Weekend Wrap-up: Audiences Love Norbit, Millennial Minstrel Show

Here we are in the bright, shiny, new 21st century, when everything was supposed to be modern and progressive, and a minstrel show is the No. 1 movie at the box office. Nay, not just No. 1: Norbit, in which Eddie Murphy embarrasses himself and the entire human race by wallowing in a hideous stew of bigoted "humor," made almost $34 million this weekend, which is absolutely staggering.

As Box Office Mojo points out so astutely, at this time last year we were enduring Big Momma's House 2 and Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, which also enjoyed similar massive success with similar suck-and-jive routines by black men in fatface. Like Laremy, who accurately called Norbit's win of the weekend, if not its stunning payday -- honestly, who could have foreseen such a shocking turn of events? -- I despair.

Laremy was within a million with his prediction of what kind of weekend Hannibal Rising would have: It clocked in at No. 2 with $13.4 million, pretty anemic for as wide a release as that film has, but it's well deserved. Was anyone really begging to know Hannibal the Cannibal's backstory? It's not like he's Batman or anything, and this ain't no Batman Begins.

On a somewhat cheerier note, the foreign drama The Lives of Others, playing on only nine screens, more than doubled Norbit's per-screen average, which means -- dividing the film's take of $233,000 by ten bucks a pop -- that there are around 23,300 people left in this country with a sense of discernment.

Weep for us.

(Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.)


MaryAnn Johanson

author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride

minder of FlickFilosopher.com