The box office chugged along unremarkably this weekend, with a series of films no one much cared about doing middling business. Hopefully I’ve already hooked you with this lede. Oz is doing okay business, but it’s not the kind of Alice in Wonderland-style success Disney was hoping for. Meanwhile, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was either far from incredible or failed to make magic at the box office, depending on which hack headline you prefer. At $10.3 million, it opened half-again lower than even Semi Pro ($15.1 million), and made just a third of Blades of Glory’s opening ($33 million) on the same weekend in 2007 – thanks to BoxOfficeMojo for that thoroughly damning comparison. And that was all while side splitting and crowd pleasing its way to a rousing C+ Cinemascore. Jack Reacher, John Carter, Burt Wonderstone – hey, maybe stop naming movies after the lead character now.
I’m not sure studios are capable of making a decent comedy anymore. Every non-indie gets focused-grouped to hell, and running all your jokes by Joe Sixpack and Darla Diabetes first is a sure-fire way to ruin them. My favorite part of the Burt Wonderstone trailer was where they illustrated lackluster audience enthusiasm by using actual cricket sound effects. WE MADE A JOKE, DID YOU CATCH THAT, AMERICA? But for every Burt Wonderstone there’s an Identity Thief, 2013’s second-highest-grossing movie behind Oz, despite even worse reviews than Wonderstone. And if you’re only thinking short-term profit and not long-term health of the medium, that’s a win. It’s dumb. Come on, studio people, you’re going to be replaced in 18 months anyway, you might as well make movies you enjoy. It’s working for Megan Ellison.
1. Oz: The Great and Powerful (Disney) – $42 million ($144 mil. total)
2. The Call (Sony) – $17 million
3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.) – $10.3 million
4. Jack The Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.) – $6 million ($54 mil. total)
5. Identity Thief (Universal) – $4.6 million ($124 mil. total)
6. Snitch (Lionsgate/Summit) – $3.5 million ($37 mil. total)
7. 21 and Over (Relativity) – $2.7 million ($22 mil. total)
8. Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) – $2.5 million ($125 mil. total)
9. Escape From Planet Earth (The Weinstein Company) – $2.4 million ($52 mil. total)
10. Safe Haven (Relativity) – $2.4 million ($67 mil. total) [Indiewire]
The one bright spot on the weekend was Spring Breakers, which opened in New York and LA, where it earned an impressive $90,000 per theater for Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and distribution partner A24. That’s good enough per-screen average for 22nd all time. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that America loves art films. The people have spoken loud and clear, saying “we want a thought-provoking critique of crass commercialism!” Right? I mean that’s the only explanation. It could only be that or the underage tits.