EAGLE HAS LANDED WITH $2.2 MILLION
Paramount/DreamWorks' Eagle Eye took off at the box office over the weekend, flying far higher than most analysts had predicted. According to studio estimates, the movie took in $29.2 million and rescued the box office from two months of ennui. According to Media by Numbers, the film became the fourth-highest money maker among September releases. In an interview with today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times Media by Numbers President Paul Dergarabedian commented that the film's performance "proves that even though there is a summer season, there are opportunities all over the calendar." Coming in second was Nights in Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, with $13.5 million -- also well above expectations. However, Spike Lee's latest film, Miracle at St. Anna, fell below analysts' predictions, which weren't high to begin with. The movie took in just $3.5 million to place ninth. The biggest surprise was the strong opening of Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron. Although it debuted in fewer than 1,000 theaters, it earned $6.5 million to place fourth. It was heavily promoted among church groups. Overall, the box office was up 15 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Eagle Eye, $29.2 million; 2. Nights in Rodanthe, $13.6 million; 3. Lakeview Terrace, $7 million; 4. Fireproof, $6.5 million; 5. Burn After Reading, $6.2 million; 6. Igor, $5.5 million; 7. Righteous Kill, 8. My Best Friend's Girl, $3.8 million; 9. Miracle at St. Anna, $3.5 million; 10. Tyler Perry's the Family That Preys, $3.2 million.
MOVIE REVIEWS: MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA
Miracle at St. Anna, Spike Lee's effort to set the record straight on the contribution of black and Latino servicemen to the combat against Germany in World War II, winds up being shot down itself by many critics. Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News writes that the stories Lee tells in the movie "are too often stuck in a swamp of stereotypes and clichés." Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal describes the film as "diffuse, dispirited, emotionally distanced and dramatically inert." Claudia Puig in USA Today calls it "unfocused, sprawling and badly in need of editing." To Anne Hornaday in the Washington Post, it's "Overwrought, overproduced, overbusy and overlong." But A.O. Scott in the New York Times, while agreeing that the movie "sometimes stumbles under its heavy, self-imposed burden of historical significance," suggests that this war movie, except for darker faces, is not all that different from war movies of the past. He writes: "Mr. Lee sticks to the sturdy conventions of the infantry movie, adapting old-fashioned techniques to an unfamiliar, neglected story. And the cinematic traditionalism of "Miracle at St. Anna" is perhaps its most satisfying trait. At its best, this is a platoon picture, and if it's not exactly like the ones Hollywood made in the late '50s and early '60s, that's part of Mr. Lee's argument: it's the movie someone should have had the guts or the vision to make back then. Better late than never." And Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, while also expressing criticism about some of Lee's scenes, concludes: "The scenes I object to are not evidence of any special perception I have. They're the kind of scenes many studio chiefs from the dawn of film might have singled out, in the interest of making the film shorter and faster. But they're important to Lee, who must have defended them. And it's important to me that he did. When you see one of his films, you're seeing one of his films. And "Miracle at St. Anna" contains richness, anger, history, sentiment, fantasy, reality, violence and life. Maybe too much. Better than too little."
BRUNO ARRESTED AT MILAN FASHION SHOW
Bruno -- Sacha Baron Cohen's fashion-critic alter ego -- reportedly wreaked havoc at the Milan fashion show for a second day this weekend, managing to evade security and faking his way onto the catwalk during the Agata Ruiz de la Prada show, where he showed off an outfit of fabrics and accessories held together by Velcro. Guards were called -- and Bruno wound up at a nearby police station. Film of the incident, of course, wound up almost immediately on YouTube and other websites, providing early publicity for Baron Cohen's latest film, Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Male. Milan police, meanwhile, released the comedian without filing charges. One remarked, "He was actually very funny, and the first thing he said was, 'Can I make a phone call like they do on TV?'"