As if there was any question, Saw IV dominated the weekend. It took the top spot by a nearly $20 million margin. Whether or not it is a film deserving of that top spot is up to each and every one of you with all of the differing schools of thought with regards to torture based horror films. I saw the movie and while it definitely caters to its audience, I do not feel it is the best it could be. I guess it is a good thing that box office receipts are often not a good judge of quality.
There was only one other new film released this week. Dan in Real Life took a distant second behind the fourth Saw outing. This is definitely targeted at a different audience, it is a much more low key film that focuses on family and finding the balance between family and self. It is a wonderful, funny film that is a definite comeback of sorts for Steve Carell, whose last outing was the severely lacking Evan Almighty.
Among the returning films, The Game Plan and Michael Clayton continue to impress with their small week-to-week drops. The Game Plan is doing particularly well, dropping a mere 25% in its fifth weekend. The family comedy is a delight for every age and looks to finish somewhere north of the $90 million range. Michael Clayton, on the other hand, has more modest aspirations of financial success (although all filmmakers would like their creations to be a success). It dropped just 26% from last week and is drawing love from all quarters. I would not be surprised to see this remembered come Awards Season.
Most of the returning films had strong holds this weekend. Despite this, there is always going to be one movie that takes it on the chin. This week that honor goes to last week's number one, 30 Days of Night. It slipped 57% as it fell to third place. It is a movie that is getting very mixed reviews, personally, I fell somewhere in the middle. Reviews will hurt any film, but horror films tend to be very front loaded anyway, they make most of their box office gross within the first couple of weekends, before potential bad word gets out.