Weekend Box Office: The Nation’s Moviegoers ‘Drive’ Right Past

The Oscar weekend is typically lackluster for Hollywood. Usually, people are catching up on the movies they missed at the theaters (and with many of the nominated films on home video, they can do it at home). On Sunday, people stay home for at least two showings, since they’re watching the award ceremonies. Even by Oscar weekend standards, this week was the pits. Like, abysmally bad. If you’re a movie about a guy who has escaped from a demonic prison, it was downright hellish.

In a closely contested race, ‘Gnomeo & Juliet‘ (originally tagged as the third most popular film of the weekend), somehow managed to edge out both last week’s champion, ‘Unknown‘ (which ended up being #3 with $12.4 million) and the Farrelly Brothers’ heavily promoted R-rated comedy ‘Hall Pass‘ (which came in second with $13.4 million).

The $14.2 million for ‘Gnomeo’ was enough to trump all of them. That’s sad considering how little money it is. This reminds me of the current state of record sales, where it seems like all you have to do is sell a couple thousand discs to make it to the top of the Billboard charts. Even though the marketing for the film was incessant, it never really seemed to convey what the movie is, exactly. I think that blandness easily translates to the tepid commercial response.

Next weekend, with new movies starring Johnny Depp and Matt Damon opening, look for both ‘Gnomeo’ – which has amazingly CLIMBED the charts in since its release three weeks ago – to stumble (especially since Depp’s film is animated too). Ditto ‘Hall Pass’, which, if it couldn’t secure a #1 spot its first weekend, will likely tumble further.

Interestingly, ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never‘, which added additional footage for a “one week only director’s fan cut,” was down just 33% from last weekend, for another $9 million (in the sixth spot).

Which brings us to… ‘Drive Angry‘. I sort of loved this shot-in-3D, Nicolas Cage horror-action thingee. But audiences? Not so much. It debuted in the lowly spot of #9, with a measly $5 million. (Its budget before marketing? $50 million.) Are people starting to wan to the 3D craze? Is Nicolas Cage box office poison? Did the generic title and genre-mash-up formula seem off-putting? Who knows? The movie really didn’t deserve to be this universally ignored. It uses 3D in ways that are way more clever and inventive than most of the schlock that comes out. (Paging ‘Gulliver’s Travels’.) It’s a genuinely gleeful, blood-soaked time at the Cineplex. Unlike the oppressively dreary ‘Saw’ franchise (which just had its own 3D make-over), this actually has a sense of humor. But who needs that, right? Especially when garden gnomes are singing Elton John songs!


The Top 10:

01 ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’ (Disney) – $14.2 million

02 ‘Hall Pass’ (Warner Bros) – $13.4 million

03 ‘Unknown’ (Warner Bros) – $12.4 million

04 ‘Just Go With It’ (Sony) – $11.2 million

05 ‘I Am Number Four’ (DreamWorks/Disney) – $10.8 million

06 ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’ (Paramount) – $9 million

07 ‘Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son’ (Fox) – $7.5 million

08 ‘The King’s Speech’ (Weinstein Co) – $7 million

09 ‘Drive Angry’ (Summit) – $5 million

10 ‘The Roommate’ (Sony) – $2.6 million


  1. Shayne

    Wait, are you saying Drive Angry is actually worth seeing? Cause it looks outright terrible. When I first heard the name thrown around, before I knew anything else about it, I was basically sold on the name alone. I want more movie titles like “Blow Up Bad Guys” or “Skydiving With Guns.” But this just looked god awful.

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