Despite efforts from winsome Canadian hipsters and a gorgeously photographed Julia Roberts, The Expendables would not be denied. The all star throwback action film took the number one box office spot with $35 million. The film which follows a motley crew of 80’s, 90’s and 00’s action stars as they try to bring down a villainous Eric Roberts is a career best opening for writer/director/star Sylvester Stallone and his third best performing movie this decade after 2003’s Spy Kids 3D, 2006’s Rocky Balboa, and 2008’s Rambo. Given next week’s action lite slate of films, it’s possible that Stallone’s pean to the Canon film library could make back its $83 million production budget by the beginning of next month. Clearly Love Actually for guys was a winning formula.
The box office gods were less kind to Eric’s sister Julia; her heavily promoted romantic drama Eat Pray Love only garnered $23 million at the domestic box office. The former sure thing has had a pretty rough go of it in the 2000’s starring in only three $100+ million films this decade as opposed to the eight she racked up in her 90’s hay day. And of those three, two were part of the star studded Ocean’s Eleven franchise and the other was the Garry Marshall directed ensemble Valentines Day. It’s difficult to say why audiences have abandoned the one time superstar (although her brief retirement for leading roles and her disinterest in making romantic comedies are likely causes) but personally I think it stems for starring in a movie called America’s Sweethearts. Nobody can get away with calling themselves that, even ironically and her poor box office performance since that hit is proof that there is such a thing as winning badly.
This weekend also had another somewhat more surprising non-starter in the form of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The genre bending action comedy is based on a best selling graphic novel series and had a strong critical reception but found a tepid response theatrically taking in only $10.5 million for the number five spot at the weekend box office. While the film’s poor showing could be attributed to cooled interest in star Michael Cera and the insular nature of the film – I can’t imagine anyone over 35 digging Pilgrim’s frenetic pace and youth oriented pop culture referencing – it’s still an excellent summer movie that won’t be able to earn back its budget in theaters.
Last weekend’s Inception dethroning The Other Guys held onto 49.6% of its box office from its debut and has made more than $70 million at the North American box office. The film will probably make back more than its production budget by this time next month and will go onto live a very healthy life is an Unrated DVD/Blu-ray. Former box three-week box office champ Inception added another $11 million to its already massive five week gross bringing its cume to $562 million. The Christopher Nolan directed mindbender is now the fourth highest grossing movie released this year and Nolan’s second biggest film. Last week’s number three, the energetic dance film Step Up 3D fell to seventh place this week with $6.6 million, pushing its two week gross to $43 million against a $30 million production budget. The Steve Carell comedy vehicle Dinner for Schmucks continued its slow slide to obscurity, tumbling from fifth to ninth place with $6.3 million moving its domestic total to just over $10 million behind its $69 million production budget. And in reaffirm-your-faith-in-your-country news, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore fell from seventh to tenth place with $4.7 million this week, putting it a mere $28 million behind financial solvency.
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The estimated top ten movies for August 13-15, 2010 were
1. The Expendables
2. Eat Pray Love
3. The Other Guys
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
6. Despicable Me
7. Step Up 3D
9. Dinner For Schmucks
10. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
(Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo)
Mario blogs regularly at A Polemic Killer Room