‘Evan Almighty’ Could Use Some Divine Intervention After Weak Opening

Film pulled in just half of what 'Bruce Almighty' earned four years ago.

The Top Five

#1 “Evan Almighty” ($32.1 million)
#2 “1408″ ($20.2 million)
#3 “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” ($20.2 million)
#4 “Ocean’s Thirteen” ($11.3 million)
#5 “Knocked Up” ($10.6 million)

The gods must be (going) crazy!

It would take a deity to spin the disappointing opening for “Evan Almighty” into something positive. A spiritually themed flick about a congressman (Steve Carell) pushed into becoming a modern-day Noah, “Evan” made only $32.1 million, roughly half of what Jim Carrey’s “Bruce Almighty” pulled in four years ago.

It would have been more fitting, perhaps, if the film had centered on the biblical story of Jonah, since “Evan” seems to have been gobbled whole by this whale of a summer, where each week brings another blockbuster leviathan. Should they make a third “Almighty” flick, however, we’ve got an even better idea: a man with godlike powers who overturns the tables of the studio moneylenders. The box office for “Evan” is even more disappointing considering it’s the most expensive comedy ever made, rumored to have cost upwards of $200 million.

But give the devil his due: The Lord said, “Let there be fright!” And it was good. (Real good.) “1408″ didn’t win the weekend, but with $20.2 million, the horror flick, starring John Cusack, not only bucked the recent trend of lackluster openings for scary movies, but — can you believe it?
— became the most successful opening ever for a Stephen King adaptation. And that guy’s been around longer than Methuselah.

You might have to live that long to see another drop like the one experienced this weekend by the “Fantastic Four.” In its second weekend, “Rise of the Silver Surfer” dropped 65 percent to come in with a not-so-impressive $20.2 million.

“Knocked Up,” meanwhile, continued its miraculous climb past $100 million. The story of a decidedly non-virgin birth, Judd Apatow’s latest R-rated comedy held strong in the face of prevailing storm clouds, falling only 25 percent in its fourth week. His stable of actors come two by two (Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill), but is there room left on Apatow’s ark? We know a few people who would love to jump aboard.

The last big new release of the weekend, Angelina Jolie’s “A Mighty Heart,” came in 10th place with $4 million — however, with perhaps Jolie’s best performance ever, this contemporary drama will surely revive come awards season.

How’d We Do?

Our box-office experts could have used a little divine intervention. While Josh and celebrity guest Michael Davis (director of the rollicking “Shoot ‘Em Up” with Clive Owen) both had faith in “Evan Almighty,” they would have needed Jacob’s Ladder to reach the correct figure, so far off were both of their predictions. Still, we have to award the contest to someone. Even though he was nearly $20 million off, then, we give another week to Josh. And Larry? Poor Larry. Let us pray.

Prognosticator (Weeks Won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (19)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (9)
Celebrity guests (6)

In Perspective

He’s the modern master of the macabre, the author of legendary books and stories including “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “Stand by Me” and “The Shawshank Redemption,” a renowned scribe Hollywood has been adapting for the big screen since 1976. But Stephen King’s biggest cinematic success came this week, with the surprising (and surprisingly terrifying) “1408.” Here are the top five openings adapted from his works. We can only hope this latest success inspires “Lawnmower Man 3.”

#1 “1408″ ($20.2 million)
#2 “Secret Window” ($18.2 million)
#3 “The Green Mile” ($18 million)
#4 “Dreamcatcher” ($15 million)
#5 “Pet Sematary” ($12 million)

Next Week

He’s defeated robbers, airline hijackers and domestic terrorists, but considering all the bumps and bruises he gets in the line of duty, is it fair to ask whether or not John McClane has good health insurance? We know at least one person who will be asking that question when “Live Free or Die Hard,” the fourth installment in the “Die Hard” series, goes head to head against Michael Moore’s “Sicko,” a provocative look at the state of America’s health care industry. Both, meanwhile, could get beaten by a rat: From Pixar, the little studio that can do no wrong, “Ratatouille” bows next week as well.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Evan Almighty,” “1408,” , and “Knocked Up”.

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