April 22, 2008

Box Office Update 4/18-4/20: The Forbidden Kingdom is Tops at the Box

Jackie Chan and Jet Li proved that their debut pairing could draw an audience, as The Forbidden Kingdom climbed to the top of the hill. The film is a mash-up of coming-of-age fantasy and wild martial arts action. The end result is a highly entertaining, if slightly shallow, entry into martial arts cinema. Hopefully it will lead to a future pairing of the two martial arts legends. The movie may be rated PG-13, but it is very family friendly, the violence is mostly fantasy based and bloodless. Do yourself a favor, while it may not be what longtime fans wanted, it still provides an exciting trip to the cinema.

Following the martial arts film is the latest comedy from Team Apatow, a camp that seems to be rivaling Hollywood's penchant for Asian remakes, in terms of volume. It seems that every month we get a new one with Apatow's name listed under "Producer." The funny thing is that, at least for me, he has not really had a miss yet. Not all of them have been box office smashes, but they all have a consistent level of quality in writing and acting. This one is called Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and stars Jason Segel (who also wrote), Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Russell Brand, along with a few other Apatow regulars. It would seem to be a one note film, but it proves to be much more. It is laugh out loud funny, touching, daring, and just truly works. Hopefully, the R rated comedy will find an audience and leg out a good theatrical run.

Two other new releases made it to the top ten this week. First up is the fourth place film, 88 Minutes. Here is a movie that should have been good, however it fails to come anywhere near that level. Still, this Al Pacino thriller does provide some goofy entertainment, although it could just as easily induce a migraine. The other film just squeaked in at number ten, Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary that seems to be ruffling some feathers. I am interested in seeing it, but have not yet had the opportunity.

Among the returning films, Street Kings fared the worst, slipping to seventh place as its gross fell over 66% from its debut mark last week. Also suffering a big dip, and more deserving of it, is Prom Night, which fell 58%. If only it fell more. On the other hand, Nim's Island displayed some good legs as it fell less than 38%.

Next week will see new competition from Tina Fey's new comedy Baby Mama, Deception featuring the pairing of Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, and the stoner sequel Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Two of these should have strong weekends, with Deception being a bit more questionable, at least in my eyes.

Four movies dropped off the top ten this week: Smart People (12), Superhero Movie (11), The Ruins (13), and Drillbit Taylor (14).

This WeekLast WeekTitleWknd GrossOverallWeek in release
1NThe Forbidden Kingdom$21,401,121$21,401,1211
2NForgetting Sarah Marshall$17,725,330$17,725,3301
31Prom Night$8,670,364$32,133,9262
4N88 Minutes$6,957,216$6,957,2161
54Nim's Island$5,687,072$32,894,1153
72Street Kings$4,179,505$20,058,1432
86Horton Hears a Who!$3,511,834$144,418,4956
10NExpelled: No Intelligence Allowed$2,970,848$2,970,8481

Box Office Predictions Recap
It was an up and down weekend for my predictions. While I was only able to get a couple of the placement predictions correct, my gross predictions were generally closer. The most interesting, at least to me, part of my predictions versus the actuals is the fact that I had the number one and two movies flipped, gross included. 88 Minutes and Street Kings were my biggest problems, besides placement being off, the grosses were the furthest away from their actuals.

Here is how the field matched up:

ActualPredictionTitleWknd GrossPrediction
21Forgetting Sarah Marshall$17,725,330$21 million
12The Forbidden Kingdom$21,401,121$18 million
4388 Minutes$6,957,216$11 million
34Prom Night$8,670,364$9 million

Street Kings

$4,179,505$7.5 million
6621$5,520,362$6.5 million
57Nim's Island$5,687,072$5.5 million
88Horton Hears a Who!$3,511,834$3.5 million
99Leatherheads$3,049,465$3 million
1210Smart People$1,600,687$2 million


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