The weekend gross for Evan Almighty was $32.1 million, far below the studio's projections and less than half of the opening weekend of it's predecessor, Bruce Almighty, in 2003. The film opened on over 3,600 screens and according to Nikki Finke, was well-received in the South and Mid-West, did fair business on the West Coast and Mountain regions, but did poorly on the East Coast and in Canada, where religious-themed movies don't seem to go over quite as well. Interestingly, Evan Almighty wasn't the only big story this weekend -- Stephen King had his biggest opening weekend ever with 1408, which sailed on good reviews and word of mouth into a second-place position, bumping off Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer with $20.1 million.
The biggest loser of the weekend might have been R-rated horror films. 1408, which is PG-13, had one of the biggest horror openings in a while, and was noticeably more successful than Eli Roth's torture-fest, Hostel: Part II. Roth recently ranted on his MySpace page that R-rated horror was in jeopardy, and that if movies like his weren't supported, they would go away. The studio lemmings will not miss this weekend's 1408 surprise, and, if they are persuaded that PG-13 is the wave of the future, they might put the kibosh on any number of R-rated horror films in the works. The next big test for R-rated horror will likely be Rob Zombie's Halloween, which is opening in late August. If that movie tanks as well, you can probably say goodbye to real horror for a long time.