As expected, Beverly Hills Chihuahua topped the box office this week. It was not totally unexpected, the Disney brand still carries a certain cache and the dearth of quality family entertainment in recent weeks (aside from the not-so-hot Igor) made this talking-pup flick an attractive target for families seeking some inoffensive fun at the theater. The film was also greeted with a strong selection of non-committal reviews. It easily rose to the top, unseating last week's winner, Eagle Eye. Now, whether or not it can hang on for a second weekend.
This past weekend saw eight films charge into wide release, seven brand new ones and one moving into a much larger number of theaters. After Beverly Hills Chihuahua the next highest ranking new film is Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Here is a film that is way over-plotted, yet flies high on character and heart. This is a film that could show surprising legs in coming weeks.
Next up is the western Appaloosa, directed by and starring Ed Harris. It is in its third week, yet it is only a decent-sized audience has the opportunity to see it. It is drawn straight from the old school of westerns, and while it is a little drawn out and unfocused, there is a lot to like about it, especially in the lead performances by Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.
The remaining two new releases to crack the top ten did so just barely, placing ninth and tenth place. The first is An American Carol, a David Zucker-directed comedy that uses Charles Dickens' classic as a template for a political spoof targeting Michael Moore. Following close behind is the comedic documentary Religulous, from Bill Maher and Larry Charles, which takes a look at the role of religion. I have to say that the latter is a surprise for the top ten, I did not think it had a chance to climb so high.