What a weekend for the box office. And we don’t mean that in a good way. The WWTW tracker was on the verge of shutting down due to the embarrassment suffered by heavy hitters with underperforming films.
“The Avengers” had no trouble topping the box office for a third straight week with over $56 million (making its total domestic gross around an astounding $450 million); Taylor Kitsch can put down another box office disappointment for this year as his (and Rihanna’s and Brooklyn Decker’s) “Battleship” failed to splash with just $25 million; Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest button-pushing comedy didn’t stick like “Borat” but “The Dictator” came in with an okay $24 million; and the ensemble comedy, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” which includes Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, as well as Elizabeth Banks and Chris Rock only brought in $10.3 million.
So did anyone impress us enough to win Who Won The Week?
Taylor Kitsch / Liam Neeson / Alexander Skarsgard / Rihanna – “Battleship”
With its dominance overseas for the last month (and its marketing blitz here in the States) many thought “Battleship” was going to take a “Transformers”-like chomp of the domestic box office (see MTV’s 10 signs why it would). But the reimagining of the Hasbro game starring Taylor Kitsch (who already disappointed studio execs this year with “John Carter”), Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard and Rihanna underperformed mightily. The signs of doom started with its 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and when the midnight numbers came in on Friday morning, the $420,000 from 1,074 theaters was cause for alarm.
One silver lining in “Battleship” is the performance by pop-star beauty Rihanna, which has come in for high marks. According to director Peter Berg, it wasn’t just her stardom that got her the role, he was impressed by the interview she did with Diane Sawyer after the Chris Brown incident.
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Dictator”
Whether you like his brand of comedy or not, there’s one thing you have to give Sacha Baron Cohen: he will definitely do whatever it takes to sell his film. Often appearing in public in character, whether it be pouring Kim Jong Il’s “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest or telling Jon Stewart why he’d vote for Mitt Romney, he has no shame. And with the Cannes Film Festival going on this week, Cohen’s dictator character General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen was there front and center (see pics).
However, he did come out of character to speak to Ann Curry (though he’d already done an in character interview with Matt Lauer back in New York for “Today”).
But with all the attention he brings to his work, it seems Cohen can’t match the success he had with “Borat” in 2006. His opening weekend numbers for “The Dictator” ($24 million) even fall below the opening for his previous film, “Bruno” ($30 million).
Have audiences tired of the Cohen shtick?
Cameron Diaz / Jennifer Lopez – “What To Expect Why You’re Expecting”
Inspired by the best-selling book, five interconnecting stories explore the miracle of birth with an ensemble cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Rock, Rob Huebel and many more (see pics from the premiere). Unfortunately the big name talent, which covered the talk show circuit and hit their core demo with a cover in Redbook, didn’t help with ticket sales as it only made just over $10 million.
However, the woman who started it all, the author of the book Heidi Murkoff, did get some exposure with a nice write up in Forbes on her wild ride.
And the winner of Who Won The Week is…
Though her film didn’t make a lot of noise, Jennifer Lopez did have quite a week. Being a judge on “American Idol” has lifted her profile back to superstar status, and now rumors this week – with the latest season of the singing competition coming to a close – are swirling about whether she’ll return. Forbes this week also announced that the actress-singer has topped the list of most powerful celebrities. Welcome back J.Lo!
Looks like even a down weekend at theaters can’t stop Jenny from the block!