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).
Another weekend, another slew of Hollywood movies dumped into theaters to do battle. Who’ll reign supreme — and why? Below, our predictions for the Top 5 movies at the box office.
5. In Time
As previouslydiscussed, In Time face-planted in its first week out, managing a meager $12 million and a third-place finish. This week, with new movies opening, In Time will slide further down. Word-of-mouth can’t save this thing, because the vast majority of the word-of-mouth for this Justin Timberlake stinker involves people sticking a finger into their mouths and making a vomiting noise.
The public's official stance on Justin Timberlake’s acting career is "please please please go back to making music." Sure, he was fine in The Social Network, and the movie was a monster, but JT's performance wasn’t its lynchpin. (Really, anybody could have played that part — Chris Messina? Armie Hammer in a curly wig? — and the movie would have ticked right along.) Timberlake’s actorly rep was actually helped more by July's Friends With Benefits. It made money, got good reviews, and beat No Strings Attached in the Great Fuckbuddies Rom-Com War of 2011. And more importantly, it featured Justin (and/or his butt) in nearly every scene, and most moviegoers found him winning and non-replaceable. Things were on an upswing. Then, In Time happened.
Science-fiction author Harlan Ellison is suing for compensatory damages and to block the October 28 release of Andrew Niccol's In Time — in which Justin Timberlake stars as a wanted man in a world where people can pay to extend their lives — claiming the movie's plot is too similar to his 1965 novel Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman. Ellison filed a similar copyright claim against The Terminator in 1984, but won only an acknowledgement credit and an undisclosed sum of money. Better luck this time! Grade: A [Deadline]
Former SNLer Will Forte will join Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill in Fox's Neighborhood Watch, about a group of men who form a bogus community association as an excuse to escape their families, then unwittingly uncover an alien conspiracy to destroy Earth. Here's hoping the aliens are easily distractible. Grade: A [HR]