Oh, it couldn't have happened to a more vile movie. The Heartbreak Kid, the Farrelly Brothers' horrifically mean-spirited "comedy," crashed and burned at the box office this weekend. It could not reach the No. 1 spot. That went to The Game Plan, and how awful is that? The Rock and a little girl playing with dollies have held the top spot for two weeks now. And Kid couldn't even crack $15 million. Hell, it could barely crack $14 million. (Game Plan just barely outsold it at $16.3 million for the weekend.)
And Kid's numbers seem even worse because so many professional fans of Stiller and the gross-out genre were predicting big, big numbers for the movie last week. Entertainment Weekly believed that Ben Stiller's "star power alone" would make the movie No. 1 with a take of $25 million. Cinematical called for a weekend of $26 million. But ComingSoon.net was optimistic to the point that you had to suspect they were on the PR payroll for the flick:
[T]his weekend is ... cut and dry, because when you take Ben Stiller, a huge box office star, and team him with the Farrelly Brothers, who helmed Stiller's earliest hit There's Something About Mary and you have a bonafide way to kick off October with a veritable comedy explosion!
Nearly guaranteed to open at the top, it's just a question whether their remake of The Heartbreak Kid will cross the $30 million mark like DreamWorks' other 2007 comedies, Eddie Murphy's Norbit and Will Ferrell's Blades of Glory, or whether its R-rating and less-than-ideal fall release will have it opening somewhere in the mid-20s.
Hilarious. "Will Kid do spectacularly awesomely at the box office, or merely just awesomely?" seemed to be the tough question everyone was asking last week. Maybe we'll see the end of the gross-out comedy now? No, probably not.
The weekend was, overall, just a disaster. It was "the slowest early October has seen in more than a decade," according to Box Office Mojo. The weekend's other new wide releases performed abysmally: at No. 5 was The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, a terrible movie with a terrible take of $3.7 million, and at No. 7 was Feel the Noise with $3.4 million, which was so bad it wasn't even screened for critics.
Make better movies, Hollywood. It's as easy as that.
[Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.]
MaryAnn Johanson (email me)
reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com