Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Race to the bottom

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: Race to the bottom

There are some weeks when the January-February dumping ground yields some pleasant surprises—misunderstood films or quirky films that don’t fit in to any ready-for-market boxes. And then there are others, like this past weekend, when the movies are so bad that critics engage in heated arguments over which one was the worst. Going by hyperbole alone, Movie 43 was the clear winner, which is to say loser: Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called it “the Citizen Kane of awful”; New York’s David Edelstein said “It’s rare to see a piece of shit that actually looks and sounds like a piece of shit”; and the New York Post’s Lou Lumenick raved, “If you mashed-up the worst parts of the infamous Howard the Duck, Gigli, Ishtar and every other awful movie I’ve seen since I started reviewing professionally in 1981, it wouldn’t begin to approach the sheer soul-sucking badness of the cringe-inducing Movie 43.”


And yet, according to the review-aggregation site Metacritic, Movie 43, a film destined for cinematic infamy, only scored six points less than the “22” earned by the week’s box-office champion, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. (“Suggests A Knight’s Tale as penned by Seth MacFarland, cheers Slant’s Calum Marsh). But here’s a fine example of why studios dump when they dump: In the middle of summer, Hansel & Gretel would have gotten buried by the more polished blockbusters of the season, but in late January, it only has to beat one of the worst films ever made and another mediocre vehicle for fading action star Jason Statham. At $19 million, the film easily took first while Parker and Movie 43 opened well back in the top 10, in fifth place ($7 million) and seventh place ($5 million), respectively. This leaves the door open for next week’s dregs—the long-delayed Walter Hill/Sylvester Stallone team-up Bullet To The Head and the Twilight wannabe Warm Bodies—to fail their way to glory.

Nothing to report on the indie front. For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.