LOS ANGELES - Hollywood may be giving Gerard Butler a red card after his soccer film's dismal performance at the box office this past 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 in wide release this past 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 grabbed 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 past weekend, while the final "Twilight" movie collected $9.2 million.
"Skyfall" has sold $261.6 million worth of tickets in North America, making it the highest-grossing Bond film domestically by about $90 million and Sony Pictures' biggest worldwide release ever.
Despite the lack of new options, ticket sales were up roughly 10 percent compared with the same three-day period last year, said Hollywood.com. With three weekends left until the end of the year, revenue and attendance are both up about 6 percent 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; neither came close to hitting even $1 million.
The movie's opening is an especially bad result for Butler considering its genre - the actor's romantic comedies have fared well with audiences. Each of the rom-coms he's co-starred in, including "The Bounty Hunter," "The Ugly Truth" and "P.S. I Love You," grossed more than $50 million apiece.
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. Although the flick received an embarrassing 2 percent fresh rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, moviegoers assigned it an average grade of B-plus, according to market research firm CinemaScore. The film attracted an older female crowd, as 74 percent of its audience was 25 and older.
Financed by Avi Lerner's Millennium Films, "Playing for Keeps" is being distributed in the U.S. by FilmDistrict, which declined to comment on the film's performance.
Meanwhile, Open Road Films rereleased "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.
In limited release, Focus Features opened "Hyde Park on Hudson" in two theaters in Los Angeles and two more in New York. The movie, which stars Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt and has received middling reviews, launched with $83,280, earning a respectable per-location average of $20,820. That was just slightly better than the $20,043 per-theater average Focus' other art-house film, "Anna Karenina," scored in mid-November. Next weekend, "Hudson" will expand to an additional 12 markets nationwide.