On a relatively routine weekend at the box office, when no film took in more than $40 million let alone $140 mil and grosses were off about 7 percent from a year ago, Ocean's Thirteen rolled the dice and came up No. 1.
The franchise flick grossed $37.1 mil, according to Sunday's estimates, a notch below the fall-season debuts of both 2001's Ocean's Eleven ($38.1 mil) and 2004's Ocean's Twelve ($39.2 mil). So, while its opening didn't crap out by any means, the George Clooney-Brad Pitt vehicle (which earned an okay B+ CinemaScore review from audiences) ever so slightly failed to live up to reasonable expectations. Nonetheless, the fact that it drew a crowd dominated by women and folks over age 25 means that it stands a chance of quadrupling its winnings to match O12's $125.5 mil domestic total. I'd say the odds are, oh, about 4-1 on that bet.
Moving from casino metaphors to the swashbuckling kind, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (No. 2) continued its steady walk off the plank, dropping 52 percent to earn $21.3 mil. In three weeks, the pirate picture has brought in $253.6 mil, landing it at No. 38 on the all-time domestic earners chart. But will it approach the $423.3 mil made by its predecessor, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? Aaaaargh no! Johnny Depp & Co. must depend on their overseas adventures to find their bounty this time; and, already, they've grossed half a billion doubloons there. Back at home, the domestic comedy Knocked Up (No. 3) continued to delight audiences, dropping a mere 35 percent in its second weekend to earn $20 mil. The fertile Seth Rogen-Katherine Heigl sex farce has parented a $66.2 mil gross so far, with the $100 mil mark now easily in view.
The same cannot be said, however, for the weekend's other major debuts. The CG penguin pic Surf's Up drowned at No. 4 with a waterlogged $18 mil. That's in line with the hugely disappointing $18.8 mil bow that befell major money loser Flushed Away late last year, and, certainly, it's waves behind the $121.6 mil debut of this summer's animated big kahuna Shrek the Third (No. 5), which banked another $15.8 mil this weekend. Meanwhile, on the other side of the genre spectrum, the gornographic/torture/horror sequel Hostel Part II died a ghastly death, totaling a mere $8.8 mil at No. 6 more than $10 mil less than what the original Hostel opened with last year. Now, that's what I call pain.