- Late summer box office news: Apart from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie The Dark Knight and Ben Stiller’s action comedy Tropic Thunder, things have been quiet in the domestic market, thus giving the chance for modest releases like Neil LaBute’s thriller Lakeview Terrace and the Coen brothers’ black comedy Burn After Reading to top the chart.
Weekend box office: Psycho racist cop thriller Lakeview Terrace is North American moviegoers’ no. 1 pick
Sept. 19–21 weekend box office: The top movie at the North American (U.S. and Canada only) box office on the last weekend of summer was Neil LaBute’s $20 million thriller Lakeview Terrace, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, and Kerry Washington.
The story of a psychopathically racist cop (Jackson) out to terrorize the ethnically mixed couple next door (Wilson and Washington), Lakeview Terrace scored a middling $15 million from 2,464 theaters as per final studio figures found at boxofficemojo.com.
Expect Lakeview Terrace to disappear soon from domestic screens and to be mostly ignored overseas, as neither its director nor leads are international “names.”
More noteworthy this past weekend was the fact that, after adding another $2.9 million, Christopher Nolan’s mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight reached $521.9 million in the domestic market. The downside: There’s no way the Batman Begins sequel starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, and Maggie Gyllenhaal will manage to overtake James Cameron’s Titanic on the all-time (“inflation is a state of mind”) domestic chart.
Update: Neil LaBute’s Lakeview Terrace ultimately collected a mediocre $39.3 million domestically and a measly $5.4 million internationally (likely incomplete), for a worldwide total of $44.7 million – probably a box office money-loser despite its modest budget. Its top international market by far was France ($2.4 million).
Coen brothers’ latest black comedy tops anemic box office chart
Sept. 12–14 weekend box office: After premiering at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Joel and Ethan Coen’s black spy comedy Burn After Reading opened in the U.S. and Canada with a borderline decent $19.1 million from 2,621 locations – enough to land in the no. 1 slot on the anemic domestic chart.
Looking at the bright side: Burn After Reading had a far stronger North American debut than the Coen brothers’ previous black comedy, The Ladykillers, which, notwithstanding the presence of Tom Hanks, opened with only $12.6 million in 2004.
In the Oscar-pedigreed Burn After Reading cast: Winners George Clooney (Syriana, 2005), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, 2007), and Frances McDormand (Fargo, 1996), and nominees Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, 1995) and John Malkovich (Places in the Heart, 1984; In the Line of Fire, 1993). Budget: $37 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses).
Update: The Coen brothers’ Burn After Reading ultimately collected a so-so $60.3 million domestically and a strong $103.4 million internationally – the presence of George Clooney and Brad Pitt was surely no hindrance – for a worldwide total of $163.7 million.
Its top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($12.7 million), Germany ($12.7 million), France ($12 million), Spain ($9.9 million), and Italy ($8.7 million).
Tyler Perry disappoints while Pacino-De Niro reunion & The Women reboot are downright flops
Trailing Burn After Reading, Tyler Perry’s morality-concerned comedy-drama The Family That Preys opened with $17.4 million from 2,070 sites. That’s noticeably less than the first-weekend grosses of Perry’s Meet the Browns ($20 million) and Why Did I Get Married? ($21.3 million). In the cast: Director Perry, Oscar winner Kathy Bates (Misery, 1990), and nominee Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek, 1983).
At no. 3, Jon Avnet’s $60 million crime drama Righteous Kill debuted with a less-than-stellar $16.3 million from 3,152 sites. Poor reviews were surely no help, but one might have expected bigger numbers for a new release starring Oscar winners Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman, 1992) and Robert De Niro (The Godfather: Part II, 1974; Raging Bull, 1980) – together again for the first time since Michael Mann’s Heat (1995).
At no. 4, Diane English’s widely panned comedy The Women opened with a mere $10.1 million. In the cast: Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, and Annette Bening in the roles played by Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell in George Cukor’s 1939 classic.
Update: The Al Pacino-Robert De Niro pairing Righteous Kill ultimately collected a mediocre $40.1 million domestically and an equally mediocre $39.4 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $79.5 million – definitely a major box office money-loser.
Its top international markets were France ($5.3 million), Italy ($4.6 million), and Spain ($4.2 million).
“Lakeview Terrace Movie Box Office” endnotes
Unless otherwise noted, “Lakeview Terrace Movie + Coens’ Black Comedy Top Box Office” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline.com, etc.).
Comments about Lakeview Terrace, Burn After Reading, Righteous Kill, The Women, and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).
Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).
Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.
Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson Lakeview Terrace movie image: Sony Pictures.
“Lakeview Terrace Movie + Coens’ Black Comedy Top Box Office” last updated in October 2022.