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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

North American box office: ‘New Moon’ sparkles

It’s official — it’s as easy to pander to girls as it is to boys:

1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon: $142.8 million (NEW)
2. The Blind Side: $34.1 million (NEW)
3. 2012: $26.4 million (2nd week; drops 60%)
4. Planet 51: $12.3 million (NEW)
5. A Christmas Carol: $12.3 million (3rd week; drops 45%)

actual numbers, not estimates
It didn’t have the biggest opening weekend ever, but New Moon did have the biggest opening day ever: $72.7 million on Friday alone, which beat out The Dark Knight’s $67.2 million, even though New Moon was playing at 342 fewer locations. And even though it was a regular ol’ nonsummer weekday, which means kids were at school and grownups were at work. (Oh, and New Moon’s takings from midnight screenings — $26.3 million — set a new record, too.) For the whole-weekend record, New Moon clocked in at No. 3, behind Dark Knight and Spider-Man 3.

According to Box Office Mojo:

New Moon distributor Summit Entertainment’s exit polling indicated that 80 percent of the audience was female and 50 percent was under 21 years old, which means the sequel skewed more female and younger than the first Twilight.

And so now the blogosphere is alive with chatter about how this is great news for women, that Hollywood is finally going to start paying attention to us, and everyone will get a pony. Maybe Hollywood will start paying attention to female audiences, but if it does, it means only that we’ll be bombarded with more dumb, shallow movies crammed with crap that girls are supposed to like instead of dumb, shallow movies crammed with crap boys are supposed to like. We will see, for starters, a slew of paranormal romances with passive, whiny heroines who aren’t anything like real women and ridiculous supernatural heroes who aren’t look anything like real men, and will probably be asexual to boot, since Twilight has “proven” that “women” “want” completely sexually unthreatening and undemanding men. (If you don’t want to sleep with me, dude, what good are you to me?)

What the success of New Moon does not mean is that we’ll see those additional dumb, shallow movies balanced out by more movies featuring complex, human characters who happen to be female, like we see movies such male characters on a regular basis — like, sure, Dark Knight — balancing out crap like Ninja Assassin and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. That would be a feminist triumph.

Feminism is about treating women not only like people but like grownups. New Moon does not treat women like grownups — and doesn’t treat teenage girls like they will be grownups soon — and there’s no way to interpret its success, knowing Hollywood as we do, as a prompt for Hollywood to begin treating women like grownups.


It’s almost lost in the shadow of New Moon, but The Blind Side set records too, for best opening by a sports-themed movie and best opening for a Sandra Bullock vehicle. Demographics showed that its audience was 59 percent female and 75 percent over the age of 25. I haven’t seen this one yet, so I can’t comment on what its success might presage, but I’ll see it and report on it asap.

By other measures, however, two films did even better than New Moon. Broken Embraces — Pedro Almodovar’s new flick starring Penelope Cruz, which is, in some ways, genuinely feminist (and in other ways supremely annoying) — had a per-screen average of $53,556, though it was on only two screens. And Fantastic Mr. Fox was a close second, earning $50,878 on each of its four screens. New Moon was a distant third, at $35,497 at each of 4,024 locations. Suck on that, Edward. Oh, I forgot: you’ve been completely defanged.

Overall business was up 57 percent over the same weekend last year (when Twilight opened).

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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  • The thing is, this doesn’t just have to do with Hollywood. The Twilight series of books was appealing to girls LONG before the films came out.

    How that tripe got published is an even BIGGER mystery.

    It’s therefore no surprise that the Twilight film franchise is doing so well. And honestly, I do find it heartening that girls have found something to get behind that is almost entirely their own….even if it IS trash. :)

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, but books work on a different curve — it takes far fewer book sales to make a bestseller than it takes ticket sales to make a blockbuster.

    Not that it’s not unnoteworthy that the books do so well — it’s just it’s exponentially scarier that the movies do so well too.

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