Norbit, starring Eddie Murphy in three separate roles (including a grossly overweight woman), earned a big, fat $33.7 million at the box office over the weekend, well ahead of analysts' forecasts. MGM's latest addition to the Hannibal Lecter franchise, Hannibal Rising, placed second with $13.4 million, considerably below expectations. Both films had received mostly negative reviews. Third place went to Universal's Because I Said So, which earned $9 million in its second weekend. Nevertheless, despite the strong showing for Norbit, the overall box office was down 7 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago. It was the fourth consecutive weekend that the box office showed minus results.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Norbit, $33.7 million; 2. Hannibal Rising, $13.35 million; 3. Because I Said So, $9 million; 4. The Messengers, $7.2 million; 5. Night at the Museum, $5.75 million; 6. Epic Movie, $4.45 million; 7. Smokin' Aces, $3.8 million; 8. Pan's Labyrinth, $3.55 million; 9. Dreamgirls, $3.1 million; 10. The Queen, $2.5 million.
CORRECTION: In Friday's summary of critics' reviews of Hannibal Rising, we erroneously attributed the comment, "It's enough to make you eat your heart out" to Kyle Smith of the New York Post. It should have been attributed to Sam Adams of the Los Angeles Times. We regret the error.