This Week in Box Office History: Signs of Life

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This Week in Box Office History

TWBOH takes a look at the last 30 years of top grossing movies.  Sifting through the celluloid, we review audience preferences and spot the trends in movie watching history.  This week we witness Marvel Studios make it rain, and some cracks in the dam of mediocre movies become visible.  Kevin Costner is back this week, so I’m going to make Water World jokes.  It’s nice when everything goes along with the theme.

The Week That Was:  Marvel to the Rescue

Marvel Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Pictured: A metaphor for what Marvel is doing to all other films at the box office.

Destroying the previous high water mark for April, Captain America:  The Winter Soldier notched north of 95 million dollars this weekend.  I’m interested to see if Cap has finally found his footing as a character, or if the darker spy-noir theme resonated with audiences, or if movie-goers are just willing to see anything with a Marvel Studios logo on it.  Guardians of the Galaxy should help to answer that question, as it features unknown characters, has a much lighter tone, and shouldn’t really get any “bump” from the success of The Avengers.

Divergent
One last gasp…

My second and third picks held up as well, making it a perfect week for predictions.  No need to send fan mail, I gave myself a solid high-five already.  Noah clung to life aboard his raft for a second place finish, though all the animals with any sense have long abandoned ship:  Noah’s take plummeted more than 60%, and is going to be hard pressed to make its budget back.  Divergent managed to be completely derivative for a third week, holding on to a weak third place finish.

No other films saw wide release last week, so the top ten is pretty much unmoved from a week ago.

The Week That Will Be:  Predictions

Oculus
That’s some hard-core psoriasis.

#3:  Oculus This movie has a fascinating history.  It began as a short film in 2007, and made quite a splash on the indie scene.  Fast forward to today, and we have a full length version set to debut.  Advanced criticism seems positive, and the director’s choice to avoid a ton of gore in favor of my cerebral scares may widen the audience for this R-rated horror film.  I would love to see a horror movie make some waves, especially one that is not of the slasher variety.  Last year, the Evil Dead remake took the #1 spot, so I’m hoping people looking for April scares will make this movie a success.

rio 2#2:  Rio 2.  An animated film about birds, I’m sure Rio is going to give me fits when it comes to predictions.  That being said, we haven’t much out currently for the younger crowd, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman surprised me with a strong performance earlier in the year.  I can see this one managing to catch enough families to make a strong second place showing.

 

Marvel Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Cap is sure of his deodorant…are you?

#1:  Captain America 2.  With strong word of mouth, positive reviews, and the potential to earn inflated ticket prices from 3-D (where it has no current opposition) I can see the Captain managing a graceful decline from his phenomenal start.  It’s ambitious, but I can still see Marvel taking away 50 million dollars this weekend, which would be an incredible hold.

 

 

Draft Day Kevin Costner
15 yard penalty for gratuitous air-brushing.

*Booby Prize*  I don’t usually pick losers (well, not on purpose, anyway), but I have to give a nod this week to Draft Day, a sports drama that looks primed to have a career ending ACL injury before ever suiting up.  Starring fading box office draw Kevin Costner, Frank Langella (you know, the guy who played Skeletor?) and Puff Daddy (WTF?), this movie is also directed by Ivan Reitman…who is known for his zany comedies, like Ghostbusters.  This looks like a perfect storm of fail, compounded by the fact that anyone who might be interested in this mess will most likely be across the hall, watching Captain America again.  The only upside I see here, is that Costner will finally have something worse than Water World on his resume.  Way to stick it out, Kevin.

Notable Movies

This week’s number 1’s is split in half neatly.  The early 90’s and 80’s are still solidly in the goofy comedy camp:  4 Police Academy films, Porky’s, 2 Ninja Turtle films, and even a buddy cop movie starring Burt Reynolds.

Burt reynolds in a buddy cop comedy and the Fonze?  How did I miss this gem?!
Burt in a buddy cop comedy and the Fonze? How did I miss this gem?!
Godzilla
Just to be sure, I’m probably going to have to see this 20 or so times…

The top half of the list has taken a sudden turn towards testosterone:  We have Evil Dead, Clash of the Titans, Fast and Furious, and The Matrix all pulling down the top spot.  It seems that summer is starting earlier and earlier, as Marvel Studios has learned to great success.  With Godzilla due up to the plate, we could be seeing a trend towards blockbusters that usually wait for the warmer months being successful in the spring.  Time will tell.

Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo.  Used with permission.

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