MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Wrap-Up

Which blonde would you take in a fight? Natasha Henstridge or Meg Ryan? This weekend it was Meg Ryan kicking ass and taking names with a strong $16.1 million opening. I guess that it shouldn’t have been a surprise given that she had Superman working with her. (That would be Nicolas Cage, who is already making Superman talk-show chat with the story of how his son demanded he wear the trademark red underwear on the outside, after Cage’s new costume lost the classic look.) What’s surprising is that Species II couldn’t even manage a II-nd place finish. It was all the way down at fourth with $7.4 million and a miserable $2,948 per screen average, less than half the original’s $17.2 million start. That left Lost in Space dropping by a third, which in many camps will be considered a huge victory, to take second place with $13.6 million. And Titanic, which took another human-like 25 percent drop to $8.7 million, in the three spot. (If things keep going like this, Titanic will never hit $2 billion!) If you’re looking for a surprise to match Species II’s failure, it would be the relatively big number for…
THE GOOD: The Players Club opened in less than 600 theaters and still managed $5.6 million. That may not seem huge, but the film is already assured of making money with this launch. The film scored the best per-screen average ($9,444) in the Top 10 by more than 23 percent, beating out City of Angels’ $7,278 per, making it, as usual, the second city.
THE BAD: Lemmon and Matthau became hot for a while with Grumpy Old Men and its progeny, but their on-screen numbers are now declining faster than their jowls, and the return of Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple II proved just that with a weak $5 million opening. Maybe for The Odd Couple III they should reunite Lemmon, Matthau, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman for the first time and have them duke it out. If he’s still standing, Matthau can take on Don Rickles, who took the role of Mr. Wilson for Dennis The Menace II. And while we’re on the subject (kind of), I’d take Kate Mulgrew over Bill Shatner in a fistfight any day of the week.
THE UGLY: What could be uglier than My Giant? A $3.1 million opening for My Giant! Gheorghe Muresan earned more than $31 million in the NBA this year sitting on injured reserve, and I’m betting that he paid for at least half the tickets bought. Billy Crystal imported George’s mother from “Seinfeld” (Estelle Harris) to ask giant G about the size of his organ. If this opening doesn’t cause (to quote “Seinfeld'”s George) shrinkage, nothing will.
THE CONTEST: The rewards for the Hot Button Box Office Challenge winners will still look cool, even if Species II wasn’t top dog. Look for the complete list of winners on Wednesday this week. And thanks for playing!
JUST WONDERING: Are any of you looking forward to Sour Grapes? Do any of you care about what Larry David is up to besides the final “Seinfeld” episode? Is Castle Rock building enough awareness for this film?
BAD AD WATCH: I hate to beat two men when they’re down, especially when they are old men (whose work, coincidentally, I admire greatly), but the pull quote for The Odd Couple II (from Susan Granger‘s self-titled pull quote factory, the SSG Syndicate) personifies the likely reason people aren’t flocking to this film. “You’ll laugh, guffaw, giggle, chuckle and smile. It’s absolutely impossible not to enjoy this fun-filled comedy.” They might as well have run, “Your grandparents will love it!”
TWO BAD MOVIES EQUAL: Mercury Rising + The Odd Couple II = The Odd Couple Rising. Felix and Oscar take a trip to the urologist. Hilarity ensues when Oscar makes a date with the Pigeon Sisters and Oscar malfunctions, leading to the classic line, “It took me two hours to realize that F.U. meant Fill Up!”
READER OF THE DAY: From Tim T: “If you want to talk about mixed feelings about City of Angels, here are a few more… Wings of Desire (on which it’s based) is not only one of the greatest films ever created, but it is also about as far away from a Hollywood film as you can get. The first hour has no plot. No main character. It’s really not even a film. It’s more like a dream. Can you imagine what the story meetings were like as they tried to figure out how to make it appeal to a mass market? The cast looks great and Nicolas Cage rarely disappoints, but let’s look behind the camera… the director’s last film was Casper. I guess they figured a friendly ghost was as close as they could get to angels wandering around Berlin. On the other hand, I’m guessing that there’s a long list of directors who turned down this assignment with the realization that it could not be done. Of course, I’m taking this a little too personally because Wings of Desire is probably my favorite film. The best part about it is that I can’t even explain why I like it so much. It’s indescribable on so many levels and it just bothers me that an industry that thrives on high concept pitches and rehashing television shows has chosen to touch the untouchable.”

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4