SUNDAY CENTS: WTF?

Posted by · 3:47 pm · July 11th, 2010

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

Forget everything I said about it being ballsy marketing your movie with a bunch of unknown, potentially scene-stealing creatures. I forget that if the creatures are at all adorable, then you automatically debut with $60 million at the box office.

Seriously. What happened with “Despicable Me?” I’m not afraid to admit that three weeks ago I thought this would debut with $15 million. Instead, it’s the number one movie in America with $60.1 million in the bank. That already makes it the biggest computer animated film Universal has ever put out and rivals some of the better openings for non-franchise DreamWorks pictures. It should now have no problem becoming the fourth animated film of 2010 to pass $200 million. No words.

Speaking of that threshold, “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” raced past it with some conviction, dropping 49% to $33.4 million. It’s about $7 million the running total of “New Moon” by this point and will have a hard time reaching the same peak. Still, it’s more than enough to have provided more work for Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Has that not been deemed a war crime yet?

“Predators” takes the bronze with $25.3 million. Given the low screen count, that’s a solid result for Fox but legs are bound to be atrocious so they’ve capped their prospects at around $65 million. Still scratching my head over this one, but maybe it has something to do with spiting Topher Grace. Why else is he nowhere in the trailers? Is he the Predator in a twist?

“The Last Airbender” fell a precarious 58% but given that still means over a million and a half people went and saw it this weekend, having clearly heard how unimaginably awful it is, has to be considered a success. M. Night’s latest passed the $100 million mark today with some ease and could join “Batman & Robin” as one of the worst received box office successes of all time.

Drops were much better for “Toy Story 3” and “Grown Ups.” It’s particularly impressive in the former’s case given that animated films usually crumple when another hit one shows up. Woody and Buzz fell 27% to $22.0 million and is now the official top dog of 2010 so far. Honestly, the only contender for that throne I can see at this point is “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

“Grown Ups” fell 14% so America still overwhelmingly approves of David Spade and Rob Schneider getting pity work from Adam Sandler.

The real story comes in positions 10-15, which contains five independent or alternative titles. “Cyrus” continues a solid expansion, as does “I Am Love” and “Solitary Man,” while “The Girl Who Played With Fire” matched the breakout success of its predecessor with almost a million bucks from 110 screens. Hurray for all that, even though “Solitary Man” is just a Hollywood movie reject in independent movie clothing.

“The Kids Are All Right” has all the headlines though, with $72,413 per theater on 7 screens and $505,000 total. Those are Oscar figures for sure and as long as Focus doesn’t botch the expansion (cough, “Greenberg”), it’s smooth sailing to the Kodak.

This may be my last week at my job since my boss said something about replacing me with an octopus. What did you guys see this weekend?

Here are this week’s top grossing films courtesy of Exhibitor Relations:




→ 29 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Sunday Cents

29 responses so far

  • 1 7-11-2010 at 3:51 pm

    Josh said...

    What happened, IMO, is that the movie’s been marketed to death for a year. It’s more than I thought it’d make, but I also assumed it’d be number one. Helps that the reviews are positive and word-of-mouth is strong, too.

  • 2 7-11-2010 at 3:53 pm

    geha714 said...

    Minions FTW!

  • 3 7-11-2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hans said...

    Indeed, word of mouth is very strong among my Facebook News Feed for Despicable Me..

    What’d I see this weekend? Casillas being a beast, that’s what I saw.

  • 4 7-11-2010 at 4:15 pm

    Estefan said...

    I just love how animated films are beating live-action’s ass this year. Three of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year have been animated and four of the highest-grossing are also animated. If Disney marketed Tangled a lot better and moved its released away from Harry Potter, they could have a box-office success to equal the raves they’re sure to get.

    But, seriously though, as a huge admirer of the animation medium, I just want to say “Suck on that, Real People!”

  • 5 7-11-2010 at 4:16 pm

    Estefan said...

    Though I do want to point out that I really want to see The Kids Are All Right (though it would help if it opened in my town).

  • 6 7-11-2010 at 4:24 pm

    martisco said...

