Six pictures reached nationwide release over the weekend, and only the lightest one, Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married, had heft. Overall business continued to be affected by the preponderance of dull movies as weekend attendance was on the low end for the time of year.
Why Did I Get Married pulled in $21.4 million on approximately 2,600 screens at 2,011 theaters, marking another successful launch for the Tyler Perry brand and made more impressive by the fact that it didn't feature his popular fat-suited character Madea. The writer-director's previous Madea-free movie, Daddy's Little Girls, posted decent numbers but was well below the over $20 million debuts of his Madea pictures, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion. Why Did I Get Married appealed as something fun, warm and relatable in a market rife with somber and generic fare.
We Own the Night claimed $10.8 million on 2,700 screens at 2,362 theaters, which was middle-of-the-pack among major crime pictures. The movie's advertising mimicked The Departed, trying to capitalize on the resemblance in environment and presence of Mark Wahlberg, but its premise of two brothers on opposite sides of the law wasn't as dramatic or thrilling as Departed's dueling undercover agents.
George Clooney in Michael Clayton
In its wide expansion, the high profile Michael Clayton uncovered about half the business of the modestly promoted Tyler Perry. The thriller starring George Clooney logged a pallid $10.4 million on 2,800 screens at 2,511 theaters, which was lower than Clooney's previous thriller Syriana and significantly less attendance than past similar movies like A Civil Action, Runaway Jury and The Rainmaker. In its ad campaign, Clayton relied on Clooney's star power and the genre, but its plot, surrounding a vague corporate and legal conspiracy, was nondescript and Clooney's title character too dour to be engaging.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age was subjugated with $6.2 million at 2,001 locations, which was inferior to most comparable pictures, including The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. The historical drama's marketing tried to dazzle with colorful imagery, but the picture didn't stand out among recent productions about England's queens. Its 1998 predecessor, Elizabeth, was a platform release, peaking at 624 theaters, and grossed $30.1 million by the end of its run, a total that The Golden Age is not likely to come close to.
Relative to what its limited run indicated, Across the Universe expanded well to $3.8 million at 954 sites, though, at $12.7 million in 31 days, the musical is no Moulin Rouge! Also opening wide, baseball movie The Final Season made $664,351 at 1,011 venues, which was the poorest start on record for a nationally-distributed sports movie.
The Game Plan scored the smallest drop among wide holdovers, down 34 percent to $11 million. With $59 million in 17 days, Disney's family comedy is now the biggest-grossing movie of the Fall season thus far and it's already star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's second-highest grossing picture, though it ranks 15th in the ever popular fish-out-of-water father sub-genre. Meanwhile, after its disappointing start last weekend, the negative-themed The Heartbreak Kid ached further. The raunchy comedy fell 48 percent to $7.3 million for a deficient $25.9 million in ten days.