Nobody expected Russell Crowe to challenge Harry Potter at the top of the box office this weekend, but the results were still surprisingly brutal.
Crowe's thriller "The Next Three Days," written and directed by Paul Haggis of "Crash" fame," opened to an estimated $6.75 million. That's one of the worst starts for any film in nationwide release this year and the lowest opening for a picture starring Crowe since the 2006 bomb "A Good Year."
It's the latest in a string of box-office disappointments for Crowe, coming on top of last spring's "Robin Hood," last year's "State of Play" and 2008's " Body of Lies."
An overwhelming 83% of audiences were over 25 and most seemed to like "The Next Three Days," giving it an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
Good word of mouth could lead to a slow decline in ticket sales for "The Next Three Days" in coming weeks. But the film is still unlikely to gross more than $25 million, a weak result given that it cost about $35 million to produce and nearly $30 million to advertise.
Lionsgate did sell off distribution rights in most foreign countries for about $25 million, helping to alleviate its likely losses on the picture.