North American box office: zombies rule the land

And so do decade-old movies about playthings:

1. Zombieland: $24.7 million (NEW)
2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: $15.8 million (3rd week; drops 37%)
3. Toy Story/Toy Story 2 3D: $12.5 million (NEW)
4. Surrogates: $7.2 million (2nd week; drops 51%)
5. The Invention of Lying: $7 million (NEW)

actual numbers, not estimates
What does it mean when a rerelease of an old film — well, two old films — does better than most of the new stuff? Could it be that the new stuff is mostly crap… or that the new stuff that isn’t crap isn’t getting the marketing it deserves? Zombieland absolutely isn’t crap, and it’s great that it did well its first weekend out — especially since, as Box Office Mojo notes, horror comedy rarely does well at the box office. It’s great to see that the mad-science comedy Cloudy is holding strong. And while I haven’t yet seen Surrogates, the general tenor of reviews is that it ain’t so hot, so it probably earned its big drop.

But why did the smart, wicked Lying fare so poorly? Why did the fantastic and exciting Whip It clock in only at No. 6, with takings of only $4.7 million? These movies deserve to do better, deserve to be seen by more people.

At least people flocked to the few theaters — six — at which they could see the Coen Brothers’ latest conundrum, A Serious Man: it opened to a whopping per-screen average of $41,890.

Overall, though, business was down six percent over the same weekend last year. People generally aren’t happy with what Hollywood is giving us of late. You think Hollywood would catch on, at some point. But they never seem to. The crap movies flop, but so do too many of the good ones. How long can this continue?

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]

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Wed, Oct 07, 2009 6:24am

Personally I find Gervais so unpleasant to watch that I don’t bother to see anything he’s in, never mind that he’s starring in; clearly many other people don’t feel that way.

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
Wed, Oct 07, 2009 12:01pm

Also, a lot of people living in the US right now are either unemployed, underemployed or living in fear of unemployment–a condition that doesn’t exactly make you to go to the movie theatre and take a chance on the average new release.

As it is, I’ve been watching more movies in the past two months through library rentals and DVDs that I or friends already own than I have seen at the movie theatre during the past year.

And compared to the rest of my siblings, I’m a frequent movie-goer.