Eddie Murphy not only played three roles and donned a fat suit, he helped push Norbit to the top of the box office pile. The comedy raked in over $34 million at the box office this weekend, dwarfing the take of the second place film, Hannibal Rising. The finish of these two films defied expectations, with Norbit taking in nearly $10 million more than expected, while Hannibal Rising was expected in the range of the last Lecter outing, Red Dragon, which opened north of $35 million.
Norbit is a film that does not deserve the success it has out of the gate, although I am guilty of adding to the pot. The film is criminally unfunny, and rather offensive. It has very few redeeming qualities that would make it worth seeing; even renting it would be a sketchy investment. On the other hand, I did not think that Hannibal Rising was all that bad. It may not be the Lecter story I was hoping it would be, what with the serious shadows of Batman Begins hanging overhead, but it still worked as a revenge thriller. It was well shot and decently acted and held my attention more than Eddie Murphy yelling in a suit did.
Among the returning films, Night at the Museum continues its stranglehold on the public imagination. It just passed its eighth weekend, its take dropped less than 10%, and its take has cruised past the $230 million mark. Since it is a 2006 release, these numbers are pushing it up the 2006 box office where it now sits at number four, and is all but assured to take the number three position away from X-Men: The Last Stand, which it trails by merely $2 million. There is even a possibility that it could overtake Cars at number two, but it needs $12 million to reach that level. It is an impressive run which continues to solidify Ben Stiller as box office gold.