The Box Office Report – April 8-11

Last week, in box office…

Coming as absolutely no surprise to me (or anyone, really) Hop wins the weekend with $37.5 million. It’s my fault I was too stupid — and too rushed — to accurate predict such an occurrence.

I’ve been saying it since January — kids films are the only sure thing outside of May through July. Kids movies, summer blockbusters (most of them, anyway), Will Smith movies and (god help us), Adam Sandler movies. That’s really about it. Movies for the under 7 crowd are almost guaranteed to make bank. (Please take note of the inherent joke in that statement.) Not only that — a film by the makers of Alvin and the Chipmunks — films that, while being almost-unforgivable turds, make shitloads of cash. And personally, I’ll accept that these movies exist because, hey, they’re for children under ten. People are not accountable for taste until they hit puberty. So I don’t care. I watched such shit too, once. (Granted, my shit wasn’t as bad, because the shitty kids movies that came out weren’t as awful as these ones. At least mine were live-action.)

Now, the problem is — I knew this, and if I thought about it for a second, I’d probably have said as much in my report last week. Problem was — I overslept on Friday. The article went up with only the first half. Which meant I had to quickly write the second half to get it up after I woke up and realized it. Therefore I ended up being pretty conservative in my predictions. I was concerned with getting it out there over getting it right. Which, whatever. It’s not like it matters anyway.

But, really, $38 million is exactly what a film like that does. It actually makes me happy. That’s right. Because — for almost a decade now, Hollywood has been focusing solely on one demographic — 13-17 year olds. Everything was geared toward them. (They rank it up to 24, but I guarantee you, mind-set wise, it’s nothing above 17.) Now, you’re starting to see a bit of a shift, toward 10 and under, and 24 and older, with the requisite films in between. Or maybe that’s just these last few months talking. We’ll see how it actually plays out. Hollywood has often given hope only to consistently fuck it up yet again.

It actually makes me wonder if they’re so ignorant of what’s going they don’t even realize, or that they believe they’re the only ones qualified to levy a decision on what’s right and wrong and what people should see that they’re intent on destroying everything they have going for them.

Anyway, finishing second this weekend was Source Code, with only $14.8 million. That’s disappointing. I mean, anyone could have guessed $15 million, but, still, it’s too low. It was probably the best movie to come out this year so far next to The Adjustment Bureau. (Also, note how well it fits as an April release.) Still, it’ll be a modest hit, which is acceptable. As long as it didn’t fail without notice. This is a movie that will truly be discovered on DVD. We need more like this.

Finishing third, with way too much money, was Insidious. $13.2 million. The only way I can describe this is — teenagers are stupid. They probably thought Source Code was too smart and that they’d have to pay attention, and then went to this instead. So they can throw popcorn at each other and act like tools. That’s the only way to make sense of it. Which fucking annoys me, because this is how we keep getting shitty movies like this.

Finishing fourth was Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, which made $10 million. Not as strong a hold as expected — but that’s because all the kids went to the next big thing. Hopefully Hollywood has learned that what they need to do is space the kids films at least three weeks apart, that way they hold well and aren’t undercut by the next one to come out. Still, this film will still make huge bank. I’m curious to see if it holds really well this weekend or slips lower than it should because of Hop.

Finishing fourth was Limitless with $9.3 million. That’s exactly what it was supposed to do.

Fifth was The Lincoln Lawyer with $6.8 million. Right on target.

Sixth was — oh boy — Sucker Punch — with $6 million. It was expected to fall to $9 million. Ooh…that’s gotta sting.

Ha ha.

Rango was seventh, with $4.5 million. Yup. It’s total is $113 million, and should end up with about $120 million when all is said and done. Strangely, that was not as much as its budget. But I think it still counts as a hit on the overall. Weird how that works, but, I really don’t care, so, whatever.

Battle: Los Angeles is at $78.5 million now, and will not cross $100 million. Yippee.

Oh yeah, The King’s Speech — remember when I said it was gonna backfire? $1.1 million. Called it. R movies should not be released as PG-13. Ever.

Adam Sandler has just crossed $100 million again. There is no god.

Gnomeo and Juliet is just shy of $97 million. Good for it. Also, True Grit just passed $170 million. Mars Needs Moms, however, just made $20 million. Hmm. That’s funny.

