FLOP POP FIZZLE, The Obligatory Weekend B.O. Report: ‘Final Destination’ Finishes Off The Competition
It was a fight to the finish between the two competing horror movies at the box office this weekend. The Final Destination, which was smartly marketed with the tagline, “Death Saved The Best for 3D”, beat out Halloween II and easily slashed its way through the rest of the competition, taking in $28.3 M for the top spot.
Even with a 49% drop-off in attendance from last week, Inglourious Basterds came in second place earning $20 M for a cumulative total of $73 M. As for the other horror movie that opened this weekend, Rob Zombie‘s Halloween II debuted in third with $17.4 M. It was a stark contrast to the first movie of the series, which debuted at number one with a huge $26.7 M opening when it was released on Labor Day weekend 2007.
If The Weinstein Company is disappointed with the numbers, they only have themselves to blame. Coming on the heels of their success with Inglourious Basterds, the financially troubled studio showed questionable judgment in releasing it just one week after Tarantino’s WWII epic and directly in competition with The Final Destination.
Other factors that contributed to its low gross include the fact that it lacked a clever marketing campaign and wasn’t being shown in 3D, a format which almost seems like a prerequisite for a successful horror movie these days. In fourth place with $10.9 M the Peter Jackson-produced District 9, is a certifiable hit, with a new cumulative total of $90.8 M.
Ang Lee‘s Taking Woodstock, which had a mid-size release, opening in 1,935 theaters, made a respectable $3.75 M for ninth place. Not bad, considering the so-so reviews and the fact that it has the strange distinction of being a movie about Woodstock that doesn’t actually feature any of the music from the legendary festival (a fact lamented by Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers).
The marketing campaign, which focused on the characters (and avoided the music aspect) appears to have been successful, with TV ads in heavy rotation in most major markets. As summer 2009 comes to a close, the studio’s hostility towards movie critics, which culminated with them denying critics access to movie’s like Transformers 2, G.I. Joe and, just this week, The Final Destination, seems sure to continue into the forseeable future.
The overreaction of the studios is especially strange considering the fact that bad reviews actually seemed to equal box office success this summer. Each of those movies were huge hits, despite the fact that they received reviews that would make most filmmakers swallow fistfuls of Xanax.