North American box office: ‘The Final Destination’ probably not so final after all

How can there not be more installments, that definitive the notwithstanding?

1. The Final Destination: $27.4 million (NEW)
2. Inglourious Basterds: $19.3 million (2nd week; drops 49%)
3. Halloween II: $16.3 million (NEW)
4. District 9: $10.3 million (3rd week; drops 44%)
5. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: $7.7 million (4th week; drops 37%)

actual numbers, not estimates
So, two splatter movies not screened for critics take in, between them, almost $44 million. Cue more handwringing articles about how irrelevant critics are these days. I guess if all criticism is supposed to be good for is as a consumer guide, that might be true. But you and I know there’s a lot more to it than that.

FD4’s actual number for the weekend is almost a million less than the Sunday estimate of $28.3 million, and HII’s actual was more than a million less of its Sunday estimate of $17.4 million. So, you know, that means that if moviegoers don’t pay attention to critics (and pay so little attention that they don’t even notice when critics haven’t been able to review a film!), they will at least listen to their friends when they tell them that a movie sucks, and will stay away in larger numbers as a weekend progresses. So there’s some hope.

Inglourious Basterds — which will pass $75 million in takings early this week — and District 9 — which will pass $100 million before next weekend — continue to hold strong, and I doubt that most of the people going to see those are doing so on the b basis of a recommendation from a critic. Maybe would have been the case 30 years ago. We’re not living in that world anymore. It doesn’t matter. But it does make me feel good to know that just because critics don’t impact a film’s box office doesn’t mean that good films can’t make a lot of movie.

On the other hand, Taking Woodstock, which I quite liked, just barely mustered a debut in the top 10, clocking in at No. 9 with only $3.5 million. It was at far fewer locations that the top 4 films, but still, it’s not a great opening. It’s better than any other debut for an Ang Lee movie except Hulk, which opened on the strength of the comic-book aspect rather than Lee’s name, but all the other Lee films opened on only a handful of screens, not more than 1,000. This won’t be one of Lee’s finest hours, box-office-wise.

That No. 5 film? Holy shit, G.I. Joe clung to the top 5 even though it lost more than 3,600 locations: it was playing on only 346 screens and still earned almost $8 million: that’s a per-screen average of $22,299. Which puts it behind only the new documentary The September Issue — about Anna Wintour and Vogue magazine — which opened on six screens and took in $36,736 on each of them. Big Fan — the directorial debut of Robert Siegel (writer of The Wrestler) and starring Patton Oswalt — on two screens, was a distant third with a per-screen of $12,133.

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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Mon, Aug 31, 2009 11:58pm

I’m 99.9% sure that the numbers for GI Joe’s theater count and theater change were switched accidentally at BoxOfficeMojo, hence the false $22K average.