Laremy mentioned on Friday an Internet rumor that sounds blasphemous to certain ears: an Adam Sandler movie might beat out the latest adventures of "The Boy Who Lived?" Surely only particularly hateful Muggles like Aunt Petunia would suggest such a thing, right?
Well, it's happened, and I am very sad: two doofuses named Chuck and Larry beat the wizard Harry at the box office this weekend. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was the top movie, earning $34.8 million. (Laremy was pretty close in his prediction of that number, calling for the movie to take in $35.3 million, though he had the movie in the No. 2 slot.) Order of the Phoenix was at No. 2, with a payday of $32.2 million, dropping more than 58 percent over last weekend, suggesting that the vast majority of wizard wannabes desperate to see the film actually saw it over that first long week of its release. Still, Phoenix is a dark and sinister treat, and is certain to be bouncing around the Top 10 for the rest of the summer (and watch for it to be the gotta-have-it, gotta-give-it DVD of the winter holiday season).
The cheery story of the weekend is the showing of Hairspray, which had the biggest opening ever for a musical, earning almost $28 million, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer movie. Rounding out the Top 5 are Transformers, earning $20.5 million, and Ratatouille, earning $11 million. Both movies dropped less than fifty percent, meaning they continue to draw either returning audiences or newcomers brought in by the good word-of-mouth on both. (I saw the rat movie again this weekend, and I found it even more delightful than I did the first time around. I'd like to see the robot movie again, too, and see how well its goofiness holds up upon repeat viewings.)
Best per-screen average of the week, though, goes to a smart little film playing on only 10 screens: Danny Boyle's sci-fi psychological horror flick Sunshine earned $235,000 this weekend, for an impressive per-screen of $23,500 ... way more than twice Chuck and Larry's per-screen of $9,949.
Overall, though, the total box office take of the top 5 films this weekend is considerably less than the top 5 this weekend last year: $99.1 million versus 2006's $126.1 million. Folks just ain't goin' to the movies like they used to.
[Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.]
MaryAnn Johanson (email me)
reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com