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Box Office: Jennifer Aniston Bikini + Natalie Portman Lure Moviegoers

Jennifer Aniston bikini
Jennifer Aniston bikini pic: Adam Sandler leading lady in Just Go with It.
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Jennifer Aniston bikini & Adam Sandler: Just Go with It tops domestic box office

Feb. 18 update: The Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It, which also features Brooklyn Decker and Best Actress Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours), was the no. 1 movie at the U.S. and Canada box office on Thu., Feb. 17. That marked Sandler’s last time at the top of the domestic chart for a while.

This President’s Day weekend, Just Go with It will be competing with the Alex Pettyfer sci-fi thriller I Am Number Four, the Liam Neeson action thriller Unknown, and the even more lowbrow comedy Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, starring Martin Lawrence. Pundits expect I Am Number Four to top the North American box office chart.

According to boxofficemojo.com, Just Go with It collected $1.9 million on Thursday, followed by Gnomeo & Juliet with $1 million. The animated film features songs by Elton John and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, and two-time Oscar winners Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules) and Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, California Suite).

Jennifer Aniston bikini pic and Adam Sandler Just Go with It image: Columbia Pictures.

Just Go with It is only movie above $1 million mark

Feb. 17 update: The only movie to gross more than $1 million on Wednesday was the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go with It, which took in $1.77 million.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, and featuring Natalie Portman, Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel, and Benjamin Millepied Black Swan was the big story of the day, having passed the $100 million milestone at the U.S. and Canada box office.

Just Go with It Adam Sandler Jennifer Aniston
Just Go with It: Adam Sandler. Jennifer Aniston.

Just Go with It topped weekend box office despite earning less than estimated

Feb. 14 afternoon update: The Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It, also starring Jennifer Aniston and featuring Nicole Kidman, took in $30.51 million in the U.S. and Canada this past weekend (Feb. 11-13, ’11), according to box office actuals found at Box Office Mojo. That’s about $500,000 less than Sunday studio estimates.

At no. 2, the 3D Justin Bieber documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $29.51 million, or about $700,000 less than estimated. Even so, that’s more than twice the film’s $13 million budget. Including its Wed. night take, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never has collected $30.25 million.

At no. 3, Gnomeo & Juliet earned $25.35 million. The animated film features songs by Elton John, and the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, and two-time Academy Award winners Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules) and Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, California Suite).

The Eagle movie Channing Tatum‘The Eagle’ movie. Channing Tatum.

Channing Tatum’s ‘The Eagle’ movie lands with a thud

New entry The Eagle crashed onto the no. 4 spot with 8.68 million. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the Gladiator-ish actioner stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, and veteran Donald Sutherland (MASH, Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

At no. 5, Christian E. Christiansen’s poorly received thriller The Roommate, featuring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Matt Lanter, and Cam Gigandet, brought in $8.12 million.

Tom Hooper’s Best Picture BAFTA winner The King’s Speech drew in $7.23 million at no. 6. The Weinstein Company release toplines Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (A Doll’s House, Clash of the Titans).

‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’: Highest per-theater average

Among the Top Twelve movies, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – with the help of 3D surcharges – had the highest per-theater average, $9,505. That’s more than a bit ahead of the Just Go with It average, $8,601.

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler Just Go with It image: Tracy Bennett | Sony Pictures.

Channing Tatum The Eagle movie image: Focus Features.

Elton John songs in Gnomeo & Juliet

Executive-produced and featuring songs by Elton John, Gnomeo & Juliet is voiced by the likes of:

  • James McAvoy (Kevin Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland, Joe Wright’s Atonement).
  • Emily Blunt (David Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada).
  • Matt Lucas (Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland).
  • Two-time Academy Award winner Maggie Smith (Ronald Neame’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Herbert Ross’ California Suite).
  • Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine (Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, Lasse Hallström’s The Cider House Rules).
The Eagle Channing Tatum‘The Eagle’ with Channing Tatum.

‘The Eagle’ lands with a thud

New entry The Eagle landed on the no. 4 spot with a lowly $8.59 million. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the period actioner stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, and veteran Donald Sutherland (MASH, Klute).

On the no. 4 spot was Kevin Macdonald’s period actioner The Eagle – no connection to the Clarence Brown-directed Rudolph Valentino-Vilma Banky period adventure romance of the same name (heard of it?).

