But today, major players in the movie capital were talking about the utter collapse at the box office of Grindhouse, that double-feature from celebrated directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. (I had wondered here if the movie could live up to the Weinsteins’ hype.) Despite decent reviews, the hard “R”-rated pic filled with blood and violence took in just $12 million this weekend — nowhere near even the lowest $20 mil opening predicted (or the $25 mil debut anticipated after midnight sneaks were arranged in major cities). The weekend take was far, far below the openings for, say, Rodriguez’s Sin City ($29.1 mil) or Tarantino’s Kill Bill 1 ($22 mil) and 2 ($25.1 mil). The Weinstein Co. has been plagued by bomb after bomb since its 2005 inception after Miramax founders Harvey and Bob couldn’t come to terms with Disney. The new company had a lot riding on this pic in terms of reputation. (Not to mention money: I hear the real budget for Grindhouse is $67.5 mil though Harvey and Bob were spinning it as low $50s.) But the take of only $5 mil Friday, $4 mil Saturday, and an estimated $2.9 mil Sunday from the 2,624 theaters where the Planet Terror and Death Proof combo (complete with its block of fake movie trailers) is playing, was only good enough for 4th place among the Top 10 movies. Worse, the the box office dropped an unusually large 19% from Friday to Saturday. And its per screen average was anemic, meaning that the pic was playing in near empty venues.
As Nikke Finke concludes, “Instead, this weekend followed 2007’s trend of making family films and PG-13 comedies the favorites at the box office”. That’s not going to be news to Michael Medved and Brent Bozell.