Opening below expectations, the martial arts comedy adventure Bulletproof Monk grabbed roughly $8.6 million over the weekend while the Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson comedy Anger Management remained at the top, grossing about $25 million and reaching $80 million in 10 days.
The surprise hit of the week was Disney's Holes, based on a Louis Sachar classic fable about the resourcefulness and triumph of the human spirit.
Though some reviewers groaned Holes, which dug $17 million at the box-office, was slow-paced and predictable, The New York Times hailed it as the best film released by a major studio this year. The Los Angeles Times said though the film was aimed at young adults, it offered interesting fare for adults too.
'I walked in expecting a movie for 13-somethings and walked out feeling challenged and satisfied', wrote Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. 'Curious, how much more grown up and sophisticated Holes is than Anger Management.'
The movie's success was a triumph for director Andrew Davis who, after making the Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones' hair-raising hit, The Fugitive, failed to have a hit for over a decade.
The new film revolves around a gang of spirited boys sentenced to dig holes at a bizarre penal facility run with an iron hand. How they overcome their ordeals and teach their adult tormentors a lesson is told with humour.
Davis gets excellent performances from his young cast and from the veterans, who include Jon Voight and Sigourney Weaver. The latter plays the imposing and terrifying The Warden.
Holes is better than what many expected. Its youthful stars, including Shia LaBeouf, who plays the good kid charged with a crime he did not commit, its adventurous spirit and refusal to become yet another dumb movie for young adults may give it a long welcome at the BO.
Another movie to perform better than expectations was the $15 million comedy Malibu's Most Wanted, which is expected to recoup its investment in about three weeks. It is the story of a rich white kid who loves rap. The film grossed about $13 million. The young man, Brad Gluckman (Jamie Kennedy), behaves as if he is from the 'hood.' Worried his son will embarrass him during his campaign for governor, Brad's father (Ryan O'Neal) and his campaign manager hire two actors to disguise themselves as 'real life gangsters,' kidnap his son and have him dropped off in the 'real hood'. They hope he will learn a few lessons.
Most reviewers were not amused, but the viewers embraced the film. Hollywood Reporter called it 'a one-note premise at best.' Los Angeles Times, while admitting the film delivered comic cultural satire, wrote it 'ultimately runs out of gas.'
Despite talk about it being the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which grossed about $250 million in North America, and receiving lots of attention from such publications as The Washington Post and Newsweek, Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham has not yet broken out as a mainstream hit.
But the movie, now being shown at about 360 theatres, is doing very well and has remained among the top 20 films in the past three weeks. It grossed about $1.9 million over the weekend.
Young Gotham Chopra's debut as executive producer was far from auspicious. Unless it does excellent business abroad, the $50 million Bulletproof Monk, which has grossed $13 million in five days since its April 16 opening, could be a loser. The story revolves around a monk, played by Chow Yun-Fat, who has to fight hard to save a magical scroll, and his unlikely successor, played by Sean William Scott. The film received a wide release and was played in 3,000 movie houses. On the other hand, Holes was in about 2,300 theatres.
The hit comedy, Anger Management, which stars Sandler as a mild-mannered New Yorker forced to receive counselling from a hothead and highly unorthodox anger management guru played by Nicholson, is expected to remain at the top since no big movie opens next week.
Showing stronger legs than expected, the Colin Farrell urban sniper thriller Phone Booth seized $8.6 million in its third weekend as its total reached $35.1 million.