There are a number of ways to crunch the box-office numbers on The Number 23. None are particularly flattering to Jim Carrey.
You could say the poorly reviewed horror movie took in a not-so-bad, not-so-great $14.6 million in its debut weekend, per Exhibitor Relations figures. You could say horror-movie Carrey is at least bigger than drama-movie Carrey. Or, worst of all, you could say horror-movie Carrey is just as big these days as funny-movie Carrey.
The bottom line is Carrey hasn't enjoyed a big-time blockbuster opening since Bruce Almighty commanded $68 million back in 2003, per Box Office Mojo stats.
Like Fun with Dick and Jane before it, The Number 23 failed to wow—or open number one. It did middle-of-the-road horror business, on par with recent entry The Messengers ($14.7 million), which lacked Carrey's A-list status.
In the weekend rankings, The Number 23 got smoked by Ghost Rider, which took in $20.1 million to maintain its top spot. After two weekends, the Nicolas Cage comeback ride has grossed $79 million.
The best news for The Number 23 was that it wasn't The Majestic, Carrey's dramatic bomb of 2001, or The Wicker Man, Cage's horror bomb of 2006.
In other small victories, Reno 911!: Miami, the Comedy Central series turned big-screen epic, held its own among the Carreys and the Cages, debuting with a good-sized $10.3 million (fourth place).
Among other new releases, Billy Bob Thornton's The Astronaut Farmer (ninth place, $4.5 million) barely got off the ground, while the period drama Amazing Grace (10th place, $4.1 million) put up the third-highest per-screen average of the weekend ($5,126) after Ghost Rider and The Number 23.
Norbit (fifth place, $9.8 million; $74.8 million overall) continued to confound critics; Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls (eighth place, $4.8 million; $25.1 million overall) continued to disappoint.
Night at the Museum ($2.2 million) fell out of the Top 10 for the first time since before Christmas. The Ben Stiller comedy's overall gross stands at about $241.6 million.
With most of the top Oscar contenders now out on DVD, the films to be celebrated Sunday night weren't major players at the weekend box office, unless you count Norbit, which at least features Dreamgirls nominee Eddie Murphy.
But since Norbit doesn't count, the title of top-grossing Oscar nominee went to Pan's Labyrinth, which took in an estimated $1.3 million.
Here's a rundown of the top 10 films based on final Friday-Sunday tallies compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Ghost Rider, $20.1 million
2. The Number 23, $14.6 million
3. Bridge to Terabithia, $14.1 million
4. Reno 911!: Miami, $10.3 million
5. Norbit, $9.8 million
6. Music and Lyrics, $7.7 million
7. Breach, $6 million
8. Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, $4.8 million
9. The Astronaut Farmer, $4.5 million
10. Amazing Grace, $4.1 million
[Originally published Feb. 25 at 1:45 p.m. PT.]