Movies - Box Office postsMonday July 12, 2010
Hollywood B.O.: Kids' Movies and Grown Ups
“Despicable Me” opened at $60 million!
What does this mean? Not much, really. It's a better opening than some thought, but it's only the sixth best opening this year, behind the obvious (“Iron Man 2”; “Toy Story 3”), and the not-so-obvious (“Clash of the Titans”). Unadjusted, it's the 69th best opening weekend ever, behind such films as “Planet of the Apes” (the 2001 version), “Hulk” (the 2003 version), and “2012” (the 2009 version).
Of those 68 movies that opened better, however, 52 opened in more theaters than “Despicable”'s 3,476. So of the 3,500-and-under crowd, its opening is 18th best. Remove sequels and it's 10th best.
But, again, that's unadjusted. Adjust, and it goes from 69th to 133th, behind such long-lasting films as “Van Helsing,” “Big Daddy,” “The Village,” and “101 Dalmatians” (the 1996 live-action version).
Robert Rodriguez's “Predators,” from Fox, the fifth in the off-again, on-again series, grossed $25 million, good enough for third place. Didn't boom, didn't bomb. Nothing to write a blog post home about.
The big news came from returning films.
The worst percentage change for any wide release was, big surprise, M. Night Shyamalan's “The Last Airbender,” dropping 57% despite adding 34 theaters. Given its lousy reviews, though (7% from top critics on Rotten Tomatoes), and lousier word-of-mouth, one assumed, one hoped, it would drop more. It wound up in fifth place with $17 million. The percentage drop would've been worse, of course, but the film opened on a Thursday, its biggest day, and so had that much less to fall off from.
Meanwhile, “Toy Story 3” (99%), despite direct competition from a popular new kids' movie, fell off by only 27%, pulling in $22 million. That's fourth place. It's now the highest-grossing film of the year domestically.
Before we celebrate the long legs of quality films like “Toy Story,” however, this news: the smallest percentage drop came from the Adam Sandler comedy, “Grown Ups,” which didn't exactly kill with the critics (13%), but which, in its third week, still fell off by only 13%. It's now grossed $111 million domestically. That's 10th for the year and our most successful comedy. Grown ups, indeed.
Hollywood B.O.: The Short, Sad Life of Jonah Hex
Once again, two movies opened wide this weekend, and once again they were no.s 1 and 2 at the box office—even though no. 1, "Twilight: Eclipse," actually opened on Wednesday (but to the best reviews of the series, 63% from top critics at RT, although indicative was Joe Morgenstern's thumbs up: "It didn't leave me cold"), while no. 2, "The Last Airbender," opened on Thursday (to horrible reviews and 7% from top critics on RT).
The other five films in 2,000+ theaters fell off in typical fashion: between 47.9% ("Karate Kid") and 52.8% ("Grown Ups").
Of the seven films playing wide this weekend, the only one out of place was "Toy Story 3." It's now in its third week but it remained ahead of the two second-week films. Like so:
A few questions from looking at the final column above. Since most major releases get a partner with whom they dance during subsequent weekends, which film partnered with "Toy Story 3" three weekends ago? And who was "Get Him to the Greek"'s partner? And what two films opened six weekends ago but has since fallen off the charts?
Answers in reverse order.
Six weekends ago, "Prince of Perisa" and "Sex and the City 2" opened together. "PP" is now 12th, in 600 theaters, and probably won't gross $90 million domestically. "SATC" is now chartless, although still playing in several local Seattle theaters, and is stuck at $93 million.
"Get Him to the Greek" opened with "Killers," that Ashton Kutcher thing, which is still playing in 700+ theaters and made about a half mil. Total gross: $45 million ($56m worldwide).
And "Toy Story 3"'s partner? That would be "Jonah Hex," which has all but vamoosed. It's still playing in a handful of theaters but for whatever reason they're not counting its numbers. It hasn't topped $10 million domestically. It's already been tossed and forgotten.
Remember the difficulty Andy had in throwing away his toys in "Toy Story 3"? That's not Hollywood with its toys. But then they make a shittier product. And they know new ones arrive every week.
Hollywood B.O.: How's “Prince of Persia” Doing in Egypt?
No real surprises this weekend. Of the newcomers: “Knight and Day,” which looked kinda fun to me, did a blah $20 million, while “Grown Ups,” which looked atrocious, grossed $41 million on the strength of urine, masturbation and Rob-Schneider-kissing-an-old-lady jokes. Yay, America! Apparently we still have money to waste.
BTW: Is Schneider's “old lady” an in-joke among the players? Writer Adam Sandler giving himself Salma Hayek as a wife and his pal Schneider an actress in her late 70s? If so, even the in-jokes in this thing suck.
The two returning b.o. champs with high Rotten Tomatoes scores continued to fare well. “Toy Story 3” and “Karate Kid” fell off by only 46 and 48 percent, respectively, and finished first and fourth respectively. After three weeks, “Karate Kid” has now grossed more than twice as much as “The A-Team” ($135m to $62m), while “Toy Story 3,” after two weeks, has grossed almost as much as “Shrek Forever After” has after six weeks: $226m to $229m. “3” will pass “Shrek” today.
Among the crap films: Fox pulled “Marmaduke” from 1,385 theaters and its take dropped 60%; Lions Gate pulled “Killers” from more than 350 theaters and its take dropped 60%. But the biggest drop was for “Jonah Hex,” which fell more than 70%, even though Warner Bros. didn't pull it from any of its 2,825 theaters, and even though there wasn't much to fall off 70% from. It's currently at $9.1m. Where will it end up? Double digits, probably, but I don't know if I'd bet on $12m.
Full weekend chart here.
