Manhattan Box Office: Cat Ladies Purr for Potter; Dead Air for Talk

Not even a mob of Death Eaters—or bad reviews!—could have kept the throngs of Harry Potter fans from descending upon theaters this weekend. Grossing over $77 million over the weekend, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had the best five-day opening ($140 million) in the series’ history.

The film averaged over $60,000 per theater here in the city, clearly drawing from all socio-economic spheres including the small, yet well-represented cat lady demo—the film features the scariest cat lady in recent memory, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, Delores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). (A full, and very sad, disclosure: if I were a wizard—if only!—my Patronis would be a housecat.)

The other big opener this weekend, Talk to Me—the film starring Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor about Washington disc jockeys Peter Greene and Dewey Hughes—posted subpar numbers over the weekend despite solid reviews. The film has all the trappings of an Academy Award vehicle for the two stellar actors, perhaps the studio felt it wasn’t good enough for the fall. Either way, with a $14,000 average on just four theaters in the city, it just feels like a waste.

Transformers predictably dropped to second place with a 45 percent drop in box office, but it maintained a strong per screen average with $42,000—leaving Shia LeBeouf plenty of pocket change to support his hair product problem. (Is he trying to look like Gordon Gekko? Pat Riley? This is the next Tom Hanks?)

The unlikely tandem of Ratatouille and Live Free or Die Hard, third and fourth respectively, continue to post healthy numbers, grossing close to $200,000 apiece over their third weekend. Isn’t it grand when counter-programming works for everyone?

Werner Herzong’s Rescue Dawn is holding on by the tips of its fingernails to the bottom spot on the box office chart. Like Talk to Me, it is a critical darling, but it has yet to find a real audience this summer.

And Manhattan Weekend Box Office will keep its fingers crossed that Steve Buscemi’s Interview, starring Sienna Miller as a film celebrity who falls for a schlubby journalist (read: every schlubby journalist’s fantasy), will poke its way into the top ten next weekend. After totally hating on Sienna—especially after that terrible photo in Vanity Fair last year where she looks like my grandma—I’m kinda hoping this one works out for her. In a perfect world, being dumped by Jude Law should help your career. God knows, being Jude Law isn’t helping his.

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.


Manhattan Box Office: Cat Ladies Purr for Potter; Dead Air for Talk