Brooks Barnes Touts 'Box Office Success' that Isn't
I was alerted to a pretty suspect box-office argument by Mark Harris on Twitter and it turned out it was written by Brooks Barnes, whom I used to critique regularly, and who is apparently still fudging the details.
Here's his lede about the weekend box office:
LOS ANGELES — The disconnect between Hollywood's taste and that of the masses has rarely been more sharply drawn as it was over the weekend, as the stylish “Atomic Blonde” sputtered and “The Emoji Movie” pushed past horrified critics to become a box office success.
Harris' thought: What an odd point to make when five of the other six top movies of the weekend are all critically acclaimed: 90 percenters on Rotten Tomatoes.
My addition: Barnes is positing a great divide between “Hollywood taste” and “the masses” based on two movies that did nearly the same business:
|RNK||MOVIE||WKND GRS||THTRS||AVG PER|
|2||The Emoji Movie||$25,650,000||4,075||$6,294|
That's a pretty thin difference to hang your hat on.
More, 14 movies this year have opened in 4,000+ theaters, and their opening weekends range from “Beauty and the Beast,” which grossed north of $174 million in March to “The Mummy,” which managed only $31.6 in June. Until “Emoji”'s $25 mil. That's Barnes' “box office success”? The weakest 4,000+ theater opener this year?
Hell, it would've been the weakest 4,000+ opener last year, too. And the year before that. And ... You know what? It's the weakest opening for any 4,000+-theater movie ever.
To Barnes that means “box office success.”
It's such an odd piece. It almost feels like Barnes is settling scores or something; like he's got skin in the game:
Rival studios have spent the summer mocking Sony for backing “The Emoji Movie” with a full-throated marketing campaign, including a stunt at the Cannes Film Festival involving a parasailing actor, confetti and people in emoji costumes. Surely, sniffed the film elite, Sony was delusional if it thought it could make something out of such dreck.
“Sniffed the film elite”? Seriously, New York Times?
The weekend was won, by the way, by Christopher Nolan's “Dunkirk,” which fell off 44%, grossed another $28 mil, and passed the $100 million mark domestically. Worldwide, it's at $234.
Third place was the raunch comedy “Girls Trip,” which fell off only 35% to gross another $20 mil. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” fell off 39% to gross $13.5. It's at $278 and looks like it'll pass $300 mil. “Wonder Woman” added another $3+ to edge $5 mil closer to $400.