While no one expected Punisher: War Zone to be Oscar material, Lionsgate certainly hoped it would open better than it did this weekend. The film, which received fairly uniform negative reviews, took in a mere $4 million, good for ninth place. It was, though, the best performance for a new film this weekend, beating Cadillac Records by $500,000 according to Box Office Mojo’s estimates.
The preceding eight spots belonged to returning fare with the romantic comedy, Four Christmases returned to the top spot with $18,180,000 and $70.84 million after two weeks. Second place went to the vampire romance Twilight which found another $13, 197,000 revenue from the tweens. Younger kids continued to thrill at Bolt’s adventures which saw an additional $9,696,000 in ticket sales.
For adults, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman defied the critics and lured people to see Australia to the tune of $7 million, good for $30, 869,00 after two weeks. Daniel Craig’s second turn as James Bond didn’t fare as well, with Quantum of Solace taking fifth place but losing 65% of last week’s audience and bringing home just $6.6 million.
Punisher’s per screen average of $1595 was anemic compared with more than twice that of the top performers. 2004’s Punisher actually opened much better with $13,834,527 and given the growing appetite for super-hero movies, the sequel’s dismal performance is a black mark for Marvel.
Lionsgate will be praying for a Christmas miracle and a stronger opening for the more heavily hyped Spirit film from Frank Miller on Christmas Day. Marvel’s next offering is next May’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine which should have a huge opening.