There were two new releases in theaters this past weekend, the intensely-marketed That Awkward Moment, and the barely-at-all marketed Labor Day. Neither did particularly well, with That Awkward Moment grossing an estimated $9 million domestically, and Labor Day $5.4, while Ride Along cruised to number one in its third weekend in a row, with $12.3 million.
In third place, That Awkward Moment opened to an estimated $9 million. That’s a bit better than 21 and Over ($8.8 million) and Don Jon ($8.7 million), though it’s also the lowest nationwide debut yet for a Zac Efron movie.
Focus Features, which took on That Awkward Moment as part of its merger with FilmDistrict, executed a modest marketing campaign targeted almost exclusively at younger women. Not surprisingly, that’s who turned out for the movie: the audience was 64 percent female and 61 percent under the age of 25. That’s the kind of breakdown that suggests a steep second weekend drop; add in middling word-of-mouth (“B” CinemaScore), and it would be surprising if this wound up with more than $25 million.
That all sounds bad, but it also only cost $8 million to make, so it doesn’t look like anyone’s losing money. Well, except for maybe Bulleit Rye, who paid for all that product placement, only to have the character to call it “scotch.”
That Awkward Moment was one of those strange films where I couldn’t figure out who it was supposed to be for. The story was about screwin’ chicks and partyin’ and not gettin’ tied down, which made it feel like it was some bro movie, but then it had Zac Efron and cute clean boys holding teddy bears and eating ice cream in the poster like it was aimed at tween girls. Who would’ve had a hard time buying their own tickets, since it was rated R. Best I could figure, as I said in my review, it was some insidious Hitler Youth infomercial for Manhattan.
At 2,584 locations, Labor Day bombed with $5.4 million. Among director Jason Reitman’s movies, it’s a bit above Young Adult ($3.4 million) and Thank You for Smoking ($4.5 million), though those movies were playing in less than half as many theaters. It’s also about on par with Kate Winslet’s Revolutionary Road, which opened to $5.2 million at 1,058 locations.
The movie’s audience was 59 percent female and 71 percent over the age of 25. It received a “B-” CinemaScore, and will be lucky to get anywhere near $20 million by the end of its run. [BoxOfficeMojo]
I didn’t see ads for Labor Day anywhere, so it’s hard to figure who went to see it. Were they Jason Reitman fans, or the audience for Nicholas Sparks movies, since that’s what it looked like? I thought it worked fairly well as mommy porn, where a burly stranger comes to your house, fixes all your stuff, and goes wrist deep in your peach pie. But then, judging by the best seller list, it seems moms prefer the wealthy industrialist who ties you up, takes your virginity, and tells you what foods to eat. Who knows? Maybe it would’ve worked better if Josh Brolin’s character had owned a helicopter.
Elsewhere, Frozen returned, in sing-along form, to add another $9.3 million domestic to its $864 million worldwide gross. I still don’t know what it’s about. Singing snowmen or something?