In one of the most remarkable episodes in box office history, Wild Hogs blew away all expectations and competitors as it returned to No. 1 in its fifth weekend, with a huge $40 million gross, according to Sunday’s estimates. Truly unprecedented, the feat marked the first time that a film has rebounded to earn so much money so deep into its theatrical release. The motorcycle comedy is now on its way to bringing in more than $200 million at the…
Ha ha, April Fools! Gotcha, dear box office fans! Oh, I kill me…
No, actually, as you’ve probably guessed, there weren’t many surprises at the multiplex over the weekend. Will Ferrell’s figure-skating farce Blades of Glory opened big at No. 1 with a hefty $33 mil. Although that total was a bit below my lofty $45-mil projection, it was in line with most expectations. Blades is the second-best bow of Ferrell’s career as a leading actor (trailing Talladega Nights‘ $47 mil premiere but surpassing Elf‘s $31.1 mil debut). It averaged a healthy $9,786 per theater. It earned a decent B CinemaScore review from audiences that were just about evenly divided between men, women, younger, and older folks. It gave costar Jon Heder his best opening ever (surpassing The Benchwarmers‘ $19.7 mil). It ranks fifth on the list of the year’s best premieres. And, hey, the fictional sports flick did all that while competing against the real-life athletic drama of college basketball’s Final Four on Saturday night.
What’s more, Blades is by far the best reviewed of 2007’s big hits to date. It has scored a solid 63 out of 100 on Metacritic.com, while 300 got a 51, Ghost Rider got a 35, and Norbit and Wild Hogs each got a pathetic 27. So maybe we can look at this turn of events as a little bit of détente in the ongoing cold war between movie reviewers and the moviegoers they supposedly serve.
Scoring second place was Disney’s animated adventure Meet the Robinsons, which grossed a good-but-not-great $25.1 mil in 3,413 theaters, some 600 of which presented the film in 3-D. That sum is a bit soft compared to the debuts of most CG releases these days (it’s in line with the disappointing Open Season‘s $23.6 mil first-weekend take), but it’s still better than TMNT‘s $24.3 mil bow last week, and it’s the year’s sixth-best opening overall. So that’s nice.
Next, 300 (No. 3) earned another $11.2 mil to bring its four-week total to $179.7 mil; it now ranks as the 97th top domestic grosser of all time (take that, Hitch, Pretty Woman, and Tootsie!). TMNT (No. 4) dropped a hefty 62 percent to bring in $9.2 mil. Wild Hogs rounded out the top five by adding another $8.4 mil to its tally (seriously). And the thriller The Lookout was a non-factor, earning just $2 mil, way down at No. 11.
Overall, reports Paul of Media By Numbers, the box office declined a sharp 10 percent from the same weekend last year — but that’s mostly because Ice Age 2‘s $68 mil debut 12 months ago was impossible to match this time around. More important to Hollywood’s bean counters is the fact that the first quarter of 2007 ended with revenue up 5.73 percent and attendance up nearly 4 percent over the first quarter of 2006. And while this may be April Fool’s Day, that good news is no lie.