WINNER OF THE WEEK: Dwayne Johnson. It’s hard not to smell what the Rock is cooking; the wrestler/actor has three movies on the chart this weekend, two of them in the top 10. His new R-rated comedy Pain and Gain opened with an estimated $20.0 million to top the chart. That’s at the low end of expectations, but it was enough to beat Oblivion, last week’s champ, which lost 53 percent of its opening-week business and fell to second place on estimated earnings of $17.4 million. (So far, the Tom Cruise sci-fi epic has earned just shy of $200 million worldwide, including $64.7 million in North America.) Meanwhile, Johnson is also holding down slot Number Six with his March release, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which earned an estimated $3.6 million, for a five-week total of $116.4 million domestic. And way down at Number 23 is his February release, Snitch; capitalizing on Rock Fever, the movie added 91 screens (for a total of 252) and grabbed another estimated $180,000, for a ten-week total of $42.3 million. If all three movies are still on the chart next month when Johnson’s Fast and Furious 6 opens, the Rock will have pulled off a rare box office body slam.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Oh, let’s say . . . Katherine Heigl. Really, no one associated with The Big Wedding is covered in glory. The movie was shelved six months from its initial October release date, then dumped into the last weekend before summer movie season, opposite another new R-rated comedy and another movie chasing the same over-40 audience (that would be Jackie Robinson biopic 42, still doing well in its third week, with a third-place finish, an estimated $10.7 million weekend, and a three-week total of $69.1 million). Wedding had been expected to open around $10 million, but it underperformed predictions with an estimated $7.5 million, debuting at Number Four. The all-star ensemble comedy suffered dismal word-of-mouth and even worse reviews, but the film’s poor showing among both critics and viewers isn’t going to do any damage to the careers of venerable stars like Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, or Susan Sarandon, or even the still-rising career of ingénue Amanda Seyfried. But this will rank as yet another disappointment for the once-hot Heigl, who has stumbled in recent years with such duds as Killers and One for the Money. Fortunately for her, this Wedding is likely to have a shelf life about as long as that of Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander (about three days) before it’s mercifully forgotten.
Rounding out the top five this week was family cartoon The Croods, with an estimated $6.6 million, for a six-week total of $163.0 million.
‘MUD’ PIE: Debuting just outside the top ten was Mud, in which Matthew McConaughey (as the title character) leads two lads on a mythic, Twain-like journey over Southern waters. The indie fable premiered at Number 11 with an estimated $2.2 million, just $124,000 shy of tenth-place finisher Jurassic Park 3D. The well-reviewed film pulled in a decent $6,022 per screen, higher than any wide-release movie this weekend except Pain and Gain (which averaged $6,013). So it’s a movie that may prove to have some legs, though it may also get swamped, like everything else, by the deluge that Iron Man 3 will bring to the multiplex next week.