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Posted at 8:45 AM ET, 06/28/2010

Weekend box office: 'Toy Story 3' wins, but what does poor 'Knight and Day' performance tell us about Tom Cruise?

By Jen Chaney

Tom Cruise, not on-target in "Knight and Day." (20th Century Fox)

"Toy Story 3" easily stays at the top of the box office. Adam Sandler remains a draw, even in a movie with only nine percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. And a poor revenue reception is bad news for "Knight and Day," but is Tom Cruise really to blame? An attempt to answer that question -- along with analysis of other pressing weekend box office matters -- follows.

"Toy Story 3" added another $59 million to its North American total, bringing its domestic tally to more than $226 million. Translation: the third "Toy Story" has already outgrossed the first and is on track to become the most financially successful movie in the franchise.

Adam Sandler is perceived in the industry as a box office sure thing. And while his "Grown Ups" didn't knock it out of the park -- it came in second place -- it earned around $41 million, which isn't bad. And here's another semi-surprising little nugget: according to Brandon Gray at Box Office Mojo, 53 percent of the "Grown Ups" audience over the weekend was female.

And that brings us to "Knight and Day," which made $20.5 million over the weekend, making it the least lucrative Tom Cruise opening since "Days of Thunder," if you don't adjust for inflation. Adjust for inflation, and "Knight and Day" looks even worse.

So what happened here? It's tempting, as David Germain of the Associated Press does, to attribute the poor performance to Cruise's couch-jumping, Scientology-promoting behavior in recent years. But, in the same article, Germain also points out that both "Mission: Impossible III" and "Valkyrie" had stronger debuts, and both movies came out when the Katie Holmes engagement/Brooke Shields bashing were fresher in our minds.

Personally, I think a decline in Cruise's appeal is part of the problem, but it's not the only problem. And I don't just say that because I acted as Mr. Cruise's defense attorney in Tom Cruise Court. As, again, Box Office Mojo points out, the less than persuasive marketing of "Knight and Day" didn't do the flick any favors. Oh, and neither did Cameron Diaz. Maybe the movie has a little bit of staying power in it. But with "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" opening Wednesday, it could sputter even further.

As for the indie side of things, "Cyrus" is continuing to perform well for a modest release; it took in $300,000 over the weekend in just 17 theaters. And as the Wall Street Journal reporter, the well-received "Winter's Bone" is doing decent business and has already earned more than $1 million in limited release. As for overall business, it was down nearly 20 percent compared to this same weekend last year. Which means Hollywood's hopes now turn to the vampires.

It seems fairly obvious that "Eclipse" will top next weekend's box office. But should we assume that? Is there a chance in Forks, Wash., that "The Last Airbender" or repeat-winner "Toy Story" will triumph instead? Vote in the poll below to put your prediction on the record.

By Jen Chaney  | June 28, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Box Office, Summer Movies  
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So what's the deal with this box office thing? Is it Jen's schtick or what? Not enough gossip? Don't celebs do anything on the weekend? I guess they're more like me than I thought. Maybe not - I don't hit my wife, moonwalk or crotch-grab.

Posted by: kabuki3 | June 28, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if "Knight and Day" didn't do well because it just didn't seem interesting enough. I kept seeing the ads and thinking, "good rental, maybe," but not worth the $20+ to go see it w/ someone in the theaters.

It's not so much that I don't like Cruise (tho Diaz is a bit annoying). It's that the idea didn't seem original enough to really grip me. It felt like a mash-up of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Bourne" films, and (forgive me!) "Top Secret." I'd see Cruise in a fresh and new film, if he bothered to make one.

Posted by: CJH2 | June 28, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Neither Cruise nor Diaz is interesting enough on their own to me to justify seeing a movie "starring" them. I'll probably rent it, eventually, but otherwise, meh.

Posted by: MStreet1 | June 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I saw Grown Ups this weekend, and I'll say that I was laughing pretty much through the entire movie.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | June 28, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Kab, I like the box office thing. Keep up the good work Jen. Congrats to Liz & Mr. Liz.

Posted by: reddragon1 | June 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Saw Knight & Day last w-e. Lite summer entertainment. Not that bad.

Posted by: reddragon1 | June 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I saw "Knight and Day" over the weekend with a friend who wanted to see it. I agree the advertising didn't do the movie justice. I had rated it as a rental in my own mind. After seeing it, I think it is better than I originally thought, but it may still be on a rental level. "Knight" has great action and comic moments, and the hero wins in the end. You gotta love that! This is a fun movie, not to be taken too seriously, and worth seeing, even if only as a rental.

Posted by: eqfan80 | June 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen "KNut and Day" yet, and NEVER will, for the sole reason that Tom Cruise is a Knutjob scientologist whacko and Cameron Diaz is just a raging opportunist who was brought in by Cruise/Wagner to make Tom's presence tolerable.

I cannot stand that thought that some percentage of my $9.50 ticket price is going to end up in David Miscavige's pocket (He's the total whack job that heads Tom's cult, scientology, and hunts down the defectors and ruins their lives).

A dollar for Tom, is a dollar for David Miscavige.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | June 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

A dollar for Tom, is a dollar for David Miscavige.

Hear! Hear!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 28, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Cameron Diaz is a walking, talking pile of makeup. I refuse to part with 15 dollars to pay for a ticket in any movie she's in. Unless she was in a g-string the entire time.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | June 29, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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