With the summer solstice finally arriving in our rear-view mirrors over the weekend, join us in recognizing the first real box-office hits and misses of the season:
1. Get Smart - $39.2 million
The middling-at-best TV adaptation claimed the weekend essentially by default, but it also fell almost $1 million short of the $40 million opening it needed to trigger its principals' rumored sequel clauses. Will Warner Bros. call it even and commission a script by lunch? Is Anne Hathaway renegotiating with her bad-boy paramour for further "publicity consulting" in 2010? Will Steve Carell meet Don Adams at the Get Smart 2 premiere? Only time will tell!
2. Kung Fu Panda - $21.7 million
The ursine pugilist enjoyed one last top-five weekend before Pixar's Wall-E comes along on Friday to show him what true box-office violence looks like.
3. The Incredible Hulk - $21.5 million
It might look underachieving, but don't worry! A 61% drop is exactly the kind of declining potency Bruce Banner has been searching for all these years. In a couple of weeks it'll be like none of this ever happened to him.
4. The Love Guru - $14 million
What more can we say? His karma was huge.
5. The Happening - $10 million
Manoj's Mint experienced an even steeper plunge than Hulk, driving the stroppy writer/director/profit-participant to challenge Mike Myers to a winner-take-all Bad Idea Marketplace showdown in which next weekend's lower performer flees theaters by noon Monday. We hear Paramount is said to be considering it.
Honorable Mention — 16. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - $223,000
A few weeks after its previous release — the foreign-language epic Mongol — opened at $27K per screen, the penultimate Picturehouse film Kit Kittredge swung a staggering $44,600 per-screen average in the five cities where American Girl has retail outlets. That should hopefully make the box-packing around the office feel like it's going a little quicker.