It's practically a fundamental law of nature: movies based on video games are awful, awful, awful. The only exception is if you happen to be an irrationally devoted fan of a particular video game in which case anyone who doesn't declare the movie a masterpiece is clearly part of some vast conspiracy. Well this week was no different.
Max Payne rolled out. Critics and general audiences in general hated it. Irrational fans came out in its defense. And somehow the movie made its way all the way to the top of weekend box office anyway. Fortunately for Mark Wahlberg and Payne's producers, the film only had a $35 million budget meaning that the $18 million it earned this weekend is a solid sign the movie will eventually end up turning a profit. Great for them. Bad for audiences. Max Payne 2 won't be far away.
Payne was the only new movie this weekend with the pull to top those awful talking rat dogs. Beverly Hills Chihuahua dropped to second place and took in $11.2 million giving it a grand total of almost $70 million to date. Right behind in a very close third place was the celebrated Secret Life of Bees.
Just behind that was Oliver Stone's Bush biopic W.. With all the attention turned away from the current presidential administration and onto who will win the next one, few Americans were interested in shelling out to see it. With only $10 million this weekend, Stone is going to have to hope the international crowd isn't as tired of hearing about the President as people here at home.
In a very distant ninth place this weekend was the latest raunch-com Sex Drive. $3.5 million was all the film could muster, leaving the film in a tough place to try and recover its almost $20 million budget.
That makes a lot of movies this month struggling to be profitable, following suit with a year where the film industry is having a rough time keeping up with last year's sales. Hollywood's taking a hit right along with everyone else this year and if their past tactics are any indication you can expect them to stick to their favorite strategy to deal with the problem: higher ticket prices.