How do you know that the summer movie season is officially done? Check the box office and if it looks like this weekend, it’s over. The months of massive openings and long legs are over. Welcome to the doldrums that are late August and September.
After nearly a month at the top of the box office, Batman has fallen. In his place stand two new Hollywood champions: ‘The Bourne Legacy‘ and ‘The Campaign,’ both of which opened to strong numbers. Still, these solid openings won’t blow anyone’s socks off, mainly because we’ve seen the likes of these do so much better in the past.
Hey there, ‘Total Recall.’ You know how you were supposed to be pretty big movie? Well, hopefully you’re sitting down because, well…you’re not. You see, there’s this little thing called ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ that isn’t a remake of a much-beloved film and it doesn’t star Colin Farrell and people actually seem to generally kinda’ like it. Yeah, sorry buddy. You didn’t stand a chance.
Prequels are all the rage these days, generally making bank at the box office due to name recognition while angering hordes of movie buffs (who take to internet comments sections to protest). However, no project has ever sounded more cinematically blasphemous than what Warner Bros. may be cooking up right now: a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic ‘The Shining.’
With the exception of poor Katy Perry, everyone was a winner at the box office this week. Seriously. Of the top ten films, nine of them either opened well or held well, making this one of the most consistent weekends of the summer season. Filmmakers and studios: pat yourselves on the backs. You’ve earned this one.
When ‘Prometheus‘ opened big last month, there was the usual “Ah, so R-rated movies can perform well at the box office!” discussion that tends to happen every year or so. Well, that has nothing on this weekend, which found two R-rated movies topping the box office. And it’s not like ‘Ted‘ and ‘Magic Mike‘ just did okay either…both films opened big, blowing away expectations and leading the charge in one of the most interesting box office weekends of the summer so far.
When it comes to winning big at the box office, never bet against Pixar. ‘Brave‘ is not only the acclaimed animation studio’s thirteenth film, it is their thirteenth film to open at number one at the box office. It’s a track record that just about everyone else in Hollywood would kill for.
For those of us who follow the box office, this weekend was a case of deja vu. Once again, ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted‘ headlined the top ten and once again, ‘Prometheus‘ snatched the number two spot. Both films managed to keep their momentum despite the opening of two new releases starring two of the biggest movie stars in the world. That’s good news if you’re ‘Madagascar 3′ or ‘Prometheus,’ but pretty bad news if you’re Tom Cruise or Adam Sandler.
It’s difficult to imagine two more different films going head-to-head at the box office. However, by appealing to completely different audiences, ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted‘ and ‘Prometheus‘ both managed to emerge from the weekend as big winners, making this the first weekend in months where two new major releases opened strong.
The box office can be a funny thing. Last weekend, ‘Men in Black 3‘ made $55 million and was considered a disappointment. This weekend, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ pulled in $56 million and it’s considered a roaring success. As bizarre as that sounds, it all makes sense when you look at the details.
It took four weeks for another film to dethrone ‘The Avengers‘ from the top of the box office, but that dethroning occurred with a whimper, not a battle cry. ‘Men in Black 3‘ arrived on the scene and proved that advance hype and high tracking are abstract concepts that don’t always reflect reality. $55 million isn’t an opening that’ll have executives committing seppuku, but for a film that was expected to open to north of $80 million, it’s a definitely a solid kick in the groin (metaphorically speaking, of course).
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