Ben Stiller, Jason Schwartzman's Latest Debuts to Whopping $3,000


I guess the folks in Eden Prairie, Minn., may not have been the ideal audience for that gradual rollout Paramount Vantage had in mind for The Marc Pease Experience. Or maybe they were, considering the dead mini-major's eagerness over the weekend to dump the Ben Stiller-Jason Schwartzman comedy's corpse where no one would find it. Mission accomplished, if its four-figure gross is any indication.

Experience grossed an estimated $3,000 on 10 screens since Friday -- a not-so-robust $300 per screen average that will no doubt endure as each star's all-time worst opening. The comedy, about an emotionally stunted high-schooler (Schwartzman) who seeks to reclaim his musical theater glory with the aid of his former teacher (Stiller), didn't fare especially well among critics, either, for what that was worth to viewers in other unsympathetic markets like Chicago, Boston and San Francisco. Picture, if you will, the auditoriums in those cities and a sprinkling of others, with roughly 10 paid moviegoers trickling in per day. Then picture the farewell-to-Vantage video that Stiller and Co. will leak later this week, featuring tips from select strippers, bartenders and Girl Scout chapters on breaking the $5,000-per-weekend ceiling the next time out.

· Weekend Box Office [indieWIRE]