    I saw Despicable Me without having heard much about it. It was sweet, cute and fun, if not terribly deep (ie “Toy Story 3” deep). Steve Carell was a winner. The admittedly derivative minions were fun. I’d like to see another movie with these characters. I was in a mostly adult audience that laughed during the movie and clapped at the end. Maybe a lot of movie bloggers misread the movie’s appeal to adults.

  • 7 7-11-2010 at 4:30 pm

    Tom C said...

    Can’t believe nobody’s brought up the fact that Toy Story 3 is now the highest grossing Pixar film of all time.

    First movie to knock Finding Nemo off its pedestal in the 7 years since its release.

  • 8 7-11-2010 at 4:43 pm

    Hans said...

    Unadjusted. Which is a great accomplishment, indeed. But Chad uses adjusted figures, and going by that, TS3 is still over $100 million behind FN. It’ll be close, but I think TS3 might be able to chug it out.

  • 9 7-11-2010 at 4:46 pm

    martisco said...

    BTW, the part everyone liked best in “Despicable Me” was the bedtime story about the kittens! (at least everyone in my adult group loved it)

  • 10 7-11-2010 at 5:15 pm

    JJ said...

    What can I say? I liked ‘The Last Airbender’. Had no intention of going (awful reviews) until my 50 yr. old co-worker, Renee, saw it with her kids and she said she loved it (as did her kids).

    It’s not awful. Bad? yeah, mostly. Shyamalan should never write another movie … AGAIN. But there are plenty things I liked (mood, tone, Dev Patel, cin, sets, costumes, landscapes, mythology, score).

    When I think of awful, I think: Bounty Hunter, Our Family Wedding, Legion, When in Rome, The Spy Next Door, etc..

    I think ‘The Last Airbender’ – script aside – had more going for it than any of those other movies, by far.

  • 11 7-11-2010 at 5:54 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Saw Despicable Me, Predators, and Kids Are All Right; all the movies were fine for what they were trying to achieve (I was actually surprised by how much I was digging Predators at first but it falls apart in the third act).

    Despicable Me seemed to do VERY well with the audience I was with and will have good holds and WOM, it has a good shot at passing Dragon and maybe even Shrek 4; being the biggest July film is also not out of the question depending on how audiences react to Inception and Salt.

    Kids is far more audience friendly than Greenberg so it should expand well, the sexual content and gay theme may not play in middle America and keep the film from true breakout numbers, but I could see at least $30 million domestic happening. Its oscar chances are very alive for picture, directing, screenplay and 2-3 acting nods, and it might be an early favorite for the SAG Ensemble as it is the kind of film they go for and the acting is strong all around (Bening and Ruffalo being the particular standouts IMO).

  • 12 7-11-2010 at 6:10 pm

    Ryan Hoffman said...

    But honestly, you couldn’t actually have thought $15 million. You’re numbers are usually pretty good, but that would have been miss of the year. I had it pegged at $40 worse case, 60 best case. Look’s like it was best case.

  • 13 7-11-2010 at 7:17 pm

    Dean Treadway said...

    I sorta knew DESPICABLE ME would do well. If it’s computer-animated, it’ll do well. That’s obviously the new (old) rule. I freaking hate animated movies now, and that almost goes for TS3, too (sorry to say, but it ain’t that great of a movie; TS2 did it all and did it better). So suck on that, pixillated people. By the way, don’t forget THE GOLDEN CHILD in that best performer/worst notices race. But I guess that’s REALLY old news. Now we get the INCEPTION tidal wave…or not? No. Tidal wave. Definitely.

  • 14 7-11-2010 at 8:50 pm

    Mark Kratina said...

    Ah, Batman & Robin. One of the worst films ever made.

    But I wouldn’t call it one of the worst-received box office successes, though. I’m going from memory here, but I think it made $104 million domestically, which was far below Batman Forever’s $184 and even worse than Batman Returns’ $163, which was considered controversial AND a box office failure.

    But it gave us BB and TDK, so it does retain some redeeming qualities (outside the content of the actual film, of course).

  • 15 7-11-2010 at 9:32 pm

    red_wine said...

    Speaking of awful movies doing well, Transformers 2 must surely be the nadir. The Razzie Worst Picture winner was a gargantuan blockbuster and the second highest earning movie last year. So much so that even the beloved Toy Story franchise is no match for it.

