I enjoyed “Snakes” and I also saw “Little Miss Sunshine” and that film was spectacular!!

“Snakes” Down the Drain?
Apparently moviegoers had enough of the mother-bleepin’ hype about the mother-bleepin’ snakes on that mother-bleepin’ plane.
Despite a year of blog-fueled fanatacism that spilled over into the mainstream media in recent weeks, Snakes on a Plane didn’t exactly sink its fangs into the box office, slithering in with a less than expected $15.2 million, according to final studio figures Monday.
While that was enough to top the weekend ticket sales, the $15.2 million tallied by the New Line release includes late-night Thursday business of $1.4 million added to the tradition Friday-Sunday grosses.
The point wasn’t lost on Sony, which initially called foul and proclaimed that its hit comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was really number one with $14.1 million in estimated ticket sales from Friday to Sunday. (You do the math.) But when the official numbers were released Monday afternoon, Talladega was adjusted to $13.8 million and would have finished in second even without Snakes’ Thursday take.
David Tuckerman, New Line’s head of distribution, justified the fudged numbers, telling the Associated Press that “it’s an industry standard” to roll Thursday sneak-peek screenings into the Friday-Sunday tally.
“With this kind of picture, I would tell you unequivocally that at least 90 percent of that business would have gone to see it Friday if not Thursday.” And that would seem to suggest that Snakes may not have, um, any legs, since the film only grossed $6.3 million on Thursday and Friday combined. Overall, Snakes came in about $5 million-$10 million behind most analysts’ predictions.
“It doesn’t create any sort of mandate for Internet promotion,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, noting that all the Web hype for Snakes on a Plane didn’t translate into ticket-buying.
“There was much more excitement in the buzz, blogging and marketing about the movie than in the movie itself.” New Line tried to tap into the vibe, spoon-feeding scoops to Snakes sites, retooling the movie to incorporate fan suggestions and declining to screen the film to potentially buzz-killing movie critics.
However, he did note than generating such “organic” buzz didn’t cost the studio much and that with just a $30 million budget, the “B horror movie” was on track to turn a tidy profit.
Starring Samuel L. Jackson and a bunch of killer reptiles, Snakes averaged just $4,277 at 3,555 locations. That wasn’t anywhere near the top average among the Top 10 films, which belonged to Fox Searchlight burgeoning summer dark horse hit Little Miss Sunshine. The road-trip comedy about a wacky family averaged $8,120 per 691 screens, in its fourth week of slowly expanded release. All told, Little Miss Sunshine moved up from 12th to seventh place, earning $5.6 million to bring its current gross to $12.7 million.
Meantime, Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights refuses to head to the pits, dropping just 38 percent in it third week with a per-site average of $3,677 at 3,741 locations to bring its three-week winnings to $114.3 million.
Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center also held up, with just a 42 percent drop in its second week. The Paramount release earned $10.9 million in third place, averaging $3,636 at 2,998 locations, for a 10-day total of $45.1 million.
The weekend’s other two new releases failed to make a major impact. Universal’s college comedy Accepted found modest acceptance in fifth place with $10 million (averaging $3,440 at 2,914 theaters), while MGM’s Material Girls, starring Hilary and Haylie Duff, didn’t have much stuff, opening way down in ninth place with $4.6 million (averaging $3,050 at 1,509 sites).
In limited release, The Illusionist, a historical mystery starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell, conjured up a magical debut. The PG-13 Yari Film Group release averaged $18,135 at 51 locations for $927,956.
At 36 locations, Fox Searchlight’s R-rated Trust the Man, a relationship tangle directed by Bart Freundlich, starring his wife, Julianne Moore, along with Billy Crudup, David Duchovny and Maggie Gyllenhaal, averaged $4,744 for $180,271.
Led by Snakes underwhelming opening, overall business was down after four straight up weekends. The top 12 movies grossed a combined $91.4 million, 16 percent less than last weekend and 7 percent lower than this time last year, when Steve Carell’s comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin started to score.
Here’s a rundown of the top-grossing films as compiled by Exhibitor Relations from studio estimates; final figures are due Monday:
1. Snakes on a Plane, $15.2 million
2. Talladega Night: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, $13.8 million
3. World Trade Center, $10.9 million
4. Step Up, $10.2 million
5. Accepted, $10 million
6. Barnyard, $7.6 million
7. Little Miss Sunshine, $5.6 million
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, $5.2 million
9. Material Girls, $4.6 million
10. Pulse, $3.5 million