This early 21st-century The Eagle debuted with a disappointing $2.75 million. In the cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, and veteran Donald Sutherland (MASH, Ordinary People).

The King's Speech movie‘The King’s Speech’ movie with two-time Oscar nominee Colin Firth.

‘The King’s Speech’ movie domestic box office: Tops second consecutive day

Feb. 11 update: The King’s Speech topped the North American box office for the second day in a row. The 2011 Best Picture Oscar favorite drew in $805,000 on Thursday, according to Box Office Mojo.

However, the brief reign of The King’s Speech will come to an end today, as both the Jennifer Aniston-Adam Sandler comedy Just Go with It (with Nicole Kidman in a supporting role) and the Justin Bieber documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never are expected to land the top two spots on the U.S. and Canada box office chart.

Directed by Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom (The Buccaneer, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm).

‘No Strings Attached’ no. 2

Trailing The King’s Speech, the Ivan Reitman-directed Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached collected $712,000, followed by the 3D underwater adventure flick Sanctum, executive-produced by Avatar and Titanic filmmaker James Cameron, with $627,000.

At no. 4, Christian E. Christiansen’s thriller The Roommate, featuring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, and Matt Lanter, brought in $605,000.

The Jason Statham-Ben Foster actioner The Mechanic earned $522,000 at no. 5. The film is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson vehicle co-starring Jan-Michael Vincent.

The King's Speech cast‘The King’s Speech’ cast members Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth.

‘The King’s Speech’ on top

Thu., Feb. 10: On its 76th day out, Tom Hooper’s period movie The King’s Speech topped the U.S. and Canada box office, collecting $680,000 according to Box Office Mojo.

Although it was a dreary domestic box office day, the feat of The King’s Speech shouldn’t be dismissed. The generally acclaimed period drama starring Colin Firth has displayed enormous resilience in the last two and a half months, and – if it comes out on top on Oscar night – it’ll probably pass the $100 million mark in North America. Not bad at all for a $15 million-budgeted movie.

No Strings Attached rises

Not far behind The King’s Speech, the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached – a release with stronger legs than initially thought – collected $665,000, up one spot at no. 2. Surely, the Best Actress Oscar ballyhoo vis a vis Portman’s performance in Black Swan hasn’t done any harm to her mostly dismissed early 2011 release.

Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth The King’s Speech movie images: The Weinstein Company.

Sanctum movie Rhys Wakefield‘Sanctum’ movie: Rhys Wakefield in James Cameron-produced 3D underwater adventure.

Box office: James Cameron-produced 3D underwater movie ‘Sanctum’ rises to the top

Tue., Feb. 8, box office update: Following a weak post-2011 Super Bowl Monday, the North American box office was mostly up on Tuesday. Even so, not even the no. 1 movie, Sanctum, managed to score more than $850,000 (compared to $810,000 the day before).

The Top Ten movies were down 3 percent compared to last week, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.

For the second day in a row, the no. 1 movie in the U.S. and Canada was the 3D underwater adventure flick Sanctum, executive-produced by Avatar and Titanic filmmaker James Cameron, and directed by Alister Grierson (of the 2006 World War II drama Kokoda). Featuring Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield, and Richard Roxburgh, Sanctum brought in $849,000.

‘The King’s Speech’ up two spots

Up two spots at no. 2, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech drew in $803,000. The period drama toplines the following:

Colin Firth. Geoffrey Rush. Helena Bonham Carter. Guy Pearce. Veteran Claire Bloom (James Mason’s leading lady in The Man Between, Laurence Olivier’s in Richard III).

At no. 3, the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy No Strings Attached collected $796,000. It was followed by Christian E. Christiansen’s poorly received thriller The Roommate with $706,000 – down two spots at no. 4. In the cast: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Matt Lanter, and Cam Gigandet.

At no. 5, the Jason Statham-Ben Foster actioner The Mechanic, a remake of the Charles Bronson-Jan-Michael Vincent 1972 thriller, earned $624,000.

More Top Twelve movies

Rounding out the Top Twelve at the Tuesday box office were the following:

Among the Top Twelve, Black Swan posted the highest Mon.-Tue. attendance increase, up 33 percent. The Rite posted the lowest, up 5 percent.

