1. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - $14.1M - $115M
2. Snakes on a Plane - $13.8M - $15.2M
3. World Trade Center - $10.8M - $45M
4. Accepted - $10.1M - $10.1M
5. Step Up - $9.87M - $39.4M
6. Barnyard - $7.49M - $46M
7. Little Miss Sunshine - $5.67M - $12.8M
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - $5.01M - $401M
9. Material Girls - $4.62M - $4.62M
10. Pulse - $3.53M - $14.7M
In something of an upset, Ricky Bobby holds off those mothefuckin' Snakes, which had been estimated to kick the box office into shape, and certainly take the top spot. Ricky Bobby holds the top spot just about but Snakes sits close behind. Estimates had Snakes opening anywhere between $25-$40M so to say the $13.5M is a disappointment is an understatement. (Weekend Warrior said $30M while Box Office Prophets gave it $44m)
The movie has been internet hyped for months, with fans sites, fake trailers & t-shirts appearing with little official information released on the movie. In fact, in an almost unheard of move, the movie had new scenes and dialogue added to take the rating from a pg-13 to a more motherfuckin' R. You can bet your house that execs are right now wandering if that was such a wise move after all. Given those numbers it appears people turned away in droves and simply didn't get the "so bad its good" vibe the movie was pushing. The movie was also well reviewed as a good bit of B-movie action.
What went wrong? A simple case of people just not getting the irony? Not understanding the concept of a B-movie? One thing is almost assured, a cult smash on DVD. But for now, it looks like the motherfuckin snakes can stay on the plane as long as it's sent somewhere other than US cinemas.
Ricky Bobby edges ever so closer to becoming the biggest comedy of the year. This may well be its last weekend at the top spot but it could still clear $150M before the end of its run.
World Trace Center had a strong second weekend, losing just 42% of business. The movie has performed better than United 93 but it did cost almost $50M more to make. The movie should recoup its production budget by the end of its run. Oliver Stone is winning kudos from many quarters for his restrained depiction of the events of 9/11.
The second new entry of the weekend is Accepted, a comedy about a group of teenagers who find they've not been accepted by any college they've applied to so decide to set up their own. With no major stars and limited pre-release hype, the movie has performed well against much bigger films.
Last weekend's big news, Step Up, drops a number of places but still has a pretty good second weekend. Movies like this usually drop fast once the initial fan base has seen the movie on opening weekend (hence its better than average haul last weekend) but Step Up has performed slightly better. A lucrative DVD market awaits.
Barnyard loses just 22% of business from last weekend and is finding that being the only kid-friendly movie in the top ten can pay dividends. Pixar won't lose any sleep about its performance but the movie should recoup its production budget before leaving the top ten. Add in the expected merchandising money and don't be surprised to see a Barnyard sequel in the works before the end of the year, even if it is straight to DVD (see below).
Little Miss Sunshine, which opened limited a few weeks ago expands to 691 screens and jumps into the top ten. The movie had the best screen to takings average of any movie in the top ten, including Ricky Bobby. Expect to see the movie expand further to cash in on its strong word of mouth.
Pirates 2 crosses the $400M mark this weekend, which may turn out to be its last one in the top ten. The movie is comfortably the biggest of the year and already has a built in audience for next year's sequel.
Final new entry this weekend is teen-comedy Material Girls. Starring Nickelodeon girl Hilary Duff and her sister, the movie opened on just 1500 screens and scored a quite good average per venue. This will be out of the chart by next weekend and on DVD by the end of October.
The top ten is rounded out by horror remake, Pulse. The movie has made $14M and like Material Girls, should see a swift DVD release, where it should out-gross its box office run quickly.
The only other notable release, in a limited capacity, is the Ed Norton drama The Illusionist, which opened on 51 screens.
A quick note about the ever growing DVD market. This area is rapidly becoming a quick profit one, especially for straight to DVD sequels (STDVD) . While Disney has been doing this for a few years, long before the advent of the DVD, it's only recently that the studios have begun to release STDVD live action sequels.
I mention it this week because its been revealed that the second sequel to Bring It On (there's already been one ST-DVD sequel called Bring It On Again) called Bring It On: All or Nothing has taken a huge $12M in DVD sales in its premiere week. The sequel, which doesn't feature any of the original stars, was produced quickly & cheaply and should already be in profit.
In regards to straight to DVD sequels of the live action variety, the movie sits just behind American Pie: Band Camp, which sold over a million discs in its first week on sale. Expect to see more of these DVD Originals (as Universal are billing them) as mainstream production becomes more expensive, facing an even more fickle audience. American Pie: Naked Mile is due for release later this year.