The Box-Office Top Five
#1 “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” ($35.9 million)
#2 “Hancock” ($33 million)
#3 “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D” ($20.6 million)
#4 “Wall-E” ($18.5 million)
#5 “Wanted” ($11.6 million)
Are fantasy characters dead? Is the magical realm fading from view? Not if Guillermo del Toro has anything to say about it. His Big Red Machine brought in some big green this past weekend at the box office, as “Hellboy II” debuted at #1 with $35.9 million, a few million less, no doubt, than the number of new creatures in Del Toro’s latest visual smorgasbord, an ode to childlike wonderment, Barry Manilow and smashing things. The second film in a planned trilogy grossed 150 percent more during its opening frame than its predecessor.
As the biggest star on the planet, second place isn’t somewhere Will Smith finds himself all that often. Smith’s “Hancock,” which dominated Fourth of July weekend , was this week’s runner-up, earning $33 million. With $165 million after just two weeks, the film is a sure bet to cross $200 million, and perhaps $250 million, by the end of its run.
We wonder, though, if among all the jubilation at the Smith household this week, the man formerly known as the Fresh Prince wasn’t stealing a glance every now and then at the rest of the top 10, eyeing former world’s-biggest-star Eddie Murphy and saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
To be sure, Murphy’s still one of Hollywood’s most bankable talents, a man who has 13 $100 million films to his credit (many when that number actually meant something). In fact, not accounting for inflation, and including his voice work in films like “Mulan” and “Shrek,” Murphy has earned more money at the box office than any star in history. Ever. An unholy $3.4 billion to be precise.
So we’re not here to bury Murphy, but to praise him. That said, there sure is something about him and science fiction, which obviously don’t mix. Murphy’s “Meet Dave,” in which he plays a spaceship captain, and the spaceship itself, earned just $5.3 million, good enough only for seventh place. This latest failure follows such notable fantasy/sci-fi disasters as “The Haunted Mansion,” “Vampire in Brooklyn” and, most famously (or infamously), “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” which is often called the biggest movie bomb of all time. The solution? Sigh. Bring on the fat suit.
Among other new releases, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” scored $20.6 million, for third place. “Wall-E,” with $18.5 million, and “Wanted,” with $11.6, rounded out the top five.
For years we’ve been anticipating it — the thrill, the spectacle, the movie that may go down as the greatest summer film in history, and next week it’s finally here. “Space Chimps” opens in 2,400 theaters! For the ladies (and the Swedish), meanwhile, there’s “Mamma Mia!,” based on the songs of ABBA and starring Meryl Streep. Also, it’s barely worth mentioning, but there’s apparently a movie coming out about a man who dresses up in a costume ’cause he has mommy issues, called “The Dark Knight.” I believe it’s a remake of “Psycho.”
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