Sanctum movie Richard Roxburgh‘Sanctum’ movie with Richard Roxburgh.

‘Sanctum’ beats ‘The Roommate’: Domestic box office

Mon., Feb. 7, box office: The post-2011 Super Bowl Monday wasn’t exactly a great day at the U.S. and Canada box office. Not a single movie earned more than $1 million. In fact, not one earned more than $900,000 – or $810,000, for that matter. The Top Ten movies were down 13 percent compared to last week, according to figures found at Box Office Mojo.

On this unexciting box office day, the no. 1 movie – for the first time – was the 3D underwater adventure flick Sanctum, executive-produced by James Cameron, and directed by Alister Grierson. Sanctum brought in $808,000.

That was followed by the weekend’s top release, now down one spot, Christian E. Christiansen’s The Roommate, with $706,000.

At no. 3, No Strings Attached collected $653,000. Right on its heels, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech brought in $627,000.

Up two spots at no. 5, The Mechanic earned $551,000.

‘The Green Hornet’ plummets

Rounding out the Top Twelve movies at the North American box office on Monday were:

  • The Rite with $503,000 at no. 6.
  • The Green Hornet with $408,000 at no. 7.
  • True Grit with $393,000 at no. 8.
  • Black Swan with $304,000 at no. 9.
  • The Dilemma with $241,000 at no. 10.
  • The Fighter with $238,000 at no. 11.
  • 127 Hours with $136,000 at no. 12.

Among Monday’s Top Twelve movies, The Green Hornet posted the highest Sun.-Mon. drop-off rate, down 59 percent. True Grit posted the lowest, down 37 percent.

Images of Richard Roxburgh and Rhys Wakefield in the James Cameron-produced Sanctum movie: Universal Pictures.

The Roommate cast Cam Gigandet‘The Roommate’ cast member Cam Gigandet.

‘The Roommate’ movie box office: Less than estimated

Feb. 7: Christian E. Christiansen’s poorly received thriller The Roommate, whose cast includes Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet (Twilight), Matt Lanter (the Twilight spoof Vampires Suck), and Billy Zane (Titanic), was the no. 1 movie at the North American box office this past 2011 Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 4-6.

According to weekend actuals found at Box Office Mojo (Feb. 7), The Roommate took in $15 million. That’s about $600,000 less than studio estimates published on Sunday.

In fact, most Top Twelve movies among earned slightly less than estimated. The Roommate, The King’s Speech (once again), and No Strings Attached posted the most noticeable discrepancies, ranging between $400,000-$600,000.

‘Sanctum’ slightly better no. 2, ‘The King’s Speech’ down 30 percent

At the other end, the James Cameron-executive-produced 3D action thriller Sanctum and the Natalie Portman star vehicle Black Swan brought in slightly more than estimated.

Directed by Alister Grierson, Sanctum earned $9.44 million in the second slot, followed by Natalie Portman’s other Top Twelve star vehicle, the romantic comedy No Strings Attached, with $8 million at no. 3. Ashton Kutcher co-stars.

At no. 4, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, featuring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and veteran Claire Bloom, drew $7.71 million. Instead of the estimated 25 percent published yesterday, The King’s Speech was actually down 30 percent from the previous weekend. Not a huge difference, but enough to place it behind both The Fighter (down 28 percent) and Yogi Bear (down 29 percent).

The Roommate cast member Cam Gigandet image: Jaimie Trueblood / Sony Pictures.

The Roommate movie Leighton Meester Minka Kelly‘The Roommate’ movie with Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly.

‘The Roommate’ movie box office: Leighton Meester-Minka Kelly thriller tops (slow) Super Bowl weekend

Feb. 6: Sony / Screen Gems’ The Roommate topped the North American box office this Super Bowl 2011 weekend, Feb. 4–6, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Christian E. Christiansen’s poorly received thriller took in $15.6 million at 2,534 locations, averaging an acceptable $6,156 per theater.

That’s not bad at all for a movie that cost a reported $16 million (not including marketing and distribution expenses).

The tale of a college freshman obsessed with her roommate, The Roommate features Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Twilight actor Cam Gigandet, Twilight spoof Vampires Suck actor Matt Lanter, and Billy Zane (Titanic).

