Box Office Barometer 6-13-11: Is Original Content What We Really Want?

Super 8 debuted at #1 this weekend, scoring $38 million.  As this summer’s Inception, bloggers everywhere are touting it’s results as proof that original ideas can be profitable (it cost $50 million and was marketed $25 million more).  Indeed, it is a beacon of hope, but the same praise is usually followed by the same denouncement of amongst sequels and reboots  (although Super 8 is a tribute/love letter to Spielberg films).

Ironically, Super 8 isn’t even  a truly original idea: it was conceived as a tribute (love letter) to Steven Spielberg.  The AV Club alludes to this in their review: “suffice it to say that what follows won’t be too surprising to those who have seen the films that lend Super 8 their DNA—Spielberg’s and others.”  Does that mean that Spielberg is derivative when he produced E.T. and Poltergeist after Close Encounters of the Third Kind? No. It’s similar to the lawsuit against John Fogerty was sued by Fantasy Records for sounding too much like himself.  Even with Neill Blomkamp, director of the highly inventive story District 9, is “repeating” himself with his new movie Elysium.  It looks like it’s a sci-fi film that focuses on greater social issues.  The movies aren’t derivative; they just have logically similar sensibilities.

X–Men: First Class works because there is a near 50-year history of material that’s already been mapped out by great comic book writers.  Batman Begins and Dark Knight were based on Frank Miller (considered one of the greatest comic book writers of all-time) storylines.  Harkening back to films produced before Jaws (the original summer blockbuster), Gone With The Wind, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Godfather, all films based on books.  It’s a good thing that movies are adapted from great books—this usually ensures a solid storyline.

Yes, people are correct when decrying the muck of derivative films like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, which are clearly made for their profitability.  But, there has that has to change for the simple fact that studios are only greenlighting movies that have series potential.  When scripts are pitches, executives are asking how the story can continue.  This is forcing writers to adapt their stories to the sequelization.  Instead of a Hangover Part II that couldn’t really go anywhere, we have Kung Fu Panda 2, which explores a part of Po’s history that is interesting enough to tell.  Shouldn’t we encourage stories to reach for Star Wars, a series that was conceived as a trilogy from the outset?

Box Office Results [from Deadline]

1. Super 8 (Bad Robot/Amblin/Paramount) NEW [3,379 Runs]
Friday $12.2M, Saturday $14M, Weekend $37M, Cume $38M

2. X-Men: First Class (Fox) Week 2 [3,692 Runs]
Friday $8M, Saturday $10.1M, Weekend $25M (-55%), Cume $98.8M

3. The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,644 Runs]
Friday $5.7M, Saturday $7.6M, Weekend $18.5M, Cume $216.5M

4. Kung Fu Panda 2 (DWA/Paramount) Week 3 [3,929 Runs]
Friday $4.6M, Saturday $7M, Weekend $16.6M, Cume $126.9M

5. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 (Disney) Week 4 [3,433 Runs]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.6M, Weekend $10.8M, Cume $208.8M

6. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 5 [2,922 Runs]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $10.1M, Cume $123.9M

7. Judy Moody (Relativity) NEW [2,524]
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $6.2M

8. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 4 [944 Theaters]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $6.1M, Cume $14.2M

9. Thor (Marvel/Paramount) Week 6 [1,782 Runs]
Friday $695K, Saturday $1M, Cume $2.3M, Cume $173.6M

10. Fast Five (Universal) Week 7 [1,329 Runs]
Friday $550K, Saturday $725K, Cume $1.7M, Cume $205M

One Response to “Box Office Barometer 6-13-11: Is Original Content What We Really Want?”
  1. Yes, if Hollywood is set on feeding us a steady diet of sequels they should be fleshed out 3 or 4 down the road like a tv series is.

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