Movies - Box Office postsSunday July 03, 2016
Is Steven Spielberg the Most Popular Director in Movie History?
Spielberg, in his heyday, with friend.
Twenty-six movies have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, but Steven Spielberg, the man considered the most popular director in movie history, didn't direct any of them. (His biggest, unadjusted, is “Jurassic Park” at $983 million.) Thirty-nine movies have opened domestically to more than $100 million, but Steven Spielberg, the man considered the most popular director in movie history, directed only one of them: the now-thoroughly and deservedly discredited “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which wheezed across the finish line at $101 million in May 2008.
Which raises the question: Is Steven Spielberg the most popular director in movie history?
Oh yeah. By a long shot.
The above milestones, $1 bil and $100 mil, are 21st-century milestones, and Spielberg's heyday was earlier. These are the top 10 movies of all time, domestically, adjusted for inflation:
|1||Gone with the Wind||$1,733,542,900||$198,676,459||1939||Victor Fleming|
|2||Star Wars||$1,528,266,100||$460,998,007||1977||George Lucas|
|3||The Sound of Music||$1,221,923,900||$158,671,368||1965||Robert Wise|
|4||E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial||$1,217,110,200||$435,110,554||1982||Steven Spielberg|
|6||The Ten Commandments||$1,123,980,000||$65,500,000||1956||Cecil B. DeMille|
|8||Doctor Zhivago||$1,065,082,200||$111,721,910||1965||David Lean|
|9||The Exorcist||$948,940,900||$232,906,145||1973||William Friedkin|
|10||Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs||$935,220,000||$184,925,486||1937||(Six directors)|
Spielberg is the only director to make the list twice. James Cameron, a rival for the title of most popular director in movie history, adds his second film, “Avatar,” at No. 15; but then Spielberg immediately usurps him again with “Jurassic Park” at No. 17. George Lucas, another potential rival for the title, adds his second, the abyssmal “Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace,” at No. 18, before Spielberg adds a fourth, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” at No. 21.
That's right: Steven Spielberg has four of the 25 highest-grossing American movies of all time, adjusted for inflation, and no other director has more than two.
If you plunge further, into the top 100 American movies of all time, these are the only directors who appear more than once*:
|George Roy Hill||2|
|Cecil B. DeMille||2|
* Not included are the Disney directors, since as many as 11 directors worked on a single film.
Only Lucas is close, and that's where he tops out. Spielberg keeps going. He also has No.s 102 and 103. He has no rival.
This is a long lead-in to the poor domestic box office of his latest film, “The BFG,” which opened to $19.5 million this weekend. It finished behind the third weekend of “Finding Dory” ($41 mil), and the opening weekends for “The Legend of Tarzan” ($38) and “The Purge: Election Year” ($30).
It's true that most Roald Dahl stories don't do particularly well at the box office—the two Willie Wonkas being the exception. It's also true that Spielberg is turning 70 in December, and the wonder and energy felt in his earlier films has been replaced by muted tones and somber discussions. I get trying to recapture the magic of youth, and I think he did that with the underrated and underseen (in the U.S.) “Tin Tin” movie; but there's something to be said for making movies for adults—particularly in this adolescent age of movies, which Spielberg helped create.
Finding Dory's Box Office
Biggest Pixar ever? Just don't adjust for inflation.
It's been a busy few weeks, so I haven't had time for stupid stuff like box office. But now I'm a little less busy.
The big box-office story during the last two weeks has been Pixar's “Finding Dory,” which opened bigger than any animated movie ever: $135 mil. The previous highs were: 1) “Shrek the Third,” $121 in 2007; 2) “Minions,” $115 in 2015; and 3) “Toy Story 3,” $110 in 2010. Animateds tend not to open as big as other movies—“Dory” is 19th all-time, for example—but they last longer. Even something as shitty as “Shrek the Third” fell off by only 56% during its second weekend. “Toy Story 3” fell off by only 46%.
Same with “Dory” last weekend: only 46%. So its opening was the 19th best all-time, its second weekend was the 8th best all-time. Movin' on up.
Question: Can it become the biggest Pixar grosser of all time? Most certainly. That's “Toy Story 3” at $415. After 10 days, “Dory” is at $286, $60 million ahead of “TS3”'s pace. It just needs to keep up that pace.
Question: Can it become the biggest animated grosser of all time? Sure. That's “Shrek 2” at $441, and it didn't break “Dory”'s 10-day total until its 17th day.
Question: Can it become the biggest animated grosser of all time adjusted for inflation? Yeah, no. That's Disney's “Snow White” from 1937, which, in the era before DVDs, VHS, or even television, was re-released every 5 to 10 years and kept racking up the box office. Box Office Mojo has it as the 10th biggest grosser of all time at $935 million domestic. “Dory” won't come near that. But the rest is impressive.
In other news, the sequel to “Independence Day,” titled “Independence Day: Resurgence,” opened poorly, at $41 mil. That's $9 million less than the first one grossed on its opening weekend 20 years ago. Unadjusted. The first grossed nearly $600 million in 2016 dollars; this one will be lucky to do 1/4 of that.
Box Office: Stick a Fork in Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Andy Samberg
Samberg's box office is ghost like Swayze.
