SUNDAY CENTS: ‘G-Force’ hits the G-spot

Posted by · 10:11 am · July 26th, 2009

G-Force*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

$32.2 million worth of Americans needed to see what happens when talking guinea pigs are entrusted with saving the world this weekend and have made “G-Force” our number one movie at the box office. Since I predicted $35 million last week, I can’t say this was unexpected, even if it is depressing. With yet another solid performance, the days of talking CGI critters interacting with cash-strapped human actors are just beginning.

Second place goes to “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which dipped a now standard 61% to $30 million. It was only eight years ago when the first film opened but its 36% second weekend drop is already a figure from a bygone box office era. In 2009, if you open above $50 million and drop under 50%, then you are a word of mouth sensation.

“Potter” has $221.8 million in the bank after 12 days, which is third best in the series at this point but I think we’re still looking at the second lowest total grosser when it’s all said and done.

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler tried to convince Americans that no matter how repulsive or reprehensible you find someone, if you spend a little bit of time with them you will fall in love – providing they are attractive, of course – in “The Ugly Truth” and $27 million worth of patrons took the bait. That’s not quite “The Proposal” numbers but it won’t do either star any harm in landing their next awful projects.

Fourth place goes to “Orphan,” a movie that is not at all “The Omen” with a girl. $12.8 million is par for the course with summer horror and a steep drop-off should follow. It’s a sad state of affairs that on a weekend when we should be celebrating the fact that all three major releases are technically “original” screenplays, this is the batch of titles we’re dealing with.

Outside of that, “The Hangover” and “The Proposal” provide the only other excitement in the top 10 by continuing to drop under 25% each weekend. The Todd Phillips comedy is only a day or two away from crossing $250 million, which would make it the first R-rated film to do so since “The Passion of the Christ” and the first R-rated comedy since “There’s Something About Mary.”

This week I gave my $10 to (“500) Days of Summer,” which was remarkably boring for a film with so much gratuitous style and two likable leads. The reviews baffle me since this kind of thing can only be considered “fresh” by someone who only has “The Proposal” and “The Ugly Truth” to compare it to.

Next week gives us Judd Apatow’s third film, “Funny People.” Universal has been sure to hammer home the fact that this is only his third film, lest we think he’s directly responsible for “Drillbit Taylor,” “Walk Hard” and the countless other tired films that have been marketed with his name. ” Knocked Up” did $32 million opening weekend so if we take that figure and add for Adam Sandler but subtract for cancer subplot, I think we’ll end up with $38 million. Maybe $40 million.

Fox hopes that talking CGI aliens will be as likable as talking CGI animals with “Aliens in the Attic” but we all know that they’re not. “High School Musical”’s Ashley Tisdale is the only star power here so we’ll be generous and say $11 mil.

Finally, Freestyle Releasing gives us “The Collector,” opening wide to unanimous refrains of, “What the fuck is ‘The Collector?’” You mean you haven’t heard of the latest torture porn epic from the writers of “Saw V?” Let’s say $2 million and move on.

What do you guys think? Am I low-balling “Funny People?”  (Box office figures will be posted later today as they are not currently available at Exhibitor Relations.)

→ 26 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

26 responses so far

  • 1 7-26-2009 at 11:05 am

    ZiZo Abul Hawa said...

    It’s Kinda Impossible to Potter 6 to be the Second Lowest grosser, don’t you think? I didn’t get your point of being the third in it’s 12th day, since the $221M are the highest at the 12th day of any Potter Movie, and its already only 40 million away to be the fourth, and don’t forget that next week it’s going to get released on IMAX, so I think the movie will probably stand the second in Harry Potter movies, close to the $300M mark.

  • 2 7-26-2009 at 11:11 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Zizo: Seems this needs to be said every week, but read the note at the top of the article.

  • 3 7-26-2009 at 11:13 am

    ZiZo Abul Hawa said...

    Oh, I read it, but apparently too quick! Sorry

  • 4 7-26-2009 at 11:30 am

    James D. said...

