Finally, the Holiday Movie Season can officially start! We've got two sequels to two hugely popular films being released on the same weekend. One basically became the precursor for Glee and the other is basically the precursor of Glum.
As much as some people like to pile-on about the absurdity of the Twilight series -- as if there is something inherently silly about vampires whose skin turns to glitter in the sunlight -- the fact that matters is that New Moon and Eclipse are second and third on the all-time opening day grosses list with $72.7 million and $68.5 million respectively. In other words, in one day each film made more than either fan-boy favorite Thor or Captain America did over their whole opening three-day weekend. Besides, until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II last summer, they were numbers one and two on the list.
This begs the question: Is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 posed to take back the Opening Day crown from Harry or have some of the Twi-Hards turned Twi-Soft in the year and a half since the last film? More importantly, there also might be another factor here at play that no one is talking about. It's often referred to as the Moonlighting Factor.
Yes, the famous 80's TV show once featured the rugged, wise-cracking Bruce Willis as Dave and the beautiful, classy Cybil Sheppard as Maddie. Dave & Maddie were famous for their witty back and forth, their push and pull, their Coke and Pepsi. It was that sexual tension, that fight, that made them so compelling and pushed their otherwise run-of-the-mill detective series into pop culture lore. Then, the inevitable happened. They actually hooked-up and we know what that meant… The show was cancelled within the year.
People like the chase. They like the game. That's why most stories end right after people finally say "I love you" because everything else seems boring in comparison. Sure, there are some marriage licenses to fill-out, some mortgages to pay, and discussions over what to do about dinner when no one even cares what they have. It's compelling storytelling, let me tell you.
Now that we're moving into the Bella and Edward are finally together chapter, is this the film where it goes all Moonlighting on us? Will people finally stop caring now that they know the pursuit is over? Will Team Jacob fans protest Bella's choice by standing up in the theater and shouting "I Object!" during the wedding ceremony scene? [Wow, I just gave myself a fantastic idea about what to do this weekend!] Will fans even care that they're having PG-13 vampire sex when they can watch the unrated thing on True Blood every weekend on Showtime? All these questions and yet almost every pooler put Breaking Dawn as their #1 choice because we wisely paid attention to those #2 and #3 placements on the Biggest Opening Day Grosses List for New Moon and Eclipse.
Now, when it comes to talking penguin movies, none have topped the success of Happy Feet. Going into the 2006 Holiday Season Happy Feet remained an oddity. Warner Bros. wasn't a studio known for producing "sure things" in the animation feature department, the songs seemed just like tired, karaoke versions of 80's tunes, and the prominent, over-bearing presence of Robin Williams just isn't as cute anymore as it was in Aladdin. Tack on the bludgeoned-to-death environmental message and sometimes I still wonder why this film was such a smash. Did audience think they were going to a Club Penguin movie? Now that I can understand being a massive hit!
Because it's a sequel and you just have to amp-up the star factor, Happy Feet Two found a way to get Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Sofia Vergara involved in the film by following the oldest rule in Hollywood: Whenever you can get three of People's Sexist Persons Alive in one film, make sure they're never actually seen onscreen. It's the old adage of leaving while people still want more. That or it's the filmmakers' attempt to show how creepy some dads can be after the movie. "Hey kids, how about that penguin voiced by Sofia Vergara, huh? Man, I tell ya, if I had a penguin like that I'd… I'd… uh, Jujubes, anyone?"
Perhaps more daunting for the sequel is the five years between movies. Kung Fu Panda 2 showed-up three years after the first one and made about 30% less than its predecessor. If we can take that as a model for a film losing 10% for every year between release dates (and this is a completely ridiculous premise, but I always try to be mathematically accurate with my nonsensical ramblings), that would mean Happy Feet Two should make 50% less than Happy Feet One and thus end-up with around $100 million total gross. See, why do studios even spend thousands of dollars trying to figure this stuff out? I just told you while polishing off a breakfast sandwich. Bam, Boom, Pow. Done.
Join us on Monday to see how the latest films fared and if The Immortals can keep fighting off contenders forever!
What do you think will happen this weekend? Are you looking forward to any of the films? Sound off in the comment sections below!
by Matt Neuenburg on 11/17/2011
Movies Mentioned in this Post:
Happy Feet Two,
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1