Paul Blart Zookeeper: Worst Happy Madison opening since 2008

The weekend box office estimates are in, and they show Transformers (now the highest-grossing movie of 2011) taking the top spot with $47 million, followed by Horrible Bosses, with $28m, and Paul Blart Zookeeper with $21m.  In my PBZ review, I wondered if PBZ was part of Sandler’s attempt to find that low-water mark tipping point, the point at which the audience would realize their intelligence had actually been underestimated and they’d finally turn.  It’s hard to say whether we’re there yet (we’ll find out with much greater certainty when Jack and Jill opens in November), but it does mark Happy Madison’s worst opening since 2008, and with double the budget of any comparable title (except Bedtime Stories, which cost as much but opened bigger). Here are the Happy Madison productions and co-productions going back to 2006. RATED ARG FOR PIRATES, F*CK YOU!

  • [Paul Blart] Zookeeper (2011): $21 million opening, $80m production budget
  • Just Go With It (2011): $30.5m opening, $215m worldwide
  • Grown Ups (2010): $40.5m opening, $271m worldwide
  • Paul Blart Mall Cop (2009): $31.8m opening, $183.3 worldwide
  • Bedtime Stories (2008): $27.5m opening, $212.9m worldwide ($80m budget)
  • You Don’t Mess With the Zohan: $38.5m opening, $199.9m worldwide
  • Strange Wilderness (2008): $3m opening, 6.9 million worldwide (budget not reported)
  • House Bunny (2008): $14.5 opening, 70 million worldwide, $25 million budget
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007): $34 million, $186m worldwide
  • Benchwarmers (2006): $19.7 opening, $70m worldwide ($33 million budget)
  • Grandma’s Boy (2006): $6.6 worldwide, $3m opening
  • Click (2006): $40m opening, $237.7 worldwide

YAY, NUMBERS! Hard to draw too many conclusions from this (not that that’ll stop studio types), but for what it’s worth, Grandma’s Boy wasn’t nearly as bad as most of those. And I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry was probably a lot worse than Paul Blart Zookeeper, all things considered. Yes, worse than a movie where Kevin James takes a fake gorilla to Friday’s so it can order 30 oranges. Consider that a feather in your dunce cap, Chuck & Larry director.

After the jump, MORE NUMBERS! Including the weekend top 10, 2011 top 10, and our Frotcast Fantasy Box Office Standings.


this week last week
Weekend Gross % Change Theater Count / Change Average Total
Budget* Week #
1 1 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $47,025,000 -51.9% 4,088 $11,503 $261 m
$195 2
2 N Horrible Bosses $28,110,000 3,040 $9,247 $28.1 m
$35 1
3 N Zookeeper $21,000,000 3,482 $6,031 $21 m
$80 1
4 2 Cars 2 $15,209,000 -42.1% 3,990 -125 $3,812 $148.8 m
$200 3
5 3 Bad Teacher $9,000,000 -38.0% 2,962 -87 $3,038 $78.8 m
$20 3
6 4 Larry Crowne $6,264,000 -52.2% 2,976 +3 $2,105 $26.5 m $30 2
7 5 Super 8 $4,825,000 -39.1% 2,292 -796 $2,105 $118 m
$50 5
8 6 Monte Carlo $3,800,000 -49.0% 2,473 $1,537 $16.1 m
$20 2
9 7 Green Lantern $3,125,000 -52.3% 2,015 -1,265 $1,551 $109.7 m
$200 4
10 8 Mr. Popper’s Penguins $2,850,000 -48.5% 1,996 -865 $1,428 $57.7 m
$55 4

BIG WINNERS: R-Rated comedies. Hangover II and Bridesmaids are the number two and seven movies of 2011, respectively, Horrible Bosses opened huge, and Bad Teacher tripled its budget even with Cameron Diaz in the lead. Is that a good thing? I say yes. It’s not that R-rated comedies are always better than PG-13 ones, but let’s be honest, they usually are. Dinner for Schmucks, anyone? I’ll take a bad dick joke or sh*t gag over Steve Carell asking whether Swiss cheese comes out of the cow with the holes already in it any day.


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