The Box-Office Top Five
#1 “Tropic Thunder” ($16.1 million)
#2 “The House Bunny” ($15.1 million)
#3 “Death Race” ($12.3 million)
#4 “The Dark Knight” ($10.3 million)
#5 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” ($5.7 million)
The Olympics are over, the flame has been extinguished, and the winners and losers are going home. But didn’t it feel as if it was the same people who kept winning over and over again: Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt … Robert Downey Jr.?
Downey’s “Tropic Thunder” earned $16.1 million, closing the book on the summer by narrowly beating “The House Bunny” and earning its second consecutive first-place finish. Also starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Tom Cruise, the war spoof brought its overall total to a healthy $65.7 million. Thanks to “Iron Man,” it was also the fourth #1 finish for Downey in as many months. (He has four golds to Bolt’s three.)
Largely written off before the weekend, “The House Bunny” performed above expectations to walk away with the silver medal, earning $15.1 million in its debut week. The Anna Faris comedy about a former Playboy Playmate turned sorority house mom is the fifth-highest opening of the actress’ career, but the highest ever for a movie without “Scary” in the title. (Yes, she was in four installments of “Scary Movie.”)
Then there was “Death Race,” the Paul W.S. Anderson re-imagining that stalled at the starting gate with a third-place finish. The Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson action flick had [insert car metaphor] but [second car metaphor] meaning that it [third car metaphor] instead. It earned just $12.3 million.
In fourth place, “The Dark Knight” continued to be the most awesome cultural force of the summer, falling just 37 percent in its sixth week to walk away with another $10.3 million. Already the second-highest-grossing movie of all time , by next week it’ll cross the half-a-billion-dollar mark domestically. Meanwhile, rounding out the top five, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” continued to be terrible, falling 61 percent in its second week to walk away with another $5.7 million.
Among other new releases, the Ice Cube-starring, Fred Durst-directed “The Longshots” was a true underdog, fumbling its way to $4.3 million and an eighth-place finish. And “The Rocker”, totally bombed, good for just $2.7 million and a 12th-place finish. One wonders what will happen now to poor Jenna Fischer.
Next week at the box office, it’s brawn versus, well, I was going to say brains but that isn’t exactly right. Vin Diesel’s “Babylon A.D.” will take on Drake Bell’s “College” and the spoof flick “Disaster Movie,” all opening in wide release. Whoever wins, we lose.
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