The summer movie season is at an end and, as usual, it is going out with a whimper instead of a bang. Despite the fact that the studios gave audiences three fresh choices at the multiplex, the film that eked out the best numbers as of Sunday continued to be last weekend’s 3D horror-hit “The Final Destination”… sick of hearing me talk about those “higher ticket prices” yet? Though only five thousand dollars separated “Destination” and “All About Steve” on Friday, the fact that the Sandra Bullock/Bradley Cooper comedy received some of the worst reviews of the summer (a feat in itself) helped that gap widen as the weekend progressed. Neither of our other newcomers, “Gamer” and “Extract”, built any real momentum which left “Steve” looking a bit like a hit… standards are a lot lower on Labor Day.
|1||Final Destination 4||$12,435,000||$47,566,000|
|2||All About Steve||$11,200,000||$11,200,000|
|7||Julie & Julia||$5,200,000||$78,840,000|
|9||Time Traveler’s Wife||$4,215,000||$54,557,000|
I’m not going to drag this box office column out too long because, like you, I have better things to do with my holiday weekend then dissect the minutiae of under-performing movies. Let me start off by saying, however, that none of Labor Day’s new releases was expected to break out of the low teens by Monday. That being said, however, (and barring something unforeseen in the next 24 hours) “Gamer” and “Extract” even appear underwhelming on the most underwhelming weekend of the entire summer.
“Gamer” – the latest from the directors of “Crank” – looked like it would win this weekend awhile back. Instead, from its home on 2,520 screens, the Gerard Butler action flick will have to fight to break $11 million by Monday. This makes “Gamer” the second disappointment in a row for Lionsgate and directors Neveldine/Taylor. Their “Crank: High Voltage” could only manage a $13 million total domestic haul back in April. The bright side here is that the estimated “Gamer” budget was only about $13 million, meaning that – after pay cable and DVD – the film will turn a profit.
Mike Judge’s “Extract” was never playing for first like “Gamer” was. The comedy featuring Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck and Mila Kunis launched on only 1,611 theatres and had limited exposure in much of the country. Even so, I’m sure Miramax was hoping for better than a tenth place finish. At this point if “Extract” makes it to $6 million by Monday Mike Judge should consider himself lucky. It could still happen, I guess… but not really.
Because even I am tired of hearing myself mention how “The Final Destination” has benefitted by riding the higher 3D ticket prices into the top spot, I am going to just skip most of the post-op analysis on Labor Day’s number one movie. Suffice to say that, even after falling 54% from last weekend, this movie is still outperforming (percentage-wise) in the pricey theatres as opposed to those screening in the 2D format. I also get the feeling that “Final” would have become a “Drag Me to Hell”-style footnote to summer had it not been for its 3D wizardry. I hope the studio remembered to send those guys a fruit basket.
Finally, we come to the new Sandra Bullock comedy “All About Steve”… though the term ‘new’ is loosely applied in this case. “Steve” was already nearly a year old when it was pulled off of its release date back in February. In hindsight, of course, Fox could not have made a better move.
Despite co-starring Bradley Cooper and Thomas Hayden Church, “All About Steve” sucks… but don’t just take my word for it. A rating of 6% on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself. So how did such a film come so close to winning the weekend? You can thank the breakout hits “The Proposal” (Bullock) and “The Hangover” (Cooper) for that bit of handiwork. In all honesty though, I have to hand it to Fox – if you can’t capitalize on someone else’s good work by linking it your own piece of crap what is this box-office thing all about anyway?
Check back next week when the first of the fall releases – Shane Acker’s “9” -attempts to dazzle us with its sci-fi goodness. Of course, it can’t hurt that people are already mentally linking this film with the breakout hit “District 9”, now can it? See how that works!