Your Box Office Explained: Always a Bridesmaids

Photo: Suzy Hanover/2011 Universal Studios

This Weekend’s Winners: Marvel’s Thor hung on to more than half of its audience (second weekend haul: $34.5 million), but it was Bridesmaids that managed to steal much of its thunder by catching a $24.4 million bouquet …

This Weekend’s Losers: Screen Gems’ Priest took a vow of celibacy with $14.5 million, while the Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions Will Ferrell alcoholism drama Everything Must Go got off to a shaky start, indeed: $825,000 from just over 200 theaters.

How It All Went Down: Scholars say the tradition of bridesmaids dates back to the Romans, who believed having ten identically attired witnesses to be essential for beguiling the evil spirits who were thought to enjoy crashing a wedding. Box-office scholars, similarly, may someday point to Bridesmaids with equally quaint amusement, chuckling, “So that’s when Hollywood finally figured out chicks like bawdy comedies!”

But if Universal had a lock on women of a certain age — the studio found its Bridesmaids audience was more than two thirds (67 percent) female, and nearly two thirds (63 percent) over 30 — the same could not be said for the menfolk sought by Priest. Competing with the second week of Thor and the third week of Fast Five (down just 40 percent with roughly $19.5 million), Screen Gems’ prelate had a harder time convincing dudes (attendance was 57 percent male, 57 percent over the age of 25) to see yet another vampire flick.

Finally, maybe it’s the limited appeal of its Raymond Carver source material — I mean, who doesn’t like to unwind after a tough week by seeing a man lose his job and then relapse into marriage-shredding alcoholism? — one has to wonder why Everything Must Go, well, didn’t. It has the “everything” part down: Will Ferrell and the appealing star of The Town Rebecca Hall. Produced by Twilight producer Wyck Godfrey, more than eight out of ten critics heaped praise on it. Memo to Lionsgate marketing: Is it really too late to change the title to The Hangover: Part 3 and save this thing?