Nicolas Cage, Bangkok Dangerous

Chan Kam Chuen/Lionsgate

The fall box office sure fell all right.

After a $4 billion grossing summer, Hollywood slogged through its worst weekend of the year, per studio estimates compiled today by Exhibitor Relations.

The weekend was distinguished, if not defined, by Bangkok Dangerous, the new Nicolas Cage action movie, which finished first with the lowest gross for a No. 1 movie in five years ($7.8 million).

If estimates hold, the $45 million Bangkok Dangerous will barely have had enough firepower to outgross the debuts of 2008 bombs such as Mad Money ($7.7 million) and Space Chimps ($7.2 million).

Adding insult to injury, the movie, a remake of the 1999 Thai shoot-'em-up of the same name, goes down as Hollywood's smallest No. 1 movie since David Spade's Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star debuted with $6.6 million over the same weekend in 2003.

For Cage, Bangkok Dangerous is another box office miss in a hit-and-miss career—a movie that failed to match his last September opener: the viral-video-celebrated Wicker Man, which, bear suit, bees and all, opened with $9.6 million over Labor Day weekend in 2006.

For those keeping score in Hollywood, the holiday movie season begins after only eight more potentially long weekends.

Meanwhile, here are what amounted to the highlights of the box office weekend that was:

  • Tropic Thunder (second place, $7.5 million; $96.8 million overall) hasn't been as big as its all-star cast and big budget, but it has been hardy. In the last month, ticket sales have never fallen from one weekend to the next by more than 40 percent.
  • Anna Faris' The House Bunny (third place, $5.9 million; $37 million overall) also has pretty good legs.
  • On top of everything else, The Dark Knight (fourth place, $5.7 million; $512.2 million overall) has grossed $55 million off IMAX screens worldwide, Warner Bros. said.
  • Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona ($2.2 million; $16.1 million overall) slipped out of the Top 10, but continued to impress.
  • The new indie comedy Ping Pong Playa ($31,000), about a reluctant, well, Ping-Pong player, boasted the best per-screen average on the Exhibitor Relations chart: $3,444 for each of its nine theaters.

Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Bangkok Dangerous, $7.8 million
  2. Tropic Thunder, $7.5 million
  3. The House Bunny, $5.9 million
  4. The Dark Knight, $5.7 million
  5. Traitor, $4.7 million
  6. Babylon A.D., $4 million
  7. Death Race, $3.6 million
  8. Disaster Movie, $3.3 million
  9. Mamma Mia! $2.7 million
  10. Pineapple Express, $2.4 million
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