Box Office Barometer 1-17-11

Every Monday, Contested looks at the weekend’s box office to determine whether moviegoers are watching the better movies (Intelligent), succumbing to the studios’ deceptive marketing (Brainwashed), or thoroughly enjoying garbage programming (Armond White).

It looks like the movie-going public is sane.  Audiences were not swayed by the increasingly-gimmicky 3D cash grab that is The Green Hornet.  Sony decided to pull a Warner Bros. (Clash of the Titans, almost Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) by converting the movie into 3D, something that has only seemed to work with Alice in Wonderland. That movie made a $1 billion worldwide, but was it becase audiences really care about the extra dimension?  J.J. Abrams provided great insight when he said: “I have nothing against 3-D in theory. But I’ve also never run to the movies because something’s in 3-D.”  Avatar may be the only exception to this, but they had groundbreaking, never-before-seen technology.  The Green Hornet is just an average movie that was converted for a decent $40.5 million haul.

Despite its debut at #2, The Dilemma no doubt came in as a disappointment with $20.6 million.  With a creative team that includes Ron Howard, Vince Vaughn, and Kevin James, Universal was sure that it had a Couples Retreat-type hit on its hands (which grossed $34.2 million opening weekend).  However, it seems like the “boundary-pushing” comedy that Howard thought he had was just viewed as tasteless.  The notorious line (which debuted among numerous bully-induced teen suicides nonetheless) is “Ladies and gentleman, electric cars…are gay.”  Sorry, guys.  You successfully communicated to your audience that your movie is…bad.

After the top two, four of the next six are probable Best Picture nominees, with True Grit at #3, The King’s Speech at #4, Black Swan at #5, and The Fighter at #9.  Tangled, the well-received animated feature, came in at #10.

Besides these beacons of light, the rest of the top ten is filled with more cash grabs: #6 Little Fockers (beating a dead horse), #7 Tron Legacy (not Avatar), and #8 Yogi Bear (whatever).

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