But the critical flogging didn’t matter. “Battle” won the weekend box office , with $36 million. What other films deserve congratulations (or condolences) for their weekend performances? Let’s find out, then run down the top five finishers of the week.
Aliens: That strong performance for “Battle: Los Angeles” suggests that, despite the lackluster ticket sales for recent alien movies like “I Am Number Four” and “Skyline,” extra-terrestrial invasion flicks still hold some appeal. This is good news for J.J. Abrams (director of the upcoming “Super 8”) and Jon Favreau (director of “Cowboys & Aliens,” also due out this summer).
“Rango”: The animated Johnny Depp western was knocked out of the top spot. But it held pretty strong in second place, making an additional $23 million for a total gross of $68.6 million so far.
Adam Sandler: While you were busy living your life, Sandler’s latest, “Just Go With It,” has spent the past five weeks earning more than $93 million. Even though it’s dropped in the weekend rankings (down to No. 8), it looks likely to cross the $100 million threshhold soon, which would make it the 12th Sandler movie to do so.
“Jane Eyre”: The latest Jane Austen-inspired adaptation opened in only a handful of theaters (four, to be exact) but made $182,000, for a per-screen average of $45,500. So the interest in Jane and her Mr. Rochester is still strong, if not in blockbuster territory.
“Mars Needs Moms”: The Disney cartoon, based on the book by Berke Breathed, had the week’s most dismal opening. It came in fifth place with a truly anemic $6.8 million out of the gate, especially considering the film’s reported $150 million production budget. Foiled by “Rango,” perhaps?
Catherine Hardwicke, Amanda Seyfriend and everyone involved in “Red Riding Hood”: This update of the fairy tale about a girl who is clueless enough to believe the promises of a wolf received even more savage reviews than “Battle: Los Angeles.” (“My, critics, what big fingers you have.” “The better to type about how terrible your movie is, my dear.”) That bad reception, coupled with a marketing campaign that clearly didn’t win over the coveted teen girl demographic, led to a third place opening for “Red,” and modest revenues of $14.1 million. Which is not good, but still better than “Mars Needs Moms.”
Film critics: Perhaps this should be a standing source for condolences at this point. But once again, scatching reviews from the critical community — this time for “Battle: Los Angeles” — had no impact on a movie’s box office success. What’s more, those reviews seem to be completely disconnected from audience response; the Cinemascore rating for “Battle,” based on reviews from ticket-buyers, was a B. Are critics too harsh, or are moviegoers too accepting of lousy films? Discuss among yourselves.
Now here are your top five movies of the weekend, based on studio projections:
1. “Battle: Los Angeles” — $36 million
2. “Rango” — $23 million
3. “Red Riding Hood” — $14.1 million
4. “The Adjustment Bureau” — $11.4 million
5. “Mars Needs Moms” — $6.8 million
And here’s your opportunity to predict next week’s box office winner via our weekly online poll: