Box Office: Five Films Can’t Expend The Expendables

The Reject ReportThe Expendables topped the chart for a second weekend in a row. You can’t chalk it up to the dominating force the men involved in the film have on movie goers’ and their wallets, though. With a second weekend drop of more than 50%, it’s not exactly a day of rejoicing for fans of Sly Stallone and his crew. It’s just that everything else out this weekend performed that poorly, a true sign that we’re over and done with Summer, and it’s going to be a few month before we see any new blockbusters make their mark on the box office.

Of the new movies, Vampires Suck came out swinging biting, and the gap between what is appreciated by critics and what is supported by the masses seems to be growing wider with each passing day. It didn’t have the same first weekend punch Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer had with films like Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans, but it did have a large opening than 2008’s Disaster Movie. Since its Wednesday release, it is already nearing its reported $20-million budget, a sure sign that Freidberg and Seltzer will continue to turn general pop references into feature length film and critics will continue to avoid their films like the cinematic plague they are.

Out of five new releases, the one that performed much lower than expected especially given the generally positive reviews it received, was Piranha 3-D. Even though it has a 54 out of 100 on Metacritic, its fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes is at a surprising 81%. It’s a fun film. It was presented in 3-D. The marketing seemed to be in place. So how did it barely scrape together enough interest to get its opening weekend numbers into the double digits? You have to consider the number of tickets sold for Piranha 3-D were even less than anticipated when you take into account the price increase for seeing it in 3-D.

It could just be that general audiences, even lovers of the horror genre, aren’t all that interested in creature features any more. Minus the mystery behind something like Cloverfield or the enormous level of brand loyalty from something like Predators, the horror crowd seems more interested in slashers a la My Bloody Valentine to satiate their appetite for 3-D carnage. The same rules of thought that made Snakes on a Plane such a disappointment when it came to box office receipts can be applied to Piranha 3-D, as well. The monsters just don’t seem to be able to hold a bloody candle to the real life killers found in the slasher genre.

With its weekend take, Toy Story 3 was able to break its way into the top 10 for all-time domestic box office. It still doesn’t seem to want to stop, as it has already taken over Spider-Man for the #9 spot on that list. Expect it to stay right there, though, as it would take a re-release of the film to make the $20 million necessary to knock Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest out of the #8 spot.

Here is how the weekend box office shaped up:

  1. The Expendables – $16.5m (-52.6%) $64.8m total
  2. Vampires Suck – $12.2m NEW $18.5m since Wednesday
  3. Eat Pray Love – $12m (-48.1%) $47.1m total
  4. Lottery Ticket – $11.1m NEW
  5. The Other Guys – $10.1m (-42%) $88.1m total
  6. Piranha 3-D – $10m NEW
  7. Nanny McPhee Returns – $8.3m NEW
  8. The Switch – $8.1m NEW
  9. Inception – $7.6m (-32.2%) $261.8m total
  10. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World – $5m (-52.6%) $20.7m total

This puts this weekend’s top 10 at $100.9 million, down 21% from last weekend, a much larger drop than was expected. None of the films out this weekend, save for Lottery Ticket, which managed to find itself an audience, lived up to their potential. Even The Expendables had a much larger drop than was expected. The weekend is an increase, though, from last year’s $106.2 million weekend led by Inglourious Basterds.

The horror genre gets another crack next weekend, as The Last Exorcism finds its way into nationwide release. Also slated for wide release is the postponed release of Takers, a film shot in 2008 that is getting an unceremonious dump here. For the six people in the country who didn’t see James Cameron’s Avatar, it gets a special edition re-release on a few hundred screens, as well, so it can widen its gap on the all-time charts with the chunk of change it will likely pick up. We’ll be back on Thursday to run down how we see the weekend turning out.

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Jeremy's been writing about movies for a good, 15 years, starting with the film review column of his high school newspaper. He stands proud as the first person in his high school to have seen (and recommend) Pulp Fiction. Jeremy went on to get a B.A. in Cinema and Photography with a minor in journalism. His experience and knowledge of film is aided by the list of 6600 films he has seen in his life (so far). Jeremy's belief is that there are no bad films, just unrealized possibilities. Except Batman and Robin. That shit was awful.

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