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 shows a bit of innovation, as most of the sequel flotsam is left behind in the 80’s and 90’s, while original titles are much more numerous in the 2000’s. I know, a shocking development.
The Week That Was: Intensive Care
My trip back through time last week must have scrambled my memory worse than James Cole, because I picked ’em right…just all out of order. At the top of the heap was A Fault in Our Stars, which managed a nifty 48 million, more than quadrupling its modest budget. Even with how many advanced tickets it sold, it still managed to barely out-pace Maleficent, which held strong in second place at 34 million in sales. Maleficent looks to be Angelina Jolie’s highest grossing starring role, and is positioned well to court both female and younger viewers, a demographic that has been neglected of late. Expect this weekend’s kid-friendly How to Train Your Dragon 2 to rake in the money from families.
In third place, Tom Cruise had a disappointing trip out to the battlefield with just 28 million in tickets sold. Solid critical reception could not save Edge of Tomorrow from a lack-luster fate. Other Cruise Sci-Fi vehicles, such as last years Oblivion and 2005’s War of the Worlds had significantly better openings. Cruise may need to loop back in time if he hopes to make back the 150 million dollar budget of Edge. Might I suggest repeating the weekend, but wearing an oxygen mask and a pair of horns this time? Worked for the competition…
The Week That Will Be: Predictions
#3: The Fault in Our Stars. I forecast a second week of Fault managing to just beat out Maleficent. Romances have a history of very gentle declines, and buzz about this movie is still very positive. 25 million would not be out of the question for this film.
#2: 22 Jump Street. This buddy cop sequel starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and of course, Ice Cube (huh, what?!) has already opened overseas and shown a solid increase in earnings over both the original 21 Jump Street and other recent forays into the buddy comedy such as Ride Along. Given that this genre has shown a surprising amount of viability, I can see the boys misbehaving to a tune of 45-50 million in sales.
#1: How to Train Your Dragon 2. How to train your dragon to what? Make money, it appears. Given the absolute dearth of children friendly material this year, and a solid string of digitally animated sequels such as Madagascar, Monster’s Inc, and Despicable Me 2 that all grabbed a ton of cash in the early summer, I predict that HTTYD 2 (sorry, it’s a mouthful) will scorch the competition. Anywhere between 65 million to 85 million is possible this weekend.
As mentioned earlier (what, you didn’t read the intro? Shameful.) the sequels of summer are mostly relegated to the 80’s this week, with such venerable franchises such as Rambo, Star Trek, Beverly Hills Cop (which has been around for nearly a month in the top spot in 1987) and the beloved Crocodile Dundee II. Insert joke about correctly identifying a knife here.
In the 90’s and beyond, this week saw a week of political thrillers and slick heist movies. For a brief moment, Tom Clancy was poised to dominate summers with hits such as Patriot Games and The Sum of All Fears. Then Nicholas Cage had to mess everything up with a string of summer hits: The Rock, Con Air, and Gone in 60 Seconds. The late 90’s were all Cage, all the time, apparently. The latter also dovetails nicely with the rise of heist capers such as the Ocean‘s series of movies and the ludicrous Swordfish, which featured Hugh Jackman “hacking” computers by fat-fingering a keyboard like a middle schooler maxed out on red-bull and Adderall, while Halle Berry took her top off for no discernible reason. John Travolta’s ghoulish grin was in the movie too, I think.