Box Office Guru Wrapup: Spartans March Past Rambo to #1

America has chosen wisely.

Moviegoers chose an army of spoof comedians over an aging one-man killing machine as Meet the Spartans outgunned Sylvester Stallone's Rambo to claim the number one spot in a close race at the North American box office. Both new releases walked away with solid performances and should become moneymakers. Ticket buyers also flocked to see the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture with four of the five contenders posting sales increases. Many box office milestones were also reached as Juno surpassed $100M, Alvin and the Chipmunks and National Treasure: Book of Secrets both cracked the $200M mark, and I Am Legend vaulted past the $250M barrier. Overall, the box office remained healthy and showed incredible depth as for the first time ever in the month of January, seven different movies topped $10M in weekend grosses.

Teens and young adults wanted laughs and they got them from Fox's latest spoof comedy Meet the Spartans which won a slim victory with an estimated $18.7M in its opening weekend. The PG-13 pic averaged a muscular $7,188 from 2,605 sites and debuted on par with the studio's other early-year spoof hits Epic Movie which bowed on top to $18.6M a year ago this week and Date Movie which enjoyed a second-place launch in February 2006 with $19.1M. All three films came from Hollywood's current spoof kings Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.

Spartans used the same formula of sending up recent blockbuster hits and pop culture favorites and young people showed up showing no signs of getting sick of the genre. The $18M production featured no A-list stars and instead relied on recognizable faces like muscle man Kevin Sorbo, hip hop star Method Man, spoof queen Carmen Electra, and Borat's Ken Davitian. Date and Epic reached $48.5M and $39.7M respectively so Fox looks to have another profitable venture on its hands.


 

Sylvester Stallone lost out on bragging rights at the box office this weekend, but his new action flick Rambo still performed well opening to an estimated $18.2M. Produced by Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company, the R-rated shoot-em-up vehicle averaged an impressive $6,598 per location. It was the first adventure for the character in nearly two decades following long after 1988's Rambo III. The first three films helped to define the action genre in the 1980s grossing a combined $610M worldwide. As expected, Rambo skewed heavily male with 67% of the audience being men, according to studio research. The age breakdown was evenly split between those over and under the age of 25. Although Rambo settled for the runnerup spot domestically, it should become a much bigger hit overseas than Spartans.

Katherine Heigl's romantic comedy 27 Dresses held up well in its second weekend grossing an estimated $13.6M for a moderate drop of 41%. Fox has collected an impressive $45.3M in the first ten days and could be headed for a $80M finish. Dresses cost $30M to produce.


 

Not as lucky in its sophomore frame was last weekend's top film Cloverfield which tumbled 68% to an estimated $12.7M taking fourth place. The $25M sci-fi actioner has grossed a solid $64.3M in ten days and should end its run with roughly $85M for Paramount.

Diane Lane's new crime thriller Untraceable enjoyed a respectable opening in fifth place with an estimated $11.2M from 2,368 theaters for a solid $4,730 average. The R-rated pic about an internet killer played to young adults with 59% of the audience falling within the 18-34 age range, according to studio research. Sony's latest release was budgeted in the $30M range and played evenly to men and women with females making up 51%.


 

Fox Searchlight's hit comedy Juno became the company's first ever $100M blockbuster over the weekend as its four Academy Award nominations helped to keep the quirky film strong. The pregnancy pic lost 108 theaters but saw its gross inch up 4% to an estimated $10.3M boosting the cume to $100.2M. Oscar buzz has given this year's top-grossing Best Picture nominee renewed interest in the marketplace. Produced for less than $10M, Juno should now find its way to more than $125M domestically.

The Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman flick The Bucket List continued to show strong legs and slipped just 28% to an estimated $10.2M in its third weekend of nationwide release. Cume is $57.7M.


 

Armed with eight Academy Award nominations, Paramount Vantage expanded its oilman saga There Will Be Blood by more than doubling its run and jumped up to the number eight spot with an estimated $4.9M. The Daniel Day-Lewis starrer averaged a solid $5,522 from 885 locations after widening from 389 sites last week. Cume is now $14.8M. The specialty distributor is using a strategy similar to the one employed by Warner Bros. three years ago for Million Dollar Baby by slowly building buzz in late December and January before expanding nationally on the weekend after the Oscar nominations are announced. The wait allows a hard-to-sell pic to gather enough kudos to validate it before making a big push with the paying public. Blood will expand again on Friday reaching 1,350 to 1,500 total sites and hopes to keep the black gold coming in week after week.

Comments

theginsengtree

Nicolaas van Oss

Meet the Spartans at #1?

America proves its intellectual might once again...

Jan 27 - 03:53 PM

csivas

colin sivas

Travelled from London to see the first showing at 10 am Friday 25th. Top movie - well worth the wait. Hollywood doesn't make movies as good as Rambo anymore. Will be a great hit in Europe.

