‘Burn After Reading’ Edges Out Tyler Perry At Weekend Box Office

Screwball spy comedy has Coen brothers' all-time best opening.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “Burn After Reading” ($19.4 million)
#2 “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” ($18 million)
#3 “Righteous Kill” ($16.5 million)
#4 “The Women” ($10.1 million)
#5 “The House Bunny” ($4.3 million)

It’s been a long time since something other than a superhero or action adventure flick has led the weekend box office. Either we’ve entered the fall movie season, or the Large Hadron Collider sucked us all through a black hole and into a parallel dimension. How else to explain the success of the Coen brothers’ latest, “Burn After Reading,” which (get this, friendo) is the #1 film for the weekend?

Starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Frances McDormand, the screwball comedy walked away with $19.4 million in its debut frame, narrowly beating the second-place film but easily cruising past “The Ladykillers” to become the Coens’ all-time best opening.

See kids? This is why you want to win Oscars.

Tyler Perry’s “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” (totally humble title) earned $18 million to come in a close second, continuing a string of hits for the Atlanta-based filmmaker that dates back to 2005′s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” And this time he didn’t even have to dress in drag.

What would have been an earth-shattering alignment of the planets years ago, meanwhile, turned out to be just another humdrum exercise in corporate cynicism. “Righteous Kill,” the first onscreen pairing of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in more than a decade (and only the second ever, after “Heat”), opened in third place with $16.5 million, a respectable number, sure, but hardly an estimable one given the assemblage of talent. In other countries they let their revered masters know they are appreciated in life and allow them to retire with dignity. Just saying.

In fourth place, Diane English’s “The Women” proved, like “Sex and the City” before it, that older women buy tickets too, as the all-female comedy scored $10.1 million. Any guys go with a date? Did you get lucky? If not, do you want to be the one to call Eva Mendes a liar?

Rounding out the top five, “The House Bunny” earned $4.3 million to bring its overall total to a very profitable $41.2 million.

Among other films in the top 10, “Tropic Thunder” crossed the magical $100 million mark in its fifth week, while “Bangkok Dangerous” fell seven spots (and 69 percent) to come in eighth.

Upcoming Releases

Comic god Ricky Gervais gets his first chance at American superstardom with “Ghost Town,” Samuel L. Jackson gets on Kerry Washington’s nerves in “Lakeview Terrace,” John Cusack gets animated in “Igor,” and Kate Hudson gets one more rom-com before I’m totally done with her forever in “My Best Friend’s Girl.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Burn After Reading,” “Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” and “Righteous Kill.”

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