Box Office Breakdown: Zac Efron Scores While Russell Crowe Bores

Miley Cyrus may have won the battle, but Zac Efron could win the war. The tween heartthrob flexed his burgeoning movie star muscles this weekend, as 17 Again was the No. 1 movie in America, grossing just over $24 million. While that comes in well below the monster debut for Ms. Cyrus’ Hannah Montana: The Movie, it remains to be seen whether or not Ms. Cyrus can open anything other than something related to her television alter ego. Mr. Efron, on the other hand, was able to carry 17 Again to the front of the field on his name alone. As for the other starters, State of Play yawned its way into second with $14.1 million, while Crank 2: High Voltage short-circuited (nyuck, nyuck), landing in sixth place with an estimated gross of $6.5 million. As we do each Monday, here’s a breakdown of the top five at the box office.

1. 17 Again: $24.1 million ($24.1 million total)

This isn’t the type of opening that shakes the ground, but $24.1 million for a body-swap comedy from the director of Igby Goes Down certainly counts as a statement for Mr. Efron. Now comes the hard part. If word of mouth is strong, 17 Again could finish with over $80 million in grosses; if it isn’t, expect something around $60 million. In the meantime though, let’s take this moment to congratulate Matthew Perry. 17 Again is the largest opening of his career, and there is a good chance it will surpass The Whole Nine Yards as his top grossing film before all is said and done.

2. State of Play: $14.1 million ($14.1 million total)

The good news for Russell Crowe is that this opening is slightly larger than his last film, Body of Lies. The bad news is that Body of Lies was an outright bomb. Things don’t appear to be so dire for State of Play—the $14.1 million gross is higher than experts had predicted—but there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about here. Consider this: For all its star power, State of Play could barely top the fourth weekend of Monsters Vs. Aliens.

3. Monsters Vs. Aliens: $12.9 million ($162.7 total)

With Observe and Report grossing only $4 million over the weekend, for an anemic total of $18 million thus far, perhaps Seth Rogen should recalibrate his expectations. As a box office draw, he’s best served in an ensemble comedy built around a conceit—see: Knocked Up, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But put him in a cartoon and the man turns into Will Smith. Mr. Rogen’s last four animated features—Monsters Vs. Aliens, Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who and Shrek the Thirdhave pulled down an average of $213 million at the box office. Being the next Dan Castellaneta might not be sexy, but it can certainly pay the bills.

4. Hannah Montana: The Movie: $12.6 million ($56.1 million total)

While Hannah Montana: The Movie will end up surpassing Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Experience, it probably won’t top $80 million in box office receipts, and with the built-in audience, that seems a bit disappointing. So now the question of where Ms. Cyrus’ career goes from here needs to be addressed. Might we suggest a distaff sequel to 17 Again?

5. Fast & Furious: $12.2 million ($136 million total)

This just keeps chugging along. If Fast & Furious can squeeze another $8 million out of its theatrical run—something that seems more than likely—it will become the highest grossing film in the entire franchise. Somewhere, Lucas Black just pounded his fist in a fit of anger.

Box Office Breakdown: Zac Efron Scores While Russell Crowe Bores