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7 Wildly But Inexplicably Successful Directors You Wouldn't P*ss On if They Were on Fire

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 14, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 14, 2011 |

This weekend’s box-office tallies was a real treat for anyone that relishes in others’ unfounded, unfathomable, unexplained and obscene success, as three of the worst but inexplicably most successful directors of the generation had movies in the top 10. Dennis Dugan continued to add to his $914 million lifetime domestic total, as Jack and Jill opened at number two this weekend. If there was a God, Jack and Jill’s $26 million opening ought to be enough to kill him. Meanwhile, one of the world’s worst people, Brett Ratner, directed the movie sitting at number four, Tower Heist, which added another $13 million in its second weekend. For the trifecta: Shawn Levy’s Real Steel, in its sixth week, clung to the top ten, bringing that movie’s overall total to $81 million.

You can fail upwards, folks. Don’t let anyone tell you different. To prove it, here are the 7 Wildly But Inexplicably Successful Directors You Wouldn’t P*ss On if They Were on Fire.

Brian Robbins: Sample Works: Meet Dave, Norbit, The Shaggy Dog, Good Burger.

Lifetime Total: $310 million

Steve Carr: Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Are We Done Yet?, Daddy Day Care and Rebound.

Lifetime Total: $487 million

Brian Levant: Sample Work: Snow Dogs, Are We There Yet?, Problem Child 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.

Lifetime Total: $495 million

Adam Shankman: Sample Work: Bedtime Stories, The Pacifier, Bringing Down the House, The Wedding Planner

Lifetime Total: $659 million

Dennis Dugan: Sample Works: Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, Benchwarmers, Grown Up, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Lifetime Total: $914 million

Shawn Levy: Sample Work: Real Steel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Pink Panther, Cheaper by the Dozen, Just Married

Lifetime Total: $933 million

Brett Ratner: Sample Work: Tower Heist, Rush Hour 3, X-Men: The Last Stand, Rush Hour 2, The Red Dragon

Lifetime Total: $1 billion


Yet, there was some small solace in noting that neither of those three scored the number one movie this weekend. Immortals opened with $32 million to take that spot, a feather in the cap of Tarsem Singh, a fantastic director, but a terrible storyteller. All things considered, I’ll concede that his directing style made up for the lack of substance in all three of his films, The Cell, The Fall and now Immortals. He’s handling directing duties on Mirror, Mirror, the dark and twisted version of Snow White starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, and Sean Bean, and after witnessing the last half hour of Immortals, I admit I’m now more stoked about Mirror, Mirror than I am about Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman, although that one, too, looks heavy on style and light on substance. Henry Cavill was pretty great in Immortals, too, but I can’t help but think he looks like the bastard love child of a three-way between Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto and Jim Sturgess.

Other things happened at the box office this weekend, too. For instance, Puss in Boots is quietly becoming quite a hit with the kids, falling only 22 percent in its third week, adding another $25 million to its total, which now stands at $108 million. Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, however, fell short of expectations, raking in a meager $11 million and turning off critics in the process (and totally screwing up my Oscar Predictions, which seriously need to be modified in light of J. Edgar’s reception).

Anything else worth noting? Eh, not really: Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia had the highest per theater average of all releases this weekend with $14,000 per screen. Seth will actually have that review up tomorrow and judging by emails I’ve received, I wouldn’t expect a rave.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.