If ever there was a weekend with a real diversity of choice among the big films opening in the US, it was this one - you could go and see Robin Williams clowning it up on a family holiday in RV, shudder your nerves with the excellent Flight 93 from Paul Greengrass, watch teen girls do gymnastics in Stick It or cheer on a plucky spelling bee contestant in Akeelah And The Bee.
Given that choice, US audiences picked Robin and co. RV might not have been the best-reviewed film of the year, and its launch box office of just over $16 million isn’t exactly outstanding, but it has landed Barry Sonnenfeld’s comedy at the top of the list.
Coming in healthily behind - particularly given its touchy subject matter and emotionally wrenching drama - was Flight 93, with audiences split on their reaction, but most reporting that the film was usually greeted with a stunned silence followed by applause. Paul Greengrass’ film took $11.6 million, just ahead of Stick It, which for all intents and purposes is another take on Bring It On (it even has the same writer, Jessica Bendinger, who steps up to direct this time). Appealing to the teen girl squad in a week laden with heavy drama and silly comedy seemed a smart move, as $11.2 million can attest.
Last week’s winner, Silent Hill, dropped to fourth, which is perhaps a sign that word of mouth is slowly catching up with the film. Then comes Scary Movie 4, which is already up to a $78 million total in the US alone, a far more frightening prospect that anything in Silent Hill. Michael Douglas secured sixth place for Secret Service drama The Sentinel, with $7.6 million in its second weekend.
Lower down the charts we find Ice Age: The Meltdown, still clinging on in the top 10 at seven, with its mammoth (yeah, we went there) take now standing at $177.7 million in the States.
There was less good news for inspiration spelling bee movie Akeelah And The Bee, which despite starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett and being backed by a massive ad campaign run in stateside Starbucks shops, opened poorly at eight, with just $6.2 million. That put it just ahead of Disney’s underperforming animated latest The Wild, with $4.7 million and Rob Schneider comedy The Benchwarmers, which grabbed $4.4 million on its way out of the charts.