erik lundegaard

Monday October 18, 2010

Hollywood B.O.: America Loves “Jackass”

Yes, “Jackass 3-D” was no. 1 at the box office this weekend. Yes, it set a record for September/October by opening with an estimated $50 million. Yes, that's the best opening weekend since “Inception”'s in mid-July. Yes yes yes.

I'm more interested in this number: 38. That's the percentage difference between the number of Rotten Tomato's top critics who liked “Jackass 3D” (29%) and the overall critics who liked “Jackass 3D” (67%).

That's a huge discrepancy.

How huge? The difference for “Red,” which opened in second place with $22 million, is 10% (70% for all critics, 60% for top critics).

The difference for “The Social Network,” which fell only 28.8% for another $11 million and third place, is 3% (97% for all critics, 100% for top critics).

In fact, among the top 10 films, the largest discrepancy for a film other than “Jackass”'s 38% is “Easy A”'s 11% (86% from all critics, 97% from top critics).

“Jackass”'s huge discrepancy may be due partly to the small sample size. There are usually 100-200 reviews for a film opening wide. As of this morning, there are only 45 for “Jackass.” Paramount didn't screen it for critics because it didn't have to. Critics just get in the way of these kinds of things.

Besides, if you're a critic, what do you say about a movie like this? That it's stupid and disgusting? That it loves groin shots and midget bar fights? And poop geysers? (Best line I've read comes from Kurt Loder, who, according to RT's system, gave it a thumbs up: “Most of us think of a penis as having two purposes. But as we learn in Jackass 3D, this is a narrow view.”)

Either way, “Jackass” seems the 38th parallel of movies: forever dividing top critics, who want story, and online critics, who want.

I'm also intrigued, in an offhand kind of way, with which of these two groups goes higher for which film. The expectation is for top critics to be more discrminating than all critics, but, among the top 10, that's not nearly true. Top Critics gave lower numbers to only four of the 10 (“Jackass,” “Red,” “The Town,” and “My Soul to Take”), but gave higher numbers to the other six (“The Social Network,” “Secretariat,” “Life As We Know It,” “Ga'Hoole,” “Easy A” and “Wall Street”).

Mostly, though, I know the $50 million open means we'll not only get another “Jackass” sequel in a year or four, but copycat “Jackass”es from other studios.

The sad totals here.

Posted at 06:58 AM on Monday October 18, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office  
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