The last time Adam Sandler released a PG-Rated movie during the Holiday Movie season was with Bedtime Stories in 2008. Many thought it could've been that year's Night at the Museum, but instead it came in second that weekend to the shocking success story that was Marley & Me. In its defense, Bedtime Stories still performed better than Valkyrie which featured Tom Cruise as the first Nazi in cinematic history without a German accent, so that's saying something. Then again, Tom probably made the right call there, since the only thing people remember about Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is that Kevin Costner could lose and find his English accent about 13 times per scene.
History seemed to repeat itself this weekend as The Immortals stormed the castle leaving Jack & Jill with a broken crown. The unheralded swords and sandal film stuffed plenty of cash in their togas by opening with a $32 million debut. Very impressive for a film that had no stars to bank on and no built-in audience to court. Even though it's for a different studio, Warner Bros. must be breathing a sigh of relief that it looks like there will still be an audience for their Clash of the Titans sequel next year. Disney should jump on the same bandwagon and prepare their own sequel, Remember the Titans 2: Less Remembering, More Titanning.
Personally, I'd thought this whole genre was finished after The Bangles "Walk Like An Egyptian" video. Once someone starts whistling and talking about all the cops in the donut shop going ay oh whey oh, you've pretty much stopped being something anyone can take seriously. As a result, Sam Raimi's Hercules and Xena popcorn adventures in the 90's capitalized on this genre's absence and helped, along with video games, to create our latest oiled-up era. From Gladiator to Troy to 300, we've finally arrived from something that looked like a John Belushi get-up in Animal House to where you'd swear they're digitally altering people's pecs to make them seem even more ripped. Well done, all involved!
While it isn't fair to say Jack & Jill bombed with a $26 million opening, it was below the traditional $35 million (give or take) opening studios have gotten used to with Adam Sandler. What you can say is that this is the worst reviewed Sandler film ever and, yes, that is saying something. With a mere 3% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's still five points away from Bulletproof and seven from last year's Grown-Ups. Of course, that 10% critics rating for Grown-Ups affected the general public so much that they made it his highest grossing film ever with $162 million. Suffice to say, it's not making a film critics don't want to see that Sandler has to fear; it's in making a film no one wants to see.
Maybe the problem for Sandler isn't trying to put out PG-Rated family fare in the Holiday Movie Pool. Maybe it's in picking actresses from the now defunct TV Network TheWB. Keri Russell was Adam's romantic interest in Bedtime Stories and Katie Holmes played his wife in Jack & Jill. Sure, Felicity and Joey were pretty big deals when people still listened to the Gin Blossoms, but we're several Linkin Park and Coldplay albums away from that now. If you're going to go back to the Michigan J. Frog days, it's got to be a summer PG-13 film like I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and make sure there are prominent underwear scenes with former 7th Heaven standout Jessica Biel. Michelle Williams, you've been warned!
You could say that J. Edgar couldn't get arrested in his own theater after an $11.5 million debut. Much like other "Academy" worthy movies, though, their success isn't always based on box-office glory. Million Dollar Baby had a similar start and made over $100 million. The difference is that we all knew that was going to happen because no one puts Baby in a corner. It seems like no one wants to put J. Edgar anywhere.
Puss in Boots continues to keep the poolers who picked it dancing in the aisles. Dropping a low 22% in its third weekend with $25.5 million, the pick of the kitty litter is the first film of the season to cross the $100 million mark. The feline is now at the same place Megamind was after 17 days, however, since its declines have been ever smaller it should easily surpass MM's $148.4 million final tally. Considering there are about to be four family films released within 5 days of each other, the decision to move Puss In Boots further ahead of the fray to gain traction was pure genius. Thankfully, it wasn't Pure Luck as that classic Martin Short/Danny Glover pairing is about the only movie Hollywood isn't remaking these days.
There wasn't a quick evacuation from Tower Heist, yet folks are still vacating the facilities in a calm and orderly manner. Dropping a normal 45% with $13.2 million in its second weekend, we can expect the building to be fully cleared by December. Since both Eddie Murphy and director Brett Ratner left the Oscars telecast this week, maybe they'll have time to shoot music videos for some of Eddie's songs. I know if anyone can do justice to Eddie's masterpiece "Boogie in Your Butt," it's Brett.
There aren't enough munchies in the world to help keep A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas in theaters by the time Christmas actually rolls around. After slipping 55% for a $5.9 million second weekend, the duo have inhaled $23.2 million from their third go-round. Still, that's certainly more than Mary-Louise Parker has collectively made from selling in all seven season of Weeds. Perhaps she should've opened a White Castle instead.
The 2011 Holiday Movie Pool Top Five (If Today Was MLK Day):
#1. Puss in Boots - $108.8 million
#2. Tower Heist - $43.9 million
#3. Immortals - $32 million
#4. In Time - $30.6 million
#5. Jack & Jill - $26 million
Will Immortals live forever? Was Jack & Jill really that bad? Sound off and let us know what you think in the comments area below!
by Matt Neuenburg on 11/14/2011
Movies Mentioned in this Post:
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,
Jack and Jill,
Puss in Boots,