The Box Office Report – April 1-3
Last week, in box office…
Oh, you know I’m gonna fucking gloat.
Sucker Punch bombed! Sucker Punch bombed! There is a benevolent force within the universe!
Everyone clearly saw this one coming, as evidenced by the low estimates going into the weekend. But, I remained unconvinced. How many times had I started to believe that, for once, the moviegoing public would pass up bait like this, only to be proven wrong, yet again, to the tune of a $35 (or more) million weekend? It happened less than a month ago with Battle: Los Angeles. But, clearly, the bad taste in everyone’s mouths from that piece of shit, along with the general distaste for Snyder’s awfully fake cinematic style — as in, all style, no substance — led to this happening. And I couldn’t be happier.
Sucker Punch made $19.1 million last weekend, dropping even lower than the estimates called for. They said $24-26 million. Oh boy, was that even too high. I said $40 million, because, in situations like this, I find, the best thing to do is assume the worst, and then, the closer the number is to your wishes, the happier you are. I’m perfectly okay with being wrong if the end result is what I wanted in the first place. And, man, this beyond even my best wishes. I’m so happy this failed, you have no idea. Maybe now the man will actually go back to real film from now on. There’s no denying his talent as a visual craftsman. He just needs to learn to tell a story and not go to, “Well, let’s put in an action sequence here, because that’ll be badass.” Also, who called it? Just gonna pat myself on the back for that one. I’m pretty sure nearly everything I said about the film ended up being the case. Right down to — this is a female empowerment film, but really, we’re objectifying them and are gonna make women feel like they’re being empowered, when really, we’re demeaning them. Classic America. But, it’s the end of the Zack Snyder film as we know it, and I feel fine.
Winning the weekend was Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. It made $23.4 million. I did make that little statement about displacement money. The less the supposed blockbuster makes, the more everything else makes. Because you know people are going. It’s just a matter of what they’re going to see. But that really applies to the next film and not so much this one.
This movie outdid even the best estimations. Not by much, but, when you outdo the first film’s gross, that’s a pretty substantial achievement. You can pencil in another one for next year, that’s for certain. This also, once again — this must be the sixth or seventh month in a row this has happened — proves that children’s films are the real moneymakers. This is where everything starts. If you notice, the majority of the children’s movies that have succeeded beyond expectations in the past few months, are films that are smarter than the av-er-age children’s movie. (That was only a minor dig at Yogi Bear, which was actually pretty harmless as a film, despite being horrendously CG-ed.) Gnomeo and Juliet, based on, obviously — Othello — and features a lot of grown up references and puns in the dialogue. Shit most children just won’t catch. Which means adults are more likely to take their kids to it because they’ll be able to enjoy it as well. This is the way to go. A film like this is smarter (I assume. I haven’t seen the first one nor will I see this one) than most kids movies, which makes adults more likely to sit through it, and more likely to tell the other parents, “Yeah, it’s not that bad. You won’t fall asleep like you did during Marmaduke.” There’s a reason all those Disney films from the 90s did so well, people. Does no one in Hollywood see this? Or is it that they’re so in the thick of it they can’t actually see what’s going on?
The key is to make smarter, more adult-friendly kids movies, while still keeping them kids movies. Disney and Pixar handle the real grown up appeal. Hollywood should make movies like this — kids movies that aren’t boring as shit for adults. There’s where the real money is. Then, once you make money off of those, you can stop making these shitty thrillers and big budget action movies you make so much of, lessen the field there, which allows for quality over quantity (assuming the quality goes up if you need three to succeed instead of seven) — because, when you have seven action movies coming out, you go, “Here’s our Bourne movie, here’s the one marketed to females, here’s the one that’s like this other movie that did well last summer” and you’re just filling in blanks and making them from formulas. When you’re dealing with three, and you’re not as forced to make money off of them (maybe one of them is your programmer, and a second is kind of one but isn’t), you can be a bit more original. Plus, a larger influx of kids movies will thin out the marketplace for adult fare, and will — well, I hope this doesn’t happen, but it might — possibly even force adults to see anything that’s out. Which, even if that happens, I have faith that people will avoid the real shit and then force Hollywood to make the films better. At least, on the whole. We can’t hold out hope for everything.
That’s really all I’m saying. The kids movies are the key. You make those better, and the money issue starts taking care of itself. The problem really occurs when they start making the money, and they think they can just continue what they’ve been doing. That’s where Hollywood has always gone wrong. They think a minor change that fills up a patch works for the whole thing and continue going back to the well on everything else. Wow — Hollywood is really like the GOP. Whatever, enough proselytizing, back to the numbers.
