This holiday weekend was not a big winner, as it slipped below last week's combined total, but it was not a complete bust as three films topped the $25 million mark. I have to say that the overall state of mainstream cinema is not all that great. Yes, there are good films but we're missing that spark that a big, tent-pole style film would bring. I thought that last week's huge opening of Twilight would provide that lift, but it suffered a precipitous drop in its second go around.
This week was led by the first Christmas (well, it has Christmas in the title) film of the season, Four Christmases. The holiday-centric romantic comedy features Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the lead roles with an impressive supporting cast that is severely underused. The film tries to marry manic physical comedy with heartfelt relationship stuff and winds up half-baked as a result. It has its moments and its laughs, but it is not nearly what it could have been.
Three other new releases made their way onto the charts providing an even spread of new film banding throughout the top ten. In fifth place is Baz Luhrmann's sprawling epic Australia, a movie that is a little undercooked, but entertaining nonetheless, although its rather tepid opening (against budgetary expectations) would seem to make it a tough bet to cover its $130 million production budget. Slip down to seventh place and you will find Transporter 3 opening with just over $12 million, right in between the first two entries, right on target. Finally, right down at the bottom of the list is the new Gus Van Sant film Milk, a film that is sure to tempt Oscar's fickle finger. The film stars Sean Penn and seems ready to do well when it hits wide release. After all, it averaged over $40,000 per screen at 36 theaters, the best average of the top ten.
As for the returning films, Twilight has to be seen as a disappointment with its 62% drop from last week. Sure, it is still pulling in money, but it looks like it will be a quick drop. Could be the repeat viewing potential and widespread fandom may have been overstated. I guess the proof will be seen when the already announced sequel reaches theaters.