In spite of generally good reviews from the critics or perhaps because of them, audiences avoided Grindhouse. The Ice Cube movie Are We There Yet? made several millions more. I guess I’m not in that movie’s target demo, because I barely knew about it, but had been anticipating Grindhouse for more than a year.

Bob Weinstein called the “Grindhouse” opening weekend B.O. disappointing, but added “We hope that the strong word of mouth will overcome any initial resistance in smaller markets to its running time.

“Grindhouse,” two hard R mini-features separated by faux trailers and ads, had been tracking to bring in about $20 million. Tarantino and Rodriguez’s most recent releases, “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and “Sin City,” were No. 1 in their debuts, and the directors’ collaboration, plus largely positive reviews, seemed a potentially potent draw. TWC even added 10 p.m. shows in top markets Thursday night to keep pace with fans’ interest.

But while biz for “Grindhouse” was solid Thursday and Friday, ticket sales dipped by about 18% Saturday, suggesting that the pic connected with its core young male demographic, but was unable to draw wider auds.

The running time of the movie, an ode to exploitation films of yesteryear, had been expected to be something of a drag on B.O., and Monday-morning quarterbacks may say the two parts should have been split and released separately, as they are abroad. TWC had reportedly toyed with the idea, but the filmmakers wanted their pics to remain as a double bill.

Harvey Weinstein defended the decision to keep the two together Sunday, telling Daily Variety it was artistically the right move and that the movie will be a moneymaker thanks to its foreign sales as separate films and an upcoming DVD rollout, which also will release the films as two separate titles.

But he acknowledged that it “has taken a while to educate the public” on how the pairing would work, as some moviegoers in areas outside Gotham and Los Angeles went into multiplexes not realizing they were in for two distinct pics. – ‘Blades of Glory’ leads box office

SEE ALSO: This blog’s Grindhouse review

UPDATE: Bill Cunningham offers some good reasons Grindhouse didn’t grind out more money.