The box office slump of 2005 has now reached epic proportions. Kingdom of Heaven, the Crusades epic meant to be the kickoff movie of the summer blockbuster season, claimed the No. 1 spot on the box office charts but grossed only $20 million, according to studio estimates.
That’s the lowest tally for a No. 1 film in the first weekend of May since 1998. For comparison’s sake, Gladiator, another period epic directed by Kingdom‘s Ridley Scott, opened with $34.8 million the same weekend in 2000. Even The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had a better debut last weekend than Kingdom. Perhaps star Orlando Bloom’s young female fans were kept away by the film’s R rating. Or maybe audiences have simply had enough of these sword-and-sandal flicks, after Alexander, Troy, and King Arthur.
Second place went to the horror remake House of Wax, which premiered with a disappointing $12.2 million. Despite the presence of Paris Hilton and pinup Chad Michael Murray, it appears that fans have also OD’d on frightfests lately.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy took a huge 57 percent drop to $9.1 million in its second weekend, which put it in a tie for third place with the new ensemble drama Crash, starring Don Cheadle and Sandra Bullock. And The Interpreter rounded out the top five with $7.5 million, down 46 percent from last week. Can Monster-in-Law power couple Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda finally end the slump? We’ll know next week.