Finishing third — and Jesus Christ, how did this make so much money — was Limitless, with $15.1 million. For the record, it made $18.9 million last week. Which amounts to a 20% drop. What the fuck? Now, of course, I didn’t hate this movie as much as I thought I would, and it’s still a bad movie, but, on the whole, since there won’t be a sequel, I’m okay with this making this kind of money. It’s a one-off and that’s that. I hope. This will count as a minor success and we’ll move on. In fact, I’d rather more attempts at Limitless than Sucker Punch. My problems with Limitless were purely storytelling-related, starting with that god-awful voiceover that runs throughout the film. Seriously, when is voiceover ever a good idea?
But, still, you have to count this as a weekend the studios weren’t expecting. All the displacement money went here. People chose this over Sucker Punch. Which, may open the studios’ eyes, or may not. I don’t know. Attendance has been declining for a few years now. I don’t think they’ll truly take notice until their precious summer blockbusters start blowing up in their faces. Which — there’s your chance, people. If you really want to hit them where it hurts and force them to take accountability for the shit they put out, don’t go to the summer movies. Of course see the ones you really want to see, but, if it’s something you’re unsure of — don’t go. Or, at least, not opening weekend. That’s where they want you to go. Wait a week or two. Or even wait until midweek the next week. Because, if the summer movies fail, then changes start getting made. (Also, I should note, all these changes I was talking about, mostly with the kids films. It’s possible it’s already in the works. You really don’t see any changes until two years down the road. 2012 is really where we see what the effects of 2010 wrought. Because that’s when they greenlit the new batch of films based on what was out at the time, and then they shoot them in 2011 and they come out in 2012. So don’t expect things to be instantaneous. But, on the other hand, you can see based on what’s already scheduled for 2012 just how things are beginning to shape up.) Also, I’ll just say — this is really starting to remind me of the 60s. I’m just waiting for that one film to come along like Easy Rider, the one that really ushers in that new era (which, as I’ve said, I hope is just like the 70s, though I know that shit ain’t happening again, so let’s just hope for something remotely similar to the 70s) of films that gets us away from this cycle we’re in now.
So, number four this past weekend was The Lincoln Lawyer. $10.8 million. Jesus christ, right? They avoided Sucker Punch that much that two films had 20% or less drops. That’s fucking astounding. It says less about these films as it does about Sucker Punch. Let’s hope somebody listens to what it says. But, still, good for this film, I guess. I still assume it’s shit, but, like I said, I’d rather shitty, low-budget thrillers like this doing better than expecting over big-budget shitty action movies doing as expected. There’s a much higher percentage of several thrillers being good than there is of one single action movie being good. Plus it moves us one step closer to the right direction. And I’ll take it.
Fifth last weekend was Rango, with $9.8 million. Displacement money made it better. It’s crossed $100 million.
Paul made another $7.9 million. 40% drop. Nice hold. At $24 million, might come close to recouping is budget, which is all that a midline film like this needs to do. Good for it.
Battle: Los Angeles pulled in $7.6 million. Exactly where it should have been. Even displacement money didn’t give it more than an extra hundred thousand or two. Good.
That’s it. Everything else is under 5. And now, this week…
The big film opening — god help us all — is Hop.
Hop, is not the worst film that could be opening, but, it just seems like a bad excuse for a kids movie, in the vein of Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Marmaduke. I could be wrong, it could be harmless. I just call it like I sees it. Obviously, though, since this is a kid’s movie, expect it to do well/hold well. However, older kids have a kids movie to go see, so returns on this will be leveled out. Don’t expect as high as $30 million, expect like $25 million. Which is good. Because it’ll hold. It’ll be out until Easter, which is all it needs to do. It will do like 25 this week (possibly less, because I expect certain other things to possibly overperform), then hold to like 17, then 10 — procuring a hefty return once all is said and done. So, whatever.
The next film opening is Source Code. That’s the film I’m looking forward to. It’s based on a Black List script, which, usually means, if it’s a thriller, not actually as good as the distinction, but voted on because it’s a smart premise, that Hollywood will take and then fuck up by dumbing it down. However — and this is the key — the director of the film is Duncan Jones. The Duncan Jones who is David Bowie’s son. Not good enough for ya? The Duncan Jones who directed Moon. Hows about that one? I think he’s talented enough to keep this to being a good movie. In fact, the April release date leads me to believe it’s so good that Hollywood doesn’t know where to release it. Just a guess on that.
