Given the choice between two dystopias—one an annual day of lawless, cathartic bloodletting; the other a world where middle-aged men are stricken with strangely selective amnesia about the past two decades of pop culture—Americans opted for The Purge over The Internship. The Ethan Hawke-starring thriller debuted at No. 1 with $36.4 million, a record haul for an R-rated horror movie, which only gets less impressive once you consider that the former champ was The Devil Inside. With The Purge earning similarly mediocre reviews from critics and audiences alike, you can probably expect it to drop precipitously in weeks to come, and go on to produce only one or two more sequels.
Unfortunately, a similar fate seems unlikely for Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s Google commercial The Internship: It debuted at No. 4 behind holdovers Fast & Furious 6 and Now You See Me, its $18.1 million take a far cry from Wedding Crashers—and almost certainly not enough to justify a follow-up in which Wilson and Vaughn, say, spend 90 talky minutes beta testing the Google Glass. The film’s failure can probably be attributed to a number of factors, besides it not being 2005 anymore. Chief among them is our national inability to face the consequences of the financial collapse, and our lack of empathy for its affect on self-absorbed bros whose inability to read social cues—and apparent total unfamiliarity with the Internet—has made it temporarily difficult for them to find a chill place of employment.
While that Shakespearean tragedy failed to connect with audiences the way Google can connect you with the world, Joss Whedon’s actually Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing ruled the art houses, with $183,000 across just five theaters. You can expect that to grow as it expands this month, until it absolutely dwarfs any profits you’ve ever made at your house parties.
And a similarly promising reception greeted the investigative documentary Dirty Wars ($66,000 in four theaters), which drew more audiences than the Australian drama Wish You Were Here ($25,700 in 11 theaters) and teen assassins film Violet & Daisy ($10,300 in 17 theaters) combined. It’s possible some moviegoers believed it to be a big-screen update of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, and were hoping to see Mike Rowe shoving his hand up the asses of terrorist cows. It’s also possible this premise would make for a more successful Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.