On a remarkably slow weekend at the multiplex, the PG-13-rated Disturbia easily beat out two big new R-rated contenders to repeat at No. 1 with $13.5 million. The Shia LaBeouf vehicle declined only 39 percent and is the fifth film of 2007 to win two consecutive weekends, after Stomp the Yard, Ghost Rider, 300, and fellow Paramount/DreamWorks release Blades of Glory.
But impressive as its two-week tally of $40.7 mil is, the teen thriller really won by default. Except for the limited-release action spoof Hot Fuzz, which finished in sixth place after grossing a respectable $5.8 mil in 825 theaters, no new movies came close to breaking out. The murder mystery Fracture (No. 2) earned just $11.2 mil despite a strong A- CinemaScore and critical praise. The Anthony Hopkins/Ryan Gosling movie drew a crowd evenly divided between men and women and a huge 83 percent over age 25, so it could sprout long legs in the weeks to come — especially when it goes up against younger-skewing summer fare. But it’ll never be a blockbuster. Nor will Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson’s horror flick, Vacancy, which checked in at No. 4 with $7.6 mil, a weak total underscored by a ho-hum B- CinemaScore grade.
Meanwhile, longtime holdovers Blades of Glory (No. 3 with $7.8 mil) and Meet the Robinsons (No. 5 with $7.1 mil) rounded out the top of the list. Both films dropped a slightly bigger-than-expected 43-plus percent, but Blades nevertheless managed to bring its four-week total to $101.1 mil.
The new-release mediocrity continued outside of the top five. The domestic drama In the Land of Women brought in a mere $4.9 mil at No. 8. So it was no wonder that the $85 mil total combined gross of all movies this weekend was the lowest such number since last September, when the forgettable Gridiron Gang edged out the similarly unmemorable Black Dahlia and Everyone’s Hero. And it should also come as no surprise that we were down a whopping 22 percent from the same frame a year ago.
What, then, can we learn from all this? Well, certainly,sometimes the box office just lays an egg. But that’s usually temporary. After all, overall theatrical earnings for 2007 so far are still up 4.7 percent from the first several weeks of 2006. Another lesson is the continued strength of broad-appealing fare: PG-13 films have won 12 of this year’s 16 weekends, while R-rated movies (or, I should say, ”movie,” since 300 has been the only successful R release) have won just two. Though nothing new, it’s a trend that bodes particularly well for the summer season, during which we’ll find a slew of PG-13 releases, like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Ocean’s Thirteen. And it all starts with Spider-Man 3, which opens in less than two weeks. Of course, that’s one fact you didn’t need me to tell you.