In her Box Office Plus report for The Early Show, contributor Laurie Hibberd says last week's top film continued to dominate the box office , defying industry expectations, while the low budget "The Banger Sisters" opened with a bang.
"'Barbershop' is definitely benefiting from the two things - good word of mouth and good reviews," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
An ensemble comedy starring Ice Cube as the reluctant owner of his late father's haircutting business, "Barbershop" earned an estimated $13.3 million to clip four newcomers and remain No. 1 at the box office.
Of the new openings, "The Banger Sisters," about the reunion of two former rock groupies, starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon, finished in second place with an estimated $10.3 million.
Targeted at an audience of older women, the film "did very well with that group," said Steve Gilula, of Fox Searchlight Pictures, the film's distributor.
"Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever," a spy thriller featuring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu, earned an estimated $7.11 million, to edge the Heath Ledger-period piece, the highly touted "The Four Feathers," which earned $7.10 million.
The only other new film in release, "Trapped," a kidnapping thriller starring Charlize Theron, Courtney Love and Kevin Bacon, finished in 10th place with an estimated $3.2 million.
"With so many movies opening, it really fragmented the audience. That's why we didn't see any of the newcomers come to the top of the pack," said Dergarabedian.
While the newcomers struggled, it was another consistent week for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which finished in third place, earning an estimated $10 million in its 23rd week of release. So far, it has earned $124 million and is heading for the $150 million mark.
While September is traditionally a slow month for moviegoing, this weekend's $70 million overall box office was up substantially from the same weekend last year when Mariah Carey's lackluster "Glitter" debuted and audiences stayed home to watch an all-star telethon for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"This weekend, by comparison, looks much, much better," Dergarabedian said.
With the release of "Four Feathers," it seems the epic movie is making a slow comeback in Hollywood, a trend that started with the huge success of "Gladiator" two years ago. If studios have their way, moviegoers will be seeing more epics in theaters very soon, Hibberd predicts.
Later this month, audiences can experience the epic masterpiece "Lawrence of Arabia" all over again as a digitally remastered version of the film will be released on its 40th anniversary. Also on the roster are two films based on the life of Alexander the Great, and rumor has it that Vin Diesel will star in an epic based on the life and conquering times of Hannibal.
Epics can bring box office power and even Oscar gold, but these types of movies can also be very risky and often come with a high price tag. That's why most studios rely on star power to drive the film.
In fact, Russell Crowe may reteam with "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott as U.S. diplomat William Eaton in "Tripoli." While Brad Pitt is in talks to star in "Troy."
The top 10 films, according to Hollywood.com are:
- "Barbershop," $13.3 million.
- "The Banger Sisters," $10.3 million.
- "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," $10 million.
- "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever," $7.1 million.
- The Four Feathers," $7.10 million.
- "One Hour Photo," $4.7 3million.
- "Stealing Harvard," $3.5 million (tie).
- "Signs," $3.5 million (tie).
- "Swimfan," $3.45 million.
- "Trapped," $3.2 million.