Jan 28 - 01:20 AM

darrinsgoodman

DARRIN GOODMAN

i was kind of dumbing it down at first, but now i kind of want to see Rambo - guess i'll check it out on dvd in may or whenever

Jan 27 - 03:58 PM

bijio

biji badness

i ***ing KNEW it. when I saw this headline, there was a definite physical reaction. you know like in Clockwork Orange? when he's conditioned to break down when he hears the ninth? like that. this is a sad day

Jan 27 - 04:00 PM

tomelce

Tom Elce

How in the hell does something like "Meet the Spartans" not bomb? Seriously, who wants to pay for a film by the same guys that made "Epic Movie"?

Jan 27 - 04:02 PM

bijio

biji badness

btw, mad money? they wish. haha, mrs cruise..what a retard

Jan 27 - 04:03 PM

The Great One

A Z

people officially suck..come on..Meet the Spartans?!

Jan 27 - 04:03 PM

JpPrewitt789

joe fish

Where are you God!?!?!?

Jan 27 - 04:08 PM

Uradik Smoke

J-red FF

A small part of me has died upon hearing the news that Meet The Spartans made 18 Effffing Million dollars and is #1 over Rambo !!!

Are there really that many moronic teenage males and stoners out there that went to see this ??? You realize that this means we will have to see at least 2 more of these atrocious ambominations...

Is this what our civilization has come too ?

Jan 27 - 04:10 PM

Silverence

Brendan Daly

UM! Excuse me, I find your comment highly offensive. I've been known to be a bit of a stoner myself and I would rather jump off the highest building I can find before going an seeing a movie playing in the same theater as Meet The Spartans! Me and my marijuana loving brethren are sick and tired of this negative stereotype that we have no taste in cinema. My favorite movie is Casablanca closely followed by Lawrence of Arabia and...

Wait what was I talking about again?

Jan 27 - 04:42 PM

Uradik Smoke

J-red FF

LoL , I appologize to you and the stoner bretheran you represent ...

I merely said that because i had read many posts by people saying the only way they would see it is if they were high .I also had to take into account the 25% of you that forgot which theater they were suppose to go into to see Cloverfield and accidentially saw Meet the Spartans , so I'm not sure you can totally be offended ...

As an Ex Stoner I do realize the stereo typing you receive , though i have to admit that if i werent a stoner at some point i would have no excuse for owning the entire Pauly Shore collection of DVD's , so despite you having some good taste in film , there will always be that small bong on our shoulders telling us to see such films ...

Jan 27 - 08:11 PM

MattBaerFTW

Matt Baer

word

Jan 28 - 08:37 AM

steeminwbeamen

Jeff Dunavant

Idiocracy is officially starting to come true. Bring on the Brawndo.

Jan 27 - 04:17 PM

RPMcMurphy51

D Relk

"Meet the Spartans" got electrolytes.

Jan 28 - 04:58 AM

Thot77

s. g.

Meet the Spartans barely eeked out a victory over Rambo, but I'll wager that Rambo has stronger legs and holds up better in the long run. Viewers are overwhelmingly positive about Sly's latest installment and repeat viewings will no doubt help. Foreign box office is expected to be around the 100 to 150 million mark. Rambo was absolutely AWESOME! Just might get back in line myself!!

Jan 27 - 04:20 PM

Brad 3000

Brad Arnold

Meet the Spartans makes 18 mil and yet Walk Hard only managed 4? This is the death knell of intelligent satire. What the f*** is wrong with people?

Jan 27 - 04:24 PM

Boss Fan

Ron Schuckert

There is some hope. The numbers, which are estimates, are so close, that "Rambo" may very well prove to be the bigger money-maker (or, too, it could go the other way and it may be a more distant second).

I did see this coming though. They low-balled expectations for "Spartans". All you have to do is look at grosses for "Date", "Scary" and "Epic" "Movies". Why would this one not perform at least close to those? Actually, its numbers are low comparatively. Though, I can't believe kids today are so stupid as to shell out $ for AND actually claim to enjoy these crappy spoofs. They obviously have no idea that this genre hit its heyday in the 80's and early 90's and hasn't delivered a decent entry since the first "Scary Movie", which itself was something of an anomaly, since in many years before and since there really weren't any good movies of its type.

