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Ben Affleck scored a critical and commercial comeback this weekend with The Town. The crime drama carried strong early buzz and a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some websites underestimated the film, predicting Easy A would easily win the weekend. In a drastic turnaround The Town opened at $23.8 million, only $3 million shy of The Departed, a movie richly referenced in the advertising. Easy A got a B; it landed in the runner up spot with $18.2 million.
Both The Town and Easy A performed well for their genres and subgenres. Just one year ago, Jennifer’s Body managed a fifth place open and a domestic run of $16.2 million total. It was a similarly sex-themed high school movie that arrived with even greater hype than Easy A. Red heads 1, brunettes 0; Emma Stone carries more box office bang than Megan Fox.
Devil didn’t do as well as the last demonic picture. The Last Exorcism opened with $20 million compared to Devil at $12.5 million. It was also a personal worst for an M. Night Shyamalan horror. The movie did not screen for critics, a warning sign and marketing mistake for most movies. Rotten Tomatoes puts the film at 41% -- plainly rotten.
The Top Ten
10. 10. Machete - $1.7M … $24.3M
Alpha and Omega barely made a blip on the radar. It ran straight for the middle, taking number five and $9.2 million. Kid’s pictures have not been doing well for some weeks now. It didn’t help that Alpha and Omega had little marketing, a stale plot, and dated visual appeal. Way down the line at twenty-second place was Catfish, an ambiguous independent film generating a lot of talk lately. It made $255,000 on twelve screens.
Four of last week’s list dropped off the charts, though only one without a whisper. The Expendables managed to cross the $100 million marker as it tumbled to the number twelve position. It was joined by Eat Pray Love, Going The Distance and The Last Exorcism. Three more unlucky flicks will join the B-list when a full deck of wide and limited releases debut next weekend.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole has the highest theater count at approximately 3,500 locations. This will be Zack Snyder’s first animated film. He is better known for the brutal and beautiful 300 and the daring yet underperforming Watchmen. Legend of the Guardians premieres is the only film of the weekend to debut in 3D, but that won’t be enough to seal the top spot.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will be close on its heals at 3,400 cinemas in the U.S. This is a sequel to Oliver Stone’s 1987 tale of unabashed greed which garnered star Michael Douglas an Academy Award. You Again is the third genre represented in a single weekend. The comedy and chick flick will debut in far less locations. With Easy A managing a strong performance with teens and girls, You Again may be able to lock a decent bounty. The premise is generally relatable, following the misadventures of a mother and daughter reunited with their high school tormentors.
The Virginity Hit is another teen movie in the mix. It had a limited release but will expand to 650 locations next week. It is an Adam McKay and Will Ferrell production. The comedy uses the latest craze, documentary style filmmaking to chronicle a teenager’s attempt to lose his virginity. Early reviews are leaning on poor, with ten fresh reviews and 21 rotten reviews to date on RottenTomatoes.com.
Ten lucky theaters will be blessed with Buried a claustrophobic film starring Ryan Reynolds. The wide release is not until October; however moviegoers are expressing a lot of interest already. Marketing has cooled lately, but is sure to pick up after a strong limited opening. Waiting for Superman a politically charged documentary about the state of America’s public schools will open on four screens.