‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ Hits $37 Million Box-Office Jackpot

'Surf's Up,' 'Hostel: Part II' don't come close to Clooney and company's haul.

The Top Five

#1 “Ocean’s Thirteen” ($37 million)
#2 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($21.3 million)
#3 “Knocked Up” ($20 million)
#4 “Surf’s Up” ($18 million)
#5 “Shrek the Third” ($15.8 million)

True gamblers know that winning isn’t the hardest thing to do at a casino — anyone can get lucky once or twice — but try winning consistently. Those lush fountains? The gold-plated faucets? Miniature recreations of Venice, Paris and New York? Las Vegas wasn’t built, and white tigers are not fed, with gamblers who regularly break the bank.

But whatever else George Clooney and the rest of his “Ocean’s Thirteen” crew can be accused of, lack of consistency isn’t among them. With $37 million, “Ocean’s Thirteen” not only won the weekend (as the previous two films in the series both did), but won the weekend with striking constancy. Its $37 million haul was series’ lowest, but not by much, falling right in line with the first film’s $38.1 million opening and the second’s $39.2 million bow. Maybe it didn’t break $100 million like the three May threequels, but a consistent bet is a smart bet. These guys look like the smartest cats in Sin City.

Sinful is the only word to describe the chilly reception given to the animated “Surf’s Up,” a “Spinal Tap” for the Spongebob set, which disappointed with a fourth place finish. Perhaps it was because the mockumentary style flew over the heads of most children — who, after watching “Finding Nemo” for the 8 billionth time, don’t likely pop in “Waiting for Guffman” — or because penguins finally have reached a critical mass, but the flick’s $18 million opening, while respectable, fell on the very low end of animated debuts.

From “Surf’s Up” to “Time’s Up?” — could the weak opening for “Hostel: Part II,” which came in sixth place with $8.8 million, signal the end of the torture-flick-as-horror endemic we’ve endured since “Saw”? The film is far from a failure, of course, particularly since the Splat Pack sequel only cost $10 million to make. But would it be speaking out of turn to say we hope if spells the end of Eli Roth’s commitment to the genre? We think he’s a super-talented director and can’t wait to see what he can do with “Cell” and “Trailer Trash.”

Among holdovers, “Pirates” continued to swirl the maelstrom, dropping 52 percent to land in second with $21.3 million. Its three-week total of $253 million continues to lag well behind “Dead Man’s Chest.” Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” meanwhile, held on strong, coming in third with $20 million.

How’d We Do?

For the first time in a long time, this past weekend left our experts scratching their heads (and not just over how many zillions of dollars “Spider-Man the Third: At World’s End” would make), enough that our participants didn’t even agree on which movie would come out on top (see “Will George Clooney And Brad Pitt Mutilate Eli Roth This Weekend?” ). But while he was the only one to choose “Ocean’s Thirteen” as the winner, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also point out that our very own Josh Horowitz’s overall predictions (“Pirates” will sink; “Knocked Up” will stay strong) were darn accurate as well. What are the odds that Larry or our celebrities catch Josh before the year is out? They’d have better luck with the prop bets at a craps table.

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (17)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (9)
Celebrity guests (6)

In Perspective

Who’s the biggest star in “Ocean’s Thirteen?” It’s not George “The Perfect Storm” and “Batman and Robin” Clooney, or Brad “Troy” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” Pitt, but series third wheel Matt Damon, who not only has the highest cumulative gross of the three, but the highest opening weekend as well (“The Bourne Supremacy”). Not including the “Ocean’s” flicks, here are Matt Damon’s five most lucrative films:

#1 “Saving Private Ryan” ($216.5 million)
#2 “The Bourne Supremacy” ($176.2 million)
#3 “Good Will Hunting” ($138.4 million)
#4 “The Departed” ($132.4 million)
#5 “The Bourne Identity” ($121.7 million)

Next Week

Hell hath no fury like … a storm cloud? We’ll find out next week with the release of “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” which will see the Richards clan battle Galactus, devourer of planets. The Silver Surfer’s great and all, but we’re waiting for part three, which will no doubt center on Beau Garrett as Frankie Raye, hottest girl on the planet in more ways than one. (She becomes the fiery Nova.) Also opening next week is “Nancy Drew” starring Emma Roberts.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Ocean’s Thirteen,”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Knocked Up”.

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