Only by crazily overpriced blockbuster standards could a $32.1 million opening weekend be considered a disaster, but Evan Almighty—the poorly received $175 million follow-up to the popular Jim Carrey vehicle Bruce Almighty—appears to be the first major casualty of the summer. Despite Universal's efforts to use the film's overt Biblical themes to tap into Passion Of The Christ cash, the busloads of Christian moviegoers expected to give the film a boost were not enough to overcome secular apathy. Despite opening #1, Evan grossed less than half the $68 collected by Bruce Almighty on its opening weekend and looks to fade fast with Die Hard 4 and Ratatouille on the immediate horizon.
But the big surprise this weekend wasn't Evan Almighty's tepid performance so much as the horror film 1408's surprisingly robust $20.2 million opening, which was good enough for second. The Stephen King adaptation performed better than any King adaptation has in the past, and it represents a major victory for its embattled distributors, MGM and the Weinstein Company, which have both been in desperate need of a hit. It also might mark the beginning of the end for the "torture porn" genre represented by the underperforming Hostel: Part II and perhaps a return to more classical ghost stories.
In other good news for the Weinsteins (and co-distributor Lionsgate), its single screen opening of Michael Moore's Sicko brought in an unseemly $70,000 on one screen in New York. Should it perform comparably well when it rolls out to 2,000+ screens on Friday, it stands to make $140 million next weekend alone! (How's that for realistic extrapolation?)
More detailed numbers at Box Office Mojo.