I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry gay-panicked its way to No. 1 at the box office this weekend, bringing in $34.8 million and edging out Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix's $32.2 million. Meanwhile, Hairspray opened at No. 3 with $27.8 million — higher than estimates, and the highest musical opening ever, but with a $9,000 per-screen average that doesn't exactly get us dancing in the aisles. What lessons can we learn from this weekend's box office?
1. America prefers its gay movies really, really, not gay. So Adam Sandler and Kevin James getting all grossed out by each other clearly wins out over show tunes, dancing, and John Travolta in love with Christopher Walken. We imagine Universal is pretty glad they replaced Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor's gay-friendly script, which climaxed with Chuck and Larry passionately kissing, with Sandler's rewrite and its "who dropped the soap?" jokes.
2. Perhaps Harry Potter fans weren't, as Paul Dergarabedian predicted they would, "walking book in hand into the movie theater." Maybe they were reading the book instead. Order of the Phoenix's box office dropped a daunting 58 percent. On the other hand, the only other Potter pic to drop that much in its second week was Prisoner of Azkaban, which also happened to be the only other good one.