Never underestimate the power of September. It's one of two times during the year where studios send their movies to die, or at the very least suffer. Last week's abysmal box office performance left all the new releases in a lurch. This weekend wasn't much prettier.
Whether you want to call him The Rock or Dwayne Johnson, he hasn't yet reached the status of "bankable" star. Gridiron Gang isn't helping much with that image. The movie brought in $15 million and marks the lowest opening for a movie headlined by the wrestler-turned-actor. The Black Dahlia suffered a small slaying of its own, only making $10.3 million.
The summer movie that missed the boat, animated baseball adventure Everyone's Hero was rained out, opening with only $6.1 million. Zach Braff's The Last Kiss took the last place among the newcomers, taking in a depressing $4.7 million. With a reported margin of only $2000 between that and last week's number one The Covenant, I wouldn't be surprised to see it drop a notch to the number five spot.
Artie Lange's Beer League took a test drive in 164 theaters this weekend but got only a tepid reception with $320,000 ($,1951 per theater). Luke-warm beer isn't an easy sell, so don't look for this one to be expanded to a theater near you. I can't imagine yet another version of John Lennon's tragic story being any more interesting that Artie Lange drinking beer, but The U.S. vs. John Lennon made about $12,000 per theater in its 6 venues. It's a good indicator that Lions Gate's plans to expand its release in two weeks may be substantial.
The September punishment continues next week...literally. The star studded All The King's Men, WWI pilot drama Flyboys, and Jet Li's Fearless will open. Any of those would be worthier number one film's than the movie that's getting the biggest send off. The major release will be Jackass: Number Two, opening in 3,000 theaters. It makes me ill to say it, but Number Two will likely be number one next weekend, especially if it recreates the success of its predecessor. The original Jackass bilked the dumbest America has to offer out of $22.7 million on its opening weekend.