    I didn’t find my way to the theater this weekend. The Hurt Locker is finally playing within an hour and a half of me, so maybe soon.

  • 5 7-26-2009 at 1:11 pm

    BobMcBob said...

    Chad, your Sunday box office recap is certainly more entertaining then the recap on Box Office Mojo (and usually comes out earlier), but the column would be more entertaining if you weren’t so vitriolic.

    Not every pure entertainment film that gets critically-panned needs another snide remark from an internet blogger. It’s difficult to make films that are both commercially appealing that also make critics happy. Pixar has been able to master this uncanny ability, but they only make one film a year.

    So try to put on a happy face when writing the recap. Even if you’re sad (like many people on the periphery of the film industry are), at least make an attempt to be more positive each time.

  • 6 7-26-2009 at 1:38 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Bob, point taken. I don’t want to be a crumudgeon all the time. But I also see no other way to discuss a film like G-Force. Maybe things will get easier in the fall.

  • 7 7-26-2009 at 2:22 pm

    Hans said...

    That’s too bad about Potter. I though this one was in the running for best of the series, certainly the funniest. It was a real turnaround in my book for Davd Yates after the shitfest of Order of the Phoenix, and I feel much better now about the final two installments (we missed you Steve Kloves!)

    So another non-$300 mil grosser for the series. Ah well, it’s poetic almost, that only the first one did it (and hopefully the last one).

  • 8 7-26-2009 at 2:29 pm

    Jeremy said...

    Chad, any chance the delayed IMAX release helps “Half-Blood Prince” in its third week? I’m thinking most diehards who saw it opening night will see it again in IMAX this week, so maybe it’ll crack $15 million.

  • 9 7-26-2009 at 4:09 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Jesus, is their anything you actually like? No offense, but week after week I read your articles and you’re always complaining about how you put down $10 (where the hell does a movie cost this much?) and hated what you saw. “(500) Days of Summer” is one of the best films of the year, short and simple, and one of the best movies the “Romantic Comedy” genre has EVER had to offer. Remove the stick up your… um. Yeah. You won’t see a more enjoyable and lovable film all year.

  • 10 7-26-2009 at 6:18 pm

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    OMG, I thought THE COLLECTOR was just a remake of Wyler’s film from the sixties. Thank Gosh it’s not.

  • 11 7-26-2009 at 7:16 pm

    j said...

    500 Days of Summer is sucktacular.

    The only good part not in the deceptively great trailer is the very last word of the film. And G-L’s acting, which Chad somewhat nodded towards.

    Anyway, I noticed that for each Potter film has been #1, 3, 4, 5, 6 (not in chronological order) for its respective year’s box office. I’m hoping this film completes the circle by being #2. Worldwide, each Potter has been in the top 2 of its year; hopefully that continues too.

  • 12 7-26-2009 at 7:23 pm

    Andrew L. said...

    @ Speaking
    In NYC, movie tickets can run anywhere from $11 to $15 (weekend prices) to even $16-18 (imax screenings).

    But chill out people!: it’s just math… oh, and money.

  • 13 7-26-2009 at 7:52 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    English: In most of the country, actually, but it’s the low end here in LA, where Chad also lives.

  • 14 7-26-2009 at 8:37 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***English: In most of the country, actually, but it’s the low end here in LA, where Chad also lives.***

    Oh. In Chicago theaters have matinees for $6.50.

    ***The only good part not in the deceptively great trailer is the very last word of the film.***

    Wow. That’s probably the one part of the film I actually DIDN’T love.

  • 15 7-26-2009 at 9:25 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Hey, if I knew how to reach the stick and pull it out, I would. I don’t like spending $10 and being bored or disappointed. But I have high standards and it’s worth it to find the diamonds in the rough so I keep going. I’ve championed In a Dream, Moon, Humpday, The Windmill Movie and Sugar all in this column so it’s not always doom and gloom. I also liked Coraline and Observe and Report so once in a long while the studios get it right too.

  • 16 7-27-2009 at 6:31 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    “500 Days of Summer” is a cautionary anti-romantic comedy that has actual insight and perceptiveness in regards to relationships. For all it’s style and effort, there’s palpable genuineness and real characters. Try getting that anywhere else right now.

  • 17 7-27-2009 at 9:43 am

    Harmonica said...

    U$11 million for Aliens in the Attic? Come on, that sounds like an awfully low number. Bear in mind that this is a children’s movie and it is opening in 3100 screens. I think it can make at least U$19 million.

  • 18 7-27-2009 at 11:33 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Chase- You and I must have different definitions of what is genuine in film. One or two moments maybe, but the bulk of the film is filled with the same cliches as every other romantic comedy. Just one example- when you want to get in touch with somebody, why call them when you can just go to the place that they sometimes frequent and earlier in the film said they liked? Don’t worry, they’ll probably be there and you can talk.

  • 19 7-27-2009 at 1:26 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Chad — there are no awkward encounters with relatives, no flirtatious, indecent grandparents, no public “I want you back” sermons, no six-packs, etc.

    Finally, here’s a romantic comedy (although it’s a tad cynical in the romance department) that acknowledges that falling in love is torturous, painful, ambiguous and anything but level-headed. Plus, I love how it exhibits the notion that we recall our past loves with the good and the bad, never in the right order, sometimes at the same time.

    Sure it has some movie moments — Tom’s two friends and his little sister are a stretch, but you can’t even compare this to something wretched like “The Proposal”, two different worlds.

    By the way, your example is a little half-baked. Tom doesn’t really want to outwardly give-in and make contact with Summer, but he wouldn’t mind running into her, that would certainly be the case with a heartbroken romantic like him. The same could be said about Summer. (Haven’t you ever hoped to run into someone you’d like to see again, but don’t have the stomach to openly make contact with them?)

    Plus, it’s highly impractical for one of the more dramatic moments in the film to be executed over a telephone conversation.

  • 20 7-27-2009 at 1:45 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    There was no I want you back sermon, but there was the similar “I realize I’ve been leading the wrong life- I quit” speech given at work. And who didn’t see it a mile away that Tom was going to go back to architecture at the end? As you said, the sister character was pure Hollywood garbage. It’s still a world where friends only exist to sit around and talk about your problems with you. It’s still applying all the familiar rom/com tropes except instead of two improbable lovers finding love through extended forced encounters, it applies them to a different set of circumstances. Which is why I said it could only seem fresh when compared to something like The Proposal.

  • 21 7-27-2009 at 2:33 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Jeremy- I don’t think IMAX screens will provide a sizable boost for HP. Still, the drop should level off a bit and $15 mil is what it should end up with.

  • 22 7-27-2009 at 3:01 pm

    James D. said...

    Am I the only one who appreciates Chad’s “mean old man” rants?

  • 23 7-27-2009 at 5:00 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Look, the movie has problems — I would probably go in the B/B+ range, and sometimes it felt too gaudy in style, but I found it deeply perceptive and intelligent while offering a different angle at the rom-com crowd than your wait-and-see fall in love scenario in which no real delevopment takes place except embarrasing situations and convoluted scenarios.

    It captured perfectly what it’s like to think you’re in love, when in fact, you’re not.

  • 24 7-27-2009 at 7:59 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I don’t begrudge you your affection for it. I love Meet Joe Black and no one is gonna convince me that I shouldn’t.

  • 25 7-28-2009 at 12:39 am

    j said...

    On the subject of Potter money, according to

    Harry 1 Worldwide Rental: 600 mil
    [Others are US sales.] Harry 2: 237 mil
    Harry 4: 216 mil
    Harry 5: 220 mil

    Didn’t have #’s for Potter 3. I’m guessing that the series has broken a billion in the US for sales.

  • 26 7-28-2009 at 1:54 am

    j said...

    Hmm, 30 times this year a film has gotten a 10k average & at least 1 mil over the weekend. 30 weekends so far this year. January 16-18 was the only one w/>2, with 5: Mall Cop, Notorious, Slumdog, Revolutionary, Wrestler. Movies w/multiple weeks: Up, Trek, Revolutionary, Torino.