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 I notch my first perfect prediction set, and attempt to extend the streak to another week. In the historical view it’s Tots vs the Man with the Golden Gun squaring off for supremacy. We see the return of the roman numeral as well, with franchise sequels aplenty.
The Trends: December 5th – 8th
It’s war on Christmas, as both holiday films and action movies seem to dominate this week. We even have holiday action movies! A few Oscar hopefuls attempt to slip into the mix, such as Apocalypto and The Blind Side.
Word is Bond
Returning to the top spots is a pair of Bond movies, 2012’s Skyfall and 2002’s Die Another Day. If you wanted to get on his good side, you could count Nicholas Cages National Treasure into the equations as a touch of Bond lite. Or a remake of The Goonies with Sarah Palin’s grasp of American history. Meh. Either way, just a smattering of action in the modern era. It’s looking further down the list we see a true glut of men with guns making money. Alliteration, folks.
Roman Numeral Legion
The 80’s sees a fare share of letters masquerading as numbers with sequels galore. We have two Star Trek flicks (IV in ’86 and VI in ’91), a Rocky iteration (IV in ’85), and Home Alone II (OK, OK, they use a “2”, I was on a roll.) Other action films include Beverly Hills Cop and Sudden Impact in the early 80’s. This streak of man-fuel is quickly doused in the 90’s however, as Disney shows up to the party with an ice cream cake. Everyone loves cookie-puss and fudgie the whale!
The 1990’s and early 2000’s are all Disney and Co., starting with 1995’s Toy Story. 101 Dalmations makes the list, as well as A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, and Flubber. The only rival to the Mickey Mouse colossus comes from Holiday films, as both Home Alone movies are still hanging onto the top spot (really? Nearly a month out and neither of these films about a child torturing Joe Pesci have run out of steam? Or buckets of paint to smash him with?) The Grinch makes an appearance, and Vince Vaughn can sleep well at night knowing he used to make hit movies during the holiday season with 4 Christmases.
The Week That Was: Results
Perfection! All three picks last week went in order, though the 3 spot was a bit dicey. Frozen did indeed put out the fire of The Hunger Games, which hung on to the number two spot. Out of the Furnace was a tremendous disappointment at the Box Office, barely squeaking by with a 5 million opening. With a poor slate of critical reviews and a potentially stronger Christian Bale vehicle on the horizon (re-united with Director David O. Russell in American Hustle), I can’t see Out of the Furnace sticking around for very long.
The Week That Will Be: Predictions
#1: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug. It is with a heavy heart I pick The Hobbit 2 – Electric Boogaloo to take the top position in theaters this weekend. This movie series emphatically did NOT need to be drawn and quartered into a 3 movie series, as the plodding pace and silly use of filler demonstrate. Last go around, we had a back-bencher wizard on a rabbit sled go through the pains of showing us that, GASP, Sauron is reviving! We know that, jackass, we’ve already seen those movies! This time around we get gratuitous Orlando Bloom (which I believe is a 10 yard penalty) reprising his one-note elf character. Jackson is trying mightily to make The Hobbit into a prequel by rubbing viewers noses in LOTR references wherever he can. I came to see a fat hobbit talk to a dragon, not the Legolas show. Get on with it!
#2: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. I cannot fathom how this film series has become such a juggernaut, but looking at Perry’s list of movies, they open at 20-25 million. Guaranteed. It’s like a coupon for the film studio to double their investment, good indefinitely. Add to this historic trend the fact that you have the word Christmas in the title to draw in audiences that might not be familiar with the series and I would be tempted to put this movie in the 1 spot if not for The Hobbit also premiering this week. Laugh all the way to the bank, Mr Perry.
#3: Frozen: Following the downward curve of Disney/Pixar films, this movie is still good to make 15-20 million this week, as a neat and tidy 40-50% drop is the norm. Yup. Not much more analysis here. Disney really has reduced the movie making formula into a paint-by-number exercise. Glad we’re not rewarding such crass, derivative film making with oodles of money. Oh wait…
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.