    And Tangled looks awful.

  • 16 7-12-2010 at 4:11 am

    Estefan said...

    @ Dean: You are a sad, strange little man and you have my pity. Not just for your ignorant hatred of an entire artform, but you’ve also diluted yourself into thinking every computer-animated film is a guaranteed hit. Well, tell that to Astro Boy and the closed offices of Imagi.

  • 17 7-12-2010 at 5:08 am

    Kelly said...

    I also am puzzled how anyone in their right mind could have predicted $15 million for Despicable Me. That would have been a bomb of considerable proportions, and there was nothing to indicate that Universal had an outright stinker on their hands. In all politeness, Chad… what WERE you thinking?

  • 18 7-12-2010 at 6:04 am

    Will said...

    I finnaly got around to seeing Knight and Day was a fun time at the movie @Chad you don’t Think Voyage of the Dawn Treader will give Harry Potter much competition?

  • 19 7-12-2010 at 7:16 am

    Mike_M said...

    Call me crazy, but Despicable Me was my favorite of the 3 animated films I saw all year. I really enjoyed it for what it was and my 5 kid cousins I went with also loved it.

    Really want to see The Kids Are All Right, but want it to come to a different theater in NYC first…

  • 20 7-12-2010 at 7:26 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    @Will: Given that “Prince Caspian” earned $141 million in the US, while the last “Harry Potter” effort took over $300 million, why would one think that?

    By the way, is it just because I’m in the UK that I have no idea what “Despicable Me” or these supposedly adorable creatures are?

  • 21 7-12-2010 at 10:49 am

    Hans said...

    From David Edelstein, the first rotten review for Inception goes up =(

    http://nymag.com/movies/reviews/67155/

    I didn’t read it because I wanted to be spoiler/semi-spoiler free, and that first sentence was enough to steer me away.

  • 22 7-12-2010 at 11:42 am

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    Next Week

    FRIDAY FORECAST: Is the dream real?
    Posted by Paul the Octopus 4:25 pm · July 16th, 2010

  • 23 7-12-2010 at 12:14 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I thought $15 million three weeks ago because I thought the marketing was completely ill-advised. As the release got closer, I started to think differently and finally came around to about $30 million by the Friday Forecast column. Can’t win ’em all.

  • 24 7-12-2010 at 3:23 pm

    Kyle said...

    It was a pretty lackluster week again as far as new releases go. I saw both Predators and Despicable Me (dragged by the girlfriend)…both were really middle of the road. Predators has a nice start, ruined by a nonsensical twist, and thinly painted characters.
    Despicable Me was more or less about the same in terms of quality of Dreamworks releases like “Over the Hedge” and “Ice Age 3″…pretty mediocre studio animated product.

    Friday can’t come soon enough.

  • 25 7-12-2010 at 3:48 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    Apparently these numbers are wrong. Don’t worry Chad, you can keep your job. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/07/bad-sunday-at-the-box-office.html

  • 26 7-12-2010 at 6:36 pm

    A.J said...

    “First movie to knock Finding Nemo off its pedestal in the 7 years since its release.”

    Well Chad uses adjusted numbers, so it hasn’t. Using unadjusted numbers it’s still $500,000 shy.

  • 27 7-12-2010 at 6:44 pm

    JJ said...

    Saw ‘I Am Love’. Blech. Beautiful, well acted (espesh by Tilda, wow), but aggravating melodrama; and the last 5 minutes were horrifying, to me.

  • 28 7-12-2010 at 6:58 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Despicable Me was more or less about the same in terms of quality of Dreamworks releases like “Over the Hedge” and “Ice Age 3″…***

    The “Ice Age” films are not made by DreamWorks.

  • 29 7-15-2010 at 11:16 am

    Chris said...

    Regarding the claim that Toy Story 3 will be the highest grossing film of the year (if it’s not beaten by The Deathly Hallows) – what about Inception? I haven’t seen it yet obviously, but there is considerable buzz and people love Leo, and Nolan… don’t you think it has potential to be a huge hit? People love getting their minds blown (ie: The Matrix) and the movies have been pretty shitty so far this year… I think we might be shocked how well it does.