"Rambo" did about as well as it could have hoped for. Of course I would have loved to see it bring in huge numbers, but being realistic, $18M is pretty good for a film that was pretty much a punchline for the last 2 decades, and Stallone is by no means the A-list star he once was (again, unfair, but the way it is). He should be grateful for the debuts of this and the last Rocky, since they could have been embarrassingly worse. If he keeps making solid films that deliver what they promise on tight budgets like these, his career can get back on track. Take some supporting roles in quality flicks. Play the heavy, etc. It's great in this day and age of very different action heroes and action films that he is carving something of a little niche for himself and for the audiences who still waht good old fashioned, straight ahead, take-out-the-trash action flicks. And not just the winking, ironic ones like "Crank" and "Shoot 'Em Up" (though those are fun too), but actual action movies. The trick for "Rambo%u2019s%u201D future will be if decent word of mouth will keep it going. I loved it and will tell action fans they owe it to themselves to check it out. But there is a lot of skepticism about it (bringing back Rocky and Rambo is a long running joke) and the word of its violence has turned a lot of people off. I hope we didn't see all the interested turn out up front, leaving the film to limp to a $35M, or something like that, finish.

"Cloverfield": Hate to say it (cuz I liked it), but told you so. This film was always going to live and die by its word of mouth past the opening, hype-induced weekend, and I guess we know which way the word went. But its already a money-maker so, who cares, I guess. Too bad though. It won't stand as the cultural phenomenon it looked it might be. Unless it becomes a cult favorite on DVD. (I'd say the chance of that is pretty good.)

Jan 27 - 04:35 PM

synergyred

Nancy Elizabeth

Yep. I used to split movie goers into two categories, people who go to the movies for good quality, thought-provoking fun, and people who go to the movies to have fun (occasionally, people do both). Now, a third category must be added. People who go to movies so stupid and predictable that they require zero brain activity.

I like the first two groups a lot better.

Jan 27 - 04:39 PM

Silverence

Brendan Daly

UM! Excuse me, I find your comment highly offensive. I've been known to be a bit of a stoner myself and I would rather jump off the highest building I can find before going an seeing a movie playing in the same theater as Meet The Spartans! Me and my marijuana loving brethren are sick and tired of this negative stereotype that we have no taste in cinema. My favorite movie is Casablanca closely followed by Lawrence of Arabia and...

Wait what was I talking about again?

Jan 27 - 04:42 PM

Uradik Smoke

J-red FF

LoL , I appologize to you and the stoner bretheran you represent ...

I merely said that because i had read many posts by people saying the only way they would see it is if they were high .I also had to take into account the 25% of you that forgot which theater they were suppose to go into to see Cloverfield and accidentially saw Meet the Spartans , so I'm not sure you can totally be offended ...

As an Ex Stoner I do realize the stereo typing you receive , though i have to admit that if i werent a stoner at some point i would have no excuse for owning the entire Pauly Shore collection of DVD's , so despite you having some good taste in film , there will always be that small bong on our shoulders telling us to see such films ...

Jan 27 - 08:11 PM

MattBaerFTW

Matt Baer

word

Jan 28 - 08:37 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

It's official. The end of the world is coming.

Jan 27 - 04:56 PM

Meddle Head

Alec Goodwin

I have no room for faith in humanity anymore. I wanted to believe so desperately that we might prove smart for a change and avoid Meet The Spartans, but I was wrong.

Everyone who went and paid money to see Meet The Spartans can go straight to hell. You're the reason why quality movies are few and far these days.

Jan 27 - 05:24 PM

Herberbaly

Greg White

Holy balls. Meet the Spartans makes $18 million, and yet great movies like Grindhouse can't find a ****ing audience? This.....is.....****ing.......embarassing.

Jan 27 - 05:25 PM

BjornFree

Scott Cressman

At least this means we get to enjoy even more high quality commercials for "Meet the Spartans." And to top it all off, we'll get to hear, "Meet the Spartans is now the number one movie in America!" That just made my day...

Jan 27 - 06:00 PM

Simple

Clint Bell

I am so f ucking tired of the 2 of the 6 writers of Scary Movie. Uwe Boll is no longer the world's worst director.

Jan 27 - 06:03 PM

Dinobot77

Anthony Timineri

What kills me is that someone would actually pay over $8 to see crap like this. How in bloody hell can a movie like Spartans conjure-up so much freaking money and a great comedy like Shawn of the Dead or Hot Fuz can bomb? The more and more I see this kind of filth doing well, the more I can see the intelligence factor of the American people go downhill.

I understand why the studios keep making this crap. They understand that it will sell every time. Therefore, I can't blame them directly for trying to make a buck. Unfortunately, 90% of everyone under the age of 21 seem to be idiots. I'd rather watch the 27 Dresses then this Bullchit.

R.I.P. Ledger

Jan 27 - 06:19 PM

What's Hot On RT

Cosplay Gallery
Cosplay Gallery

See all the Comic-Con Costumes!

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

Hercules Is Mighty Fun

Historical TV Shows
Historical TV Shows

40 TV depictions of past eras

Weekly Ketchup
Weekly Ketchup

Idris Elba joins King Arthur

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile