1. Norbit $33.7M - $33.7M
2. Hannibal Rising $13.3M - $13.3M
3. Because I Said So $9.0M - $25.6M
4. The Messengers $6.3M - $6.3M
5. Night at the Museum $5.7M - $232M
6. Epic Movie $4.4M - $35.4M
7. Smokin' Aces $3.7M - $30.8M
8. Pan's Laybrinth $3.5 - $26.5M
9. Dreamgirls $3.0M - $97.M
10. The Queen $2.5M - $49M
Two Eddie Murphy movies in the top ten? When was the last time that happened? While Norbit might have been universally derided (save for the makeup work of Rick Baker) it seems Murphy is giving his public exactly what they want. Excluding the Shrek films this is Murphy's biggest opening weekend ever, closest previously being Nutty Prof 2 in 2000 and Dr Dolittle in 1998. This is turning into an amazing year for him what with critical acclaim for his role in Dreamgirls (and still a chance of an Oscar to come), Norbit performing so strongly and a third Shrek movie before May is out. While one could argue that there wasn't much competition against Norbit it still had a stellar weekend.
Which is more than can be said for Hannibal Rising. The last Hannibal movie opened to $36M with the help of a Anthony Hopkins and fantastic supporting cast. This movie didn't have that to ride on and it shows. Reviews where if anything worse than the ones garnered by Norbit. With such a disappointing weekend it appears only staunch Lecter fans made the trip while everyone else passed. Unlike previous movies, Hannibal Rising only came into fruition after Dino De Laurentis asked Thomas Harris to create a story based on Hannibal's early life. After attempting to write a script Harris switched to writing a book and adapted the script from that.
Could this signal the end for the franchise now? Maybe, but it must certainly question the financial validity of a further Hannibal Lecter movie without Anthony Hopkins. (Curiously, Hopkins was said to have been approached to film bookends for the film, him recounting the story to someone else - he either wasn't interested or didn't have time).
Rom-com Because I said So has a strong second weekend thanks to lack of competition in its demographic. With Dreamgirls being the only real competition (a movie that's now in its 8th weekend of release) Because I Said So had the over 20s female group pretty much all to itself. While it won't perform as well as Something's Gotta Give, it should turn a decent enough profit.
The Messenger follows the usual horror movie path, dropping a huge percentage of its audience after a decent opening weekend. The movie's time on the charts is now limited and any new releases should quickly see the film leave the top ten and head straight for success on DVD.
Night at the Museum's only competition appears to be its impending DVD release in just over 3 weeks (something that has seen some cinema chains dropping the movie out of protest over such a short cinematic run) as it steams on toward a global total of $450M.
Spoof Epic Movie is clinging on as hard as it can and should just about manage another couple of weekends on the chart before joining the Messenger for a lucrative DVD release pretty quickly (in the standard cinema and Unrated version). The movie was made cheaply and will probably turn a profit before reaching retail. Worryingly, a follow up spoofing the dance movie craze is already in the works.
Smokin' Aces is falling quicker than Epic Movie, the R rating being partly blame for that. The movie cost just $17M to produce and should easily double that figure before the end of its domestic run.
Three Oscar contenders fall into place next - Dreamgirls is rapidly approaching the $100M mark and may see its location count increase again in the coming weeks, something of a certainty if the movie wins big.
Pan's Labyrinth keeps on carving out box office in spite of its relatively low location count (just 1143 compared to 3000+ of Norbit & Hannibal Rising) and like Dreamgirls, may see a further spike in its takings should it perform well at the Oscars.Finally, The Queen rounds out the top ten and should cross the $50M some time during the next week.
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