Mediocrity ruled the weekend as three disappointing films, including Joel Schumacher's thriller Phone Booth, dominated the charts. Several newspaper and agency reports claimed Phone Booth rang loud at the box-office. To others, its $15 million three-day gross was not heartening.
But it did set a record of sorts.
While all the new films opened to disappointing numbers, viewers showed enough faith in older favourites like Adam Shankman's Bringing Down The House and Oscar-winners Rob Marshall's Chicago and Roman Polanski's The Pianist.
Phone Booth was shot over two years ago before Farrell was signed for The Recruit and Daredevil. Its release was postponed last fall when a mysterious sniper began a serial killing spree around Washington, DC. Some critics may argue it would have been a good thing if the film had been permanently canned.
Many complained the film, which takes places in a phone both in New York City, was too manipulative, unrealistic and ended with a tricky, unconvincing climax. It focuses on a disdainful press agent, targeted by a rooftop vigilante (Kiefer Sutherland) who wants him to own up his mistakes.
Since many teen-oriented films have done fabulous business recently there was a lot of hope for What A Girl Wants, but the film -- about an outgoing 19-year-old New Yorker (Amanda Bynes), who decides to discover her long-unseen British father -- opened to a mediocre $12 million.
Since it is not an expensive film, it might end up making a small profit like Phone Booth. That film, made at about $18 million, may still make a decent profit even if it drops at the box office by 40 to 45 per cent next week.
Vin Diesel is a big name at the box-office following the worldwide success of his XXX, but A Man Apart, which has been collecting dust over a year, was not welcomed. The film, about a mysterious man who takes over a drug cartel when his former boss is arrested, grossed just about $11 million.
Last weekend's top film, Head Of State, fell to fourth spot with $8.8 million. The film, marking the directorial debut of its lead actor Chris Rock who plays the first black US president, grossed $25.3 million in 10 days. Though not a smash hit, the $35 million production could still make a decent profit of about $10 million if it sells well at DVD and video counters.
Chicago still displays strong legs. Down by 20 per cent from last week the musical grossed $5.7 million, taking its total to $152 million. Also showing strong survival spirit is World War II drama The Pianist, which won three Oscars, grossed about $2.1 million, with its total reaching $26 million. Given its current box-office tempo, the film could end with about $33 million.
With a 35 per cent fall from last week and an $8 million weekend gross, Bringing Down The House is slowing down. But there is still some business to come. Expect the comedy, which has reached $113 million, to wind up with at least $140 million.
Sci-fi drama The Core, in which its heroes journey to the centre of the earth to save the planet, had an anaemic second week. So did the John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson thriller Basic. While the former garnered $6 million and a $21 million gross, the latter earned about $5.5 million while its total gross reached $20 million.