It wasn't just new releases Tower Heist and Harold & Kumar 3 that disappointed this weekend — it was everything: total box-office receipts were down 30 percent from the same three-day period a year ago. "The fear is that our total business is in the toilet,” a studio exec tells Nikki Finke. Before we flush, though, a look at what happened. Here are your Top 5 movies.
1. Puss in Boots (weekend: $33 million; $75.5 million total)
In PiB's second weekend at No. 1, grosses for the Shrek spin-off fell just three percent, which is the smallest-ever box-office drop for a non-Holiday release. For which the industry credits last week's snow on the East Coast, which depressed Boots' opening, and the fact that parents were no less desperate this weekend to make their kids shut up for 90 minutes.
2. Tower Heist (weekend: $25.1 million)
Despite good reviews (for a Brett Ratner movie), the film in which Eddie Murphy gives his funniest performance since Bowfinger debuted below expectations, probably because most of the people who still remember Murphy's performance in Bowfinger took their grandchildren to see Puss in Boots (62 percent of Heist's audience was 30 or older).
3. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (weekend: $13 million)
An amazing 95 percent of the tickets sold for H&K3 this weekend were for 3D screenings, which bodes well for the future of the marijuana industry if not for that of the Harold & Kumar franchise — Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay opened to $14.9 million in 2008 without the help of premium pricing.
4. Paranormal Activity 3 (weekend: $8.5 million; $95.3 million total)
This second sequel probably won't top the original Paranormal Activity (which made $107.9 million in 2009), so it might just have to settle for earning back twenty times its $5 million budget.
5. In Time (weekend: $7.7 million; $24.2 million total)
From all of us here at Grantland to most of you out there, we'd like to say thanks for discouraging Justin Timberlake's acting for a third consecutive weekend. And to all of you who did pay money to see this sci-fi stinker, we ask: Why do you hate dancing?