Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Weekend Box Office Report 6-2-2013: The Smith Family crashes and burns in After Earth, then repeats the feat at the Box Office. Wrapping up May, the month of the blockbusters.

I spent most of the weekend prior to this one at the movie theaters in Bakersfield.  Instead of writing about Box Office Receipts, I was contributing to them in a big way, doing my part to help the economy and all of that patriotic stuff. 

I saw three of the blockbusters:  Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, and Star Trek Into Darkness.  I skipped The Hangover III, as I had  no real interest in that, not having met Mr. Hangovers I & II, and having  banished my last hangover some thirty years ago I could not relate.  I would have dearly loved to have gotten to know The Great Gatsby though, but the show times at the local multiplex didn’t jive with my scheduling. 

The week before that, Audrey and I  were at Pismo Beach out here in California.  I wasn’t able to do much in the way of motorvating, and didn’t even attempt to walk towards the end of the pier.  But we did find one great little place to eat and seeing how I haven’t done one of those Food essays in a while, I may have to just do one soon and start giving Guy Fieri a run for his money.

Why didn’t I just do the box office columns during the week?  As I keep saying, I have this real world job that keeps me run down because of real world health problems that happen in the real world outside of Hollywood world.  Some day (maybe in five or six years), if I manage to retire before the Grim Weeper comes a calling, I’ll be able to sit here and write crap that nobody reads or wants to read to my hearts content, and filling that stuff with even more Amazon and Google ads that nobody uses to buy shit.  Yeah, I know.  Life’s a bitch. 

I’m left to roll three weeks of statistics into one overly long article so that when somebody passes by they can at least say, “Boy, that’s a lot of words” before skedaddling over to Twitter where the requirement is to print what you have to say in 140 characters or less. 

Or maybe they’ll head over to Facebook where with a simple mouse click one can prove they have a strong belief in Jesus, support the separation of church and state, believe we should all be Christians, support of the Military/Veterans, their love of Barack Obama, gay marriage, support for finding a cure for cancer, fighting breast cancer, fighting child abuse,  their hatred for Obama, fighting spousal abuse, oppose gay marriage, fight animal cruelty, support of the Affordable Care Act, denouncing the ACA, trickle down economics, lower student loan rates, support executing Jodi Arias, in favor of not cutting Social Security, save Social Security, and do this all in fifteen minutes or less before going on to play Candy Crush Saga which seems to be the newest Facebook game craze of the moment since it’s the one I get asked to join more often than any others.

I have a Facebook page as well.  It has all of 33 followers, so where are you people?  I promise, I’ll never make you click on anything to prove you support whatever.  Share, don’t share, just read, leave a comment, or do absolutely nothing to your heart’s content.  

I did twitter for a while.  Still do on occasion.  But it can become very repetitious unless you have a lot of followers who are actually interested in what you have to say instead of just regurgitating what everybody else has already said.  There’s nothing worse than being on Twitter and feel like you’re talking to dead air. 

So unless you’re someone like Miley Cyrus or part of a very large clique, I’ve yet to see that it holds any great purpose for me but that may change.  I just can’t hang on there 24/7.  So, now that I’ve made it necessary to add the tag “A Day In The Life” to this post, and/or “Random Thoughts”, let’s move on to why we came here in the first place.

If you look at the chart for the week ending 5/19, you’ll see that Star Trek’s take for the three day weekend was $70 million.  And those newspaper and entertainment rags that tend to dwell on failures reported that this was a weak opening as compared to the original.

In order to arrive at this dreary headline, it was necessary for them to completely ignore the fact that on Thursday, Star Trek Into Darkness scored a whopping $13.5 million dollars in limited showings.  In a Washington Post article that I read, the Thursday evening gross wasn’t even mentioned as if it hadn’t taken place at all.  (Checking back a couple of weeks later though, that article has been removed and replaced with one that did mention it).

Worse was an idiotic article for Forbes written by some bozo named John Gaudiosi who did include the Thursday gross, in a half ass sorry attempt  to equate a poor Star Trek video game by connecting it directly to the gross of the movie and reporting that Into Darkness debut was a total failure.  Everybody on this planet knows that the quality of a film has very little to do with a related video game.  Just ask E.T.  He’ll tell you.

This guy may have super knowledge regarding the video game market.  I have no way of knowing that one way or the other.  But he  doesn’t know shit about the cinema.  I’ll give him some kind of a runner-up award for the absolute worst, most misleading headline of the year so far.

Star Trek’s debut weekend was $83.7 million, thus toppling the debut of its predecessor which also debuted on a Thursday by some $5 million dollars.  In essence, when you talk about box office take these days, you simply manipulate the numbers to whatever fits any asinine story you want to dream up. 

When you get right down to it, it’s all rather pathetic.  These days a film lives and dies by it’s opening weekend, and by whatever tale some young whippersnapper entertainment reporter out to make a name for himself wants to create.  Let’s not forget that Star Trek Into Darkness was released against some much stiffer competition then it’s original predecessor.

