The weekend before last, Craig Brewer and John Singleton's Hustle and Flow had an okay-but-not-great $8 million opening on about 1,000 screens. But then this past weekend, the film dropped 50%, fell out of the top ten completely, and only earned about $4 million. Suddenly, pundits the web over are being forced to re-evaluate their hig expectations for Hustle's crossover flow. I was shocked by the film's opening gross - if I've seen any film this year that seemed like a sure bet, this was it. Even Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which now seems like the year's bluntest four-quadrant no-brainer, seemed to strike the press audience that I saw it with as something that could go either way.

Though Eugene Hernandez probably has a point when he suggests that "the expectations created by big-budget MTV exposure for anticipated wide releases after Sundance this year have set up [both Hustle and another underperforming Sundance veteran, Murderball] for a fall," I do think it's worth looking at the content of the film for additional explanations.