Cialis, Viagra, Spanish Fly, whatever—nothing could save the Bucket List (No. 7) from a limp performance this weekend. The movie, starring geriatric gents Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, may have managed a robust national opening, but it was blown away here in the city like a couple of old farts on the observatory deck of the Empire State Building during a wind advisory. At 10 theaters, the film averaged a listless $9,000 per screen. Everyone’s seen Steel Magnolias: Pull the plug!
The city is clearly for the young. Juno (No. 1), once again, topped the city’s box office chart, besting comedy First Sunday (No. 2) with Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan, in its first week. Despite its second place finish, Sunday’s take—which followed successfully in the well-worn path of the Friday and Barbershop movies—wasn’t too shabby, averaging more than Juno, by close to $4,000, and almost matching the cumulative of The Bucket List, nationally. No “AK” for Ice Cube—it was a good day.
The strongest showing for any film this weekend, however, goes to There Will Be Blood (No. 3), which was able to average over $40,000 on 5 screens. Largely fueled by word-of-mouth, awards buzz, and a dynamite performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, this one is a geyser that will continue to spew cash for its studio—perhaps all the way to an Academy Award. Its competition? Atonement (No. 4) which, in its sixth week, will get a boost—at least at the box office—from its Golden Globe win. That is, if anyone bothered to watch last night’s “press conference”—or if they did, were able to concentrate with the dual distraction of Billy Bush’s blinding tan (no, you were not wearing Blu-Blockers) and a haircut that belonged in a Huey Lewis video.
The Golden Globes should also help Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It may be in its seventh week, but this one, which is still expanding into more theaters, should be able to break into the chart before its run is through—which judging by its current trajectory, should be sometime in June.
As for the rest of the Awards Season crowd, Charlie Wilson’s War (No. 4), Sweeney Todd (No. 5) managed to hold on to their spots, while No Country for Old Men (No. 8) was actually able to move up one in its tenth week. This weekend, however, these films staying power will finally be put to the test with the wide releases of J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield and the Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, 27 Dresses. Finally, movies whose violence and rejection an audience can enjoy without feeling guilty.
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.