Weekend Wrap-up: Spidey Drops, Smaller Films Thrive

Can you feel the deep breath everyone is holding? That's us all waiting for Shrek the Third and Pirates the Third. And Hollywood knows it. Sony knew it had two weekends, tops, to make the vast bulk of whatever Spider-Man 3 was going to make before we all turned our fickle attention and even more fickle entertainment dollars to fairy tales and sea chanteys. So the studio has got to be distressed with the $60 million the film took in this past weekend -- only when we're talking about the most expensive movie ever made can that figure be something of a disappointment. But the film dropped 60 percent this weekend over last -- 50 percent is when studios start to cringe. (Laremy's Friday prediction of a second-weekend take of $85 million is probably more like what Sony was hoping for.)

Why the big drop? All I can offer is my own personal experience: I had to cancel my planned gathering of geeks to go see the film on Friday night out of lack of interest. A shrug of indifference seems to be the best anyone I know can manage when it comes to the film. (My take on the film? It prompted the most negative positive review I've ever written.)

Still, almost everyone who did go to the movies this weekend was seeing Peter Parker go to the dark side. The No. 2 flick, 28 Weeks Later, earned only about $10 million, which disappoints me: it's a great movie, and well worth a look on the big screen. No. 3 was Georgia Rule, earning about $5.9 million, which is still too much for such an odious movie.

My favorite number, the per-screen average, goes to the charming Paris, je t'aime, on two screens, and its per-screen of $22,100, blowing away Spider-Man's $14,111. Third is the delightfully bittersweet Waitress, with a per-screen of $9,784. This one's on only 65 screens, but look for major expansions this Friday and next; by the time Captain Sparrow sets sail, Waitress will be almost in wide release.

The big question for next week: Will Shrek the Third blow away box-office records, or will it merely break them?

(Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.)

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MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com