- It's covered so extensively elsewhere you'd think it was the most important thing about movies. It's not.
- $$$ has zero correlation to quality. And sometimes even not that much correlation to perceived quality (Witness how many people flock to sequels of films they didn't love, expecting not much at all. I'm guilty here, too... I've dubbed it The Blockbuster Loop)
- Covering it only adds to the problem of 'the tipping factor', wherein something that is successful becomes even more successful (even if total crap) merely because people see the success and intuit that they're supposed to be into it (Twilight, anyone?).
- I find it nearly impossible to manipulate the masses to my way of thinking. Curses! They wear deflector shields to ward off my psychic will. If I ever find a chink in those shields, suddenly everyone will be buying tickets to films about women (yay), films with auteurial points of view (respect!) and films that get more thrills from acting, costumes, art direction and cinematography than from lazy CGI (yes) and, ummm, musicals (doo-wah).
01 Where the Wild Things Are new $32.6
It wasn't just the cinematography that was golden. This opening take made JA feel groovy, got people talking crazy, and as the Big Picture notes, the latest from Spike Jonze didn't even have to lie about what sort of movie it was. Truth in advertising. What a concept! It cost $100ish million to make though so it's going to be a long road to actual profit. Still, wasn't it great to see actual puppets again as opposed to weightless CGI? That in and of itself was pretty thrilling. I loved those shots of Max burying his face in the brown ratty-looking puppet hair, so tactile and inviting -- like a stuffed animal you've dragged with you everywhere. You can't let go of it even after it's germ laden and smelly from your play time adventures.
02 Law Abiding Citizen new $21
Gerard Butler, King of Bad Movies
03 Paranormal Activity $19.6 for a total of $33
Previously covered by JA here. Even though I'm not into horror I'm curious because I loved The Blair Witch Project to which this is often compared.
04 Couples Retreat $17.2 for a total of $62.6
Or nearly double what (500) Days of Summer has made in its entire run. Honestly, American peoples... WHY?!?
05 The Stepfather new $11.5
Is any audience more faithful than the slasher audience on opening weekend? I'd guess no.
06 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs $8 for a total of $108.2
It's holding very well which leads me to believe it has a real shot at the animated Oscar nomination. It's currently the #20 film of the year but still behind four other animated titles as 2009 money grabbing goes... including G Force. Weird, right?
07 Zombieland $7.6 for a total of $60
Did you know that this is the highest grossing zombie film of all time? That totally surprised me. Given the amount of zombie films we've seen this decade you would think there was some gargantuan blockbuster take in recent years that every studio was hoping to recreate.
08 Toy Story (double feature in 3D) $3 for a total of $28.5
It's all gravy. The first two Toy Story films had already earned $847 worldwide + the a few pennies from merchandise I suspect. I love the movies so why aren't I more exciting about #3? Oh, yes. Third Films = Quality Drop. It's a movie rule.
09 Surrogates $1.9 for a total of $36.3
10 The Invention of Lying $1.9 for a total of $15
"We're number two! We're number two!!!"
11 Whip It $1.5 for a total of $11.3
Actually Hurl Scouts, you're #11 in your third week because people hate fun movies that are not based on comic books, other movies or tv shows. The masses also (supposedly) don't like films about women unless they're romcoms with bankable A listers or films starring the Queen of the Universe Meryl Streep. Nothing wrong with romcoms (unless they're bad) and definitely nothing wrong with the Streep... but women make up more than 50% of the population so there has to be more to female driven cinema than that. I still can't quite figure the standoffishness that greeted this film. You can do -- and people do do -- much worse for an evening's entertainment when you hit the multiplex. Maybe Joe Reid is right. Maybe it should have been a television series instead?
12 Capitalism A Love Story $1.4 for a total of $11.6
Michael Moore continues to be the only documentarian who can guarantee a sizeable gross. His films make up 50% of the top grossing political docs ever. His box office pulls seems to be waning these days but still... Documentaries rarely gross in the 7 figures let alone the 8s.
13 The Informant $.9 for a total of $31.7
For some reason I was under the impression that this Soderbergh / Matt Damon comedy had flopped. $31 is respectable for smart laughs, I think. It surely helps that Soderbergh doesn't often overspend on his movies.
14 Fame $.9 for a total of $21.7
I assume this is not the kind of gross they were hoping for a franchise reboot. I enjoy musical performance films that aren't musicals as much as your average citizen (probably) but maybe reality competition shows have oversupplied for this very particular demand. Plus, there's GLEE which is JOY for free on your telly.
15 A Serious Man $.8 for a total of $1.8
Great per screen averages for this Coen Bros film (still in less than a 100 theaters) and Focus is obviously being careful with it. But aren't the Coens, who have been championed for many years by movie fanatics, at least kind of well known in the mainstream now after the consecutive relatively big grosses of Burn After Reading and No Country For Old Men and the ongoing obsessive fandom from their earlier work? It would have been interesting to see how well this could have done --even without movie stars -- if it had opened wider (if not wide).
16 Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself $.5 for a total of $51.3
Perry is such a consistent force. You have to give him that. It's probably easy to raise your production budget when you can safely expect a $40-$60 style gross for each outing.
17 Love Happens $.5 for a total of $22.4
Or... twice as much as Whip It has made. I bet you anything that Jennifer Aniston fans don't remember this movie in two years while Whip It will be in thrice as many DVD collections.
18 GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra $.4 for a total of $149.6
19 Good Hair $.3 for a total of $1.7
20 Bright Star $.3 for a total of $3.5
There will be those who claim that the new distributor Apparition should have waited to release this fine romantic drama closer to Oscar season but those people can never seem to grasp that not every movie can or should arrive in December with every other movie. There aren't enough theaters and there also aren't enough pages and blogs and television programs to give 75 Oscar contending films their due all in the same month. At least this way it got some attention. And a $3.5 take (so far) for a quiet period piece without any "names" is not a bad tally at all in this day and age. Well done Apparition. The question now is: can they keep it open for awhile longer to gird up for that Oscar campaign?