Burn After Reading Ignites a Box Office Fire

Burn After Reading‘Burn after Reading’ ignites $19.4 starring Clooney, Pitt Burn DeNiro, Pacino at Weekend Box Office

By Keith Williams

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 9/15/08 – Restoring much-needed heat to a frigid box office, “Burn After Reading”, the new comedy from the Coen Brothers ignited an estimated $19.4 million at 2651 gyms to narrowly beat Tyler Perry’s latest, The Family That Preys taking $18 million from 2070 domestic squabbles. Both Righteous Kill – the De Niro/Pacino mix n’match – and The Women collected returns that were welcome, but neither spectacular nor encouraging.

Fresh from their success at the Oscars earlier this year, the Coen Brothers unleashed their latest, Burn After Reading to general critical acclaim and their best opening yet. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich among the lads, and Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton representing the gals, the political comedy fared much better than previous attempts at arch humour by both director and stars alike. Intolerable Cruelty couldn’t cut it, as could the Coen’s ill-fated remake of The Ladykillers. Second weekend returns should indicate how funny audiences actually thought this turned out to be.

Going straight (i.e. its writer/director – and not in drag), Tyler Perry scored a respectable figure for The Family That Preys, even if it wasn’t amongst his best – Medea’s Family Reunion takes that honor with an opening of $30 million. Strictly an American phenomenon, Perry is virtually unknown in the UK (as most of the rest of the world, one suspects) but for largely urban African American audiences, he’s the Man (or Woman) and represents a dependable source of income for LionsGate.

The long-awaited reunion of de Niro and Pacino, together, in one film, not just one scene (see Heat), resulted in Righteous Kill taking an estimated $16.5 million in 3152 shoot-outs. An air of dreariness seems to hang over this buzz-less movie, and were it not for the presence of two mega stars of the 70’s and 80’s, might have sailed straight past video en route to torrent download. In contrast, the remake of George Cukor’s The Women returned $10 million at 2962 dinner parties, an okay figure given its credit crunch budget, but nowhere near the suburbs of the other mega-performing chick flicks of the summer, Sex and the City, and Mamma Mia! Withering reviews couldn’t have helped, but maybe attendances weren’t so sharp due to their target audiences having heard of SATC and MM! but not having a clue, or any interest in the remake of a Hollywood Classic too old to register on even their must-see LoveFilm lists.

Fifth position in the top ten went to The House Bunny with $4.3 million, beating Tropic Thunder by 200 grand. The Anna Faris comedy has now taken a total of $42 million, and the Ben Stiller satire $102 million. Pineapple Express in comparison has accumulated a grand haul to date of $86 million, proving laffs (genuine ones, that is) scored big at the box-office in a year devoid of them in reality.

Elsewhere in the Top Ten, The Dark Knight batted another $4 million on a 27% drop, while Bangkok Dangerous evaporated by 69% to extort $2.4 million from unsuspecting punters. Traitor found itself betrayed by a 50% fall-rate to take $2.1 million, leaving Death Race at the bottom of the top ten, slowing by 45% to a $2 million finishing line.

Weekend Estimates – boxofficemojo.com

SOURCE: Hollywood Today