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Sinful times at US box-office!

Arthur J Pais | April 04, 2005 16:26 IST

Sin CityAudiences across North America could not resist feasting on the ultra-violent and atmospheric Sin City, making it the hottest film of the week. However, the film that grossed about $28 million in three days will have to fight hard to draw new fans, now that hardcore fans of the genre have seen it. It dipped considerably at the box-office on Saturday after a solid $12 million opening on Friday.

But there is no doubt that the movie, which cost about $40 million, is going to be profitable even if it were to come down by about 50 percent the next week. It could end its North American run with more than $75 million. And it will make much more money when it hits the DVD and VHS markets, not to forget worldwide theatres.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez in collaboration with Frank Miller, author of the comics that inspired the film, Sin City tells stories set in a city where corruption and degradation are commonplace.

One of the reasons the film drew millions is because of Rodriguez's reputation for making unusual crime films. Secondly, the ensemble cast featuring Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen also raised its profile.

Surely, Willis can't claim much of the film's success. But it could resurrect his career. It follows the disappointing run of his Hostage, which slipped to the 11th position this week. The fast-fading film has grossed $30 million in four weeks.

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Critical reaction to Sin City was mixed. Many newspapers including The New York Times denounced it for being too concerned with technique and less with substance. Many others, however, hailed it as a smart, contemporary film.

'This isn't an adaptation of a comic book,' wrote Roger Ebert in Chicago Sun-Times. 'It is like a comic book brought to life and pumped with steroids.'

And in Boston Globe, Ty Burr called it 'a stunning visceral piece of work.' The movie polished 'cheap thrills,' he argued, 'to the level of high art.'

The arrival of Sin City pushed the comedy Beauty Shop from the top position it held for just two days (it opened on Wednesday) to second place. With a $13.5 million weekend gross, the comedy, in which Queen Latifah's character fights hard to make her new business succeed, opened below the expectations. While it too is bound to be profitable, more was expected from it, especially given the strong openings many movies featuring black actors have enjoyed in recent months. A final gross of $60 million seems attainable.

The movie is a spin-off from the Barbershop series, featuring Ice Cube, the film's producer. He did not appear in the new film. The first Barbershop movie opened with $21 million over three years ago, and the second one opened with $24 million over a year ago.

Despite the opposition of Beauty Shop, last week's champion Guess Who, which deals with an interracial subject, dropped by about 37 percent. With about $41 million grossed in 10 days, the comedy is on its way to a healthy $75 million gross.

RobotsEnjoying a steady career, Robots has amassed $104 million in 4 weeks and there is plenty of fuel left in the movie, which was the fourth highest grossing film of the week with a $10 million gross.

At fifth place was the fast-losing Miss Congeniality 2, which dropped by a discouraging 40 percent following a ho-hum opening. Despite Sandra Bullock's appeal, the comedy adventure isn't drawing a large number of viewers. The film could end its North American run with about $60 million. The first film earned about $110 million. The series looks dead after this dud.

Among the noteworthy entries into the chart is The Upside Of Anger, which added over 1,000 theatres, and saw its percentage go up by about 220 percent. But its $4.1 million gross was far from spectacular. The critically acclaimed film, which has grossed $8.7 million, could see about $25 million in the final reckoning. Since the film was made for about $14 million, it too will join the ranks of profitable films.

Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby is no more on the top 10 chart, but was strong enough to gross about $1.5 million and see its total reach $97 million. The movie is around for at least a month but since it will be dropping theatres each week, see it soon before it vanishes from your neighbourhood.

HitchAnother film soon to be out of the top 10 is the solid hit Hitch. It was at the ninth position over the weekend, with a $3 million gross and $171 million grossed in just about eight weeks. The $70 million movie will be profitable in about a month, and its international success ($130 million and climbing) has further consolidated Will Smith's position as a global superstar.

Dancing tamely towards the exit is Bride & Prejudice, which slipped from 18th to 21st position, losing a hefty 55 percent of the audience. With a tame $225,000 grossed over the weekend, the Aishwarya Rai starrer, which has grossed $6 million, could at best hope for a couple of millions more in North America. It has been performing comparatively better abroad. It is winding up its run in Australia with a pleasant $3.2 million gross.

Box-office estimates for North America, April 1-3

RankFilmWeekend gross Total grossNumber of weeks
1Sin City$28 million$28mNew
2Beauty Shop

$13.5 million 

3Guess Who$13 million (down 37%)$41m2
4Robots$10 million (down 22.6%)$104.6m4
5Miss Congeniality 2$8.3 million (down 40%)$31m2
6The Pacific$6 million (down 25%)$96m
7The Ring Two$5.8 million (down 57%)$68m
8The Upside Of Anger$4.1 million (up 220%)$8.7m
9Hitch$3 million (down 30%)$171m8
10Ice Princess$2.5 million (down 31%)$18m

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