Finally, which 2010 movies feel like bombs but aren't necessarily? Some possibilities:
- “Prince of Persia,” which has grossed $86m in the U.S., but $220m overseas, for a total of $312m.
- “Robin Hood,” which has grossed $103m in the U.S., but $198m overseas, for a total of $302m.
- And “Sex and the City 2,” which has grossed $93m in the U.S., but $172m abroad, for a total of $265 m.
At the same time, the first “Sex and the City” grossed $262m overseas (wow!). It'll be interesting to see if “2” picks up this slack. It's currently the no. 1 movie in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the U.K. Inexplicably, it hasn't hit Australia yet, where it made $25m in 2008. Not so inexplicably, it hasn't hit several other countries that Box Office Mojo tracks, including Bahrain, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which are watching, respectively, “The Back-Up Plan,” “Nour 3iney,” “Shrek Forever After” and, believe it or not, “Prince of Persia.” So at least they don't have a problem with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead.
Hollywood B.O.: Toys Find Homes; "Hex" Hexed
The original "Toy Story" was in many ways about that moment in our history when the astronaut or spaceman (Buzz Lightyear) eclipsed the cowboy or sheriff (Woody) as the hero in the imaginations of boys everywhere. Pin it somewhere in the early 1960s—about the time Tom Hanks was Andy's age.
It could also be about that cultural moment when science-fiction eclipsed the western as our pre-eminent genre. Even as boys imagined themselves as astronauts, for example, Gene Roddenberry still had to pitch the original "Star Trek" as a western: "'Wagon Train' to the stars," he called it. Now it'd be the opposite. And it wouldn't sell. "It's like 'Star Trek'...but on the dusty plains!" Yeah, have fun with that.
Well, sci-fi still soars and the western has still seen better days. Sheriff Woody rides off into the sunset as perhaps our last, great, popular western hero in "Toy Story 3," while the film's main competition this past weekend, "Jonah Hex," a western, got bucked. "Toy Story 3" won the weekend with an estimated $109 million take, while "Jonah Hex" finished eighth—eighth!—with $5 million. Not even a battle. It helped that "3" was a beloved sequel, universally acclaimed (98% RT rating) and in more than 4,000 theaters, while Jonah Hex was an original, universally panned (14% RT rating), and in 2,845 theaters.
But eighth? Behind the fourth weekend of "Prince of Persia" and the third weekend of "Killers"? Yeesh.
"Hex"'s per-theater-average ($1,800) was the second worst of the summer—behind only "MacGruber," which grossed "$4 million in 2,551 theaters for $1,585 per in May. Everything went wrong for "Hex," including its title, which now seems like bad foreshadowing. What's next? "Joe Box Office Bomb"?
In other news, and despite the competition from "3," "Karate Kid" did surprisingly well, falling off only 47% and taking second place with $29 million. It's already grossed more than $100 million. "The A-Team" fell off even less, 46%, but it had less to fall off from; it grossed $13 million. "Get Him to the Greek" lost over 100 theaters but dropped only 38%, while "Shrek" couldn't handle "3" and fell by 65%.
Here's a puzzler: With "Toy Story 3" opening, and with "Shrek" as nose-holding backup, people still plunked down $2.6 million of hard-earned, global-financial-meltdown money for "Marmaduke"? But that thing's almost gone, finishing 10th, and its total domestic gross ($27 million) is about 2/3 of what "Toy Story 3" grossed on Friday alone.
"Toy Story 3," by the way, was the best opening for a Pixar movie ever—beating out "Finding Nemo," which made $70 million in May 2003. This is true even when adjusted for inflation. ("Nemo" winds up with $92 million adjusted.)
Full chart here.
And don't forget to vote for your favorite "Toy Story" movie here.
Hollywood B.O.: The B-Team
In the battle of the 1980s remakes, “The Karate Kid” kicked the butt of “The A-Team” at the U.S. box office last weekend: $56 million to $26 million. This is gratifying on several levels:
- “Kid”'s Rotten Tomatoes rating is almost 20 points higher than “A-Team”'s, 70% to 53%, or among top critics 66% to 48%, and I've been a longtime proponent of the notion that quality matters.
- Jackie Chan. I've been a fan since the days when the U.S. feared Japanese economic might rather than Chinese economic might, and I'm always happy when he does well at the U.S. box office.
- “Kid” is a formulaic underdog story. “A-Team” is a formulaic overdog story. If you're going formula, I'll take the underdog.
- “The A-Team” cost $110 million, stars three white guys and an angry black guy, and was futzed over by 11 screenwriters hired and fired by Fox, a studio which is infamous for dumbing down its product. “The Karate Kid” cost $40 million, stars a black kid and a Chinese guy, lists only one screenwriter, and its studio, Sony, was able to keep itself out of the conversation.
As for why it did well? I don't think any of the above really had much to do with it. I think it opened well for the following reasons:
- It stars a kid who looks like a kid. Kids identify.
- It's rated PG (rather than the more covetted PG-13) so kids can actually see it.
- One line from the trailer: “I get it. You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.”
What kid wouldn't want to go after hearing that line? It's a real-life Yoda-Luke thing!
As for the rest of the top 15? A steady if unremarkable decline for the crap May/June releases. It looks like “Sex and the City 2,” currently at $84.7 million, will peter out (sorry) before $100 million. It looks like “Robin Hood,” at $99.6 million, won't.
But the worst performer seems to be “Marmaduke.” After 10 days, in over 3,200 theaters, its domestic box office stands at a mere $22 million. Not good for a family comedy with a budget of $50 million. But this should be expected: its RT rating is only 11%. And its studio? Fox.
“I get it: You're Yoda and I'm like a Jedi.” The irony is that the old master, “Star Wars,” is a Fox film, but from its wiser, 20th Century days.