US Audiences Feel The Payne

Max goes straight in at number 1

US Audiences Feel The Payne

by Chris Hewitt |
Published on

The US box office felt the Payne this weekend.

Max Payne, to be precise, with the Mark Wahlberg-starrer shooting straight to the top of the box office charts with an estimated take of around $18 million – and all despite a welter of negative reviews.

John Moore’s modestly-budgeted action thriller will probably end up in the $40-50 million rangte, which will mean it will be bigger than Hitman, the last Fox videogame adaptation, which grossed around $40 million in the States. It puts it right in line, though, with the Resident Evil trilogy and well behind the Tomb Raider movies.

As far as openings go for Wahlberg, though, it’s bigger than last year’s Shooter, which was the last movie to be sold pretty much exclusively on his name, and will continue his progress towards becoming one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood.

Max Payne’s ascendancy meant that Beverly Hills Chihuahua was thwarted in its attempts to rule the roost for a third week running. Still, the Disney comedy placed second, with an estimated $11.2 million, a decline of only 36% from last week’s numbers. So far it’s pulled in $69 million, and the Raja Gosnell-directed flick may have its beady little eyes on the magic nine-figure mark.

Of course, when the final numbers are in, we may find that The Secret Life Of Bees is actually number two. The Dakota Fanning drama pulled in an estimated $11.05 million on its opening weekend, which gives it a very real chance of overhauling Chihuahua when the dust settles. The movie, which also stars Queen Latifah and Angela Bassett, was a big hit with women.

The other big new entry of the weekend, Oliver Stone’s controversy-courting biopic of the current President, W., did pretty W.ell as far as political flicks go. It pulled in an estimated $10.5 million – a figure small enough for Republicans to claim that the film was a flop, and big enough for Democrats to claim that it was a success. Intriguingly, though, it’s already outgrossed the other overtly political comedy of the season, David Zucker’s right-leaning An American Carol. Make of that what you will.

And there was one other new entry in the Top 10 this week – Summit’s teen comedy, Sex Drive, which chugged and limped its way into ninth place with an estimated $3.5 million. Despite that, the writing-directing team behind the film have been rewarded with another deal at Summit. Read more about that elsewhere on the site.

Otherwise, this weekend was relatively uneventful, with the likes of Eagle Eye, Body Of Lies, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, all grossing a few million dollars. Eagle Eye, with $81 million after four weeks, would now seem to have no chance of making the $100 million mark. Body Of Lies, with just $24 million after two weeks, can now be deemed a flop - commercially at least.

The biggest per-screen average, though, belonged to Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married. With Oscar buzz surrounding Anne Hathaway, the film pulled in $722,000 this weekend, placing it well outside the top ten. But with an average of $10,464, look for this one to enter the top 10 when it opens wide.

Next week, the franchise that has become the most successful in horror history will come to an end, with the debut of Saw V. That should grab a decent opening weekend, before tailing off fast, while the Edward Norton-Colin Farrell cop drama, Pride & Glory, won’t pull up any fences.

But the big story will be the debut of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which will launch on over 3,400 screens and might just become the unstoppable kid-friendly juggernaut of the season (especially now that Harry Potter has moved to next summer). We’re not saying it’s right, but we are saying that it’s coming. If the interest levels of Empire’s nieces are at all indicative of a wider trend, then this one’s going to be big.

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