"The Game Plan" Leads The Box Office

Sunday, October 7th 2007, 6:29 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) There's something about a reunion of Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers that audiences didn't want to see.

Stiller and the Farrellys' ``The Heartbreak Kid'' pulled in a modest $14 million during opening weekend, coming in at No. 2 behind ``The Game Plan,'' which remained the top flick for the second-straight weekend with $16.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Paramount and DreamWorks had expected more from ``The Heartbreak Kid,'' which reteamed Stiller with Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The trio collaborated on 1998's smash ``There's Something About Mary.''

The studios had gotten positive reaction from audiences at advance screenings, but reviews for ``The Heartbreak Kid'' came in much harsher than expected, said DreamWorks spokesman Chip Sullivan.

``We were surprised,'' Chip Sullivan said. ``The reviews hurt us. We love the movie. We've seen it play great. But I think reviews do matter on an R-rated movie.''

An update of the 1972 comedy written by Neil Simon and directed by Elaine May, ``The Heartbreak Kid'' stars Stiller as a man who marries an incompatible bride, then meets the perfect woman on his honeymoon.

``The Heartbreak Kid'' did manage to come in slightly ahead of the $13.7 million first weekend of ``There's Something About Mary,'' which lingered in theaters for months and became one of 1998's top hits at $176.5 million.

Movies hung around longer then, but today's films tend to live or die based on their opening weekends, analysts said. That bodes ill for ``The Heartbreak Kid,'' which would need to hold strongly in coming weeks to make good on its $60-million-plus production budget.

``The shelf life of films is so much shorter today than it was 10 years ago,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. ``You have to make your mark early to sustain yourself in today's marketplace.''

``The Heartbreak Kid'' also played much wider in 3,229 theaters, about 1,000 more than ``There's Something About Mary,'' which still managed to pack in far more viewers.

Based on today's higher ticket prices, ``There's Something About Mary'' pulled in nearly 3 million people over opening weekend, compared to just over 2 million for ``The Heartbreak Kid.''

In limited release, George Clooney's acclaimed legal drama ``Michael Clayton'' opened strongly with $704,000 in 11 theaters, a promising lead-in for the film's nationwide rollout Friday.

Released by Warner Bros., ``Michael Clayton'' stars Clooney as an attorney at a huge Manhattan law firm dealing with personal financial ruin while trying to salvage a class-action case for a corporate client.

Disney's ``The Game Plan,'' a football family tale starring Dwayne ``The Rock'' Johnson, held up strongly in its second weekend, raising its total to $42.8 million.

Overall revenues were down for the third-straight weekend, with the top-12 movies taking in a meager $65.7 million, off 35 percent from the same weekend last year.