Spring is typically a dumping ground for studios to release their weakest fare, and 2010 has mostly continued this unfortunate trend, though two new films did break through and crack the top 10 on the AME weekend movie chart**. The family flick Diary of a Wimpy Kid bowed at No. 2 on the box-office chart, grossing a muscular $21.8 million—all the more impressive given its $15 million budget. Reviews were mixed, though, and word of mouth (6.2 rating among IMDB users) was below average.
Opening on just 39 screens, Hubble 3D nonetheless managed to debut at No. 8 on the AME chart. The IMAX film, which is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and chronicles the efforts of seven astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, was the week’s highest-rated film among IMDB users. It also received outstanding reviews (79 tomatometer, No. 4 among the box-office top 20) en route to grossing $11K per screen—the highest per-theatre average among the B.O. top 20.
Faced with a weak slate of movies, Avatar topped the AME chart for a ridiculous 14th week. It fell just one slot on the box-office chart to No. 8, and was the week’s best-reviewed film according to Metacritic. (Crazy Heart was the week’s highest-reviewed movie as measured by Rotten Tomatoes.)
Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart as trailblazing rocker Joan Jett, opened in limited release (244 screens) with so-so results. Critical response was above average, with the pic tallying a 63 Metacritic score (No. 6). Audience reaction was so-so, though, with IMDB users rating it a 7.0, good for No. 10 for the weekend. Grossing $803,000, Runaways eked its way into the B.O. top 20.
Despite a talented cast including Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, the action sci-fi pic Repo Men debuted with a thud, with its 29 Metacritic score making it the week’s worst-reviewed film according to the site. Word of mouth wasn’t much better (6.3 IMDB, No. 13), and box office was also weak, with Repo Men grossing a measly $6.2 million.
Finally, The Bounty Hunter proved that looks can only take you so far, scoring an awful 8 tomatometer score (dead last for the week) and a 4.9 IMDB user rating (next to last). Alas, moviegoers still coughed up $21 million to see what sort of chemistry Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler could conjure up in this romantic comedy. (View red carpet photos from The Bounty Hunter and Runaways premieres.)
The AME weekend movie chart for March 19-21, 2010:
1) Avatar (1)
2) Shutter Island (2)
3) Ghost Writer (5T)
4) Alice in Wonderland (5T)
5T) Crazy Heart (4)
5T) Green Zone (3)
7) Diary of a Wimpy Kid (NR)
8) Hubble 3D (NR)
9) The Crazies (8)
10) She’s Out of My League (10)
Follow Ryan at http://twitter.com/ATLFilmExaminer.
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3) Weekend movie report: Green Zone, The Hurt Locker fight way onto charts; Remember Me fizzles
**Tired of reading about the latest dumb action flick, lame gross-out comedy dumbed-down romance that took home the box office crown? Wish the media balanced screaming headlines about box office winners with more stories about “the top reviewed films” or the “films audiences loved the most”?
I’m with ya. And that’s why I’ve devised the Atlanta Movies Examiner (AME) weekend movie chart, a new ranking system (see list above) that combines critics’ reviews, audience response and, yes, box office to deliver a comprehensive list of what’s hot in theaters in each weekend. (The previous week’s chart position is listed in parentheses after the film title.)