Sanctum movie Rhys Wakefield‘Sanctum’ movie with Rhys Wakefield and Richard Roxburgh.

James Cameron-produced ‘Sanctum’ movie bombs

Executive produced by James Cameron, the Alister Grierson-directed 3D action thriller Sanctum opened with an abysmal $9.22 million at no. 2. With a per-theater average of $3,310 – despite 3D surcharges – from 2,787 sites, Sanctum will likely be gone from theaters soon.

The story of a deep sea cave expedition gone awry following a major tropical storm, Sanctum features Ioan Gruffudd, Richard Roxburgh, and Rhys Wakefield. The Universal release has little chance of matching its reported $30 million production cost at the domestic box office.

Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy passes $50 million

At no. 3, Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher’s romantic comedy No Strings Attached grossed $8.4 million (down 37 percent). No Strings Attached passed the $50 million mark this Super Bowl weekend; its current domestic total is $51.78 million. Cost: $25 million.

Natalie Portman currently has two quite profitable releases in U.S. and Canadian theaters, the other being Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

At no. 4, Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, continues to perform well, drawing $8.31 million (down 25 percent) this weekend. Domestic total: $84.12 million. Cost: $15 million.

‘The Green Hornet’ down nearly 50 percent

Next in line was the Seth Rogen-Jay Chou adventure flick The Green Hornet with $6.1 million (down 45.5 percent) at no. 5. Total: $87.22 million. Cost: $120 million.

By next weekend, there’s a good chance The King’s Speech will have earned more domestically than the eight times costlier The Green Hornet.

Among the top twelve movies, The Roommate had the highest per-theater average, $6,156. Yogi Bear had the lowest, $1,292.

Also among the top twelve (except for newcomers The Roommate and Sanctum), The Rite posted the highest weekend-to-weekend drop-off rate, down 62 percent. The King’s Speech posted the lowest, down 25 percent.

Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester The Roommate movie image: Jaimie Trueblood / Sony Pictures.

Rhys Wakefield and Richard Roxburgh Sanctum movie image: Universal Pictures.

The Roommate movie Minka Kelly‘The Roommate’ movie with Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester.

‘The Roommate’ movie box office: Thriller has none too thrilling debut

Feb. 5: At the start of the 2011 Super Bowl weekend, Sony / Screen Gems’ release The Roommate topped the ho-hum North American box office on Friday, Feb. 4, according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. The Christian E. Christiansen-directed thriller took in $6.4 million at 2,534 locations on its first day out. Its per-theater average was an acceptable $2,526, though chances are that things will go downhill from here.

Most critics didn’t get to see The Roommate, but those who did weren’t exactly impressed. Christiansen’s film has an embarrassing 9 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ Top Critics. The tale of a college freshman obsessed with her roommate, the aptly titled The Roommate features in its cast:

Leighton Meester. Minka Kelly. Cam Gigandet (Twilight). Matt Lanter (the Twilight spoof Vampires Suck). Billy Zane (Titanic).

James Cameron ‘Sanctum’ disappoints

Executive produced by James Cameron, the Alister Grierson-directed 3D action thriller Sanctum collected a mere $3.55 million at no. 2. With a per-theater average of $1,275 from 2,787 sites – despite 3D surcharges – Sanctum will be no threat to the box office standing of either Avatar or Titanic.

This tale of a deep sea cave expedition gone awry following a major tropical storm has a lowly 32 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ Top Critics. In the Sanctum cast:

Ioan Gruffudd. Richard Roxburgh. Rhys Wakefield.

No Strings Attached movie Natalie Portman
No Strings Attached movie with Natalie Portman.

No Strings Attached movie: Natalie Portman box office prowess boosts year’s first sleeper hit

Feb. 1 update: Ivan Reitman’s No Strings Attached movie – a romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher whose screenplay initially carried the more descriptive title “Fuckbuddies” – was the no. 2 movie at the domestic box office this past weekend, Jan. 28–30, having collected $13.4 million, and down a surprisingly modest 32 percent from its debut weekend.

But make no mistake. No Strings Attached is undeniably the no. 1 box office movie of 2011. Well, so far.

After all, despite poor-to-lukewarm reviews, No Strings Attached is officially the year’s first sleeper hit. Its domestic take to date has reached $39.5 million on a reported $25 million budget – though, admittedly, it’s unclear how much Paramount Pictures has shelled out on marketing and distributing their film.

