Don't Be Afraid of the Box Office (Unless You're a Studio Exec)
How much did Hurricane Irene whipping up the Northeast affect this weekend’s box office can only be guesstimated. This was a terrible weekend at the box office, especially for genre films, and that probably would have remained the case even if the East Coast hadn’t been bracing for Irenageddon™.
The Guillermo Del Toro produced remake of the classic 1974 made-for-TV fright flick Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark saw the light of theaters this past weekend and the best to be said for it is that it held its own better than the Fright Night remake and Final Destination 5. Opening third behind the sentimental juggernaut The Help and the PG-13 hitwoman actioner Colombiana, Box Office Mojo has the Troy Nixey supernatural horror remake raking in about $8.7 million, another disappointing opening for a horror movie this August.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes finally dropped out of the top two, down to fourth place with about $8.6 million for the weekend. The prequel/reboot is up to $148 million domestically alone and yet, surprisingly, there has yet to be official word of a sequel.
Last weekend saw the 3D remakes of Fright Night and Conan the Barbarian open DOA at the box office. Their corpses continued to rot this weekend.
Conan the Barbarian dropped almost 70% with a $3.1 million 8th place finish for a two week total of barely $16 million. Keep in mind it cost $90 million to produce. If this doesn’t get Marcus Nispel sent to director’s jail for a few years, nothing will.
Fright Night once again pulled up lame finishing 9th with $3 million. The producers had better hope that David Tennant is a big enough name in his home country to make the movie a runaway blockbuster in Britain when it opens there in a week.
Final Destination 5 can pretty much say hello to second-run theaters at this point having now dropped completely out of the top 10 to 12th place with $2.4 million. The fifth installment in this franchise looks as if it will peter out at around $40 million. The prospects for a sixth Final Destination look dim. Fans of the franchise might have to wait a decade when Alex Aja helms the inevitable remake.
Next weekend will see two wild cards enter the fray in the form of Shark Night 3D and Apollo 18. Both are PG-13, and while I would say that sets them up to cancel each other out, Apollo 18 has a gimmick to it that appears to be more intriguing to potential moviegoers than its rival, a shark movie so generic looking it appears to already have been creatively dwarfed by most of its low budget made-for-Syfy counterparts. Apollo 18 could be a surprise hit. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the box office total for Shark Night 3D next week simply reads: “A guy in California named Buz.”
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