Robert Zemeckis used Beowulf (No. 1), once the scourge of high-school English classes nationwide, to lure unsuspecting children and families to the box office this weekend, promising a 3-D spectacle the likes the which they had never seen. Improbably, he ended the weekend at the top of the box-office charts both in Manhattan and across the country. What’s next? The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala?
For the third week in a row, American Gangster (No. 2) and Bee Movie (No. 3) find themselves in the top four. No Country For Old Men (No. 3) maintained a $40,000 per-theater average, even as it expanded into seven theaters. The only film with a better average (and not by much) was Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding (No. 7), which was only showing at two theaters. The film received mixed reviews, but at this point, Mr. Baumbach has a devout following, which will always mean a solid opening weekend. It’s questionable whether it will be able to keep up this momentum.
Love in the Time of Cholera (No. 5) struggled to find both a national and local audience. Its $15,000 per theater average will keep it in our top 10 for at least another week, but not for much longer.
Meanwhile, Fred Claus (No. 6) and Lions for Lambs (No. 8) continued to sink, with neither able to maintain an above $10,000 per theater average. (Consider that the waterline, if they’re making below it, they’re drowning.)
This week’s biggest surprise, at least in the city, is the absence of Mr. Magorium’s Magical Emporium, the kid-themed fantasy flick starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, from the city’s top 10. I guess parents got confused and thought it was the sequel to Rain Man. Watch the trailer to see what I mean … There’s got to be a point when an actor just runs out of characters. Or in the case of Tommy Lee Jones, learns to make the most of out of just one. I would put this one on the Straight-to-Netflix-Queue, but, um, that award is on strike.
List of theaters: Paris, Zeigfeld, Oprheum, East 85th St., 86th St. East, 84th St., Lincoln Plaza, 62nd and Broadway, Lincoln Square, Magic Johnson, 72nd St East, Cinemas 1, 2 &3rd Ave, 64th and 2nd , Imaginasian, Manhattan Twin, First and 62nd St., Angelika Film Center, Quad, IFC Center, Film Forum, Village East, Village Seven, Cinema Village, Union Square, Essex, Battery Park 11, Sunshine, 34th Street, Empire, E-Walk, Chelsea, 19th Street East, and Kips Bay.
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.