Something else: Reitman’s No Strings Attached movie shows that Natalie Portman could already be considered one of the top box office draws of the year, as she’s also the star of Darren Aronofsky’s critical hit Black Swan.

Ivan Reitman’s first movie in five years, No Strings Attached earned on its debut weekend nearly as much as Reitman’s previous effort, the 2006 Uma Thurman-Luke Wilson vehicle My Super Ex-Girlfriend, earned during its entire run ($22.53 million, or approximately $27.34 million today). In fact, Reitman’s last hit was the Harrison Ford-Anne Heche vehicle Six Days Seven Nights back in 1998; the adventure comedy took in $74.33 million domestically and about $90.5 million internationally.

No Strings Attached also happens to be Ashton Kutcher’s best (inflation-adjusted) opening since What Happened in Vegas in 2008. Co-Starring Cameron Diaz, Vegas opened with $20.17 million – or $22.33 million today – at 3,255 theaters and went on to gross $80.27 million domestically and $139 million internationally.

And finally, No Strings Attached is Natalie Portman’s biggest opening weekend since V for Vendetta, which debuted with $25.64 million back in 2006. In the long run, however, No Strings Attached will probably have a tough time surpassing Portman’s Black Swan, currently with a $83.58 million domestic cume.

Natalie Portman sleeper hit no. 2: Black Swan

This past weekend, the low-budget (a reported $13 million), ballet world-set psychological drama was no. 8 on the box office chart, having added $5.1 million as per Boxofficemojo.com. To date, Black Swan has taken in $90.7 million in the U.S. and Canada – an impressive amount, especially considering that it has been achieved without the assistance of any superheroes, CGI explosions, or massive publicity blitzes.

On the other hand, loads of Best Actress mentions for Natalie Portman and a much-talked about lesbian sex scene (between Portman and Mila Kunis) may have done the trick. And let’s not forget the Academy Award nominations announced a few days ago: Black Swan is up for five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress; Natalie Portman, in fact, is the odds-on favorite.

Besides Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, also in the No Strings Attached movie cast: Kevin Kline, who’d starred for Ivan Reitman in the hit 1993 political comedy Dave, plus Cary Elwes, Greta Gerwig, and Lake Bell.

Besides Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, Black Swan also features two-time Oscar nominee Winona Ryder (as Best Supporting Actress for The Age of Innocence, 1993; as Best Actress for Little Women, 1994), Vincent Cassel, Portman’s off-screen companion Benjamin Millepied,
Sebastian Stan, Toby Hemingway, and veteran Barbara Hershey (Last Summer, The Stunt Man, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for The Portrait of a Lady, 1996).

Anthony Hopkins & Jason Statham flop

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408, Evil, Derailed), and starring Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Colin O’Donoghue, The Rite topped a slow Jan. 28-30 weekend in North America, with the Hafstrom-Hopkins horror flick taking in $15 million. That’s hardly a spectacular opening at 2,985 locations (with a middling $5,027 average), but it’s not all that horrific for a production that cost $37 million.

Directed by Simon West, and starring action star Jason Statham, Ben Foster, and veteran Donald Sutherland, The Mechanic opened with only $11.5 million at 2,703 locations. The actioner’s per-theater average was a disappointing $4,255. Yet, The Mechanic‘s take was on a par with several other Statham action vehicles, e.g., Transporter 3, Death Race, and the original Crank, which all brought in $10-12 million on their debut weekends.

Garrett Hedlund Country Strong: TRON Legacy actor + Oscar winner can't lure moviegoersGarrett Hedlund in Country Strong: Country music, TRON: Legacy actor, and Best Actress Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, 1998) have failed to lure U.S. moviegoers. Directed by Shana Feste, Country Strong is a sort of less sprawling Nashville, as it mostly revolves around a country singer and recovering alcoholic (Paltrow) and the people around her as she attempts to make a comeback on the country music scene. Also in the cast: country singer/songwriter and The Blind Side leading man Tim McGraw, and Date Night and Going the Distance actress Leighton Meester.

Oscar nominations boost domestic box office

Jan. 26 update: Following the Oscar nominations announcement early Tuesday morning, the North American box office was markedly up. But were the two happenings related? Absolutely.

