Hollywood made a killing this weekend. While Lehman crumbled and Merrill Lynch dissolved, four opening movies finished in the top five, raking in a combined total of $1.24 million form New Yorkers alone. This was very much not this case last weekend, where only two new movies finished in the top ten, and one of them, A Secret, finished dead last. The Coen Brothers’ expertly-cast Burn After Reading led the pack with a $510,268 draw, followed by the Pacino/De Niro combo Righteous Kill ($299,171), Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys ($241,741), and The Women ($188,990), a Diane English film based on the 1936 play by Clare Booth Luce.
These films faired just as well nationally. All of them finished in the top four and, except for Righteous Kill changing places with Tyler Perry, in the exact same order. This marks the Coens’ first no. 1 movie, and their $19.4 million box office draw is a record both for them and their distributor, Focus Features.
Three cheers for the Coens, certainly. But given the dreck that’s been splattered on theaters these last few weeks, the fact that a few decent films managed to top the charts on their opening weekend isn’t that surprising, particularly in Manhattan where, let’s face it, movie-goers generally have higher standards. Sure, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (hanging out strong at no. 5) and Dark Knight (cleaning up again at no. 7 in its ninth week) are worthy films, but Traitor, Bangkok Dangerous, The House Bunny (which finished fifth nationwide)? We’re not so sure.
We are pretty sure, though, that with the nation’s financial system pushed to its breaking point by a few bungling firms residing in New Yorkers’ own backyards, Burn After Reading’s brutal comedy of errors provided some much needed schadenfreude. Leave it to the Coens to show us how bad we can fuck things up.
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.