Film Weekend Location average gross Total
1 Couples Retreat $35,340,000 $11,780 $35,340,000
2 Zombieland $15,000,000 (-39.4%) $4,937 $47,801,000
3 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs $12,000,000 (-24.1%) $4,011 $96,251,000
4 Toy Story Double Feature $7,674,000 (-38.6%) $4,380 $22,676,000
5 Paranormal Activity $7,066,000 (+1,227.6%) $44,440 $8,280,000
6 Surrogates $4,115,000 (-43.2%) $1,375 $32,573,000
7 The Invention of Lying $3,370,000 (-52.0%) $1,933 $12,327,000
8 Whip It $2,800,000 (-39.8%) $1,611 $8,766,000
9 Capitalism: A Love Story $2,700,000 (-39.3%) $2,714 $9,095,000
10 Fame $2,556,000 (-44.8%) $822 $20,042,000


There are a lot of things going against Couple Retreat. For one, it’s a film about relationship difficulties. Which almost makes it a remake of a French farce or some shit. It’s hard to make a date night of a film that raises such issues. Then again, this looks to be a bullshitty film. So it’s possible no actual emotional notes or thoughts of anything resembling something real happen in the film. Plus it’s got Peter Serafinowicz! He’s awesome. He was Darth Maul once. He said a couple lines of dialogue for him, at least. Then he got his own TV show and shit. Any way (he’s awesome), Couple Retreat could have shit the bed, but considering it was the only release this week, plus the ongoing appeal of Vince Vaughn, BOOM, you get this opening. But here’s the thing: This move has a reported budget of $70 Million. Think about that. Meditate on that. Have a date with that, but then suggest you thought you would just be friends. Don’t know how that exactly works that you pay $70 for that film, but holy crap. Retreat will likely make $100 with such an opening, but still that’s a lot of money for a film like this. The film is slightly a payoff for Peter Billingsley, Jon Favreau’s production partner, and old school friend of both of the Swingers. The fact that the picture will eventually make money is icing, cake-style.

But the two big stories this weekend are that Zombieland is still playing (the lesser story of the two) and that Paranormal Activity is a “holy shit boom! whoa.” All those Blair Witch Project comparisons are about to blow up again, because on 159 screens, PA broke into the top five. Which means the marketing push is about to also blow up like whoa. Paramount sat on the film for nearly two years, but here we are. Huge success. And that time passed quickly. All things. And now the film has grossed $8 Million, on its way to gross at least $40. That’s the low end of it, but next weekend, when it goes wide? It’s not going to triple its gross this weekend or anything. This is the big weekend, it should do more business next weekend (at least $10 Million, we’ll say), but then it’ll fall off. The film was cheap, and everyone comes out a winner. Much like Zombieland, which has paid for itself at this point. Making it to $100 is not totally out of the question, but definitely a stretch. If there’s any leveling out next week, then it could happen. But a likely $80 Million dollar gross is a huge win for everyone.

Cloudy opened and played, and seems to have weathered Toy Story. With the limited engagement factor of TS, perhaps Cloudy will recoup some 3-D screens eventually. Then again, in another week, you get a reissue of Nightmare Before Christmas. Cloudy is hitting the nine digits, but again – with such an expense – the film will likely be a win more in theory than practice. Such is not the worst thing.

The Invention of Lying doesn’t appear to be as wounded as Whip It. Strange that. A couple extra million will do that, but both will haunt basic cable for a very, very long time. Both will find their audience, which will respond, eventually. Whereas Surrogates will look around, turn, and then sit down. Ain’t no one going to treat Surrogates to a table dance. Ain’t no one going to get freaky nasty with that film. Just like Fame. These are films that came out around this time for a reason, and that reason is that they have to come out, and won’t hurt their collective studios too much. Sure, people are disappointed these films didn’t have more junk in their collective trunks, but at this juncture, the grieving process has moved into acceptance. 

Capitalism is playing well, all things, but Michael Moore is going to have to get into a fistfight with Bill O’Reilly to become the center of attention. Everyone knows what to expect with him, and so this film does well, all things. But Sicko got to $25 million, and this might do just a bit better. Nothing to be ashamed at considering the normal grosses of documentaries. Next week brings more films, including Where the Wild Things Are. Excitement.