It’s true that the U.S. and Canada box office generally goes up on Tuesdays, but the jump was higher than usual yesterday, with Oscar-nominated movies leading the charge: Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, up 66 percent compared to Monday; David O. Russell’s The Fighter, up 46 percent; Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, up 34 percent; Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, up 57 percent.

Also: David Fincher’s The Social Network, up 29 percent; Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, up 37 percent; John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole, up 39 percent; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit, up 41 percent. Even Shana Feste’s Country Strong, up for a Best Song Oscar, was up by 32 percent.

Most non-nominees were up as well, but more modestly, e.g., The Green Hornet, up 10 percent; Season of the Witch, up 8 percent. The exceptions among the top twelve movies were No Strings Attached (+21 percent), which not coincidentally stars Black Swan‘s Oscar nominee Natalie Portman, and The Dilemma (+20 percent), for whose box office jump I must admit I can’t find a logical explanation. Especially considering the movie in question.

Colin Firth-Geoffrey Rush’s The King’s Speech has been enjoying minuscule drop-off rates that would make Avatar‘s blue Na’vi turn green with envy. The sturdiness of the Tom Hooper-directed, David Seidler-written drama is due to the fact that it has become the cinematic darling of the 2011 awards season, an “art” movie with popular appeal. (Even though, of course, The King’s Speech isn’t really an “art” movie at all; but nowadays anything even remotely geared to audiences with an IQ higher than 20 is considered an “art film.”)

The King’s Speech cost: $15 million. Publicity surrounding the King’s unexpected Producers Guild Award victory surely didn’t hinder its box office take.

Peter Weir drama flops

Jan. 23 update: Starring Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, and Jim Sturgess, Peter Weir’s The Way Back, opened nationwide at 659 theaters (following a brief, Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles in late 2010) with a mere $1.46 million (no. 14 on the chart) according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. (The Way Back had a late 2010 run in Los Angeles for Oscar consideration.)

The Newmarket release’s average was a dismal $2,161 per theater – especially poor for a movie screening at relatively few locations. (All things being equal, the fewer the number of venues, the higher the per-theater average should be.) It’s quite possible that The Way Back will become Weir’s (inflation-adjusted) lowest grosser among his American-made films, earning even less than Fearless back in 1993 – $6.99 million then, or about $13.42 million today.

Now, a few weeks ago Jeff Bridges had two movies among the top three, True Grit and TRON: Legacy. Then Garrett Hedlund had two movies among the top ten, TRON and Country Strong. And now it’s Natalie Portman’s turn to have two vehicles among the top six, No Strings Attached and Black Swan.

Channing Tatum, The Dilemma
The Dilemma with Channing Tatum.

‘The Green Hornet’ & ‘The Dilemma’: Disappointment + ‘Gay’ Debut

Jan. 16 update: Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, Michel Gondry’s 3D adventure flick The Green Hornet collected $34 million at the North American box office this weekend (Jan. 14-16), according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Though the $34 million take is above the one predicted a couple of days ago, there’s no way The Green Hornet will be able to recoup its reported $150 million production budget – not to mention distribution/advertising costs – at the domestic box office. Remember, studios only keep about 50-55 percent of a movie’s domestic gross. It would take The Green Hornet eight to nine weeks earning $34 million domestically for Sony to match the film’s budget.

If the international market doesn’t come to the rescue, as was the case with domestic box office disappointments such as Universal’s Robin Hood and Disney’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Sony Pictures will have another expensive box office disappointment in its hands following the Angelina Jolie-Johnny Depp spy caper The Tourist, which at least has done quite well internationally, and the Reese Witherspoon comedy How Do You Know.

The Green Hornet‘s initial take overseas hasn’t been all the promising, with a relatively modest $16.1 from 35 countries over the weekend. That’s the lowest gross for a top film in the international market since Sony’s own Resident Evil: Afterlife back in Oct. 2010.

Assisted by costlier 3D ticket prices (69 percent of the film’s total take), The Green Hornet averaged $9,487 at 3,584 locations.

International Box Office source: The Hollywood Reporter

At no. 2 this weekend, Ron Howard’s comedy-drama The Dilemma, best known for its gay slur controversy, and starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, and Channing Tatum, brought in a soft – or in Dilemma parlance, “totally gay” – $17.41 million according to studio estimates found at Boxofficemojo.com.

