Weekend Box Office: The Covenant Casts a Weak Spell

As much as I basically despise the gameplaying of making box office predictions for a weekend's new releases -- it only feeds Hollywood's ridiculous obsession with those numbers to the exclusion of all else as a measure of a film's success -- I gotta sympathize with my Film.com colleague Laremy Legel. No one could have predicted how pathetic this weekend at the movies would be. The Covenant [read my review at FlickFilosopher.com], the putative top movie at the box office this past Friday through Sunday, earned a paltry $9 million. (You'd have to go back, Yahoo! Movies notes, to this exact weekend three years ago to find the last instance of a weekend's number-one film raking in less than $10 million. That was the David Spade "comedy" Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, which earned only $6.7 million, which is $6.6 million too much, but the mysterious career of David Spade is a rant for another day.)

But Laremy was pretty much spot on with his prognostication. The kids are back to school -- and getting slammed with homework and extracurriculars for the first time since June -- and, as Laremy pointed out, this was the first weekend of NFL football, which surely kept folks home in front of their TVs. The feel-good football movie Invincible [read my review at FlickFilosopher.com] didn't even do as well as Laremy's sad prediction called for -- he estimated it would haul in $8 million, when in pigskin-saturated reality, it made only $5.7 million. Which is still more than most of us will make in our entire lives, so it's still nothing to complain about.

Laremy was almost exactly right in his estimation of neo-noir Hollywoodland's [read my review at FlickFilosopher.comLINKTK] success, though: he called for $6.2 million, and it made almost exactly that (a smidge over $6 million). I'm more up on the film than Laremy is: not only is it an excellent flick, but it's exactly the kind of movie that Oscar loves; it's gonna be around all fall and into awards season. Ben Affleck, who plays TV Superman actor George Reeves in the film, just won Best Actor at the Venice International Film Festival, and there's almost certainly more to come for the film.

(Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.)

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MaryAnn Johanson
author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride
minder of FlickFilosopher.com