Nothing will send a Hollywood suit into a panicked frenzy quicker than a weekend whose number one grosser falls short of the $10 million dollar mark. Actually, all it probably needs is something less than $20 million, but they are learning to deal with those on a semi-regular basis. However, when the number one film fails to reach even $8 million, there are going to be thoughts of a slump. These slump scares are magnified when they come following a record breaking summer that featured the biggest hit of the decade and one of the biggest moneymakers of all time.
The number one film of the week is also the only film to open wide this past weekend. It also only took the top spot by the slimmest of margins, finishing just one half million dollars ahead of its strongest competition, Tropic Thunder. I truly thought this Nicolas Cage actioner would finish stronger than it did, but I was wrong. I should have figured that a movie with a grammatically odd title, an actor who doesn't have the strongest track record of late, and being yet another remake did not help it. I actually liked the film, really liked it. I felt it brought something a little different to the hit man with a heart genre.
There was one other film opening this weekend, but it opened at less than 100 theaters and had a weekend take of less than $200,000. The movie is called Everybody Wants to be Italian and it wants to be a feel-good romantic comedy, but it turned out to be mediocre at best. I suspect its release will not get much wider.
As for the week's returning films, all of them had decent holds, with only Babylon A.D. slipping more than 50%, and deservedly so. At the other end of the spectrum Mamma Mia! and The Dark Knight continue to be the flag bearers for strong holds.