If you've landed at this post, I'd take a wild stab and say that you might have trouble naming the number one film at the box office this weekend. Hell, I was downright shocked when I looked it up myself. Largely that's a function of it not being "for us," but it's also a function of this week's releases not getting a ton of wattage from the hype machine. Sure, there was the "Observe and Report" brouhaha over date rape, but that certainly didn't help the film at the box office. The critics were divided, almost rapidly it seems, and based on its performance, it would seem that movie goers were too. And so it was that Jody Hill's R-rated Seth Rogen vehicle was slain, handily, by the daughter of the guy who sang "Achy Breaky Heart." What is this world coming to?
Yes, "Hannah Montana The Movie" was out front this most holy of weekends. Its $34 million, while nothing to sneeze at wasn't exactly blowing the rest of the field out of the water. Instead, the previous two number one films both came in well over $20 million dollars ("Fast & Furious" at $28 mil, and "Monsters vs. Aliens" at $22 mil). It wasn't the type of weekend where a high-powered opening grabs headlines, but it was, if quietly, a record for this weekend (the 15th of the year) and also the second largest weekend ever in April, behind only last weekend. All in all, Hollywood is firmly off the schneid.
The aforementioned "Observe and Report" did manage to break the $10 million mark, which was good enough for 4th place, but it's $4k per screen does not compare favorably with other R-rated comedy openings of recent note. "I Love You, Man" was over $6k per screen, "Role Models" was near $7k, and even other Seth Rogen films ("Pineapple Express" at $7.5k/screen or "Superbad" over $11k/screen) were much bigger openers. The buzz out front of the film was that it was not going to be for everyone, and it is the 2nd mall cop movie this year, but nevertheless, with many other films seeming to benefit from the overall success of Hollywood, there was a right to expect more here.
We've really only entered the horror doldrums of 2009 -- it won't be until the end of May that we'll get a crack at "Drag Me to Hell." We are however, entering the run up to the first big blockbuster push of the year. Over the next two weeks, there will be a handful of films that might be worth checking out. But May 1 is the day when the big guns will be unleashed: "Wolverine," "Star Trek," and "Angels and Demons" in three consecutive weeks. Honestly, the film viewing might be underwhelming, but the box office watching should be high theater.