Weekend box office: Sorry, Hollywood. Not interested.
Apparently Americans are not very interested in going to the movies right now. After the weakest Memorial Day holiday at the box office in 17 years, Hollywood had another bummer weekend, with "Shrek Forever After" at No. 1 for the third week in a row and overall revenues down 24 percent compared with this time last year. So what's the deal?
Do people have the gall to spend their weekends at the beach, reading books or, God forbid, getting some exercise instead of sitting in a multiplex and gobbling down $85 (cost approximate) bags of popcorn? Or is the real issue that the movies right now totally stink? Let's crunch some numbers and try to figure it out (As always, figures are based on studio projections; final numbers release later today.)
Hollywood: really in dire straits?: As David Germain at the Associated Press reported, overall revenues are down 24 percent compared to this same weekend last year; according to Box Office Mojo, the revenue generated this weekend by the top 12 films ($121.7 million) is off by 16.2 percent compared to the same weekend in 2009.
But let's go back in time a tad further. During the first weekend of June in 2007, when "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" was released, the top 12 movies brought in $128.9 million. And during June's opener in 2006, $129.1 million was the tally from the top 12 flicks. So while clearly this weekend marks a notable decline in revenue, it may not be quite as dire as those year-to-year comparisons make it sound, especially since '09 was a robust one for movie-going.
Newcomers not wanted: "Shrek Forever After" is still hanging in at No. 1 with $25.3 million earned over the weekend. Certainly that's because it's part of a known franchise, and one that appeals to families. But the ogre's staying power also can be attributed to the lack of interest in newer films. "Get Him to the Greek" and "Killers" fared best of the fresh crop in second and third places, respectively. But "Marmaduke" -- which theoretically should have competed with "Shrek" -- and the sci-fi chiller "Splice" didn't even make the top five. So, to answer the question I raised earlier in this post, I do think some moviegoers are bailing on trips to the theater because this summer's films simply don't look appealing.
Jake and SJP are huge overseas: "Sex and the City 2" and "Prince of Persia" may not have been massive successes in the States. But both Memorial Day releases are doing very well in foreign markets. "SATC 2" has generated $90 million in international revenues (compared to $73.4 million in North America), while "Persia" has earned $156.4 million internationally, significantly more than the $59.4 it amassed stateside. Apparently people who reside in other corners of the globe love to see Jake Gyllenhaal flashing his pecs and Sarah Jessica Parker complaining about a husband who has the audacity to give her a flat-screen TV instead of jewelry.
Coming this Friday: '80s retro weekend at the box office! Both "The A-Team" and "The Karate Kid" open. Does either one have a chance at pushing ticket sales back into an upswing? We shall see. In the meantime, feel free to predict the box office winner in the poll below.
| June 7, 2010; 1:16 PM ET
Categories: Movies, Pop Culture | Tags: Box Office, Movies
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