FLOP POP FIZZLE, The Obligatory Weekend B.O. Report: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Saves The Day For The Weinstein Company
In The New York Times profile of Bob and Harvey Weinstein, which ran last week, Quentin Tarantino said this of the movie moguls:
“They want Inglourious Basterds to be a hit even more than I want it to be a hit. Even in the grand scheme of things, it’s more important to them than me.”
Well, after much hand-wringing, it looks like the beleaguered studio heads have finally hit the jackpot. This weekend, Inglourious Basterds overcame months of negative Cannes-induced bad buzz and rode to glory at the box office, with a grand total of $37.6 M. It has the distinction of having the biggest opening for a movie released in the second half of August.
Needless to say, it far surpassed box office projections (analysts had predicted a best case scenario of $30 M). It’s also Tarantino’s best opening ever, well above the $25.1 M that he raked in for Kill Bill vol. 2. The Weinstein Company finally seems to have learned from the mistakes it made with release of Grindhouse. In this case, the marketing centered on the movie’s star power, with ads that made Basterds look like a Brad Pitt vehicle.
As for the rest of the new releases, most of them bombed. Shorts, the latest movie from Tarantino’s partner in crime on Grindhouse, Robert Rodriguez, debuted in sixth with an anemic $6.6 M, a figure that was well below his previous kiddie flicks like Spy Kids and The Adverntures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Unlike Shorts, those movies were released in 3D, a format which has proven to be highly profitable this summer. Up, Ice Age and G-Force were all huge hits.
Shorts may have underperformed, but it grossed almost triple the $2.8 M that Post Grad , starring Gilmore Girl’s Alexis Bledel, managed to take in. As most students head back to school this week and next, the target audience probably wasn’t interested in paying to watch a badly written sitcom about a recent college grad’s difficulty in landing a job. You don’t exactly have to go to the movies to see that. While 3D gimmickry has been a sure bet this summer, it certainly didn’t reel in audiences for X Games 3D: The Movie, which made $800,000, not even placing in the top ten.
Disctrict 9 had very good second week of release, making $18.9 M for second place. Business for the Peter Jackson-produced, supernatural thriller dropped 49%, which, according to Box Office Mojo, is very good when compared with movies like Cloverfield and The Day The Earth Stood Still, which dropped 68% between their first and second weeks of release. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra made another $12.5 M for third place and a new $120 M cume. The Time Traveler’s Wife managed to stay afloat with a take of $10 M and a spot at number 4.