That this weekend's showing of sheer, shock-and-awe-inducing might from the U.S. Armed Ninja Forces should fall on the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki is probably worth noting -- but seeing as we're just Hollywood numbers guys, we'll stick to what we know and leave the "man is apt to repeat himself" analysis to the action-figure-military historians. The weekend results are after the jump.
1. G.I. Joe
Gross: $56,200,000 (new)
Screens: 4,007 (PSA: $14,025)
You've read the briefing. You've monitored the rapidly plummeting Tomatometer score (still well over 20 percent higher than The Ugly Truth, mind you). You've heeded Banana's warnings. But in the end, you followed your heart -- and your heart told you to take your long-neglected inner-child to the movies to cheer on some busty, nunchuk-twirling ninjanatrixes in leather. Joe wasn't the biggest August opening of all time -- it came in fourth, behind The Bourne Ultimatum, Rush Hour 2, and Signs -- but many would argue it's the stupidest. And when it comes to triumphs of the power of critic-proof entertainment, not knowing is half the battle.
2. Julie & Julia
Gross: $20,100,000 (new)
Screens: 2,354 (PSA: $8,539)
Like food and wine pairing, counter-programming is a refined art. It requires the highly sensitive nose of a seasoned distribution exec, who can run a competitor's $150 million studio tentpole beneath their nostrils, let the aroma roll around for a moment in the olfactory bulb, then declare with unbending authority, "A culinary chick flick would go perfectly with this stinky piece of toy-tie-in shit!"
Gross: $9,804,000 (cume: $86,116,000)
Screens: 3,482 (PSA: $2,816)
Weeks: 3 (Change: -44.0%)
While G-Force continues to chug along healthily, Disney's transparent attempt at launching another furry-adorable-thing sensation has fallen short of the mark -- as virtually no one has demanded a spinoff entitled Beverly Hills Galifianakis, featuring 30,000 naked CGI Zachs gleefully singing and dancing on a Mayan ruin.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Gross: $8,880,000 (cume: $273,800,000)
Screens: 3,455 (PSA: $2,615)
Weeks: 4 (Change: -50.4%)
Warners has to be relieved it trusted J.K. Rowling and left the chapter's somber finale intact, instead of insisting they go with the far more upbeat alternative ending in which everyone celebrates semester's end with a dinner of pulled-tarantula sandwiches, followed by Dumbledore's announcement of a school-wide limbo contest, winner taking a 40-ounce bottle of Malted Luck.
5. Funny People
Gross: $7,866,000 (cume: $40,417,000)
Screens: 3,008 (PSA: $2,615)
Weeks: 2 (Change: -65.3%)
Knocked Down: Judd Apatow's meditation on life after near-death set against the backdrop of the Hollywood comedy scene failed to connect with audiences' inner-grown-ups, plunging over 65% from an already low opening. It will be interesting to see what comes next for the undeniably gifted writer/director: Will he relent and give audiences more of the low-concept-built-right-into-the-title entertainment they seem to want, with Sex Change, a sensitively drawn yet unbelievably crass story of a shlubby stoner who realizes he's trapped in the wrong gender? Or will he retreat deeper into his auteur cave, eventually emerging with an even more personal film, entitled Apatow Home Movies, Dec. '07 - April '09 -- a six hour, found-footage meditation on aging and family that climaxes in a real-time round of I Spy with My Little Eye played on a road trip to Santa Barbara?
[Data: Box Office Mojo]