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 have a million trend lines, or as we like to call it in the scientific community: random meaningless data that only an idiot would try to draw conclusions from. So lets try to draw some conclusions, shall we?
The Week That Was: Ladies Night
Despite re-inventing the wheel for the dozenth time plot-wise, The Other Woman managed to make good on its debut weekend, scoring a first place finish and a thoroughly decent 25 million take. Captain America did indeed hang on as predicted, staying suprisingly strong at 16 million and a four week total of 225 million. Not a bad little month for Marvel, and an encouraging sign going into the summer with their untested Guardians of the Galaxy film just around the corner. I have a suspicion that the numbers for this week’s super hero flick, Amazing Spider Man 2, will prove that the magic is in the way Marvel has been handling their characters, not in the genre itself. Spidey will do alright, but I don’t think he inspires the same confidence Marvel Studios has built up for their projects.
My third place pick, The Quiet Ones, hardly made a peep this weekend, selling only a horrifying 3.5 million in ticket sales. That is terrible, even for a horror flick. Expect it to grace your just released tab on Netflix any day now. At the box office, third place went to Heaven is For Real (I’m super serious you guys…) which is still managing to perform well into its second week. Rio 2 had another no-good week and finished in a disappointing fourth place.
Score Card: 2-3
The Week That Will Be: Predictions
#3: Captain America 2. It’s hard to take two super hero movies in the same week, as they will be cannibalizing each other’s audiences so aggressively, but Cap will probably continue to make the cut, as it one of the few movies out that has enough clout to stick around. Even with a 50% drop from last week, it would still beat most of the movies out right now, even if those movies didn’t lose a single ticket from where they stood last week. So by virtue of having a decent lead already banked up, Capt. Am should continue to (winter) soldier on.
#2: The Other Woman. This film will likely benefit from two timely blessings: absolutely nothing is coming out this week except for Amazing Spider Dude, and the testosterone fest of two super hero movies leaving a significant segment of the movie-going crowd in need of an alternative. The Other Woman is tailor made to fit this gap, and should manage a decent second weekend in the 15 million range.
# 1: The Amazing Spider Man 2. This movie may be rushing to grow up too quickly for its own good. Sony has a ludicrously ambitious goal of a Spidey movie every year or so, which strains credulity. I don’t think you could sustain a Batman movie a year, even with all of the fan love surrounding that franchise, let alone a Spider Man movie, which has a less recognizable face under the mask, and which has already proven it can disappoint. The worst part of the original trilogy is when it became a monster mash, throwing out development in favor of more bad guys, treading perilously close to Batman Forever territory. Amazing SM 2 is already knocking on that door, with scads of bad guys and a dearth of narrative. I expect this one to do well, in the 45-50 million range, but far short of the originals 65 million. I also expect it to exhaust fans, so I hope Sony slows its roll.
*Booby Prize* Even though it is only releasing in a very limited number of theaters, I think I can safely say that anonymous Rom-Com Walk of Shame will live up to its name, and do a fantastic job of walking home, unloved and lonely, with no-one noticing it.
On to the statistical hodge podge that is the last 30 years of top grossing films. We have some carry-over from last week of lady-friendly titles such as Obsessed, Baby Mama, Basic Instinct and Pretty Woman. There is also a counter swing of pure macho movies, many featuring the Rock. Very few family and children’s movies made the cut this week, except for How to Train Your Dragon (treats and a very large scratch post, I would guess?) It may seem pretty cut and dried, that films came out that were clearly either XX or Xy focused, but the sheer variety of genre makes any further conclusions impossible. What does Pain and Gain, a muscle building dramedy, have in common with The Matrix and Man on Fire? Nothing, except the expectation that mostly men will be seeing it. Ditto for the ladies. Hard to lump Think Like a Man and Baby Mama into any narrower category than “for ladies.”
This week does have several delightful gems hidden under the generic coal. Legend, possibly my favorite fantasy film (starring an actually likable Tom Cruise, and the amazing Tim Curry) managed a top place finish this week in 1986. The real delight is universally unknown action comedy The Big Hit, starring Mark Wahlberg back when he was not ashamed of the Marky Mark moniker. This farce tells the story of a nice-guy professional killer who has his life explode in front of his eyes in the form of in-laws, backstabbing partners, and a criminally over-due copy of King Kong Lives. The action is tight and fun, the acting is way over the top, and the story is pure insanity. Set up the trace buster-buster on your phone, tell your in-laws to take a hike, and spend some time getting to know one Melvin J Smiley.
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.