‘Funny People’ Manages #1 But Still Disappoints

Judd Apatow's latest does little to help worst box-office weekend of the summer.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 “Funny People” ($23.4 million)
#2 “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” ($17.7 million)
#3 “G-Force” ($17.1 million)
#4 “The Ugly Truth” ($13 million)
#5 “Aliens in the Attic” ($7.8 million)

The first weekend of August was one of the softest weekends of the summer box office, as the films of the top 10 brought in a measly $106 million, 25 percent less than the same time frame last year. Even Judd Apatow and his [movie id="383434"]“Funny People”[/movie] didn’t really perk things up, as the Universal comedy debuted with a quiet $23.4 million, enough to take the top spot but not enough to deter industry criticism.

While the “Funny People” earnings put it in line with Apatow’s previous efforts (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” opened to $21.4 million, “Knocked Up” to $30.7 million), many analysts are already considering it another flop for the troubled Universal Studios. However, Apatow films generally have good legs, and the tragi-comedy could climb into the $100 million club, as “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” did.

Audiences were feeling the “Funny” over horror, as Freestyle Releasing’s “The Collector” fell short of making the top 10 and clung to #11 with only $3.6 million. PG-rated family fun didn’t fare much better as Fox’s kiddie flick “Aliens in the Attic” managed to crack the top five but had a disappointing debut of $7.8 million. The CG/live-action blend just couldn’t compete with “Harry Potter” or Jerry Bruckheimer’s guinea pigs, but Fox cherishes hopes that the film will enjoy a late summer surge.

One film that did see a late summer boom was “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which stayed strong at #2 with $17.7 million. The sixth installment of the wizarding franchise enjoyed a box-office boost thanks to an expansion into 160 IMAX theaters. When the film was pushed back from fall 2008 to this summer, it was unable to book IMAX theaters because “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” owned all the available dates. It’s unclear whether the delay cost “Potter” any major box-office bucks, but with a cumulative of $255.5 and rising, who’s really counting?

Business was slightly more encouraging on the limited-release front, as Focus Features opened Chan-wook Park’s “Thirst” in four locations for a solid $55,200. Roadside Attractions also had luck keeping things small for the eco-documentary “The Cove,” which brought in $55,500 from just four locations.

Upcoming Releases

Paramount offers up action in “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” while Sony cooks up “Julia and Julia,” and Universal offers R-rated horror in “A Perfect Getaway.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Funny People” and “Aliens in the Attic.”

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