Another East Coast snow storm, plus the closing weekend attraction of the Vancouver Olympics and a pair of unappealing new movie releases resulted in one of the year's weakest box office weekends. Neither of the newbies -- the Kevin Smith-directed 'Cop Out' or the remake of George Romero's 1973 'The Crazies' -- had sufficient interest to outdraw last weekend's leader, 'Shutter Island.' They barely beat 'Avatar,' which is chugging along in its 11th week.

'Shutter Island,' a suspense thriller that is the latest collaboration of director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, sold an estimated $22.2 million worth of tickets, but don't stop the presses: its business dropped more than 50% from its first weekend to the second and it will be blown off the top perch next weekend by Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland.'
Another East Coast snow storm, plus the closing weekend attraction of the Vancouver Olympics and a pair of unappealing new movie releases resulted in one of the year's weakest box office weekends. Neither of the newbies -- the Kevin Smith-directed 'Cop Out' or the remake of George Romero's 1973 'The Crazies' -- had sufficient interest to outdraw last weekend's leader, 'Shutter Island.' They barely beat 'Avatar,' which is chugging along in its 11th week.

'Shutter Island,' a suspense thriller that is the latest collaboration of director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, sold an estimated $22.2 million worth of tickets, but don't stop the presses: its business dropped more than 50% from its first weekend to the second and it will be blown off the top perch next weekend by Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland.'
Of this weekend's new releases, critics were friendlier to 'The Crazies' than 'Cop Out,' but the better film did not win. 'Cop Out,' a kind of 'Die Hard' parody starring 'Die Hard's' own Bruce Willis and '30 Rock's' Tracy Morgan, grossed an estimated $18.6 million to 'The Crazies'' $16.5 million. James Cameron's 'Avatar' was fourth with $14 million, a number good enough to push 'Avatar' over the never-before-met-or-even-dreamed-of $700 million mark.

You have to wonder what the Warner Bros. execs who green-lighted 'Cop Out' saw in Kevin Smith's previous movies that made them think he could direct a commercial genre film. His best movie, the 1999 comedy 'Dogma,' was a sophomoric, self-indulgent and -- yes -- frequently hilarious mess. If I remember correctly, Smith himself has never claimed to be a good filmmaker; but he's well-intentioned. He's more of a suspended adolescent than artist -- you can imagine him in a diner reproducing John Belushi's impression of an exploding zit in 'Animal House.'

There's a place for Smith's low-brow sensibilities, and it's called View Askew. It's his website and it's a happening hangout for people who think Smith's simultaneous 1994 debut/break-out film 'Clerks' is still hip. I share Smith's irreverence with all things authoritarian, but his humor is stuck in some kind of towel-snapping, butt-scratching time warp. He needs a growth spurt, and I'm not talking about the one that got him kicked off a recent Southwest Airlines flight.

I'm sure that View Askew followers account for most of the tickets sold to 'Cop Out.' The flurry of trailers for the film made it plenty apparent how corny both the humor and action would be. In any case, it won't be around long. Besides 'Alice in Wonderland,' next weekend brings 'Brooklyn's Finest,' an urban drama reuniting director Antoine Fuqua with his Oscar-nominated 'Training Day' co-star Ethan Hawke. The movie's big cast also includes Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes and Ellen Barkin.

With 'Alice' and 'Brooklyn's Finest' fresh in theaters, it's going to be all a movie lover can do to stay home Sunday night and watch the Oscars.

Top 10 for the last weekend of February:

1. 'Shutter Island,' $22.2 million (3,003 theaters), $75 million total.
2. 'Cop Out,' $18.6 million (3,150), new release.
3. 'The Crazies,' $16.5 million (2,476), new release.
4. 'Avatar,' $14 million (2,456), $707 million.
5. 'Percy Jackson & the Olympians,' $9.8 million (3,302), $70 million
6. 'Valentine's Day,' $9.5 million (3,578), $100.5 million.
7. 'Dear John,' $5 million (3,006), $72.6 million.
8. 'The Wolfman,' $4.1 million (3,043), $57 million.
9. 'Tooth Fairy,' $3.4 million (2,249), $53.9 million.
10. 'Crazy Heart,' $2.5 million (1,158), $25 million.