Yes, yes, I was gone for all of a week. But now that I’m back, so is Hollywood, and wouldn’t you know it, the moviegoing public has opted to be discerning for three weeks straight. Sitting pretty at the top is the fairly funny Zombieland with a robust $25 million, and hanging on in second place is the fairly funny Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with $16.7 million — this despite losing 3-D screens to the third-place double-feature of Toy Story 1 & 2 (which took in a not-too-shabby $12.5 million).
The reportedly-controversial-but-getting-no-attention-because-Michael-Moore-isn’t-in-it comedy The Invention of Lying kept Ricky Gervais’ profile afloat in fourth place with $7.4 million (compared to the super-sweet Ghost Town’s $5 million opening last September), Bruce Willis’ sci-fi hodge-podge Surrogates clung on at fifth place with $7.3 million, while the surprisingly delightful Whip It took in a surprisingly modest $4.85 million — the same amount as Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story managed in its wide release (our Whip It review will be up shortly). Eighth place went to Fame with $4.80 million (still haven’t seen this one), ninth place went to The Informant! with $3.8 million, and Love Happens happened to land in tenth with $2.7 million from those who just now had some free time between Dr. Phil re-runs.
The biggest per-screen average went to the six-screen bow of the Coen Brothers’ latest, A Serious Man (review this afternoon), which should roll out in the weeks to come and which yours truly is still mulling over quite a bit (“Just look at the parking lot, Larry!”). Meanwhile, the hype machine for Paranormal Activity is still going strong, with Paramount wisely building the release to a fever pitch with proper all-day showings starting this weekend, where its only competition is the potentially terrifying Couples Retreat. I may not think Activity is the Next Sliced Bread, but I’ll give them credit for some savvy marketing amidst your Saws and Pandorums and Jennifer’s Bodys and Stepfathers and Sorority Rows…
And no, I still haven’t caught up with that Tyler Perry flick. I will voluntarily see that before I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, if it’s any consolation.