Anyway, J.J. Abrams's ode to the 1970s/1980s films of Steven Spielberg (which also banked on 80s nostalgia, natch) indeed earned a rock-solid $37 million over its debut weekend, with $38 million since sneaking on Thursday in about 300 IMAX theaters (IMAX made up 12% of the weekend figures). More importantly for the long term, it actually had that rarest of rare things: an over 3x weekend multiplier. It opened with $12.2 million on Friday and increased to $14 million on Saturday (a 14% increase) and pulled in a solid $10.8 million on Sunday. That's a weekend multiplier of 3.03x, which is frankly how it was supposed to work in the olden days. Super 8 made me nostalgic for a lot of things this weekend. It made me nostalgic for the days when $50 million was a big budget, when $25 million was a lot to spend on marketing, when a $35 million weekend was a massive success, and when movies actually had their biggest single night on Saturday of their opening weekend instead of Friday. The film played 71% over-25, which is encouraging as the film may have real legs if word of mouth spreads to the younger audiences. It played 56% male.
Where it goes from here is an open question. The high weekend multiplier would indicate strong word of mouth and probable legs, but the film received a B+ from Cinemascore, which is good but not spectacular. It received a B from those over 25 and an A- from those under. It got a B+ from both males and females. I think the score is less from general pleasure than from sharply divisive reactions. For a large swath of the population, it very well may be a love it or hate it movie. There may have also been some backlash from the allegedly secretive marketing campaign, which actually was secretive only in terms of what the core threat looked like (once you see the movie, you realize that there was nothing really to spoil). Me? I'm merely in the 'dislike it' club. It's overly reliant on nostalgia and the third act is an absolute mess (here's a spoiler-filled rundown of what I merely hinted at in my review). Long term prospects may be slightly harmed by the fact that it's not the savior of the summer, but merely a well-liked film in a summer filled with solid pictures thus far. Or it could ride sentiment and end up with $200 million. As always, next weekend will tell the tale. Anyway, it's still encouraging for an original property that wasn't oversold to have relative success in the marketplace. With a mere $50 million budget and an alleged mere $25 million marketing campaign Super 8 is already a huge win for Paramount.Judy Moody and the Not-Bummer Summer. The Relativity release grossed just $6.2 million over the weekend, coming in below even the $7.8 million debut of Ramona and Beezus last summer. The poorly-reviewed kid-lit adaptation (which my three-year old had no interest in) cost just $20 million, so the damage should be minimal once kids decide to sample the DVD. The rest of the news is of the holdover variety. X-Men: First Class dropped just 55% in weekend two, for a $25 million weekend. For the second weekend in a row, the fifth X-Men picture is performing almost identically to the first. Like the first picture back in 2000, this reboot/prequel ended its tenth day just under $100 million ($98 million). So if it can avoid screen bleed, it should end its domestic run with $150-160 million. As I mentioned yesterday, The Hangover part II crossed the $200 million mark yesterday, and with a third weekend of $18 million, it now sits with $216.6 million after 22 days. That makes the film already the sixth-biggest R-rated film of all time. And it's also, just two films in the can, pretty much the second-biggest biggest R-rated franchise of all time, behind the $592 million-grossing Matrix trilogy. Oh, and The Hangover part II is also the highest-grossing film of 2011, a title it will keep for at least the next few weeks.
Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed $16.6 million in its third weekend, a far better hold (-30%) than last weekend, which gave it a new total of $126 million. It's still playing EXACTLY like Madagascar ($17m third weekend, $128 million after three weekends). So $170-180 million still seems plausible. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides also crossed $200 million on Friday, and it now sits with $208 million. Worldwide, it"s speeding towards $900 million, meaning (as I discussed in detail yesterday) it will become one of the highest-grossing films of all time without even matching its production budget ($250 million) in the US. Bridesmaids had another small drop (-15%) ending its fifth weekend with $123 million. The Judd Apatow-produced Kristen Wiig vehicle is now the third-biggest grossing film that Judd Apatow was in any way involved with (writing, producing, or directing), with the $148 million gross of Knocked Up and Talladega Nights well within reach.
Fast Five sits with $205 million and Thor is at $173 million. Tree of Life expanded to 47 screens and pulled in another $18,000 per screen for an $800,000 weekend and a $2.4 million total. The big art house news was the continued successful wide-release of Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris, which expanded to 944 screens and grossed a whopping $6.2 million. To put that in perspective, 1/3 of Woody Allen's 40 films haven't even grossed $6.2 million total. Midnight In Paris has grossed $14.2 million, making it Allen's 12th biggest film and putting it on track to be one of his very biggest grossers ever. All of which makes me wish I didn't truly dislike the film (sorry fans, I love the 'great artists' bits, but found the rest to be contrived and obnoxious in a way more common with the likes of Bride Wars or Confessions of a Shopaholic).
And that's it for this weekend. Join us next weekend for Martin Campbell's much anticipated and much-feared Green Lantern (review Wednesday night or Thursday morning), which goes head to head with Jim Carrey's Mr. Popper's Penguins. If next weekend's write up is a little late, forgive me. My wife is giving birth on Saturday so I may just post baby pictures in lieu of a timely box office report.