Little Fockers

On paper, this should have been 'True Grit's' week to shine. The universally acclaimed western was supposed to outride last week's champ, the universally reviled 'Little Fockers,' toward box office victory. There were no new wide releases to steal its thunder. Predictions for 'True Grit's' second-weekend take averaged about $24.8 million, very close to what it ended up earning. Yet it still couldn't surpass 'Fockers,' which ruled for a second weekend with an estimated $26.3 million, with a much smaller-than-expected drop-off from last week. Guess there's no accounting for taste.

Given its abominable reviews and mediocre-to-poor word of mouth (not to mention it's final weekend tally last week of $30.8 million, well below Universal's initial optimistic estimate of $34.0 million), 'Fockers' was expected to fall about 24 percent this weekend to a predicted $23.4 million or so. Instead, it lost only 15 percent of last weekend's business and earned enough to cross into nine-figure territory (its two-week total is $103.2 million). Maybe it's because the comedy added 18 new screens (but then, 'True Grit' added 36), or because it pretty much has the comedy-for-grown-ups niche to itself (sorry, 'How Do You Know'), while the more violent 'True Grit' is less family-friendly and skews toward an older audience.