November 15, 2010

Box Office Wrap-Up: Megamind still makes mega-money, other premieres fall short of success

Megamind derailed Unstoppable in
this weekends' box office
Courtesy: DreamWorks
Family crowd-pleaser Megamind manages to keep the top spot for a second time in a row at the box office, raking in an additional $30 million this weekend. That makes a total of nearly $90 million for DreamWorks' superhero comedy, giving Hollywood yet another 3-D success story. DreamWorks is plenty pleased about audiences' appetite for CGI adventures, but they should enjoy it while they can: the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Harry Potter franchise is expected to hit hard come the Thanksgiving holiday.

Out of this week's new releases, Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine was the most successful, gaining a second place premiere slot and a $23.5 million opening. The “Speed-on-a-train” action thriller doesn't break any new ground, but critics largely (if somewhat begrudgingly) gave the film a pass for being an entertaining watch. Keith Staskiewicz over at Entertainment Weekly gave Unstoppable a thumbs-up for its lack of pretension, calling the high-speed premise “refreshingly bare." Audiences seemingly agreed with him. Sometimes, after all, all you want is to be entertained for a few hours without having to think about it that much.

Not faring as well were the other two high profile premieres that opened this weekend. The alien invasion epic Skyline got some decent buzz around ComicCon time, but even science-fiction fans seemed pretty unimpressed by the final product. Bogged down by an awkward script and a no-name cast (the most recognizable actor is Scrubs' Donald Faison), Skyline's impressive visual bombardment of alien destruction couldn't overcome its wafer thin plot. Variety's Joe Leydon sneers that Skyline has nothing to offer but “a Kmart mash-up of Transformers and Independence Day." Ouch. The film made a meager $11.7 million, but it was made for a remarkably small budget for its kind--a cool $10 million--so technically it's reaping a profit.

Even unluckier was the Rachel McAdams romantic comedy Morning Glory. An impressive cast (besides McAdams, there's Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Patrick Wilson!) and a breezy take on morning news shows couldn't draw enough attention this weekend. It premiered in an embarrassing fifth place, with $9.6 million to its name. I guess everyone saw this one back when it was called Broadcast News.

Rounding out the bottom half: Tyler Perry's unexpected adaptation of the play For Colored Girls makes its first appearance on the top ten this week. Known for his successful comedy films, Perry took a risk in tackling more serious fare here. The results are apparently pretty hit or miss, and For Colored Girls has been greeted with middling and unexcited reviews. Much of the criticism is aimed at Perry rather than the source material or the star-studded cast; Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum says almost apologetically that “the craft of filmmaking is not (Perry's) strong suit." Double ouch.

October's heavy hitters like Jackass 3-D and Paranormal Activity 2 managed to linger a little longer at the bottom of the list. They shouldn't expect to be there long, as the Thanksgiving slate of movies is just around the corner. Turkey, pumpkin pie, and Harry Potter, here we come...

Here's the full top ten:
  1. Megamind (MRQE Metric: 67) - $30 million
  2. Unstoppable (MRQE Metric: 71) - $23.5 million
  3. Due Date (MRQE Metric: 51) - $15.5 million
  4. Skyline (MRQE Metric: 35) - $11.7 million
  5. Morning Glory (MRQE Metric: 62) - $9.6 million
  6. For Colored Girls (MRQE Metric: 54) - $6.7 million
  7. Red (MRQE Metric: 65) - $5.1 million
  8. Paranormal Activity 2 (MRQE Metric: 59) - $3 million
  9. Saw 3D (MRQE Metric: 35) - $2.7 million
  10. Jackass 3-D (MRQE Metric: 61) - $2.3 million

How does the box office compare with viewer tastes? See what movies are currently trending on MRQE!


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