The three lessons of this weekend’s box office:
- The third iteration of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (the one with Megan Fox) is done. The first film opened to $65 mil two years ago; this one opened to $35. It won the weekend, but that’s the wrong direction. If you adjust for inflation, that’s the fourth-weakest opening of the six TMNT movies; and weaker openers killed their respective franchises: “TMNT” in 2007; “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” in ’93.
- Is “X-Men” done? It also opened weaker than its predecessor ($65 mil vs. $90), then fell 66% this weekend, which is a steep fall for a weak open. It’s at $116 after 10 days. In February, “Deadpool” passed that after three days.
- Andy Samberg isn’t a star. His “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” opened in 2,311 theaters and grossed just $4.6 mil. Ouch. No movie in which he’s starred or co-starred (as a physical being rather than an animated one) has grossed more $40 mil. Generally, they don’t make $15. He’ll always be the “Lazy Sunday” guy—which was 10 years ago, btw. His fans are the fans who don't pay for content.
Overall, it was a bad weekend for BO. Everything dropped like hanged men: X-Men (66%), Alice (60%), Angry Birds (47%), Captain America (50%).
The one bright spot, if you want to call it that, was “Me Before You,” the weepy Emilia Clarke romance, which grossed $18 mil despite mostly negative reviews. Question: Was this box office largesse driven by Clarke, the Mother of Dragons, or fans of the Jo Jo Moyes novel? I assume the latter. Khaleesi is for lazy Sundays, too.
Box Office: 'X-Men,' 'Alice' Get Small
CGI villain tries to destroy humanity. Again.
The eighth “X-Men” movie apparently isn't the charm. Neither is the second “Alice” movie.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” opened to an estimated $65 mil over three days, and $79 mil if you count Memorial Day, which is down from the $90 mil, three-day total the seventh “X-Men” movie (“Days of Future Past”) grossed on its opening weekend just two years ago.
Maybe we're tired of groups of bickering superheroes saving the world from monstrosities. If you adjust for inflation, that's the third-worst opener for our merry marching mutant society:
|Title||Opening (Adj)||Date||Tot/ Gross (Adj)|
|1||X-Men: The Last Stand||$134,595,500||May-06||$306,996,900|
|2||X2: X-Men United||$121,740,300||May-03||$305,848,800|
|3||X-Men Origins: Wolverine||$97,828,100||May-09||$206,889,700|
|4||X-Men: Days of Future Past||$93,549,500||May-14||$241,381,100|
|7||X-Men: First Class||$58,656,500||Jun-11||$156,026,100|
In some way, I'm not surprised. I remember seeing the trailer back whenever and just sighing. I don't even know what year it is in that universe anymore. Reviews weren't good, either (49%).
The other sequel that opened this weekend was “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” which, yeah, did even worse: $26 mil vs. the shocking, $116-million opener for the original, Tim Burton-directed film in March 2010. This one was directed by James Bobin (“Muppets”) and the reviews were not good (30%). All in all, not a happy weekend for Johnny Depp.
Some changeover: “Captain America: Civil War” added another $15 mil to become the highest-grossing domestic film of the year at $377. It's the seventh highest-grossing superhero movie, 12th if you adjust for inflation. Worldwide, it's at $1.1 billion. That's 15th-best all-time.
It's been a lopsided year so far: five movies have grossed more than $300 mil, compared with only one movie (“Kung Fu Panda 3”) which grossed between $100 and $300. Compare this with just two years ago when we didn't get our first $300 mil feature until the August release of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Box Office: 'Cap' Passes 'Batman v Superman' Worldwide
What difference does 10% make? Depends. If you start at, say, $166-169 million, you're talking a little bit of change.
This weekend, “Captain America: Civil War” fell 59% in its second weekend, earning $72 million domestically. Compare that to the second weekend of the similarly themed but roundly maligned “Batman v Superman,” which fell 69% back in March, grossing $51 million.
And that's the difference between a quality movie (“Cap”) and a travesty (“BvS”). But that's just the beginning. It's going to grow. It's going to be huge.
It already is. On its 10th day of release, “Cap” is at $295 domestic, which “BvS” didn't reach until its 17th day. And “BvS” had a bigger opening Friday: $81 vs. $75. But then word got out.
“BvS” opened big overseas, too. It looked like a surefire $1 billion movie. But it's stalled worldwide at $868. Because word got out in other languages.
“Cap,” in fact, has already passed it. It's at $940.9 worldwide and will probably wind up at $1.5 billion or so—half a billion ahead of “BvS.” That's what Warner Bros. flushed down the toilet when they put Zack Snyder in charge of their DC universe—dubbed the “murderverse” by pissed-off fanboys. (I'd dub it the stupidverse; it's Snyder's stupidity, more than his lack of ethics and morality, that I truly can't stomach. But yeah, the killing and torture can get to you, too.)
So will Warner Bros. finally give Zack Snyder the boot? Please. Before he has superheroes kill again. Or reminisce about their mothers' names.
Elsewhere, “The Jungle Book” continues to clean up, grossing another $17 for $311 domestic and second place for the weekend. Jodie Foster's “Money Monster” debuted in third place with $15 mil. Anyone see it? I might check it out.