In some ways she is! Lady knows how to open a movie, we'll give her that. She reigned supreme in an otherwise lackluster post-holiday weekend, mostly while we wait for the true fall releases (The Town, Friday) to enterain us.
1) Resident Evil: Afterlife — $27.7M
After life there is... another Resident Evil movie! Yes after Apocalypse came Extinction, followed by Afterlife, and next there will be... what? Reincarnation? Which will be a soft-focus Buddhist romp through Southeast Asia? Eat Pray Kill Loves of Fucking Zombie Dogs: Ali Larter Edition? These movies are pretty damn unstoppable, even though its original audience has aged some eight years since the movie franchise (based on the videogame franchise, based on the real-life franchise of a drunken policewoman who thought teenagers were "zombies" and College Park, MD was some place called "Raccoon City" [to be fair, there are lots of raccoons there]) they keep coming back for more digitized gore and Matrix-style slo-mo kick-fighting. Eight years! So little 14-year-old Jax or Jayden or Jakib is now a strapping young man of 22, flush with opportunity, Dennison degree clutched in hand, sitting dull and pond-eyed in some cubicle, typing out spreadsheets and making cold sales calls, voice raspy from a night out at P.J. Finnegan's Potato-Taco Bar & Grille. These are the movies of his generation, of his youth, and he is reluctant to let them go. Maybe his tastes will someday mature — James Ivory's A Room With a View of Zombies — after he's settled and finally, shruggingly, resignedly married Ashlee and moved to a tract home forty minutes from, well, anything, but for now he's still having fun. Which is probably just fine.
2) Takers — $6.1M
Wow, that's a big gulf between movies 1 and 2, huh? To be fair, the Takers audience is almost assuredly the exact same as the Resident Evil audience, and who can afford to go to two movies in one weekend? Still, with a $48m three-week haul and a $32m budget, you can guess that there might be some sort of sequel or follow-up or knockoff in the future. Grabbers. Or Obtainers. Or my personal favorite, Yoinkers. "Yoink?" "Yoink." We really should spend more time calling movies such simple, wonderful things. Why this summer alone we had Killers and Takers. Maybe a romantic comedy called Marriers. A science-fiction movie called Abductors. A period drama called Turns-About-the-Roomers. These movies could all do very well.
3) The American — $5.9M
Well that's more like it! Last week Chairman Clooney's American apology movie did boffo biz. But this week, after suffering fittingly bad word of mouth, it plummeted 55%. That's what you get for thinking that people want to watch some moody New Wave movie about a "Bad American" doing mean, unjustified things to saintly foreign people. Clooney's next movie might as well be about an American guy who runs around the Middle East bowing to people! This is why I can't wait for divinely-chosen presidential candidate Mitt Romney's movie version of his book No Apology, starring a dashing young actor named Richard Greco as the future president, running around Europe and Other Europe smacking people in the mouth and yelling "American greatness!" as he jumps out the window and catches the landing skid of a red, white, and blue helicopter and flies off toward the shining City on the Hill.
5) Going the Distance — $3.8M
Not so good. Somehow this movie cost $32M to make. How is that possible? Are Christina Applegate's fees really that high? (Not that they shouldn't be necessarily, but y'know.) Does Jim Gaffigan demand a new diamond-encrusted trailer every day? I mean, I understand that movies cost money and that Drew Barrymore probably isn't bargain-basement, but $32m?? That's a lotta scratch for a movie about people getting BBQ sauce on their faces. (Based on the trailers that's about all I can understand this movie to be about. That and dining room tables. It's a food movie.) I think someone needs to look at the books on this one and make sure that Jason Sudeikis didn't earmark a bunch of money for "January Jones grooming fees" or "Search-and-rescue team for when 'J. Jones' inevitably gets lost in the woods" or something. Because $32m is a lot of money and it doesn't look like anyone's making it back any time soon.
41) Animal Kingdom — $122K
I spend a lot of time making fun of movies that are bad and stuff, so here's one that's good. I saw it a few weeks ago and it is tense and creepy and a little weird and well-acted. It's only playing in 61 theaters across this great nation of ours (sorry, Raccoon City), but if you get a chance, go sees it! It's about Australian gangsters and you only kind of wish for subtitles for the crazy accents for the first few minutes, then you get used to them. Oh, and the music is really great. So, yeah. Go see it if you can. And if you live in Raccoon City, what the hell are you doing there? Get outta there! Zombies!