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Box Office Review: YHWH unamused by Office star

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A few weeks ago in this space, I predicted that Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer would be the big-budget flop of the summer. Turns out I missed it by one week. Evan Almighty tallied a meager 32.1 million dollars at the box office over the weekend--well below already reduced expectations (the ugliest five words a studio chief can ever hear--worse even than "the call girl taped everything"). Considering its budget was somewhere between 175 and 210 million dollars (depending on who you believe), Evan Almighty should prove to be the summer's #1 bust. Its prospects are further dimmed by the fact that the next couple weeks bring Ratatoille, Live Free or Die Hard and Transformers--all of which are tracking very well.

In second place, 1408 appears to have squeaked out a victory over Fantastic Four, but their respective totals are close enough (20.175M vs. 20.150M) that their positions may switch once the revised final numbers are released. After that, it's Ocean's Thirteen (11.3M, 91M), the sturdy Knocked Up (10.6M, 109M), Pirates 3 (7.2M, 287M), the underrated Surf's Up (6.7M, 47M), Shrek 3 (5.7M, 308M), Nancy Drew (4.5M, 16M) and A Mighty Heart (a stillborn 4M opening). The hottest picture this weekend turned out to be Sicko which averaged a massive $70,000 per screen (Evan Almighty, by contrast, brought in only 8900 per). Of course, Sicko was only playing on one screen in New York, but it goes wide later this week and should do spectacular-for-a-documentary business. Michael Moore is now a guaranteed box office star. He's doing MI:4 next.

On the indie front, You Kill Me posted a good but not great $7,000 per screen (247K overall). Broken Englishwas a little better at $8000 per screen (56K). La Vie en Rose actually grew 11.6% this week, bringing in 737K to up its cume to 3.8M. It should prove to be enough of a hit to generate a large enough profile to garner awards attention for the exquisite Marion Cotillard (cynical, but true). Waitress and Once continue to be steady earners in their 8th weeks of release. Waitress is a bona fide hit now with a total gross of 15.7M and Sundance darling Once has pushed across 3.2M in sales. The sad sack of the week was the awful DOA: Dead or Alive which pulled in only $224 dollars a theater. Ouch. Luckily, Devon Aoki is a rich heiress.

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Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures