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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

North American box office: ‘Cloudy’ still sunny

The newcomers can’t beat the food-as-weather fantasy:

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: $30.3 million (2nd week; drops 17%)
2. Surrogates: $14.9 million (NEW)
3. Fame: $10 million (NEW)
4. The Informant!: $6.6 million (2nd week; drops 37%)
5. Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself: $4.8 million (3rd week; drops 52%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Here’s a thought for the studios: Make better movies. Then maybe make sure that critics can see and write about them. See, cuz, if you have a good movie, then you want to show it to critics and let them talk it up for you. Fame wasn’t screened for critics until less than 48 hours before it opened. Surrogates was withheld entirely from online critics, if the chatter I’m hearing is correct. (Disney won’t talk to me lately because I had the gall to call them on their treatment of online critics.)

Anyway, that could be why the simply wonderful Cloudy was able to reign supreme again: it’s actually a good movie. Clever. Creative. Original. Kind-hearted. Go figure.

What else happened? Shit movies such as Love Happens and Jennifer’s Body plunged in their second weeks, not quite below the 50 percent mark, but almost. (Oops: Except that Jennifer’s grosses were boosted by sales to sneak previews of Whip It, according to Box Office Mojo, a slimy sort of cheat.) Pandorum, new this week but not screened for any critics at all anywhere, opened at No. 6, taking in about $4.4 million.

It’s not that hard: It’s the movies, stupid. Quality doesn’t always equal bad box office, and shit doesn’t always equal poor box office, but on the whole, there’s a decent correlation. In what other industry is the SOP “Throw a bunch of stuff up on the wall and hope some of it sticks”? Christ. Surrogates has a reported cost of $80 million — how do you make an $80 million stinkpile? I mean, literally, How. Does. This. Happen? In any other industry, if you regularly invested huge sums of money in ventures that tanked, you’d be tarred and feathered and run out of town. At least in all the financial shenanigans that have been going on in recent years, there was actual money coming into all the evil banks, even if it was ill-gotten or outright stolen, in “legal” ways, from regular people. But that’s not even the case with Hollywood. They try to deceive moviegoers with trailers that are more exciting than the movies themselves, they rip us off with ticket prices, and still they can’t even manage to make their money back.

You think they’d learn.

Movies people want to see? How about Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story? It was playing on four screens, and averaged $57,991 on each of them. Whether you like what Moore has to say or not, he sells tickets. Will that boffo business hold up when the film expands this weekend? We’ll see…

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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