Battleship, perhaps the most ludicrous and insipid of all the cinematic toy/board game adaptations so far, had its domestic debut over the weekend. It bombed, racking up a disappointing $25 million, making it the second Taylor Kitsch big-budget film in a row to get blown to smithereens at the American box office (see also: John Carter). The movie that Prisco described as Bathtub Transformers, was budgeted at over $200 million and opened with only a quarter of what Transformers opened with. However, for those of you concerned about studio losses, fret not. The movie has already made $215 million worldwide, and while the studio will probably never eke out much of a profit, it’ll probably approach the break-even point after marketing and prints have been factored in.
It was also the acting debut of Rihanna, who I suppose acquitted herself reasonably given what she had to work with, which is to say: She pulled the trigger on the bombs with gritty aplomb! The likely $50 - $60 million haul that Battleship will bring down based on the movie’s forecasted box-office will also put Rihanna in the top 10 for highest grossing films among pop star debuts. Not including Rihanna, here is the current top 10 on that list.
1. Austin Powers in Goldmember (Beyonce Knowles) — $213 million
2. The Bodyguard (Whitney Houston) — $121 million
3. 8 Mile (Eminen) — $116 million
4. Dreamgirls (Jennifer Hudson) — $103 million
5. 9-5 (Dolly Parton) — $103 million
6. The Dukes of Hazzard (Jessica Simpson) — $80 million
7. Purple Rain (Prince — $76 million
8. Boyz N the Hood (Ice Cube) — $57 million
9. Romeo Must Die (Aaliyah) — $55 million
10. Crash (Ludacris) — $54 million
Note that only Ludacris and Ice Cube would repeat the success of their cinematic debuts. It’s still too early to call with Rihanna, but I don’t exactly see a bright future in film for her unless there are a lot of roles that call for female actresses to look hot and bad ass while pushing buttons.
Meanwhile, The Avengers continued to dominate the box office, racking up $55 million in its third weekend and becoming the fastest movie ever to reach $400 million domestic. It’s $457 million so far makes it the sixth highest grossing film of all time in America, with number three (Dark Knight’s $533 million) in sight and an outside shot of becoming the number two film of all time (Titanic’s $658 million). It’s also totaled over $1 billion internationally, and is now the fourth highest grossing film of all time worldwide. It should surpass the $1.3 billion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but the $2.1 billion and the $2.7 billion of Titanic and Avatar respectively are likely out of The Avengers’ reach on the worldwide charts. Moreover, next week’s MIB III will probably be the film that will finally end The Avengers’ dominion over the rest of the box office.
Indeed, some of the failure of Battleship can be attributed to the continued success of The Avengers, but it seems unlikely that the weak debuts of The Dictator and What to Expect When You’re Expecting can be blamed on the superhero film. The opening of The Dictator, budgeted at $65 million, made $17 million over the weekend (and $25 million since it opened on Wednesday), which doesn’t speak too well of Sacha Baron Cohen’s future as a leading comedy star, especially after the anemic box office of Bruno. Hopefully, with the relative failure of New Year’s Eve and now the $10 million debut of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, we’ve also seen the end of these crappy overstuffed ensemble romcoms. What to Expect’s fifth place debut fell short of the $12 million Dark Shadows fetched in its second weekend. Dark Shadows looks likely to end its box-office run in the red, as the $150 million film has made only $50 million domestic, and $36 million internationally.