Running Scared falls flat

Paul Walker’s new thriller is crushed at the US box office

Oh, dear. Looks like Paul Walker isn’t quite the box office champ he thought he was. While he opened last week at the top of the Stateside charts with Eight Below, his latest, Running Scared, also featured eight below. As in, it opened eight below the number one slot, at nine.

Snide numerical puns aside, the weekend was instead taken by writer/director/star Tyler Perry, whose work is largely unknown in the UK, but has clearly confounded the critics and attracted audiences past his core fans among the black religious community in America. Diary Of A Mad Black Woman was a surprise hit in the US last year, and the follow-up, Madea’s Family Reunion – both of which feature Perry in drag as a gun-totin’, respect-grabbing grandma - has beaten that film’s opening, with a $30.3 million kick off.

Walker can take some comfort that Eight Below is holding steady with families, grabbing second with $15.7 million. Though the appeal there is still probably the cute dogs… Also holding is The Pink Panther, with US audiences believing that Steve Martin’s version of Inspector Clouseau is worth $11.3 million in love. The re-interpretation (or whatever they want to call it) has taken in an impressive $61 million so far.

Date Movie sank down to fourth, with $9.3 million, while Curious George dipped one place to fifth, with $7 million. Harrison Ford might be smiling – though we seriously doubt it, the moody bugger – at Firewall holding on to sixth place, taking in $6.3 million. Final Destination 3 remains lodged in the middle of the charts, its $5.4 million weekend bringing it to $44.8 million total to date.

The next highest new entry in a mostly disappointing weekend was Doogal, which is the not-too-hard-to-guess US title for what we mysteriously called Sprung! The Magic Roundabout. With the likes of Kevin Smith, Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg and Oscar host-to-be Jon Stewart taking over voice duties, Doogal still didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, managing just $3.6 million. That said, it did better than the aforementioned Running Scared, which hit a wall in its first weekend, grabbing a meagre $3.1 million. If only they’d hired some cute dogs to offset the urban gang violence! Bringing up the bottom of the charts at 10, we have Freedomland, which made $2.9 million in its second weekend.