On yet another remarkably slow weekend at the box office, Shia LaBeouf’s thriller Disturbia continued to defeat all newcomers, grossing $9.1 million to finish at No. 1 for the third consecutive time. The star’s teenage update of Rear Window has earned $52.2 mil domestically so far, and it is the first film to take the top spot three weeks in a row since Night at the Museum. What’s more, with the back-to-back successes of Disturbia and Blades of Glory, Paramount and its new subsidiary DreamWorks have now had the weekend winner for five straight frames (the last studio to sport that kind of streak: Disney, in the fall of 2004).
Credit for that achievement no doubt goes to solid movies and strong marketing — and a surprising lack of formidable competition. This weekend’s major new releases performed so poorly, there’s really very little to say about them. The PG-13 fright flick The Invisible was a weak No. 2, with a soft $7.6 mil gross and a so-so B CinemaScore review from audiences. The Nicolas Cage sci-fi flick Next underperformed at No. 3, with an especially disappointing $7.2 mil gross and a shabby B- CinemaScore grade. The derivative action flick The Condemned died at No. 9, with a paltry $4 mil gross and an ugly C+ CinemaScore mark. And the 1980s dance homage Kickin’ It Old Skool stumbled at No. 11, with $2.8 mil. Seems CinemaScore didn’t even find it necessary to gauge audience interest in that last movie, and who can blame them? Clearly, nobody wanted to see it or any of the other new releases this weekend, and you can bet that we’ll never hear about any of them again. (And none too soon, I say, since they wreaked hellish havoc on my Friday predictions. As my friend Erica would exclaim, ”These movies are dead to me!”)
Still, a few holdovers benefited from all that apathy. The well-reviewed mature murder mystery Fracture (No. 4) declined just 36 percent to earn $7.1 mil, and Blades of Glory (No. 5) dropped another slight 32 percent to gross $5.2 mil and bring its five-week domestic total to $108.1 mil.
Overall, this was the first weekend since early last September without an eight-digit earner. So it should come as no surprise that the cumulative box office was way down from a year ago — by 24.5 percent, to be pretty exact. Nevertheless, this weekend capped the biggest spring movie season ever, with $1.23 billion in tickets sold during March and April. And my Spidey sense tells me that’s a great position for the business to be in as the summer movie slate kicks off next week and the big bucks start rolling in.