Weekend Box Office Analysis for the Week of Harry Potter 5

A movies post by matt, posted on July 16, 2007 at 5:31 pm



That boy wizard sure is persistent, isn’t he? When he first burst onto the literary scene in 1997, who would have thought he’d still be around — and as popular as ever — ten years later? At this point, he’s surpassed pretty much all of the popular fictional characters from my own childhood. None of my supposed heroes — not the Ninja Turtles, not the Power Rangers, not the Planeteers, not Bruno and Boots and especially not anything to do with pogs — lasted this long. The only 80s-born characters that can even hold a candle to Harry’s longevity would be Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom characters. Nothing else out of the 80s has endured, barring the occasional nostalgia-fueled comeback like we recently saw with Transformers.

I’m not sure what that says about the 80s, except for maybe that they sucked, creatively, compared to the 90s. But, really, you don’t need to be a scientist or a pop culture analyst to come to that conclusion.

The following are this past weekend’s box office results! The numbers and positions came to me in a dream and were then stolen by the movies.com box office report because, sadly, I talk in my sleep.


picture-10.png

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – $77,410,000

That number doesn’t take into account the Wednesday opening, which pretty well doubled the gross to $140 million for the first five days. This is, obviously, pretty damn good. So good, in fact, that you have to be thinking that the executives over at Warner Brothers are wondering what they’re going to do after the final two parts of the series wrap. This isn’t a franchise they’re going to want to let go of without a fight.

And, hell, even Star Wars had that Ewok spin-off movie. You’ve really got to wonder if they just might try to cash in with some sort of movie about that little elf guy Harry hangs out with or maybe that cool flying horse dragon thing from the last one. Or maybe they’ll just do a Christmas special where everyone stands around looking uncomfortable and Ralph Fiennes makes “got your nose” jokes until Gary Oldman threatens to tear his fucking balls off.

I don’t know. Just an idea.

Good job, Harry. I’m going to go see you soon, even if I am pretty sure nothing will top Prisoner of Azkaban.

2. Transformers – $36,000,000

I made some disparaging remarks about Transformers last week which apparently rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Apparently I just lack the same sense of nostalgic wonder most people have for the robots in disguise, and that’s coloured my opinion on what is apparently a “fun” movie.

It’s not that I’m too pretentious to love the movie. To the contrary, I love Michael Bay movies. I love in The Rock when the San Francisco street car blows up. I love in Armageddon when they bring a machine gun to the asteroid. I love in Pearl Harbour that Bay just didn’t bother to edit out the modern-day aircraft carriers that just happened to be visible in the background of many of his establishing shots. I love in The Island when…. well, wait, nobody likes The Island.

The truth about Transformers is that I never really watched Transformers when I was a kid. For whatever reason, the giant robots that turned into cars and planes and, in one case, a ray gun had little appeal to me. I did watch a lot of episodes of Beast Wars, but I think that was because it was made by Canadians and thus had a more Canadian feel to it. I always thought the original Transformers series had too much of an American edge to it, so much so that I’d just end up wondering what everyone was so mad about all the time.

So, honestly, don’t take it personally when I say I probably won’t go see Transformers. It’s not because I’m some hoity toity intellectual who would rather sit around discussing Finnegan’s Wake. It’s just because I’m a regular guy who just doesn’t understand the giant robots, and why they turn into things, and what it all means.

And I was wrong when I said it’d drop 65%. It didn’t even come close. I am so terribly embarrassed.

3. Ratatouille – $18,019,000

The numbers for this film are so good we might actually see a sequel, which would have to be called RataTwoille. Either that or Live Free or Ratatouille.

4. Live Free or Die Hard – $10,875,000

This takes it above the 100 million dollar mark, proving that John McClane is totally awesome and should continue to appear every few years until Bruce Willis is dead. It’s not like it’s hard to come up with plots for these things. We’ve had John McClane is stuck in an office building, John McClane is stuck in an airport, John McClane solves brain teasers with Samuel L. Jackson and, most recently, John McClane hates the internet. Really, the next one could be John McClane versus Peak Oil or John McClane posts a lot on Harry Knowles’ website and people would still show up.

Though that last one might be a little too close to reality.

5. License to Wed – $7,440,000

Fucking License to Wed. I thought we had seen the last of you in the top five. Seriously, there’s no justice in this world now that this movie has made $30 million. Sure, I mean, I’m happy for John Krasinski, and I think Mandy Moore is a bit of a national treasure, but, still, anything that encourages jokes wherein Robin Williams-as-a-priest tells everyone to “get the flock out of here” is nothing less than pure evil.

This is the kind of thing I’d understand giant robots fighting against.

The Rest

The only other debut to crack the top 12 is Captivity in the last spot. And considering the synopsis given for that movie is “When a serial killer kidnaps and tortures a fashion model and her chauffeur, the two victims develop a romantic relationship inbetween getting beaten and cut up” I can’t say it deserves to be any higher. What a fascinating bit of writing, though. Do you think originally they just had “getting beaten” but then someone else felt that that wasn’t strong enough so they added “and cut up”? Does that even begin to make sense?

Next Week

  • Hairspray — My pick for the next big bomb of the summer, as there is nothing at all funny about John Travolta in fat lady drag.
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry — It’s a stupid title, isn’t it? When two people who aren’t pretending to be gay get married, they don’t say “I Now Pronounce you Mary and Steven”, do they?
  • Sunshine — This sci-fi movie from Danny Boyle actually looks really cool, though I haven’t heard much buzz about it.
  • Cashback — I saw a screener of this. It’s got a high concept — boy works in a grocery store and can stop time, so he uses his power to look at women naked — but it’s totally ruined by a whole bunch of sentimental bullshit about love and art. Apparently nobody will just make a movie about boobs anymore. That really was the one thing the 80s did better than any other decade.

See you in seven!