That’s not exactly great news for a movie with a reported $70 million budget. At 2,940 theaters, The Dilemma averaged a disappointing $5,925 per site. Also, US critics found the Ron Howard movie gayer than the electric car, as The Dilemma earned a lowly 31 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics.

Whether this $70 million star vehicle will reach $20 million over the three-day weekend remains debatable (even though Monday is Martin Luther King’s Day in the United States), especially if word of mouth is as poor as the reviews. At 2,940 theaters, The Dilemma averaged a disappointing (for this type of dumb comedy with a stellar cast) $2,075 per site. Howard’s flick also features Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, and Queen Latifah.

Universal, a studio that offered a whole string of expensive flops in 2010 (e.g., The Wolfman, Green Zone, MacGruber), has in The Dilemma its first 2011 dud. Compounding matters, neither Vince Vaughn nor Kevin James has much of an international following. Wedding Crashers, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases, The Break-Up, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Grown Ups, Paul Blart: Mall Cop made much more money in the United States than elsewhere, as international audiences apparently prefer their braindead movie humor wrapped in different packages.

French Films Down: Roman Polanski ‘The Ghost Writer’ Major Hit

French productions and co-productions sold 17.9 percent fewer tickets abroad in 2010 when compared to 2009, according to uniFrance, which promotes French cinema around the world. French films sold an estimated 57.2 million tickets internationally in 2010. Of those, 13 million were sold in the United States – vs. 23 million the previous year. That represents a 45 percent drop in the US.

According to uniFrance, the problem was that 2010 lacked a breakout French box office hit. You may not think of the Liam Neeson vehicle Taken as “French,” but the Pierre Morel-directed thriller was chiefly financed by Luc Besson’s Europacorp. In 2009, Taken alone sold an estimated 23 million tickets worldwide.

The 2010 releases had less popular appeal. The biggest hits were Roman Polanski’s English-language The Ghost Writer; Pierre Morel’s much less successful From Paris with Love, starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; and Jacques Perrin’s documentary Oceans, with each selling about 6.5 million tickets.

Apart from Oceans, the two biggest French-language international hits were Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, starring Louise Bourgoin and Mathieu Amalric, which sold 3.1 million tickets, and Radu Mihaileanu’s The Concert, starring Mélanie Laurent, which sold 1.8 million.

Curiously, revenues were down only 6.1 percent partly because French films performed well in countries such as Japan, where ticket prices are more expensive. Ticket-price inflation surely played a role as well, in addition to the weaker euro, which likely made earnings from abroad more profitable.

Via CommeauCinema.com

Little Fockers Dustin Hoffman: 2-time Oscar winner mired in panned lowbrow comedyLittle Fockers with Dustin Hoffman: Two-time Academy Award winner mired in critically panned brainless comedy. Like fellow Little Fockers stars Barbra Streisand and Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman is a two-time Oscar winner: as Best Actor for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988). Besides, Hoffman has been nominated for five other Oscars in that category: The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Lenny (1974), Tootsie (1982), and Wag the Dog (1997). As for Robert De Niro, besides being seen in stuff like Little Fockers, he happens to be the announced Jury President at this year’s upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

‘True Grit’ tops + Nicolas Cage ‘Season of the Witch’ bombs

Jan. 15 update: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit remained the no. 1 movie at the U.S. and Canada box office on Thursday, Jan. 13, according to Box Office Mojo. StarringCritics’ Choice Awards’ Best Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, True Grit took in $1.37 million.

At no. 2 for the fourth day in a row, Darren Aronofsky-Natalie Portman’s Black Swan pulled in $960k. The psychological drama co-stars Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder. Portman was the Broadcast Film Critics’ Best Actress.

At no. 3, Little Fockers collected $845,000. Directed by Paul Weitz, Little Fockers stars Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and Jessica Alba. As far as I know, Little Fockers hasn’t won or been nominated for anything. (The Razzies will be announced in a week or so. Things may change then.)
Jan. 10 update: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit – though down 40 percent – did indeed top the North American weekend box office chart for the first time thanks to Little Fockers’ down 48 percent drop-off rate.

