourth place with 9.1 million. PG-13 rated trifecta Superhero Movie, Drillbit Taylor and Shutter pulled the teens who saw 21 last week, keeping them on the chart. Next week, all these teenagers should help Universal get revenge on Sony when Forgetting Sarah Marshall opens. The prehistoric action movie 10,000 B.C. remained both in the top ten and well short of ever breaking even. Unless it opens in Bedrock to sell out crowds, 10,000 B.C. will become extinct on the top 10 next week and a flop forever. The tally:
1. 21, $15.1 million
2. Leatherheads, $13.5 million
3. Nim's Island, $13.3 million
4. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! , $9.1 million
5. The Ruins, $7.8 million
6. Superhero Movie, $5.4 million
7. Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, $3.51 million
8. Drillbit Taylor, $3.5 million
9. Shutter, $2.9 million
10. 10,000 B.C. , $2.8 million