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“The Expendables” are indispensable at the box office

The Expendables kicked ass and made it look easy at the weekend box office. The action throwback starring Sylvester Stallone muscled its way to the alpha position with $35 million. Eat Pray Love received divine intervention; the film inspired $23 million this weekend. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World lost the battle to two holdovers, The Other Guys and Inception. The movie came in fifth place with $10.5 million worth of fanboy support.

The Expendables
may have been panned by critics, but audiences lapped it up like Gatorade. The decided guy flick not only laid the smack down on the competition, but opened up talks of a sequel Stallone predicted last week. Not to be totally outdone, opposing chick flick Eat Pray Love did solid business. Julia Roberts hasn’t been a solo headliner in a film in nearly a decade, but her success with this adaptation shows America’s sweetheart can still draw a crowd.

Comic book adaptations, on the other hand, can still draw surprisingly few movie fans. Edgar Wright’s comic action film drew an 81% rating on RottenTomatoes.com, but critical acclaim wasn’t enough to get people in the seats. A similar fate befell Kick-Ass earlier this year. However, Kick-Ass defiantly drew huge DVD sales upon debut, quieting rumors of failure. “Pilgrim” could do the same.

The rest of the top ten did typical business. Inception dropped 40 percent this week bringing an overall haul of $248 million. The Other Guys came in ahead, though it bled 10 percent more from last week. The action duo has earned $70 million domestic. Despicable Me remains a crowd pleaser, dropping just 27 percent for a sixth place finish. Step Up 3D took the biggest hit, sagging 58 percent and dropping four places for seventh place.

The Top Ten

  1. 1. The Expendables – $35.0M (weekend)… $35.0M (gross)
  2. 2. Eat Pray Love – $23.7M…$23.7M
  3. 3. The Other Guys – $18.0M…$18.0M
  4. 4. Inception – $11.3M…$248.5M
  5. 5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – $10.5M…$10.5M
  6. 6. Despicable Me – $6.7M… $221.9M
  7. 7. Step Up 3-D – $6.6M… $29.5M
  8. 8. Salt – $6.3M … $103.5M
  9. 9. Dinner for Schmucks – $6.3M … $58.8M
    10. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – $4.0M… $35.1M

Next week Hollywood dumps five films on the populace. Spoof movie Vampires Suck opens Wednesday at 2,900 locations. Although these types of movies are typically hit and miss, somehow this is the widest release of the weekend. Nanny McPhee Returns featuring an unrecognizable Emma Thompson complete with a snaggletooth. The sequel has already made $62 million in foreign markets. It opens in 2,600 American locations.

Piranha 3D
, a kitschy horror sequel to the tastelessly funny 1970s film opens at 2,500 cinemas. The school of toothy fish have had plenty of screen time since the original but never filmed with 3-D technology. Marketing doesn’t take itself too seriously and simply offers hot girls getting bitten to death in skimpy bikinis. Lottery Ticket goes the opposite route: it’s a family film with a moral lesson about greed, community and keeping it real after striking it rich. Both Lottery Ticket and The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston in a typical romantic role, will open at under 2,000 locations.

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