True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, took in $14.6 million according to actuals found at Box Office Mojo. Starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and Jessica Alba, Little Fockers collected $13.48 million.

Jan. 9 update: On its third weekend out, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s True Grit – though down a not inconsiderable 39 percent – topped the North American weekend box office chart for the first time. But True Grit‘s box office victory was less a result of Rooster Cogburn’s strong legs than of the fact that Paul Weitz’s comedy Little Fockers didn’t soar as highly on Saturday as in the previous two weekends.

True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, grossed $15 million according studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo. Starring Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, and Jessica Alba, Little Fockers earned $13.8 million (down 46.5 percent).

True Grit‘s total to date: $110.43 million. Cost: $38 million. Little Fockers’ total to date: $124 million (plus another $110 million internationally). Cost: $100 million.

Following True Grit and Little Fockers this weekend was the Nicolas Cage vehicle Season of the Witch, the latest Cage clunker. A clunker, however, that took in $10.72 million domestically – $3,809 per theater – as per studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Although that figure suggests Relativity’s $40 million period adventure is underperforming (relative to its cost), it also suggests that there are lots of people in North America willing to shell out $12 to sit through two hours of one more trashy Nicolas Cage release. That says a whole lot about the general movie culture – or lack thereof. Directed by Dominic Sena, Season of the Witch wasn’t screened for critics, but it currently has a hardly bewitching 4 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “overall” critics (apparently people who paid to watch the movie and then wrote their reviews).

At no. 6, Shana Feste’s Country Strong, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, and Garrett Hedlund drew $7.3 million after expanding to 1,424 locations. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Screen Gems release was heavily marketed in the regions of the United States where people are into country music. If so, the strategy was no failure. Country Strong averaged a good – though hardly outstanding – $5,126 per site, while providing Garrett Hedlund with another movie on North America’s top-ten chart. Total: $7.4 million. Cost: $15 million (some sources say $12 million).


Natalie Portman No Strings Attached movie image: Dale Robinette / Paramount Pictures.

Garrett Hedlund Country Strong image: Sony Pictures / Screen Gems.

Dustin Hoffman Little Fockers image: Universal Pictures.

No Strings Attached Movie: Natalie Portman Stardom Solidified + Peter Weir & Vince Vaughn Bomb” last updated in August 2019.

Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly The Roommate movie image: Jaimie Trueblood / Sony Pictures.

Ben Foster and Jason Statham The Mechanic movie image: CBS Films.

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6 comments

ana hart -

OH C’MON, CRITICS..Really!!! Little Dockers cast don’t deserve a thumbs down…they deserve a medal! It’s YOU people out there who attack them that don’t know how to spell “box office!!!”. Btw…these 1-time award winners would crush your judgement any time!!!

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thisnthat42 -

Bridges makes John Wayne’s performance in the 1969 version seem like last week’s mashed potatoes.

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Ian -

Film was completely mismarketed, i.e. not marketed at all. Oscar voters barely even knew it was one of the screeners they were sent. No one knew this was coming out, and based on the reviews, the film had a good shot at some accolades and box office - but advertising muscle needed to be put behind it. Such a shame.

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LJN -

This was a terrific film! I wish the world would give it time to gain its legs. Word of mouth, if it’s anything like the screening I saw, should carry it forward. I read Nat Geo relied on its Facebook and website for promotion. This film deserved a serious marketing campaign!

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ljm -

I suspect this film got pirated. If you do a search for it, there are lots of links to websites claiming to be able to watch the film for free. I saw it last Friday and thought it to be a very good film, although the ending seemed contrived. The actors all gave great performances, with the best by far being Sturgess and Ronan. Colin Farrell did great work as a down and dirty Russian street thug who is capable of murder whenver the mood strikes him. Ed Harris plays an almost Clint Eastwood, “Make my day,” sort of craggy Mr. Smith. The cinematography sweeps the viewer along in what would otherwise feel like a very long movie. My hunch is the numbers at the box office don’t tell the whole story.

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stacey ann snider -

I have seen The Fighter 3 times, it’s the best movie of the year hands down!! Christian Bale should win best actor, the best acting I have seen in a long, long time. It’s funny that the really good movies don’t get any of the press the lousy ones get, really not fair. Go see it, it’s great, and then go see it again.

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