The Box-Office Top Five
#1 “Bangkok Dangerous” ($7.8 million)
#2 “Tropic Thunder” ($7.5 million)
#3 “The House Bunny” ($5.9 million)
#4 “The Dark Knight” ($5.7 million)
#5 “Traitor” ($4.7 million)
This is the way the summer ends — not with a bang but a whimper.
One week after Labor Day officially put summer ’08 to bed, “Bangkok Dangerous” suffocated it with a pillow, nailed it in a coffin and buried it six feet underground on the way to leading the weekend box office with a pathetic $7.8 million. It was the lowest total for a box-office champ since David Spade’s “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” earned $6.7 million in September 2003.
After record-breaking runs from “Iron Man,” “Indiana Jones” and, especially, “The Dark Knight,” Nic Cage’s newest failed to inspire much competition, leading the overall box office to its worst weekend in five years. Combined, the top 12 films made just $51.6 million, or less than nine separate films made by themselves in their opening weekends this summer.
There’s an old saying that seems appropriate here: The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Still, it wasn’t all bad news for movies this weekend, as the #2 film, “Tropic Thunder,” fell just 35 percent to earn $7.5 million in its fourth week. With an overall total of $96.8 million, the war spoof should easily pass the magical $100 million barrier by next weekend.
“The House Bunny,” meanwhile, continued to surprise, jumping one spot from last week to land in third place. With $5.9 million over the weekend, the Anna Faris comedy brought its overall total to a respectable, and profitable, $37 million.
In fourth place, “The Dark Knight” was still “The Dark Knight,” the biggest cultural phenomenon since “The Macarena,” earning $5.7 million in its eighth week. With an astounding $512 million total, the Batman sequel almost has more money now than Batman himself, or at least it would have before Bruce Wayne went from “millionaire playboy” to “billionaire playboy.” (And when did that happen? Somebody write in with the answer.)
Industry watchers will sometimes call a film a “four-quadrant movie,” meaning it appeals to all four of the big audience demographics: young, old, male and female. Here are four movies opening next weekend — see if you can guess which of the quadrants they won’t appeal to (turn computer upside down for answers at bottom of page*): “Burn After Reading” with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, “The Women” with Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes, Tyler Perry’s “The Family That Preys,” and “Righteous Kill” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
*Note: Do not actually turn your computer upside down.
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