This Week in Box Office History
What a year for great movies. Well, fun movies. OK, for movies that I personally enjoyed. My parents must have gone broke in 1987, because I think I saw every film on the list, right on down to Harry and the Hendersons! First, lets get a tourniquet on my predictions, which have been on a morphine drip for nearly a month now…
The Week That Was (Actual/Predicted)
Both new releases (As Above, So Below and The November Man) this week failed to deliver, leaving last week’s winners (Guardians and Turtles) to continue winning. The staying power of the top two movies is becoming fantastical, and is only being helped by the complete lack of interest anything new is generating. I understand the end of the summer season can be a hard time to sell a movie, but the stuff coming out this month has just failed to excite anybody. With the range of genres we’ve seen lately, one can only assume cinema fatigue. The box office has been down compared to recent years, and advance figures for this week suggest we may be looking at an absolutely abysmal weekend. I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping to get to October and out of the morass of ho-hum films.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy.
My Pick: The November Man
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
My Pick: Guardians of the Galaxy
3. If I Stay.
My Pick: As Above, So Below
The Week That Will Be: Predictions
3. The Identical (5 million)
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (8 million)
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (10 million)
I just don’t know anymore. Turtles and Guardians have kept a really weak August afloat, and done some really funky math at the box office. Guardians fell by just a single percentage point from last week. That’s incredible. New films are dying like dogs, unable to catch two films that are making only kinda good money. I actually doubt Ray Liota’s newest film about separated twins, The Identical, can make a substantial amount of money, but what the hell else can I pick? Everything not starring anthropomorphic heroes has failed to even crack 10 million as of late.
Top Movies (1987)
Top Grossing: Three Men and a Baby
I warned audiences about the dangers of letting a baby steal all of the laughs in a comedy, but my words fell on deaf ears. Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck’s mustache, and some third guy who used to work at a bar team up to raise an infant that each bachelor believes may secretly be his. Comedy ensues. This was ground breaking stuff in the 80’s…now we call it the Maury Povich show. It was a gentler time, I guess.
Academy Award for Best Picture: The Last Emperor
I’ve sung the praises of this dramatized biography of the last living emperor of China in Our Ten’s List: Favorite Academy Award Best Pictures. I will dutifully direct your attention there.
Longest at #1: Fatal Attraction
Sex sells, and America was buying. Sharron Stone’s infamous turn as a sexually driven femme fatale had audiences hooked for nine straight weeks in 1987. I think most men of a certain age could recreate the interrogation scene from this film, right down to the lighting, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what the hell the film was actually about.
Our Pick: The Princess Bride
What can top Arnold punching an alien in the face (Predator), John Candy grabbing a handful of Steve Martin’s butt (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles), Kim Cattrall as a sexy Egyptian fashion model (Mannequin), and a sinister plot by Rick Moranis to steal all the Druish air in the galaxy (Spaceballs)? True Love, that’s what. (I would also have accepted an MLT, you know, a mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomatoes are ripe…yum.)
Rob Reiner weaves the mother of all fairy tales with his classic film about love, life, piracy, revenge, and extra digits. Wesley (Cary Elwes) and Buttercup (Robin Wright) are young lovers from different stations in life. A poor farm boy, Wesley sets out to win his fortune in order to marry his lady love, but is lost at sea. Buttercup is then whisked away by the scheming Prince Humperdinck, who plans to use her to win the hearts of his subjects, shortly before having her kidnapped and killed…all so he can provoke a war with the neighboring kingdom. The would-be assassins, comprised of an ego-maniac, a drunken master-swordsman, and a gentle giant who loves to rhyme, carry Buttercup off, but soon are intercepted by the Dread Pirate Roberts…the same pirate who may have killed Wesley! And all of this is just the first 20 minutes of the film!
Narrated by the inimitable Peter Falk as a bed-time story to his sick nephew (Fred Savage), The Princess Pride is timeless adventure, filled “with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing.” The comedy is peerless, yet does not detract from the action, pathos, and romance of the piece. The Princess Bride is a Jack of all trades which manages to hit all of its marks flawlessly, while also being a call-back to a bygone era of fencing, swashbuckling, and daring-do, of the type made famous by Erroll Flynn. So basically, one hell of a flick.
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.