Hollywood may be giving Gerard Butler a red card after his soccer film's dismal performance at the box office this weekend.
The actor suffered yet another flop with "Playing for Keeps," his romantic comedy that debuted with only $6 million, according to an estimate from distributor FilmDistrict. As the only new film hitting theaters this weekend, the movie was easily defeated by five other flicks that have been in theaters for weeks.
"Skyfall," which hit multiplexes nationwide five weekends ago, reclaimed the No. 1 position. Though the film claimed the top spot the first weekend it was released, the James Bond movie has had to settle for the runner-up position as "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" dominated ticket sales. But the film starring Daniel Craig took in an additional $11 million this weekend, while the final "Twilight" movie collected $9.2 million. "Skyfall" has now sold $261.6 million worth of tickets in North America, making it the highest-grossing Bond film domestically by about $90 million.
Despite the lack of new options, ticket sales were up roughly 10% compared with the same three-day period last year, said Hollywood.com. With only three weekends left until the end of the year, revenue and attendance are both up about 6% compared with 2011.
As for Butler, "Playing for Keeps" marks his fourth bomb in two years. In October, his surfing drama "Chasing Mavericks" drowned with only $5.8 million in receipts. His indie efforts -- the Shakespeare adaptation "Coriolanus" and the religious drama "Machine Gun Preacher" -- also failed to break out, as neither came close to hitting even the $1 million mark.
The movie's opening is an especially bad result for Butler considering its genre -- the actor's romantic comedies have fared well with audiences in the past. Each of the romcoms he's co-starred in, including "The Bounty Hunter," "The Ugly Truth" and "P.S. I Love You," grossed over $50 million apiece.
Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely for Butler that "Playing for Keeps" will follow that trajectory. At least the few who saw the movie about a former professional athlete who begins coaching his son's soccer team did seem to enjoy it. While the flick received an embarrassing 2% fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, moviegoers assigned it an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The film attracted an older female crowd, as 74% of its audience was over the age of 25.
Financed by Avi Lerner's Millennium Films, "Playing for Keeps" is being distributed in the U.S. by FilmDistrict.
Meanwhile, Open Road Films re-released "End of Watch," a cop drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. The film grossed only an additional $733,000 this weekend, raising its total to $40 million -- but Open Road insisted the move was not about ticket sales. Instead, the independent distributor is hoping that award voters will now take notice of the movie's well-reviewed performances.
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