LOS ANGELES - There's something about a reunion of Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers that audiences didn't want to see.
Stiller and the Farrellys' "The Heartbreak Kid" pulled in a modest $14 million in its opening weekend, coming in at No. 2 behind "The Game Plan," which remained the top flick for the second-straight weekend with $16.3 million, according to studio estimates yesterday.
Paramount and DreamWorks had expected more from "The Heartbreak Kid," which reunited Stiller with Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The trio collaborated on 1998's smash "There's Something About Mary."
The studios had gotten positive reaction from audiences at advance screenings, but reviews for "The Heartbreak Kid" came in much harsher than expected, said DreamWorks spokesman Chip Sullivan.
"We were surprised," Sullivan said. "The reviews hurt us. We love the movie. We've seen it play great. But I think reviews do matter on an R-rated movie."
An update of the 1972 comedy written by Neil Simon and directed by Elaine May, "The Heartbreak Kid" stars Stiller as a man who marries an incompatible bride, then meets the perfect woman on his honeymoon.
"The Heartbreak Kid" did manage to come in slightly ahead of the $13.7 million first weekend of "There's Something About Mary," which lingered in theaters for months and became one of 1998's top hits at $176.5 million.
Movies hung around longer then, but today's films tend to live or die based on their opening weekends, analysts said.
In limited release, George Clooney's acclaimed legal drama "Michael Clayton" opened strongly with $704,000 in 11 theaters, a promising lead-in for the film's nationwide rollout Friday.
Disney's "The Game Plan," a football family tale starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, held up strongly in its second weekend, raising its total to $42.8 million.
Overall revenues were down for the third-straight weekend, with the top 12 movies taking in $65.7 million, off 35 percent from the same weekend last year.