We film critics told you 10,000 B.C. is terrible -- it's a pathetic 7 percent Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes -- but no one listened. Instead, you flocked out to theaters and gave Roland Emmerich's ridiculous prehistoric epic $35.7 million. Why would you do that? And it's not like this is one of those movies that critics hate but audiences love: no, now that you've seen it, you're all complaining about how awful the movie is, too.
Maybe you'll listen to us next time. Cuz you didn't listen with the new Martin Lawrence nightmare, College Road Trip, either, though at least it was a far distant No. 2 this weekend, with only $14 million in ticket sales. Still, that's so much more than Martin Lawrence deserves. In the No. 3 and 4 spots, it's easy to guess that it's not what critics think but what the word on the street is that's behind the performances of Vantage Point, which added $7.5 million to its coffers this weekend, and Semi-Pro, with a $5.9 million payday. The first one, which is goofy but entertaining anyway, dropped only about 41 percent in its third week, and has already earned back its modest budget; but the Will Ferrell movie crashed in its second week, dropping almost 61 percent -- that kind of drop happens only when audiences leave a movie after its opening weekend and badmouth it ... which this dumb mess of a sports comedy well deserves.
The one new movie we critics really liked this weekend? The Bank Job, a highly entertaining twist on the heist movie, couldn't do better than No. 5, where it earned a slim $5.7 million. I think those guys stole more than that. At least its per-screen average was better than both the No. 3 and 4 flicks, which means that while it was on almost 50 percent fewer screens than those films, it played to more packed audiences.
It's a tiny silver lining, but I'll take it.
Among truly small releases, Gus Van Sant's new dreamy teen drama Paranoid Park enjoyed the best per-screen average by a long shot, earning $15,350 on each of its two screens. On a very slow weekend overall at the box office, only 10,000 B.C. could even approach that, with a per-screen of $10,478. Everywhere else across the board, per-screens for films playing both wide and limited were almost uniformly low. Hardly anyone is going to the movies at the moment. It can't just be the poor quality of much that's available there -- see above. Something else is going on, and the longer whatever it is goes on, the scarier the future is for the movies.
MaryAnn Johanson (email me)
reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com