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 get them all right…in the wrong order. So much for building that movie picking dynasty. Looking at the trends, we have some very interesting movies involving big name Hollywood stars, and a flotilla of comedies. Let’s shrug it off and make big picks!
The Trends: December 12th – 15th
We have some distinct somethings going on this week. Yup.
In the recent years, big CGI fueled blockbusters flood the market, primarily of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy ilk. As we near the early 2000’s, the fetish for plastic-looking faux-action movies tapers off and we get bankable Hollywood stars attempting more nuanced and atypical films. And as we travel way back into the dim recesses of known history (the 1980’s), we have comedies dominating the list. Even some terrible ones.
Fire the stunt choreographer and hire an animator
This week Hollywood ditches traditional action in favor of pushing pixels around, creating masterpieces that will stand the test of time…Sorry, I can’t keep a straight face…to create blockbusters that will be seen as flimsy attempts to use glitz to overcome poor film-making. Both Hobbit movies find their preciouses in the form of Box Office gold this week, as does The Chronicles of Narnia 3. Huh? I didn’t know that a third movie in this franchise had even come out, let alone made a scad of money. Oh well. A group of ill-advised remakes attempt to animate their way to the top, including The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), I am Legend (2007), and King Kong (2005).
Big Hollywood stars abound this week, with multiple appearances of Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Will Smith. The interesting aspect of these appearances is that they manage to find traction with some atypical fare. Will Smith attempts social commentary (and takes his son along with him) with The Pursuit of Happyness (2001), Nicholson mellows in his old age (and takes Keanu along with him) in Something’s Gotta Give (2003), and Cruise tries his hand at finding range (and takes our sanity along with him…) with a sports rom-com, Jerry Maguire (1996), and the surreal Vanilla Sky (2001). Even Ralph Fiennes gets out of stately character with Maid in Manhattan (2002).
Laugh, Damn You!
The big stars found big money in comedy in the 80’s and 90’s. Robin Williams (yes, he used to be big) scores twice with Jumanji and Hook, while Eddie Murphy hooks up with a pair of #1’s with Beverly Hill’s Cop and (a personal favorite) The Golden Child. Danny DeVito also has a pair with Twins and Throw Momma from the Train. Immortal classics both, if you ask me. Richard Pryor get’s the trend rolling in 1982 with Jacki Gleason in The Toy, and Jim Carrey puts it to bed with 1994’s Dumb and Dumber.
The Week That Was: Results
It’s all right, in all the wrong places. While The Hobbit 2, Frozen, and A Madea Christmas were indeed the top three movies, apparently audiences were as tired of Tyler Perry as I am, and relegated him to third place instead of second. So I guess I win by losing?
The Week That Will Be: Predictions
#1: The Hobbit 2: This week is all up in the air, as a trio of new releases hit wider audiences. The first Hobbit managed to stay afloat for two weeks, and we have the Lord of the Rings trilogy eating up the charts next week, so I think Peter Jackson can manage another week on top of his pile of dragon’s gold before taking a Will Ferrel arrow to the heart.
#2: Anchorman 2: While Will Ferrel’s opening weekends are all over the charts, the media blitz on Anchorman 2 has been absolutely ubiquitous. I feel like I’ve already seen the damn film, just from all of the promo’s and commercials. I can’t say it was any good, but I want to buy a SUV for some strange reason. If this movie opens in the Ricky Bobby range, it will be #1, but if it stays more in tune with the original feature, it will open a solid second place with around 30 million at the box.
#3: American Hustle: I’m picking this movie despite a terrifying presentiment that Walking with Dinosaurs will actually find a receptive audience. The trends do suggest that anything with CGI has legs (I guess, four in this case), but I want audiences to see the better movie, American Hustle. Bale bombed on me last time he was put in the game, but like a grizzled old veteran QB, he can always surprise you with the long ball. Has anyone talked to him about playing Bret Favre in a sports biopic? Hello? Hollywood?
Information courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Used with permission.