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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 08/23/2010

Weekend box office: 'Expendables' holds steady

By Jen Chaney

Hi, we're "The Expendables," we've still got guns and we're still No. 1. (Lionsgate)

Sylvester Stallone and his posse of pumped-up action heroes held on to the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office. Find out how much money "The Expendables" made, why all hopes for an end to the current era of spoof-movies may have been dashed by "Vampires Suck" and what the performance of "The Switch" says about Jennifer Aniston's star power in this week's box office rundown.

"The Expendables" did enough business to stay in first place, with $16.5 million, more than enough to outdo all five of the new wide releases that opened in theaters last week. The action fest's total gross so far: $64.8 million.

Remember when I suggested last week that not buying tickets for crummy parodies like "Vampires Suck" is the only way to prevent them from being made? So much for that. The "Twilight" spoof came in second place with a projected $12.2 million earned over the weekend, and a total of $18.5 million now in its pocket since its Wednesday opening. Most of the support from the movie came from young moviegoers; according to Box Office Mojo, 72 percent of the audience was under 21. Oh good. Hope for our future. (The third-place finisher, "Eat Pray Love," generated a projected $12 million in revenue. Once final numbers come in Monday, we'll see if the vampires definitively squeaked out a win over Julia Roberts.

Of the remaining four movies that debuted in theaters -- "Lottery Ticket," "Piranha 3D," "Nanny McPhee Returns" and "The Switch" -- guess which one ranked lowest? If you guessed the Jennifer Aniston/Jason Bateman rom-com, you're right! Despite all the promotional press that preceded the insemination-situation comedy, it landed in eighth place with a mere $8.1 million. Which raises the question: Shouldn't a Jennifer Aniston flick do a little better than that, considering that, according to Forbes, she's the fourth-highest paid actress in Hollywood?

To be fair, as critic Ann Hornaday pointed out in her review, "The Switch" focuses more on Bateman than it does on Aniston (although the marketing campaign doesn't exactly suggest that.) And perhaps that semi-ooky premise turned off some potential audience members. Whatever the reason, after "Love Happens," "The Bounty Hunter" and now this less-than-stellar box office performance on her record, Aniston really needs her next movie to be a hit. (That next movie happens to be the Adam Sandler comedy "Just Go With It." So, um, presumably she'll be fine.)

Despite its presence over the weekend as a trending Twitter topic, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" didn't raise its profile at the box office. It wound up in tenth place and has cumulatively grossed $20.7 million, a fraction of its production budget. Ramona Flowers's seven evil exes aren't the only things looking (sadly) defeated.

Can anything coming to theaters next weekend -- "The Last Exorcism"? "Takers"? The special edition of "Avatar"? -- undo "The Expendables"? Decide by voting in our box office prediction poll.

By Jen Chaney  | August 23, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Movies  | Tags:  Weekend Box Office  
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Jeeze Jen . . . lighten up! You're really way too far into this "Parody movies as evidence of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization" vibe. (There are better indicators than that: the accidental "death while tweeting" of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon as international front page news, for example.)

The only thing I'd read into the success of "Vampires Suck" is that it's summer, and teenagers are bored. Are you really going to champion "The Expendables" as higher art?

I saw a trailer this past weekend for a movie coming out in September called "Waiting for Superman", about the [presumably horrible] state of public education in America. Maybe some of the answers to your concerns about the youth of America will be found there . . .

Posted by: pfallsgirl | August 23, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Personally I don't think the words Jennifer Anniston and star-power should really ever appear in the same sentence. She's just so, um, mediocre and one dimensional.

Posted by: cookgirl1 | August 23, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

And apparently I think so little of her I don't know how to spell her name. Or maybe it's just more evidence that she really isn't a 'star.'

Posted by: cookgirl1 | August 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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