Miley Cyrus, queen of the tweens! The Disney Channel stalwart opened Hannah Montana: The Movie to $34 million in box office receipts, pacing the crowded field and helping make this Easter weekend the second biggest April weekend on record, only behind last weekend. The news wasn’t as good for Seth Rogen, as Observe and Report tanked with only $11.1 million, landing in fourth place. We’re shocked a movie that earned comparisons to Abu Ghraib didn’t reach a wider audience. As we do each Monday, here’s a breakdown of the top-five at the box office.
1. Hannah Montana: The Movie: $34 million ($34 million total)
Before everyone gets super-excited about the second $30-plus million opening of Miley Cyrus’ box office career—Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened with $31 million in 2008—let’s take a closer look at that number. Hannah Montana grossed half of its weekend total on Friday, pulling down a $17.3 million for the day, a record for G-rated live action films. Normally that would have put Hannah Montana on course for an opening over $40 million, but a 40 percent drop on Saturday sank those aspirations. Of course there are explanations—schools were off for Good Friday, meaning kids got a jump on the film early; the Saturday/Sunday drop might have had something to do with the Easter holiday—and Hannah Montana was a much bigger hit than anticipated (tracking had it opening in the low 20s), but this just feels like less of a success than people are making it out to be. Expect a massive drop heading into next weekend as Ms. Cyrus battles Zac Efron’s 17 Again for tween supremacy.
2. Fast & Furious: $28.7 million ($118 million total)
We hope you’re ready for more Vin Diesel. In the latest Entertainment Weekly, Mr. Diesel was called the “first action hero of the Obama era,” hyperbole that we have to assume means more XXX’s and Pitch Black’s in our future. Didn’t we already go through this after the first movie in the Fast & Furious franchise was a surprise hit? We know how this is going to end: with a 53-year-old Mr. Diesel bottoming out after a string of flops and reuniting with the original cast of The Fast and the Furious for Fast & Furious 7: Fastest & Furiouser.
3. Monsters vs. Aliens: $22.6 million ($141 total)
Later today Monsters vs. Aliens will pass Paul Blart to become the top grossing film of the year, and, with increasingly smaller declines—this weekend saw only a 30 percent dip from last—it looks set to cross $200 million before all is said and done. Ladies and gentlemen, we give to you the first truly massive hit of 2009!
4. Observe and Report: $11.1 million ($11.1 million total)
Where to begin with this mess? Observe and Report only grossed $1 million more than Zack and Miri Make a Porno did last year on its opening weekend, despite a much larger marketing push. Worse, with the exception of a few vocal Internet bloggers and some notable critics—David Edelstein’s fervent defense of the film’s controversial date rape scene is a beautiful knot of convoluted logic—people flat out hate this movie; its Cinemascore grade was a “C,” and that was from its mostly male audience. In the end, Observe and Report will make back its money—the film only cost a reported $18 million to make and will probably see life on DVD as it becomes a “cult classic”—but there is a very real chance it could wind up with less domestically than Zack and Miri. For Seth Rogen, this is not good. Observe and Report is now the second straight bomb attached to his name, and while he should rebound with Funny People in the summer, he’s clearly second fiddle in that movie to Adam Sandler. If we were financing The Green Hornet, we’d be a little worried.
5. Knowing: $6.6 million ($68 million total)
How about Knowing still hanging around? The Nicolas Cage flick dropped a scant 18 percent and barely edged out I Love You, Man—which itself only dropped 17 percent for a $6.4 million weekend gross—for the fifth spot at the box office. Scary thought: Both films could place ahead of Observe and Report next weekend.