The estimated overall gross at the box office this weekend is $63 million. The last time the overall weekend gross was this low was was September 21-23, 2001, and you can guess why the box-office was so low then. That is to say, the last time a weekend was this bad at the box office, we’d just come under attack by terrorists and George W. Bush could boast a 92 percent approval ratings.
If you’re wondering why things were so dismal this weekend, it had a lot to do with the fact the box-office hasn’t produced a major hit since the first week of August, in Guardians of the Galaxy, which mustered $10.2 million this weekend to nab first place for the fourth weekend. (For the record, the last time a movie was number one with less than $10 million was Disturbia in 2007). Guardians is only the fourth movie in the last decade to grab the top spot for four weekends (Avatar, The Dark Knight and The Hunger Games were the other three).
The other issue was the fact that the weekend only saw one new wide release, the faith-based Elvis movie, The Identical, one of the biggest bombs of 2014. The problem with The Identical, it appears, is that it wasn’t faith-based enough. Apparently, you either need to put “God” or “Heaven” in your title (Heaven is for Real, God’s Dead and Son of God all grossed $60 million or more this year) or torture Jesus for two hours (Passion of the Christ remains the highest-grossing faith-based film of all time).
In fact, opening on nearly 2,000 screens, The Identical only managed $1.9 million (and as of this writing, some assume that weekend estimate is high).
The dismal opening of The Identical; plus the weak holdovers (does anyone remember November Man or As Above/So Below? Because it’s only been a week since they were released); plus several recent bombs (The Expendables and another faith-based movie, When the Game Stands Tall) resulted in the incredibly bad weekend at the box office.
And what, you might ask, were the bombs the last time the box-office was this bad ($59 million)? Mariah Carey’s Glitter, which opened at number 11 with $2.4 million, and another faith-based movie, Megiddo: The Omega Code II, which opened with $1.5 million.
The number one movie that weekend in 2011? Hardball, starring Keanu Reeves, which held that spot for the second weekend in a row. Also, for the record, the weekend immediately following 9/11 actually had a bigger box-office gross ($65 million) than this weekend did. Wow.