The leaves have yet to change color, but it must be fall: New York City has finally gotten serious.
The Kingdom (#1) reigned over the Manhattan box office this weekend, easily out-grossing the top movie in the country, the Rock comedy The Game Plan (#4). The Peter Berg-directed thriller (which one writer at The Sunday Times deemed CSI: Riyadh) provided just the right balance of gravitas and kick-ass action scenes (Michael Mann was a producer). It averaged a robust $30,000 here and grossed over $17 million nationally. Is it worth it to consider whether our fellow Americans realize Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Gardner are shooting Saudis and not Iraqis? Probably not.
Game Plan, with its well-worn plotline (see Three Men and a Baby, Baby Boom, A Simple Twist of Fate, Big Daddy, etc.) was also out-grossed here in the city by Darjeeling Limited (#2), with a roughly $67,450 average at 2 theaters, and Eastern Promises (#3), with a healthy $12,000 average in its third week.
The Wes Anderson feature, which had its North American debut at the New York Film Festival, has polarized critics—much like his last entry, The Life Aquatic, did—with most coming to the conclusion that Anderson fans—that enigmatically trendy clique—will be pleased. And they were right! The film grossed over $130,000 here in the city.
The only film to rival Darjeeling’s strong opening weekend average was Ang Lee’s Lust/Caution (#8), which grossed $64,000 on one screen. Just like with Brokeback Mountain—but for different reasons!—everyone is talking about the sex scenes. They’ve earned the film an NC-17 rating. In New York City, that is more likely to be a boon, than a curse.
Both Across the Universe (#6) and Into the Wild (#7) continued to hang on strong. Universe averaged above $11,000 on 7 screens in its third week, while Into the Wild averaged an impressive $30,000 on 2 in its second.
Perhaps the most surprising movie this weekend happens to be a no-show on the top ten. Robert Benton’s Feast of Love opened this weekend on 3 screens, but failed to outgross The Brave One (#10), which brought in $55,000. The film appeared to be just the kind of literate, romantic comedy our literate and romantic denizens would lap up. What happened? Maybe it’s just not the right season …
Manhattan Weekend Box Office: How moviegoers in the multiplexes of middle America choose to spend their ten-spot is probably a big deal in Hollywood. But here in Manhattan, the hottest movies aren’t always the ones making the big bucks nationwide. Using Nielsen numbers for Manhattan theaters alone and comparing them to the performance of the national weekend box office can tell you a lot about our Blue State sensibilities. Or nothing at all! Each Monday afternoon, we will bring you the results.