Now, onto this week…

The big film opening is Arthur. And at first I was okay with this existing. However, now, as we get closer to the release date, I’m dreading this like the plague. I read the script, which had a lot of the great lines of the original, and didn’t bastardize the material too much. But, now, after unfortunately catching a few 30 second TV spots in passing, I’m very worried. This is a film that might become unforgivable just because — how can you fuck up something so good so badly?

Anyway — the money. Thankfully, everyone’s predicting it to fail, which makes me very happy. Well — they’re predicting anywhere between $13 million and $19 million. Still, $19 million sounds about right for it. So, let’s assume $17-19 million and hope for $13-14 million. Above $16 million hurts me, less than makes me happy.

The other film opening this weekend is Your Highness. A film I have no problem saying I will actually be paying for (in theaters) at least once. Which, for the record, will be the first time I’ve paid to see a movie since — Blue Valentine. So, almost three months to the day. This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Hollywood. Anywho, this is shaping up to be a funny movie, (I hope. The bad reviews have me doubting it), and at the very least, should be entertaining enough to spend $10 on. (It better be. Otherwise there is no hope in comedy.)

Now — a film like this, you hope will make money. It’s two biggest comparison films are Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express. Clearly similar in comedy (mostly Pineapple), and all starring (or co-starring) Danny McBride. Both opened to $25 million and $23 million, respectively. Obviously, this shouldn’t do that. Not because it doesn’t deserve to, but because Danny McBride is toplining the film, along with Franco, and they’re not necessarily huge draws. Plus the stoner comedy isn’t a huge market and this is sort of a stoner action adventure — it just has the markings of cult film written all over it. Estimates are putting this between $11 million and $14 million. Obviously, I’m hoping for more. But, I’m a realist. This has a limited appeal, first-run. Plus, it’s only in 2,700 theaters, which means Middle America will not be going to see this. It’s not going to make as much as Arthur, by virtue of the fact that, 1) it’s rated R, and 2) it’s opening in 500 less theaters. So, let’s just hope it makes money, assuming it’s worthwhile, and hope the money Arthur doesn’t make goes to this.

Also opening this weekend is Hanna, a child assassin movie that may surprise. It’s getting good reviews, and I might even pop in to go see it. We’ll see. But, it’s PG-13, action-heavy, and might be the kind of movie audiences are looking for. Then again, it’s getting good reviews, so, let’s assume people won’t actually go to see it. That’s how I do now. If it’s looking to be a good movie and isn’t Oscar season, I assume audiences will ignore it. I have zero faith in the American public. So, let’s say, $10 million? $12 million. Don’t aim too high on this one, it has limited appeal. Good movies often do.

And Soul Surfer, the movie about the girl who got her arm bitten off by a shark and continued surfing. Who’s gonna go to this? Middle American families? Teen girls? Who? Then again, films like this always make more money than you’d expect. (See: Beastly.) Still, let’s call it $7 million and let it overperform. Does anyone even know this movie exists?

That’s it for the new releases. Now to the holdovers…

Hop should continue to make bank, as kids will go see anything. A less than 50% drop is almost assured, and since it did almost $38 million last week, somewhere between $22-24 million sounds about right for this. There’s a lot of broad appeal movies to take away from the older group of kids that would pay for this, so, probably it won’t hold insanely well. Just regular well.

Source Code, well, won’t hold well. Sadly. Hanna and Arthur, and even Your Highness are gonna sap tickets away from this. So, figure a 50% drop (hopefully not more), and we’re looking at between $7-8 million. Still, I guess it could be worse. Right? It could be Sucker Punch.

Speaking of Sucker Punch — you just have to. Morbid curiosity is what drives American culture — you’re looking at like, a $3-4 million weekend and a grand total of about $36 million after three weeks. You hear that? That violin playing? Yeah, it’s playing “Where is My Mind,” because even hearing it played on a violin is better than the version they picked for that movie. What the fuck was that?

Oh, yeah, Insidious, that piece of shit, should drop 50% to around $6.5 million. That’s almost exactly where it should end up. I hope it doesn’t make another dollar. But, still $24 million after two weeks isn’t so bad. Let it get out of here after three weeks and we’ll forget it’s existence.

What else we got? Oh, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. That fell more than expected. So, let’s say it does around $5-6 million this weekend. Meh. Sure.

And, Limitless. Figure, $5 millon on that. Last weekend I have to talk about it.

That about does it. Before I go, I’m going to push for the two films I suggest people pay for this weekend — Hanna and Your Highness. Don’t waste your time on anything else. We’ve been doing a good job of making the studios pay for bad decisions so far this year. Let’s keep it up.

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