This Weekend’s Winners: As we presaged, Think Like a Man is No. 1 again at the box office, this time with $18 million. Also, not that we’d know it here in the pop-culture backwater that is the United States, but the rest of the world — or, at least, nearly 40 countries’ worth — feasted on Marvel’s The Avengers, pushing it to a nearly $180 million opening weekend.
Honorable Mention: Finally, movie piracy pays off — at least it does for Aardman Animation’s latest stop-motion/Claymation film. The Pirates! managed to fashion an estimated $11.4 million, good enough for second place. On a $55 million film that’s already grossed $75 million worldwide, that’s more than enough to send it sailing toward profitability.
This Weekend’s Losers: Virtually everything else that debuted was very soft — so squishy, in fact, that notwithstanding the good news for TLAM (which, after two weeks, is at $60.8 million), grosses are down by almost a third when compared with the same weekend last year. The Five-Year Engagement seriously underperformed, placing fifth with $11.2 million. Meanwhile, Safe, in which Jason Statham stars as — and here, we’ll just have to imagine your astonishment — an ex-cop with nothing to lose, didn’t even crack double digits, opening in sixth with $7.7 million.
How It All Went Down: If “stupidity is a talent for misconception,” as Poe famously wrote, then this past weekend was as gifted as they come: Time magazine’s Richard Corliss termed The Raven “Poe white trash” — and he was one of the kinder critics. The Toronto Globe and Mail wrote that the plot of Safe “first strains and then assassinates credulity.” Whether or not they read the critics, audiences seemed to agree.
Particularly ill-treated was the Judd Apatow–produced, Nicholas Stoller–directed Jason Segel comedy The Five-Year Engagement, which was sold largely on Apatow’s Bridesmaids street cred. On balance, that turned out to be a mistake. For one thing, Jason Segel, now widely known as Gen X’s prince of poignancy, is as prominent a name these days. Universal had expected the film to gross at least $5 million more than it wound up taking in.
By comparison, Think Like a Man continued to overperform, dropping a modest 46 percent. We can say “modest” here because while that is pretty standard for most releases, for a film with an all-black cast, the plunge is usually in the 70 to 80 percent range. Instead, TLAM fell just a bit more than the 45 percent drop-off experienced by Red Tails — the last feature with an all-black cast to get such a wide release — but it also just grossed in its second weekend as much as Red Tails made in its first.
All three of this weekend’s new R-rated pictures underperformed, while the only PG-rated family film in the marketplace brought home the booty. It’s a plunderful life indeed.