Title Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Fast and Furious $72,508,000 $20,950 $72,508,000
2 Monsters Vs. Aliens $33,510,000 (-43.5%) $8,155 $105,700,000
3 The Haunting in Connecticut $9,550,000 (-58.5%) $3,496 $37,240,000
4 Knowing $8,130,000 (-44.7%) $2,447 $58,204,000
5 I Love You, Man $7,850,000 (-38.1%) $2,775 $49,287,000
6 Adventureland $6,010,000 $3,228 $6,010,000
7 Duplicity $4,300,000 (-44.0%) $1,705 $32,376,000
8 Race to Witch Mountain $3,351,000 (-42.2%) $1,186 $58,388,000
9 12 Rounds $2,300,000 (-56.8%) $987 $9,022,000
10 Sunshine Cleaning  $1,879,000 (+47.5%)  $3,923  $4,775,000

This just in: Roger Friedman’s resume. Highlights include: Fellating Harvey Weinstein, openness to new technologies.

When the story of 2009’s box office is written (but who would read such a thing?) the theme of successes will likely be similar. And that theme is comfort food. When The Fast and the Furious opened in 2001 it was a surprise hit, partly because it seemed fresh to have a muscle car movie. Vin Diesel had blown up at that point, and was too busy making other films to appear in the second film, so Paul Walker carried that, and even Walker didn’t bother with the third film. And so the forth film – which didn’t even bother to include a number – is the first time the band got back together. For that the audience turned the fuck out. I thought the sequels would have poisoned the well, but it had a great series of TV spots and trailers, so the audience was excited and the film should likely play strong into Wolverine. I remember in 2001, Universal (with The Mummy Returns and Jurassic Park III and American Pie 2) thought The Fast and the Furious was their B picture of the season. It ended up doing $144, and that’s something this film should surpass, although perhaps not by too much. Next week doesn’t have much to stand in its way, so it will probably retain the top spot. There is the possibility that this is an opening weekend picture, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t tumble just 40%. The audience seems to have left satisfied.

But they didn’t turn out for Adventureland. At best the film was going to do around $10 Million, but what looks to be a tale of summer love and wacky SNL hijinks did not find its marketing hook to make it the spring Superbad. And that’s disappointing, but again, it looked to be more than just sex-romping, so I’m not surprised that audiences weren’t as primed.

The Haunting in Connecticut is playing strong even with a near 60% drop, and should get over $50, while I guess it won’t be until next week that I Love You, Man laps Knowing. Summit is an interesting company with one gold mine spelled Vampire Baseball, and you’ve got to give them credit for selling this movie. Especially considering Bangkok Dangerous, and any number of shitty Nicholas Cage films. I Love You, Man isn’t a break-out hit, but it’s playing and should coast for a bit, with $70 ish likely satisfying for what it is.

The listed budget of Monsters Vs. Aliens is $175, and though it’s already over $100, it’s likely to just match its production budget. Is that a success? With a film like this international and home video will likely be stronger, so there’s that, but I don’t know how it’s that much better than what Watchmen has been doing. Watchmen, though, hasn’t stopped dropping 60%, so there is a greater sense of audience rejection. Duplicity is a non-starter, and never found its audience, while Race to Witch Mountain looks to be a base hit at best. Still, better than 12 Rounds. Sunshine Cleaning has been on a slow expansion, so it cracked the top ten, but this is as good as it gets. Next week we get Observe and Report. That’s something.