Hollywood is in a cycle once again where it’s buzzing about the lack of true starpower at the movies. It’s a cyclical debate about whether there really any true stars who can open movies anymore. Well, if July’s box office is any indicator, there certainly are. Hampered by a difficult title and a scatterbrain marketing campaign, Jay Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks” top the box office Friday with $8.4 million largely due to the presence of one man: Steve Carell.
“The Office” star doesn’t make the gossip sites or create unneeded on set drama, but instead continues to rack up hit after hit after hit. He’s not on the box office level of Will Smith yet, but Carell seems guaranteed to at least provide a $20-30 million opening for a solid comedy. And based on projections from Friday’s “Schmucks” debut, he’ll reach that again with a $23-25 million three-day for “Schmucks.” Unfortunately, the Paramount Pictures comedy may not hold the top spot for long.
Currently knocked to No. 2, but not far behind with $8.2 million is the Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster “Inception.” The critically acclaimed thriller was down under 40% from the previous Friday, a superb hold, and has grossed $175 million in just 15 days. There is a strong chance it will edge “Schmucks” by Sunday is to reclaim the weekend crown.
Another star vehicle, Angelina Jolie’s “Salt,” fell to $5.9 million on Friday for an eight-day gross of $57 million. The Philip Noyce thriller should make anywhere from $18-20 million for the three day. That’s solid, but the Sony Pictures release looks like it will end up with no more than Jolie’s last action flick, “Wanted,” which ended up with $134 million two years ago.
Among other debuts, Zac Efron’s “Charlie St. Cloud” found the fourth slot with $5.6 million and what could also be an $18-20 million frame. That’s actually a surprisingly strong result based on pre-release tracking and negative reviews for the mildly supernatural melodrama.
More disturbing was the dismal $4.3 million first day gross or “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.” A sequel that never should have been greenlit, the family skewing comedy will be lucky to hit $15 million for the three-day.
Look for complete weekend box office estimates tomorrow on HitFix.