Crowded Marquees; Near-empty Theaters
Studios blamed inclement weather for the box office nosedive over the weekend. Ticket sales were down 44 percent from last weekend, as the top film, the comedy Yes Man , opened with just $18.2 million, the lowest opening gross ever for a Jim Carrey comedy. The movie had been expected to earn $25-30 million. The Will Smith drama Seven Pounds came in second with $16 million, a low for Smith, too. It had been expected to earn $22-27 million. But if cold weather, which covered most of the nation, was responsible for cutting attendance for the wide releases, there was no explanation for the solid performances of some of the specialty films, which managed to fill the small number of theaters in which they were screened. Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire , which is on many critics' lists as best film of the year, took in more on a per-theater basis -- $5,348 -- than any other film in the top ten, winding up with $3.15 million to place eighth. The Wrestler , starring Mickey Rourke, opened with $209,474 from just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, averaging $52,369 per theater. Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino grossed an estimated $468,000 in 19 theaters, for an average of $24,632 per theater. By contrast, Yes Man , which screened in 3,434 theaters, averaged just $5,288 per theater.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers 1. Yes Man , $18.2 million; 2. Seven Pounds , $16 million; 3. The Tale of Despereaux, $10.5 million; 4. The Day the Earth Stood Still, $10.2 million; 5. Four Christmases , $7.7 million; 6. Twilight, $5.2 million; 7. Bolt, $4.3 million; 8. Slumdog Millionaire , $3.2 million; 9. Australia, $2.3 million; 10. Quantum of Solace , $2.2 million.