The number one spot at the box office was easily claimed this weekend by new comer Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, with it relatively unimpressive $19 million takings easily beating it's closest competitors.
The Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton starring fairytale twist has been all but panned universally by critics, but this did little to dent it's chances at the box office with the closest competitor taking in a measly $7 million. The $7 mil newcomer in question is the new Jason Statham action Parker, which managed to pull in only $2 million more than the number three movie of the weekend, the ensemble comedy Movie 43.
According to Hollywood.com, total box office receipts in the U.S. and Canada were down by 13% from the same weekend a year ago, continuing a recent trend of cinema avoidance across the two nations. So who's to blame? Piracy? Exorbitant cinema prices? Or i it just that people were unwilling to leave their homes over the cold weekend to go to the cinema when they could watch films from the comfort of your own home. The answer is, there really is no clear answer, more of a merging of all these problems rolled into one. Still, movie insiders are beginning to worry that this trend might continue into the year and beyond, with that all too familiar question "is cinema dying" perpetually hanging over movie executive's heads.
Not all films have suffered though, and on it's second week of release the Oscar contending Silver Linings Playbook is still managing to bring in the crowds despite an almost nonexistent marketing campaign. But overall, SLP is the only silver lining to be found in the rather dismal takings. Then again, given the critical reception of each of the films on offer this week, can anyone be blamed for the poor audience numbers other than the films themselves?