Box Office: National Treasure Finds a Weekend Worth $45 Million


Welcome to the “Boy, do I feel stupid” edition of the Box Office Update. It sucks to be a box office prognosticator, and it sucks to be Judd Apatow today. So his production Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story got the usual glowing reviews (78% on Rotten Tomatoes). Big deal. Walk Hard finished EIGHTH at $4.1 mil, when most prognosticators expected a much better showing. Me, I had picked it to get something like $22 mil. Boy, I really look stupid. This movie is a FLOP.

A small consolation for me is that when it came to the top three movies — National Treasure: Book of Secrets, I Am Legend, Alvin and the Chipmunks — I was at least in the ballpark. Secrets took home $45.5 Mil, Legend $34 mil and Alvin $29 mil. But the rest of these movies fell WAY short of expectations.

Charlie Wilson’s War finished fourth, which is good news — but the bad news is it only made $9.6 million dollars! And Sweeney Todd made $9.3 mil! P.S. I Love You made a miserable $6.5 mil. But these are all big hits compared to Walk Hard. And I had predicted better showings for all these movies. Like I say, I look like an idiot. A big idiot.

Why the heck didn’t these movies get any box office? Where the heck is everyone? Oh, I forgot — everyone was in the mall doing last-minute Christmas shopping this weekend. That’s a ready-made excuse for what happened.

I think it really says a lot when a movie like Alvin and the Chipmunks will make $29 million when a lot of these new releases and Oscar contenders won’t even make one-third of that this weekend. Alvin sure isn’t winning any Oscars, yet people would rather watch these three high-pitched Chipmunks lip-synching on the big screen. I just find it a bit mind-boggling. Don’t these people out there in middle America have any taste in movies?! It makes no sense.

The total-flop performance of Walk Hard in over 2,600 theaters really is the story of the weekend. Really, it was too good to last for producer Judd Apatow. He’d been getting so many good reviews for his movies and so many good box office results, but it was bound to reverse itself eventually. I don’t know what the heck happened to cause Walk Hard to underperform so completely. Maybe it was the subject matter. Maybe it’s because Apatow didn’t direct the thing. Maybe it was the lack of promotion on late-night TV. Maybe it was the wrong time of year for an Apatow movie, because his movies are usually associated with late summer. Who knows?!

Anyway, this is a rare chink in the armor for Apatow. Just having his name associated with a movie is no guarantee of a hit, as we are reminded this week. Keep in mind, the only reason Apatow is making movies in the first place is because his series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared were flops on TV! Just because Apatow is producing something is no guarantee it will get an audience, because a lot of his stuff has been, ahem, a hard sell (pardon the pun).

The weekend numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

Release Estimated Gross
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets $45,500,000
I Am Legend $34,225,000
Alvin and the Chipmunks $29,000,000
Charlie Wilson’s War $9,618,000
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street $9,350,000
P.S. I Love You $6,505,000
Enchanted $4,152,000
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story $4,100,000
The Golden Compass $3,980,000
Juno $3,400,000

That’s the box office update this weekend! And I will say it once again: do NOT bet on the movies. It is a sure fire way to part with your well-earned money.

Stay tuned for early Christmas Day movie box office predictions, coming your way soon here at The Reject Report.

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