Now, they’re putting this in the same category as Limitless. But, I put it in the same category as The Adjustment Bureau. Which, by the way, is about to clear $60 million domestically soon — $10 million over its budget — and is on its way to a nice little profit when all is said and done. Great job, America. You didn’t fuck up. I’m — the word that’s not proud, but — I’m not disappointed in you! Anyway, I’m likening Source Code to that instead of Limitless. Which, we’re splitting hairs, since one did $21 million opening weekend and the other did $18 million. They’re projecting like $16 million, but I’m hoping that America, on this trend of actually going to smarter films, will go to this one and bring in around $18-20 million on this. But, Gyllenhaal is not Matt Damon, and Michelle Monaghan isn’t quite as known as one would hope. So that’s why estimates are lower. But, $16-20 million is all but assured. The higher the better, the lower, the more “Fuck you, America,” will be coming next week.
Insidious. I’m both telling you the movie’s title and what it is. I hate horror movies. Almost as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes. Except where he has blinding fear, I have blinding hatred. People get into the genre tropes of horror movies. I don’t. I hate them. I get into the genre tropes of westerns and musicals. Go take your shitty modern horror films and go fuck yourselves. (Not, the people who watch them, by the way, the powers that be that keep putting bad ones out.) Anyway, they’re projecting like $10 million for it — I say, it’ll fail miserably. It’ll do $7 million or less. No one’s heard about it, and it’s had no build up, and is just getting dropped in there. I think it’ll do really badly. It’s way out of place and I think you’re gonna see that Take Me Home Tonight reaction like, “What? No,” and then shitty returns. The more this does, the more I hate America.
Anyway, that’s — not it. There’s one more. The King’s Speech is getting released into 1,000 theaters. I know, right? I just said, “Really? They’re putting it back out there again?” too. This is their PG-13 version, without all the fucks. Meaning this speech:
“Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. SHIT. Shit. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck, fuck, fuck and bugger, bugger, bugger, buggity, buggity, buggity, fuck, fuck, ass. Balls, balls, fuckity shit, shit, fucking, willy, willy, shit, and fuck and … tits.”
I just like posting that as often as possible. I’m one of the few people who copied it word for word after listening to the scene twelve times, so when people were searching for all the dialogue, they all managed to come across me. That was funny for about a week. And then I realized AIDS still exists.
So, it’s back in 1,000 theaters. I refuse to wager a guess on this one for two reasons. 1, I do not support movies being trimmed to PG-13. They fucked with my Die Hard and now they’re fucking with something after the film has been released! That can’t happen. The second reason is — this film is really starting to overstay its welcome, and I think (or at least I hope) this move blows up in their faces a little bit. Not that I dislike the Weinsteins or anything. They’re responsible for like, 40% of the good movies each year. But, this movie has been shoved down our throats enough. Let’s just have it fail the once and then let it go gracefully onto DVD and on my shelf. Okay? I know they’re trying to squeeze every dollar, and this movie has made so much money that a few off the top will not matter in terms of the overall profit, but, really, let’s treat this kingly instead of — presidentially.
Now, this week, the holdovers…
The first holdover is Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. After that impressive opening, we’re probably looking at about $13-15 million this weekend. It’ll hold to about half. Young kids won’t go but older ones will. So you’ll get a steady drop here. Still, everything this film makes is gravy, so, the people behind it don’t care. They’re laughing their way to the bank. Before stopping off to see how the sequel is progressing.
And now — Sucker Punch. Oh, man. This movie is expected to fall to around $9 million. $10 million for a standard hold, $11 million for a good hold. It might surprise and do like $12-13 million, but, that’s like, “Oh great, I lost my job, the house got damaged in the fire, my dog just died, and great, it’s now only a benign tumor.” So, even if the film does $10 million, it’s still only made less than $35 million after two weekends. Which — is fucking hilarious. I like that I can berate one of his movies while quoting a character from another. That’s why I love this country.
Uhh — I really don’t care about these other ones. Let’s rapid fire, machine gun them.
Limitless — $15 million, should drop to around $8-9 million, but who the fuck knows, considering how it held last week. Then again there is no shitty movie to avoid, so let’s actually call it between $7-9 million. Though it’s possible the number alone got people to think, “Wow, is it really that good?” even though it isn’t and they’ll go see it anyway. I want the money in Source Code, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
The Lincoln Lawyer — $6-7 million. Maybe 5. Who cares? Marginal profit and gone after next week. That’s all I want.
Rango — Looking at $4-6 million. Probably closer to 6. But if it does 4 I don’t have to mention it.
Battle: Los Angeles — almost certainly $4 million. Good. The less the better. I’ll wrap this one up next week and never talk about it again. Of course, until the Academy Awards roll around…
That’s all of them. Let’s just — actually, fuck it, I’ll do that next week. That’s it for this week. Although,
Also, in 5 theaters around the country this week — I have to point it out, because, it sounds amazing — Rubber. The movie about the tire on a killing spree. Go see this. It’s the best thing you can see this week. This and Source Code.
Now that’s it for this week. Peace, bitches.