One way to look at ‘The Purge: Anarchy’s $28 million domestic opening this weekend is that it didn’t make as much as the first one did last year ($34 million). Another way to look at it is that it made $28 million, despite the first one earning a 38% on RottenTomatoes and a C cinemascore. Jesus, don’t you people learn anything? Horror movie fans are so hard up for a fix that you could call it ‘I Wrote This On A Napkin Because F*ck You’ and it’d still make $20 million domestic. Meanwhile, despite that it only took a year to get the entire thing written, shot, edited, and released, the second installment managed to be better reviewed (54%) and better liked by audiences (B cinemascore) than the original. I don’t know if that says more about the original, the sequel, or America.
The other new film of the weekend, excluding ‘Planes: Fire And Rescue’ which earned $18 million domestically and doesn’t seem much worth talking about, was Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz’s ‘Sex Tape.’ It earned just $15 million for the weekend domestically, almost as bad as Adam Sandler’s ‘Blended’ ($14 million opening), with a C+ cinemascore and 20% on RottenTomatoes. I guess trying to make an edgy sex comedy for people with no understanding of the cloud wasn’t a great fit. Or, people were put off by the fact that they’d basically already seen this movie when it was called ‘Road Trip.’ Obviously, I can’t speak for the market here, because the market just gifted $28 million to a second ‘Purge’ movie, but I feel like mainstream comedies that are neither grounded enough to feel like someone’s real problems nor interesting enough of a high concept (a la ‘This Is The End,’ etc) – or a high concept as metaphor, a la ‘Scott Pilgrim’ – just seem like a waste of time. Like, really? I’m going to pay to watch stock characters in a sitcom premise? What if CAMERON DIAZ… filmed a SEX TAPE… and PRETENDED TO FALL DOWN A LOT! (*slide whistle*) Bottom line, I’d watch it if they showed the dongs going in, otherwise, ain’t nobody got time for that.
The top movie of the weekend was ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ which added $60.5 million internationally, including $36 million domestic. It held 50 percent from its opening weekend last weekend, which is solid, and sort of what you’d expect from a film tracking over 90% on RottenTomatoes.
Domestically, the box office is down 30% from July last year. The big question is, is it time to panic, or just a slow July until ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ hits? To me it just looks like an evolving business model. In many international markets, ‘Apes’ did twice as well as its predecessor (47% bigger in the UK, double the last one in Russia). Basically, the tentpoles are earning back more and more of their money overseas, so studios are making more and more of them, leaving less money around for any smaller movies that are worth a shit. They’ll bet on “proven stars” like Cameron Diaz, but usually in watered-down, focus-tested-to-death mainstream vehicles that end up looking like Two And A Half Men movies that people (to their credit) are less and less interested in. In any case, next week brings us ‘Lucy,’ Rob Reiner’s ‘And So It Goes,’ and Brett Ratner’s ‘Hercules’ movie, so go see ‘Snowpiercer‘ and ‘Boyhood‘ and cast your vote against bland crap.