Box Office: A Weekend of Blahs

Killers over Splice?  Really?  What’s wrong with movie audiences? It was another dismal weekend at the box office, and Hollywood executives might be feeling the first pangs of panic over the Summer’s box office potential (or lack thereof.)  Audiences just don’t seem to be into anything that is out in theaters right now, and a three week holdover beat out four new releases for the number one spot.

Shrek Forever After nabbed the top spot with $25 Million, beating out Killers, Splice, Marmaduke, and Get Him to the Greek.  Shrek is still playing on over 4,300 screens, so even though its per-screen total was pretty week ($5,000) it still only dropped about 40% from last week.

Coming in at number two was Get Him to the Greek, the Jonah Hill/Russell Brand comedy produced by Judd Apatow.  The movie was a spin off of Brand’s character from Saving Sarah Marshall.  Interestingly, both movies made almost identical amounts of money on their opening weekend.  Saving Sarah Marshall made around $17.7 Million, and Get Him to the Greek made $17.4 Million (per Box Office Mojo.)

Killers, the “we’re not screening it for critics because we want them to experience the movie along with everyone else” movie managed to make $16.1 Million.  The reviews have started rolling in, and it stands at a proud 14% on Rotten Tomatoes.   For the life of me, I don’t know who was clamoring to see this movie, because merely watching the trailer made me want to gouge my eyes out.

This movie had the same director who brought us one of my least favorite movies of 2009, The Ugly Truth.  I found that movie to be sexist, insulting and demeaning. Based on Lisa Schwarzbaum’s review in EW, Killers is more of the same.  And yet,  people bought $16.1 Million worth of tickets to it. Unbelievable.

Prince of Persia dropped 53% from its opening weekend and made $13.9 Million, bringing its two week total to $59 Million, a far, far cry from its $200 Million budget.  Sex in the City took the number five spot, with $12.6 Million.  It dropped over 59%, and stands at $73 Million after two weeks.

Two of the four new releases debuted outside of the top five. Marmaduke made a measly $11.3 Million.

Sadly, sometimes good guys do finish last.  Vincenzo Natali’s Splice only made $7.4 Million.  There are several reasons I found this upsetting:

  1. Joel Silver rolled the dice on an edgy movie when he scooped it up  at Sundance.  He probably won’t do so next time.
  2. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody, two fine actors, took a chance by appearing in a genre movie.
  3. The movie received favorable reviews, and it was  truly thought provoking.

What I find most disheartening is that Warner Brothers and Vincenzo himself were remarkably accessible when it came to this film, and Vincenzo happily did interviews, podcasts, and other media.  He was the antithesis of being a hot-shot director who can’t be bothered to talk to the writers and fans.

Contrast all that with Killers, which shut out critics and writers entirely. When movies don’t screen, we can’t make deadline, and that is frustrating for everyone;  the fans, the readers, the critics and reviewers.  I just hate to see a movie  rewarded for that type of treatment, while a director and studio who bent over backward to promote their movie basically got flipped the bird by the viewing public.

How do you all feel about it?  Does it make you suspicious when a movie won’t let anyone see it in advance?  I’m curious about the average movie-goers opinion.

This weekend box office receipts were down 28% over the same weekend last year, and it was in fact the worst early June weekend in over 13 years.  What’s going on here? Look for a post mid-week examining this question.

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  • TJ
    June 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Saw Splice on Saturday night, the theater was 25% full which seemed odd considering the hype/reviews it received. It was a good movie though and definitely worth the ticket price.

  • shannon hood
    June 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    @Anthony That makes me feel better, and makes more sense to hear that. Thanks for commenting.

  • shannon hood
    June 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    @ Christy, I think (and hope you are right.) Getting Brody and Polley certainly elevated the credibility of the movie. Glad you liked the movie, I really enjoyed it as well.

  • Christy
    June 7, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I saw Splice and thought it was highly entertaining. I rarely see genre movies, but find Adrien Brody is the kind of actor that always does something interesting in a part. I think Splice will do very well on cable and rentals, which a lot of horror/suspense/monster/sci-fi movies do. At least I hope it does.

  • Anthony
    June 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I’m not surprised by Shrek’s continued dominance. The only thing I’ll say about splice is that most people I know who chose not to see it were creeped out by the whole concept, just like the Human Caterpillar.

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