Another week down, another number one. If I was a gambling man, and I'm not, I never would have picked the gambling movie to finish at the top spot. If you saw my predictions on Friday, or below, you will see exactly what I mean. In short, don't use my guesses if you play the box office odds in Vegas.
Anyway, 21 took the top spot by a rather decisive amount, surprising myself and other analysts who were expecting Superhero Movie to fly right to the top of the charts. Under normal circumstances I would be happy for this change of fate, but surprisingly I am not.
Heading into the weekend I cannot say I had high hopes for either of those films, although I was pretty sure that 21 was going to be the better one, at least in terms of entertainment. What caught me off guard was just how much I enjoyed Superhero Movie. While the real-life story of the gambling team was entertaining, it was not terribly engrossing or memorable; in fact it was mostly kind of dull and forgettable, though there were a few good moments. Now, Superhero Movie on the other hand turned out to actually be focused and fitfully funny.
There was one other new release in the top ten this week, Stop-Loss. As I suspected, it did not have a strong opening. It has nothing to do with the perceived quality of the film, but everything to do with the topic. Films with themes steeped in the current conflict in the Middle East do not do well, not many people want to see them. I saw the film and thought it was decent, it points to issues that need the exposure. The biggest problem is that the film feels like a refined version of the direct-to-video movie Home of the Brave.
As for the rest of the top ten? Most of the returning films fared well with relatively small drops. That is all except for Meet the Browns, which fell off by more than 60%. At the other end of the spectrum is the delightful Horton Hears a Who!, which slipped just 27% from last weekend. Overall, it was flat across the board. We will have to wait and see how everything fares through April as we build towards the bigger, summer-style releases coming in May.