The Reject Report

Well, chaos reigned supreme at the box office this weekend. Or you might say, KAOS reigned supreme, because Steve Carell’s new movie Get Smart did well while everyone else seemed to tank at the box office. The sound you hear comes from all the bombs detonating at your local theaters –at least, the ones that showed The Love Guru. That was the biggest bomb of them all in what was a pretty ugly weekend at the cash register, not just for Mike Myers but for a lot of people. Even The Incredible Hulk took a hit.

Maybe Maxwell Smart should have been checking for KAOS agents at the local cinemas. The bombs were detonating everywhere this weekend.

There was no surprise about the first place showing of Get Smart with a weekend opening of $39 million. That was exactly what a lot of people expected from this movie: an utterly mediocre, non-blockbuster first place finish. Sort of befits a movie that received utterly mediocre reviews from all these critics, barely passing 50% at Rotten Tomatoes the last time I checked. Anyway, it wasn’t such a big showing, but at least the folks who made Get Smart can think about doing a sequel.

Not so true for our friend Mike Myers, who was clobbered at the box office this weekend when The Love Guru finished in fourth place at $14 million dollars! The Love Guru now joins Speed Racer as one of the most notorious flops of the summer. (Speed Racer’s backers lost more money in the end, though, because that flick cost a fortune to make. Something in the hundreds of millions of dollars.)

I didn’t think this unfunny, scatological Love Guru nonsense posed much of a threat for first place anyway, though some misguided people thought it actually had a chance against Get Smart. Instead, it was the moviegoers who “got smart”, and they didn’t show up. So this movie did worse than even my modest expectations. A dismal showing like this sort of redeems my hopes about the tastes of North American moviegoers. There’s hope yet.

As for Myers and his future, I had speculated that his only hope was to go back and make another Austin Powers flick. But after what happened with The Love Guru, I wonder whether people will even want to see that. I even wonder if such an effort will be a good movie. Clearly, for Mike Myers it’s back to the drawing board.

As a side note — it was another dismal box office showing for Jessica Alba as well. In the battle of the leading ladies, sexy Anne Hathaway’s 99 kicked Jessica Alba’s ass. By almost a 3-to-1 margin, too.

Is Jessica Alba ever going to be in a movie that’s any good ever again? Ever? It really has gotten to the point where you know the movie is going to be a debacle just by looking at the marquee and seeing “Jessica Alba” on it. This is a woman in dire need of a career makeover, and soon.

The Love Guru wasn’t the only bad-news story at the box office this weekend. There was a big surprise with the almost total meltdown of The Incredible Hulk. Last weekend’s first place movie sank all the way to third place, behind even Kung Fu Panda. The Incredible Hulk dropped to $21.5 million, while Kung Fu Panda finished at $21.7 million. That’s only a 35 per cent drop for the Panda and a big 61 per cent decline for our jolly green Marvel friend. Wow, what a stunner that was.

A lot of people thought the Hulk would get good repeat business and benefit from some decent word of mouth because of the cinematic success of this latest movie, with people having good things to say about it and so on. Of course, bad word of mouth was blamed for big declines in the box office for the original Hulk movie in 2003. But this latest Hulk movie was supposed to be better. Maybe it was, but it STILL suffered a big decline at theaters.

Maybe this is simply the way it goes for comic-book hero movies in general. Who knows. I guess the Hulk just doesn’t have mass appeal, no matter who the director is.

Wow, I look at all these numbers and I’m thinking “what a dismal weekend at the theaters!” You had a decent but not overwhelming showing for Get Smart, a big drop for the Hulk, and a total stink-bomb in The Love Guru. It’s not exactly shaping up as a winning summer at the box office with depressing numbers like these. Too many people are staying home. Maybe they’re in no mood to laugh. Or maybe they are, but aren’t impressed with the “comedy” they are getting.

Anyway, the folks who run these theaters must be going insane after a weekend like this. There have been too many bad weekends at the box office lately, not to mention rising costs for popcorn which are driving their concession profits right into the ground. The blockbusters have been few and far between with few records falling, if any.

There was one bright spot. A movie called Kit Kittredge: An American Girl took in $223,000 at theaters this weekend in its limited opening release. Here’s the kicker: it was only in five theaters! That’s a lot of business for five screens, folks. The movie is due to go wide the same weekend as Wall-E, and I figure the strategy might be to attract girls repelled by the robot, and also get some spillover business from the people who waited in line for Wall-E and couldn’t get in. So watch out for Kit Kittredge in the next few weeks.

The damages from all the chaos at the theaters this weekend is as follows:

1. Get Smart $39.2 million
2. Kung Fu Panda $21.7 million
3. The Incredible Hulk $21.6 million
4. The Love Guru $14 million
5. The Happening $10 million
6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull $8.4 million
7. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan $7.2 million
8. Sex and the City $6.5 million
9. Iron Man $4.0 million
10. The Strangers $1.9 million

As you read at Film School Rejects earlier this week Iron Man was the first film to cross the $300 million mark for the year. The gap between Iron Man and Indiana Jones 4 continues to close: Iron Man is now up to $304 million and Indiana Jones 4 is up to $290 million. I’m starting to have doubts about whether Indiana Jones is going to even make it past Iron Man and into first place for the summer. Iron Man just keeps on making money, and Indy 4 isn’t making enough to close the gap. We’ll see.

Anyway, this was hardly the best weekend at the box office, in general. These are the kind of numbers one expects for December, not June! I have to believe theater owners are crossing their fingers hoping that Hancock or Wall-E will break out and do excellent business in the next two weeks.

Next week in particular promises to be make-or-break as far as the summer is concerned. Wall-E and Wanted both ought to perform well. The weekend after that is Hancock, and The Dark Knight is due out on the 18th of July. The next four weeks in a row are going to tell the tale, and next week will set the tone for the rest of the summer. If these movies coming up don’t do well, we could be in for a very UGLY summer at the cash registers. Really, what else can these theater-owners rely upon to reel in the customers? Meet Dave?! God help us all.

Back later this week with a new round of predictions in store for you right here at The Reject Report.


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