Coming out on top. After earning fawning reviews from critics, Paul Feig's "Bridesmaids" outperformed its expectations, grossing $24.6 million instead of the $15 to $17 million that was predicted, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The film particularly did better than expected among males, who made up 33% of the audience. To put its earnings into context, "Bridesmaids" had an even better debut than Judd Apatow's "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which opened to $21.4 million in 2005.
But despite all the buzz, "Bridesmaids" was unable to topple "Thor" at the box office, which retained the number one slot with a gross of $24.4 million. "Fast Five" came in third with $19.5 million, making it the most successful film in the U.S. of the year thus far. That is everything you need to know about American cinema.
Rounding out the middle. The other major debut this weekend was "Priest 3D," the graphic novel adaptation starring Paul Bettany (the albino from "The Da Vinci Code," if you're unfamiliar with his oeuvre.) "Priest" had sinfully bad reviews, with New York Magazine calling it "an ungodly mess" and the Orlando-Sentinel dubbing it "about five beads shy of a rosary." But none of that seemed to matter, as it came out ahead of expectations with an estimated gross of $14.6 million.
Dragging down the bottom. Unlike their wide distribution counterparts, the whole slate of smaller films that opened this week under-performed. They all had great casts, quirky characters, decent reviews -- so perhaps they just ended up being impossible to tell apart. First there was Will Ferrell's tragicomic take in "Everything Must Go," which led critics to compare him to Bill Murray. But the film only grossed $3,784 per theater, according to Indiewire, which for a star like Will Ferrell is lackluster even for a smaller film.
Then there was "Hesher," a film that seemed to combine, in the spirit of "Little Miss Sunshine," every pop-indie film cliche in existence, up to and including a cameo by Natalie Portman. While the reviews were even, there were some signs of indie-fatigue amongst critics. Brian Tallerico reviewed: "Like a knock-off of Chuck Palahniuk produced by people raised only on Sundance films, 'Hesher' is a mess." Goodwill for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt notwithstanding, the film only averaged $3,019 per theater. "By no means disastrous, but certainly not promising as it expands," writes Indiewire.
Coming in last was Anthony Burns’s “Skateland,” set in a skating rink in 1980s Texas, reviewed by the AV Club as "more soundtrack than substance." "Twilight" goodwill for star Ashley Greene notwithstanding, the film averaged a mere $2,583 per theater.