'Grudge' Budges in Popularity

by Brandon Gray
Misako Uno and Takako Fuji in The Grudge 2
October 16, 2006

Most horror pictures are about cheap thrills, and movie producers get what they pay for—an ephemeral effect with young audiences that rarely sustains a second picture.

Such was the case with The Grudge 2, which abated to $20.8 million from 4,100 screens at 3,211 theaters. The $20 million Japanese horror remake paled in comparison to its predecessor's $39.1 million opening two years ago and joins the ranks of The Ring Two and last weekend's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning among disappointing horror sequels.

Though The Grudge 2 floundered in the top spot, overall business rose 26 percent over the same frame last year, courtesy, in part, of solid holds by The Departed and Open Season. The third-ranked picture, Man of the Year, grossed more than last year's No. 1, The Fog.

The Grudge 2 drew nearly half of its weekend gross on Friday the 13th alone, and The Departed reclaimed first place on Saturday and Sunday. According to distributor Sony's research, The Grudge 2's audience was 52 percent female and 54 percent under 21 years old.

The Departed declined 29 percent to $19 million for $57 million in 10 days. Director Martin Scorsese's crime drama had a better second-weekend hold than such similarly-themed pictures as Training Day, Collateral and Cop Land.

Robin Williams in Man of the Year
Man of the Year tallied $12.3 million at 2,515 venues, a pedestrian start for a high profile political satire though comparable to Dave, Wag the Dog and Bulworth adjusted for ticket price inflation. Distributor Universal Pictures' exit polling indicated that the audience was 66 percent over 25 and evenly split between genders.

Boiling down to generic mockery of the state of politics, Man of the Year's marketing emphasized tired jokes and lacked a strong point of view—this sort of movie thrives on the principled protagonist, like in a Frank Capra picture. Ads also presented a subdued version of comedian Robin Williams, instead of heralding "Mr. Williams Goes to Washington." The non-committal stand on the issues and the comedy did not give moviegoers a compelling reason to see the picture.

Meanwhile, The Marine, featuring wrestler John Cena leaping from numerous exploding buildings, mustered a feeble $7.1 million at 2,545 sites. The 20th Century Fox-released action picture was produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, which saw its previous wrestler vehicle, horror See No Evil, pinned out of the gate as well.

Christian-themed and produced One Night with the King captured a modest $4.1 million at 909 theaters, or about the same as the last widely-released Christian picture, End of the Spear. One Night with the King sprang from 8X Entertainment, which first blipped the radar with The Omega Code on this same weekend in 1999. Also on the Christian front, Facing the Giants, a micro-budget football drama, held well in limited release, down 16 percent for $4.1 million in 17 days.

In limited release, The Queen reigned again with $1 million at 46 venues, averaging $22,227 per site. On the other hand, Infamous, the second dramatization of Truman Capote and the writing of In Cold Blood in a year, flopped in its debut with $452,966 at 179 locations.

• Review - Man of the Year
• Review - Infamous
• 10/9/06 - 'Departed' Out-Muscles 'Massacre'
• 10/17/05 - 'Fog' Tops Soggy Weekend
• 3/21/05 - 'Ring Two' Opens Well
• 10/25/04 - 'Grudge' Grabs No. 1

Weekend Box Office Results
Showdown: 'Grudge' Match
Political Satires
Christian Movies

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, Oct. 15 and was revised on Monday, Oct. 16 with actual grosses.

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> MORE: News | Features
WEEKEND: Weekend Estimates, 'It: Chapter 2' #1
DAILY: Friday Estimates, 'Hustlers' #1
WEEKLY: 'It: Chapter Two' Tops the Week with $18.3m
DAILY: Thursday 9/12, (51 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 9/11 (39 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 9/10 (40 tracked)
New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 9/9 (39 tracked)