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July 14, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | July 14, 2008 |

7. Meet Dave ($5.3 million): Ker-plunk. The plot description of the opening of Meet Dave somehow describes this movie, its reception, and Eddie Murphy’s career, all at once: “A massive fireball crash lands, with a man emerging unscathed.” There’s no rhyme or reason to the box-office performance of Eddie Murphy movies over the last decade. They’re all pretty much the same — or at least equally awful (save for the mediocre Dreamgirls and the Shrek films) — and yet some open big (Norbit, Daddy Day Care, Haunted Mansion) and some fail spectacularly (I Spy, Pluto Nash, Showtime, and now Meet Dave). If there’s one common denominator, however, it seems to be that the money-makers are released during off-peak times, when there’s nothing else to see. Shame that Ed Helms and Elizabeth Banks had to get mixed up in this one, though. And speaking of Ed Helms, out of curiosity, has anyone seen his mockumentary, Zombie American?

4. Wall-E ($ 18.5 million; $ 162million): Fun Fact: If Wall-E can surpass Kung Fu Panda in box-office gross (it’s $50 million behind, but it’s also three weeks behind and has little competition left in July), then 7 of the 10 top computer-animation films will belong to Pixar. The other three: All Shrek films, ironically featuring the leads of two of the three biggest bombs of the year, The Love Guru and Meet Dave (Speed Racer being the other).

Related: Has anyone seen the scuttlebutt that The New York Post’s critic, Kyle Smith, is trying to raise with regard to the political elements of Wall-E? He wrote this, on his blog:

The other half of the film … supposes that the human race of the future will become a flabby mass of peabrained idiots who are literally too fat to walk. Instead they zip around in flying wheelchairs surfing the Web, chatting on phone lines and stuffing their faces with food meant to be sucked down like milkshakes while unquestioningly taking orders from the master corporation that controls all aspects of their existence. I’m trying to think of a major Disney cartoon feature that was anywhere near as dark or cynical as this. I’m coming up blank. I’m also not sure I’ve ever seen a major corporation spend so much money to issue an insult to its customers. Those potato-y people of the future seemed uncomfortably close to paying guests of Walt Disney World, passively absorbing entertainment in a sterile, climate-controlled, completely artificial wonderland that profits from everything they eat, see or do.

Ah, Kyle Smith — he’s an incorrigible douchebag, but he’s kind of lovable, too. I wanna pat him on the head and put him in my pocket.

3. Journey to the Center of the Earth ($20.5 million): Ahhh, Brendan Fraser. The man who’s hard to love, but impossible to hate. Make all the middling, forgettable, mediocre movies you want, Brendan: We could never hold them again you. Who remembers Airheads? And more importantly, who remembers Amy Locane, a.k.a., the chick who looked like a hotter version of Nicole Eggert’s sister in “Charles in Charge”?

The man is so unassuming that he divorced his long-time wife in December of last year, and hardly a soul noticed. My question: Who would divorce Brendan Fraser? He’s way too nice to divorce. It’s like driving out into the middle of nowhere and dumping a Bassett Hound puppy into the forest.

Whatever — we’ll always hold you in fond regard, Brendan, if only for your arc on “Scrubs.”

2. Hancock ($33 million; $165 million): After two weeks in release, Hancock has officially crossed the billion-gillion-jillion mark, making it the highest grossing film ever starring Willard Christopher Smith, Jr. as a drunken superhero. With the money earned from the film, Smith plans on buying a giant piƱata filled with gold doubloons and made from shredded, papier mached $100 bills for his son’s birthday party, which will actually feature Eddie Murphy in a Shrek donkey costume giving rides to the neighborhood kids.

Elsewhere, DJ Jazzy Jeff absolutely blew the roof off the State Fairgrounds amphitheater in Butte, Montana (pop. 33,892) on Tuesday, opening for a Kool and the Gang cover band.

1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army ($36 million): Many of us may disagree about whether the visuals were enough to overcome the plot deficits, but I think we can all find common ground here: Jeffrey Tambor was completely wasted. His character was an embarrassment, and the few lines he was given were shameful. I haven’t felt this embarrassed for the guy since he starred in “The Ropers,” a “Three’s Company” spin-off back in 1979 (few remember “The Ropers,” but it’s the reason that Don Knotts replaced them as the landlord).

Oh, nobody gives a shit.

Anyway, Hellboy had a fairly strong opening, raking in about $12 million more than the original in its opening weekend. However, it may have a hell of a time surpassing the total gross of the original because some jackass made the unwise decision to open it the week before The Dark Knight, which means that next week, all The Golden Army will get will be the disgruntled sold-out crowd, who will forever associate the movie with the time they thought, “Shieeet. We live in Fort Smith, there’s no way The Dark Knight is going to sell out here. Fuck Fandango and those lousy goddamn hand-job paper bag puppets.”

And for those of you who haven’t seen Hellboy II just yet, and may be on the fence, the film’s sense of humor - sadly - is fairly well represented in these two (embarrassing) spots for the film:

Well, at least del Toro didn’t stoop to “knuckle sandwich.”

Five Finger Mary

The Weekly Box Office Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Box Office Round-Ups | July 14, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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