Box Office: 'Shutter Island' Shuts Out 'Cop Out' and 'The Crazies'

It looks like a George Romero remake and a mash-up of ’80s cop-movie cliches were no match for the might of Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller. “Shutter Island” pulled in another $22.2 million over the weekend, bringing its total within inches of its reported $80 million budget. There’s an argument for art vs. commerce here; Scorsese’s more artistically ambitious (but ultimately flawed) films such as “The Aviator” ($103 million) and “Gangs of New York” ($78 million) have done reasonably well at the box office, with their Oscar prospects boosting their takes. However, genre films such as his Oscar-winning gangster movie “The Departed” ($132 million) and the creepy “Shutter Island” ($75 million and counting) have brought in more money and practically equal amounts of critical praise. We’re eager to see where Scorsese’s upcoming “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” fits into the equation, with its interesting mix of popular appeal (3-D and basis in a beloved children’s novel) and art (the book is an ode to cinema’s early years).

What must be going through Kevin Smith’s head right now? (We suppose his Twitter feed is some indication.) His “Cop Out” came in second this week with $18.6 million, which is the biggest opening of his career. However, it’s not all cause for celebration; the film seems like an ’80s buddy film rip-off (or non-silent-h-pronounced “homage,” as Tracy Morgan’s quote-spouting cop would say), but more interestingly, it’s Smith’s first film not based on his own script. It’s also worth noting that Smith’s name didn’t come up at all in the film’s promotion, and it scored better than his other films where he was the main draw. It’s an almost pyrrhic victory for the dick-and-fart-joke-loving filmmaker, who may find that he gets even fewer marketing mentions in the future.

Third place belongs to Breck Eisner’s “The Crazies,” which pulled $16.5 million from the pockets of desperate horror lovers. The surprisingly well-reviewed gasp-grabber earned praise from most critics (excluding us), and it shouldn’t do too badly in the coming weeks if word-of-mouth remains good. This has got to be another nail in the coffin for the barely breathing, big-budget “Wolfman,” which has made just $57 million in three weeks. Its only merit (other than its misplaced cast) seemed to be that it was the only horror film in theaters, and “The Crazies” has taken that away from it.

Actual fantasy and sci-fi beat out romantic fantasy, with “Avatar” and “Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” rounding out the top five and beating “Valentine’s Day” and “Dear John.” However, it is worth noting for the sake of the human race, “Valentine’s Day” did just cross the $100 million mark this weekend. This does not bode well for humanity and its future as an intelligent species. “Avatar” passed “$700 million this weekend, and it shouldn’t do too badly with the upcoming Oscars and their aftermath. Other Oscar hopefuls continue to bring in bucks in their quest for gold. “The Blind Side” is inches away from $250 million, and the only thing that can slow down its unending run is (fingers crossed) a loss for Sandra Bullock at the Oscars. Meanwhile, as Jeff Bridges’s shot at an Academy Award is within reach, “Crazy Heart” continues to perform strongly, bringing in another $2.5 million to total $25.1 million. “The Last Station” isn’t getting much traction in Oscar previews (Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer aren’t seen as frontrunners in their categories), but its triple-digit expansion meant that the film brought in another $1.1 million.

Our pick for the Best Foreign Language Film award, “Un Prophete,” debuted in theaters this week to $170,000 at nine locations. Over the weekend, Jacques Audiard’s prison-gangster drama also picked up nine Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars), and we’re hoping it will beat “The White Ribbon” next Sunday and earn even more over the coming weeks. The only other opening limited release to track, “Formosa Betrayed,” made $69,000 at 15 locations. Starring James Van Der Beek, the little-publicized thriller involves a journalist’s investigation that brings him dangerously close to both the Chinese mafia and the communist country’s government.

1. Shutter Island – $22.2 million ($75.1 mil.)
2. Cop Out – $18.6 million ($18.6 mil.)
3. The Crazies – $16.5 million ($16.5 mil.)
4. Avatar – $14 million ($707 mil.)
5. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief – $9.8 million ($71.2 mil.)
6. Valentine’s Day – $9.5 million ($100 mil.)
7. Dear John – $5 million ($72 mil.)
8. The Wolfman – $4.1 million ($57.2 mil.)
9. Tooth Fairy – $3.5 million ($53.9 mil.)
10. Crazy Heart – $2.5 million ($25.1 mil.)