Actors Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton arrive for the Los Angeles premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Hansel And Gretel Witch Hunters" at TCL Chinese Theatre on January 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)
'Mama' was No. 2, with newcomer 'Parker' managing fifth place
For months, the ad campaign behind this weekend's experimental ensemble comedy asked filmgoers: What is Movie 43?
Now we know: a flop.
The collection of of gross-out shorts, directed by big names like Elizabeth Banks and Brett Ratner and featuring Oscar-caliber actors including Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts, couldn't muster much excitement this weekend, collecting $5 million and just seventh place, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The debut fell well below expectations and posed no threat to the latest craze in Hollywood: updated fairy tales. The latest, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which topped the box office with $19 million.
Movie 43's performance wasn't a complete surprise, as critics and fans pummeled the movie the moment it hit theaters. Only 5% of the nation's critics liked it, while only 49% of fans said they could recommend it, say pollsters Rottentomatoes.com.
Gitesh Pandya of Boxofficeguru.com says the film tried "to attract older teens and young adults with bold, R-rated humor and a head-scratching mix of stars." But word of mouth doomed the movie.
Not so Hansel & Gretel, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton.
While it didn't fare much better with reviewers -- 15% gave it a thumbs-up -- 69% of fans liked it, giving it enough momentum to meet analysts' expectations.