Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion has taken the box office this weekend, finally removing The Help from its number one position and amassing an estimated $23.1 million. Not too many surprises this weekend, considering that Warrior performed as well as expected—that is, poorly, against three-time number one drama of the country The Help while managing a feeble $5.6s1 million. Oh yes, and Bucky Larson flopped, leaving Nick Swardson on a losing streak of two.

Considering the director, and the number of stars including Jude Law, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and more, there was no question this weekend that Contagion would take first, despite the ultimate upset success of The Help rounding out summer to a close. Soderbergh’s latest has reached for that sense of scale associated with a summer film, and does well to release after all the bigger blockbusters have had their run.

The marketing was fairly weak, with the use of the same poster—which, unfortunately, appeared to render the cast rather deformed, or is it just me? Also, the tag lines suggesting we have no contact with anyone seem somewhat contradictory to the point of getting word out about your film, instead of instilling a sense of impending fear.

Likewise, the trailer, as opposed to revealing the unique vision Soderbergh has, was completely unremarkable. It was literally congruent with every outbreak format we’ve ever seen. However, thanks to the right names, it has been set upon the box office quite easily.

Convoluted Warrior was never going to be anything remotely interesting or new. In fact, it’s almost deliberately derivative. Both Warrior and Contagion suffer from predictability, because of a refusal to seek a unique vision of their repeatedly explored stories. Mostly, stupid sells (for some reason), but Bucky Larson is a prime example that not anything stupid sells. It has to be the right kind of stupid, I suppose.

Upcoming remake Straw Dogs will likely not hold up as well as the filmmakers would prefer it to. Much like the Last House on the Left remake, it appears to be taking advantage of the capacity to capitalize the violence rather than add to the substance of the film. Both remakes’ original intended to shock, which is quite impossible now without adding realism. The result is typically unnecessary and uncomfortable for viewers.

Straw Dogs’ trailer is also does a good job obscuring the plausibility behind everything. There’s no distinct reason given for the violence, which has been emphasized rather than the point of the original—the tension between the two protagonists. Audience members may have walked out on the original for its violence, but today’s audience may very well walk out of the remake for varying other reasons.

Even the remake’s poster downplays the potential of the story, by utilizing such an exhausted tag line as “Everyone Has a Breaking Point”. It’s so…silly. A better idea would be to simply watch the original, in this case. That kind of drama isn’t today’s cinema’s forte. Meanwhile, Drive and I Don’t Know How She Does It are the further exploits of summer lapse genre releases, neither in the least bit interesting, sure to fail.

 USA Weekend Box Office

This Week                       Title   Weekend Gross       Total Gross   Week
1   Contagion   $23,135,000         $23,135,000   1
2   The Help   $8,691,000         $137,093,000   5
3   Warrior   $5,607,000         $5,607,000   1
4   The Debt   $4,905,000         $21,993,000   2
5   Colombiana   $4,000,000         $29,779,000   3
6   Rise of the Planet of the Apes   $3,875,000         $167,836,000   6
7   Shark Night 3D   $3,533,000         $14,797,000   2
8   Apollo 18   $2,913,000         $15,001,000   2
9   Our Idiot Brother   $2,761,000         $21,420,000   3
10   Spy Kids: All the Time in the World   $2,506,000         $34,227,000   4