And while it remains to be seen as to whether or not Into Darkness will top the previous film in total gross, it’s overseas take is eclipsing Star Trek by a few light years and then some.

Another notable entry over the past three weeks is The Great Gatsby, which has proved its opening weekend was no fluke.  It took in another $23.9 million during it’s second  weekend, and so far has taken in over $128 million in the states.  Stir in another $120 million from overseas and the film that many predicted wouldn’t even take in half that is a genuine hit.

Whomever decided that it was a great idea to open The Hangover Part III on the same weekend as the juggernaut Fast & Furious 6 should just resign now before he’s forced out.  The final chapter in this trilogy will be lucky to make half the amount of Part II.  It is a popular franchise overseas which may or may not resuscitate it into profitability. 

Fast & Furious 6 originally looked ready to eclipse all the Fast Films that came before it. This is one of the few series that just gets stronger with each new entry. Despite having dropped 63 per cent from the opening weekend it still held onto the number one spot in week two. 

The previous Vin Diesel Hot Wheels commercial, Fast Five, also experienced a large drop off from an opening of 86.2 million down to 32.5 in it’s second week.  By comparison, number six dipped from 97.8 million simoleons down to 35.1 million which  means all things being equal, Fast 6 should still top its predecessor overall depending on how it does in week three.  And in week three, there doesn’t appear to be much out there.

Many of these films have something going for them that wasn’t available or should I say exploited until recently.  That’s the China Market, where Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Duane the Rock should clean up handily.  The gang has already raked in $310 million across the Atlantic & Pacific in just two weeks while Fast Five managed $416 million total.

The biggest loser of all came this past weekend and it turned out to be The Will Smith Family Movie Making Nepotism Machine which also  had M. Night Shyamalan hitch his wagon to their cart and come along for the ride.  Of course, I’m talking about the Sci-fi epic, After Earth which only managed to come in at number three with a paltry $27.5 million dollar intake.  What this proves is that money can’t buy you love nor can it buy your kid instant stardom and acting ability to go along with it.

There’s one clown in the circus who simply had to try and make a name for himself and give this futuristic turkey a rave review to the point where he called After Earth the right film at the right time for M. Night Shamalama Ding Dong.  He may be right.  Maybe it will put Shyamalan’s now lackluster career in the shitter once and for all and he can go do TV commercials or something along the lines of M. Night brings you Flo, The Progressive Girl.  Never has such a promising director fallen so far so fast.

Just about every other critic blasted After Earth, and as word of mouth spread you could watch the audience ratings for the film plummet on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB like a futuristic space ship crashing into a futuristic planet.  Maybe if upon crash landing on earth they had found Charlton Heston, one fourth of the Statue of Liberty, and some talking apes everything would have worked out for Papa Will and his spawn called Jaden.

The film that benefitted the most from that disaster was the independent Now You See Me which came in at number two with 29.3 million dollars.  And it did this on 500 less screens, on a budget half the size of After Earth, which made for a per screen average of $10000 compared to Shamalamadingdong’s $8,000 per screen.  I just love a good underdog story, don’t you?  Add to that the fact that magician type movies don’t generally do well in theaters, and Lionsgate/Summit has to be pleased.

But Columbia/Sony’s biggest mistake may have been to not open their After the Disaster Earth film wide overseas simultaneously with its domestic release.  They are counting on it to recover  in the International market, and considering Will Smith’s popularity it’s always a possibility.  It’s probably a good thing that they didn’t let the budget ($130 million) soar into John Carter territory though.  But now there is also time for word of mouth passed over the internet to help convince many to spend their Euros elsewhere.

Fast Five was always going to finish on top in it’s second week.  That was a no brainer.  But After Earth was supposed to  challenge it.   It wasn’t that long ago that the soothsayers were predicting a $40 to $50 million opening.

As for the rest of the films, Iron Man and Star Trek keep hovering around the top ten.  The Hangover is still in free fall mode, dropping 60 per cent from it’s poor opening weekend showing and coming in at number six in week two.  Wish it a quick goodbye as it sails out of site and into your nearest Redbox.  Gatsby is still plugging along in the top ten, more power to it.

Mud  is the little film that could.  It keeps hanging in the top ten week after week on just five hundred or so screens.  It’s been on the chart for six weeks now, and it’s another film I hope to catch soon if it isn’t too late.

Iron Man 3 is now the the 5th biggest money maker of all time.  Adjusted for inflation though, and it doesn’t make the top 100.  Robert Downey Jr. no longer just places his money in the bank, he owns the damn thing.

Looking ahead to next week, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to conjure up memories of Wedding Crashers with The Internship.  Wedding Crashers ended up scoring $209 million total at the box office, but finished second to Charlie & The Chocolate Factory for two weeks before taking over the number one spot in week three.  It’s been almost eight years since Wedding Crashers, so I’m not sure if that success will even bleed over to this one.  Let me put it this way.  The Internship had better be pretty darn funny.

Here are the numbers for the past three weekends for you to compare, decipher, and decide for yourself whether or not I know what I’m talking about.