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Hey, Hollywood, guess what? Not giving away the kitchen sink in the trailers actually works! Or at least, that’s the lesson we’ve learned this weekend after J.J. Abrams’ secretive sci-fi movie “Super 8″ took the top spot at the box office with a better than expected $37 million dollar opening, according to studio estimates. The $50 million movie entered theaters without any stars that includes a mostly unknown kid cast, with only writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg as its marquee names. But that didn’t stop the film from turning in a good (but not great) $12 million on Fridays, only to do even better on Saturday with $14 million.
Of course, it helped that “Super 8″ didn’t have any real competition this weekend, with the only other major studio release being Relativity’s “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer”, based on the series of books by Megan McDonald. The film, which stars Heather Graham, opened in the sixth spot with $6 million. Not really a bummer opening for Judy Moody, since the film was made for a relatively cheap $20 million dollars. It should eventually do reasonably well on DVD with the kids, so I wouldn’t rule out a sequel.
Last weekend’s #1, Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” fell to second place, adding an additional $25 million to its coffers and giving it $98 million so far in two weeks of release. Worldwide, the film has earned $173 million, more than surpassing the film’s estimated $160 million budget. Which should make Fox happy, especially considering the less-than-thrilling numbers from the movie’s opening weekend, when it looked as if, despite stellar reviews, “First Class” could end up being a commercial disappointment.
“The Hangover II” has jumped to $368 million worldwide so far, proving that you don’t have to be original to make money at the box office. Hell, you can do the exact same thing, in fact. Just as Todd Phillips and company. Meanwhile, Jack Sparrow’s box office clout remains as strong as ever, with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” quietly chugging towards the $1 billion mark. The movie currently stands at $823 million worldwide, with a whopping $614 of that coming from foreign ticket sales. “On Stranger Tides” has already surpassed the original, which topped off with $654 million, and should probably overtake both “Dead Man’s Chest” ($1,066) and “At World’s End” ($963 million) eventually. And you wonder why Disney is already making noise about a fifth and sixth movie.