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The 25 Worst Openings of All Time (Wide Release)

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 31, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 31, 2011 |

You see, this is what happens, damnit! People have been burned so often now by horror-movie remakes, post Twilight vampire flicks, and 3D movies that when something good comes along that meets one of those criteria — or all three, in the case of Fright Night — people ignore it because of all the shitty films in those categories that came before it. Indeed, had the film not had the talent involved that it does — Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), Colin Farell, and David Tennant — and had it not received outstanding reviews, I might have ignored it, as well. But I’m glad I didn’t because Fright Night was probably my favorite movie of the second half of the summer. Even Dan liked it, and folks, when Dan likes a 3D horror movie remake, stand up and take fucking notice.

Sadly, the film stunk it up at the box office this weekend, opening at number six, with less than $8 million. It wasn’t the only new film this weekend to shit the box-office bed. In fact, all four new releases did, falling behind the top film, The Help, which dropped only 21 percent and even managed the rare feat of opening at number two and climbing to number one in its second week. After two weeks, it’s climbed over $70 million on only a $25 million budget. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, like The Help is another late summer sleeper, adding $16 million in its third week to come in at number two. That film has now crossed the $130 million mark.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, the eleventy billionth sequel in the Spy Kids franchise, opened with only $12 million. That’s a huge disappointment considering the $33 million opening of the last film. Also, why is Robert Rodriguez still directing these? This is what he’s become, after Desperado, after Planet Terror, and Sin City? A family movie hack? Could the guy have called in a protege or something? I’m sure Rodriguez could’ve kept most of the cash.

Ironically, Rodriguez was once attached to the long delayed Red Sonja, a movie I assumed would not move ahead unless Conan the Barbarian succeeded. Conan did not, opening at number four with only $10 million. That is $10 million on a $90 million budget, and for those of you who have seen Conan, you really have to ask yourself: Where the hell did that $90 million go? $90 million! $90 million!. Maybe they just added a few zeroes to that by mistake, like ALL of them. That has most certainly got to be the death knell to Marcus Nispel’s career. I fucking hope so. I also think what Eric D. Snider had to say about Jason Momoa is accurate: “You know what Jason Momoa and I have in common? A year from now, both of us won’t be movie stars.”

The adverts apparently should’ve better highlighted Momoa’s naked ass. I suspect the movie will eventually become one of the most fast-forwarded films of all time. Also, how many more people would’ve seen it if they knew Momoa could do this?


Oh, and One Day, that horrible obscenely dull cruel fucking Anne Hathaway drama opened at number nine with only $5.1 million. Ha!

As box-office bombs go, this was a banner weekend. In fact, two films that debuted this weekend are now among the 25 Worst Openings of All Time Among Films that Opened on 3,000 screens or more. That denotes a super-saturated opening, and it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, as it’s only in the last 10 or 15 years that it even became possible to put a film on that many screens at once. (Empire Strikes Back, for instance, only opened on 823 screens when it went wide). Typically, if a studio is willing to put a film on 3,000 screens, that means there was a sizable budget, a lot of marketing behind the film, and the studio expects a decent box-office in return. Neither Fright Night nor Conan the Barbarian, which both opened on over 3,000 screens, delivered. It also means that studios seriously overestimated the audience for these movies.

Here are the 25 Worst Openings Among Films that Opened on 3,000 screens or More.

1. Hoot: $3.3 million

2. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising: $3.7 million

3. Meet Dave: $5.2 million

4. Imagine That: $5.5 million

5. New York Minute: $5.9 million

6. The Wild Thornberrys: $6 million

7. The Quest for Camelot: $6 million

8. Shorts: $6.4 million

9. Astro Boy: $6.7 million

10. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: $6.8 million

11. Going the Distance: $6.8 million

12. Mars Needs Moms: $6.8 milion

13. The Nativity Story: $7.8 million

14. Fright Night: $7.9 million

15. Aliens in the Attic: $8 million

16. The Ant Bully: $8.4 million

17. School for Scoundrels: $8.6 million

18. Cheaper by the Dozen 2: $9.3 million

19. Stuck On You: $9.4 million

20. Babylon A.D.: $9.4 million

21. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo: $9.6 million

22. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: $9.6 million

23. Conan the Barbarian: $10 million

24. Fame: $10.01 million

25. X-Files: I Want to Believe: $10.03 million

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.

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