1. Epic Movie $19.2M - $19.2M
2. Smokin' Aces $14.2M - $14.2M
3. Night at the Museum $9.4M - $216M
4. Catch and Release $8.0M - $8M
5. Stomp the Yard $7.8M - $50M
6. Dreamgirls $6.6M - $86M
7. The Pursuit of Happyness $5.0M - $152M
8. Pan's Labyrinth $4.5M - $16.2M
9. The Queen $4.0M - $41.2M
10. The Hitcher $3.5M - $13.3M
Epic Movie yet another series of sketches/spoofs with the loosest of plots linking the scenes opens with an impressive $19.2M. Like last year's Date Movie and to a lesser degree, Scary Movie 4, Epic Movie stars pretty much no known stars and spoofs such movies as Pirates 2, Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe and Borat. If the movie didn't recoup its production budget this weekend, it can't be far off it. The movie had the advantage of opening on over 2800 screens, much more than any other new release this weekend. Expect it to hit DVD quickly and make another tidy load of cash (along with the usual rated and unrated versions).
Smokin Aces opens second with a pretty impressive take of $14M. The multiple assassin thriller, which opened a fortnight ago in the UK had been tracking well. Add to this the heavy advertising both on TV and online and you've got yourself the beginning of a hit. Perhaps the hard R rated action has encouraged people who are tiring of PG13 violence. How many of those Epic Movie ticket buyers actually ended up in a theatre showing Smokin Aces? Either way, the movie only cost $17M to make.
Night at the museum drops to three in its sixth weekend on the charts and at the rate its going, it'll still be in the top ten by the time of its super-fast DVD release (March 3rd in the US!). Is this quick DVD release yet another sign of studios wanting to maximise revenue as quickly as possible? The movie will still be fresh in the memories of viewers (especially kids) and should have an equally impressive performance at retail. Worldwide (including the US) the movie has taken $384M.
The rom-com Catch & Release opens at four. The movie hasn't received a great deal of pre-release hype or advertising and hasn't performed as well as Jennifer Garner's 13 Going on 30. Lack of hype could be partly to blame, not to mention the movie opening on 1600 screens - compare that to the 2800 of Epic Movie. Factor those in and it seems that C&R didn't perform as poorly as its takings would seem. It may also have faced competition in the same demographic from Dreamgirls, Pursuit of Happyness & Stomp the Yard (to a lesser degree).
Stomp the Yard doesn't appear to be dropping as fast as similar movies have done so in the past. The film now sits at $50M , and should still see another few weekends in the top ten. Dreamgirls drops a little farther this weekend, odd given that the film was expected to see a boost thanks to those oscar nominations on Tuesday and the film adding another 500+ location to its tally. The movie seems to have nearly reached its saturation point.
The Pursuit of Happyness crosses the $150M mark this weekend. This is the sixth Will Smith movie in a row to take over $100M (one of which was voice work for Shark Tale). Pursuit cements his reputation further but adds some strong notices for his performances - something he hasn't received since Ali. Pan's Labyrinth adds another 200 locations this weekend and maintains pretty much the same box office as last weekend. With its worldwide takings factored in the film has already doubled its budget. Smart movie making and a profit - it is possible studio execs!
Rounding out the top ten are The Queen, which crossed the $40M this weekend, and The Hitcher which has reached a very disappointing $13M. Expect a DVD release within two months for the latter.
Two other notes - Werewolf movie Blood & Chocolate flopped in at no.15 with a take of just $2M from 1700 locations. The Departed was placed back at 1300 locations following its Oscar nomination success this week and managed another $3M to bring its total to $124M.
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