Adam Sandler Takes Box Office Title With Disappointing ‘Funny People’

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CHICAGOAdam Sandler can lay claim to another #1 film with this weekend’s opening of “Funny People,” co-starring Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman, but the box office win was bittersweet as the film failed to deliver either by the standards of its star or even its acclaimed writer/director Judd Apatow.

Adam Sandler stars as George Simmons.
Adam Sandler stars as George Simmons. “
Photo credit: Tracy Bennett and Universal Pictures

According to Box Office Mojo, “Funny People” made $23.4 million over the weekend with a per-screen average of $7,793. They are not horrible numbers by any stretch, but they do fall below industry and studio expectations.

Two years ago, Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” opened with $31 million without the star power of Adam Sandler and even “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” nearly matched the opening of “Funny People” with just over $21 million in 2005.

“Funny People” also fell significantly short when compared to recent Adam Sandler openings. It was his lowest wide opening weekend since “Spanglish” in 2004. Last summer’s “Bedtime Stories” and 2007’s “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” both opened with over $34 million in their first frame.

Word-of-mouth will be essential to the success or failure of “Funny People”. Both of Apatow’s other films thrived for weeks, each producing about five times their opening weekend gross by the end of their run.

Two films that didn’t screen for critics opened this week with “Aliens in the Attic” landing in 5th place with $7.8 million and a per screen average of $2,511. “The Collector” opened on significantly fewer screens and nearly cracked the top ten with an 11th place opening after collecting $3.6 million over its first three days.

In holdover news, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” held on to second place, watching “G-Force” slide by it from first to third. “Potter” dropped only 40% and made $17.7 million for a total of $255.5 million since it opened - the highest total after 19 days for any film in the franchise. The film has made an amazing $660 million worldwide. Domestically, “Potter” is already #4 on the year and seems lvery ikely to make it to #2 overall (behind only the behemoth known as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”).

“G-Force” fell 46% to 17.1 million and has made a very nice $66.5 million in its first ten days. It’s not official, but numbers like this make a sequel to the best 3D guinea pig movie ever made inevitable.

The Ugly Truth” with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler fell 53% in its second weekend with $13 million and a total of $54.5 million in ten days. The third opener from last weekend, “Orphan,” fell 44% to sixth place with a weekend of $7.3 million and $26.8 million to date.

The rest of the top ten were filled out by popular favorites, four films that have been out five weeks or more - “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” ($5.3 million weekend, $181.8 million overall), “The Hangover” ($5.1 million, $255.8 million overall), “The Proposal” ($4.9 million, $148.9 million overall), and “Transformers 2” ($4.6 million, $388.1 million overall).

Adam Sandler is likely to be tackled by “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra,” opening on August 7th on roughly 3,500 screens. Other films likely to appear in the top ten include “Julie & Julia” with Meryl Streep & Amy Adams and “A Perfect Getaway” with Steve Zahn & Milla Jovovich.

1. Funny People - $23.4 million - $23.4 million
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $17.7 million - $255.5 million
3. G-Force - $17.1 million - $66.5 million
4. The Ugly Truth - $13 million - $54.5 million
5. Aliens in the Attic - $7.8 million - $7.8 million
6. Orphan - $7.3 million - $26.8 million
7. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - $5.3 million - $181.8 million
8. The Hangover - $5.1 million - $255.8 million
9. The Proposal - $4.9 million - $148.9 million
10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - $4.6 million - $388.1 million content director Brian Tallerico

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