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 see a big shift in the trends towards young adults, capped off by this week’s big winner Divergent. So I guess that doesn’t make it very divergent. Oh well, the other titles in the Divergent series are even worse. Allegiant, seriously? So much for literature, let’s check out some movies.
The Week That Was: Young Adults to the Rescue
Divergent, my pick for #1, managed to stop the bleeding for Lion’s Gate Studios and garnered a healthy 55 million opening. That’s a tad shy of the first Twilight film, and not even in the same neighborhood as The Hunger Games, but all told, it was a much needed shot in the arm, not just for LGF, but also for the box office in general. Minus Divergent, we have the same anemic box office figures that put Tyler Perry and Need for Speed in the hospital last week.
The Muppet’s Most Wanted came in second as predicted…but it was a train wreck of an opening weekend: 17 million for the plush crew, and all over the place in terms of critical response. That being said, critics were mostly positive for Muppets, and completely negative for Divergent, so guessing earnings based on merit is for suckers.
Mr. Peabody managed to hang on for another week in the third place spot, dislodging 300.2, and keeping me from a clean sweep. Animated movies are just killing my batting average.
Surprisingly, a documentary aimed at Christians (that woefully underrepresented, silent, selfless minority) entitled God’s Not Dead managed to make quite a splash this weekend. With all the Biblical epics on tap for this year, this is quite a heady year to be a god-botherer.
Speaking of upcoming Bible story movies, let’s make some pick’s. Will Aronofsky’s Noah make the cut?
The Week That Will Be: Predictions.
#3: The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s latest opus has been making unheard of money, all while playing in only a handful of locations. This positive buzz will help sweep this film into the third spot as it makes a much anticipated (for myself at least) expansion onto more screens nationwide. With the weak state of the box office as of late, I can see a 15 million take from Grand Budapest being enough to carry it through.
#2: Divergent: The lasting appeal of Young Adult lit inspired movies is famously finicky. Most sink like a stone on their second weekend, losing 50-60% of their mojo. Perhaps fans just decide to read the book instead of seeing the film twice. So I see Divergent, which has not garnered much praise outside of its intended audience, to see a typical amount of decay. Once again, in no way divergent. This film drops to the 20-25 million mark, and manages a second place finish.
#1: Noah: Critical response is pretty positive for this film, despite controversy over its apparent lack of Biblical fidelity. And as we’ve seen above, good marks from film critics pretty much equals a warm bucket of…rain water. Still, it’s got Russell Crowe on the cover, so I see this spear and sandal epic opening in line with Crowe’s Robin Hood, in the 35-40 million range, enough to float this boat to the top of heap.
This week we see the list book-ended with films aimed at a less mature audience. Whether being juvenile means studios were aiming intentionally at kids, you can be the judge. From Divergent (once again, not diverging from anything, argh!) and The Hunger Games, to animated fare such as The Croods and TMNT, the 2010’s were dominated by younger audiences. Amazingly enough, the 1990’s are teen-heavy as well, starting with a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies in 1993 and 1991, and a Mighty Ducks movie.
Looking further down the list into the 80’s, we go from films aimed at kids, to films with a decidedly childish sense of humor. Three Police Academy movies make the grade (and no, NOT Mission to Moscow, which is a shame, since I’ve got this whole list of Vladimir Putin jokes I’m just dying to use…) as well as Porky‘s, and Porky’s/Revenge of the Nerds rip-off, Spring Break. Rounding out the list in 1989 is Fletch Lives, one of the few funny movies Chevy Chase made when not surrounded by other top notch comedians.
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.