The stage was perfectly set for Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy to climb the box-office mountain with Tower Heist. It was like Meet The 48 Hours or Coming to Zoolander or Trading Dodgeballs. Each had been hitting the talk shows, rumors of this being the "old" Eddie Murphy kept making the rounds, and Puss in Boots had landed softly on its feet the week before. What better atmosphere to sweep in and steal the Holiday Pool spotlight! As they mentioned in the movie Babe, "Beware the bad cat," and no cat was badder this weekend than Antonio Banderas. The Revenge of Kitty Galore, indeed!
Puss in Boots did the near impossible by making almost as much in its second weekend as it did in its first. Having back-to-back weekends of $34 million and $33 million is certainly an unexpected Fancy Feast. The 3% difference was the lowest for a #1 film since Avatar began its historic assault in 2009. I'm not saying Puss is suddenly going to start having blue fur, that they'll introduce a character resembling Giovanni Ribisi who is incapable of making a single good decision for three straight hours, or tack-on a completely out-of-place Leona Lewis song over the ending credits that sends people fleeing to the exits just to get away from it, but still, you couldn't blame them if they tried.
If the goal behind the characters in Tower Heist was to steal $20 million, then the filmmakers should be happy that in real life they stole $25.1 million in their first weekend. It's like exceeding expectations! Then again, if finishing up with about as much money as the mediocre returns of Along Came Polly and Starsky & Hutch was your expectation, there's nothing really exceeding about that. As far as Stiller/Murphy mash-ups go, this was more like Night at The Golden Child or Pluto Mystery Men.
Wait, do you realize that if you take Jennifer Aniston from Polly and Owen Wilson from Starsky and added a dog, you'd have Marley & Me? Oh, and switch out Vince Vaughn from Dodgeball with Owen and you get The Break-Up. Then switch up Vince for Jason Bateman's cameos in Dodgeball and Starsky & Hutch and you actually get The Switch! Forget Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. If you can't get anyone within Two Degrees of Ben Stiller, you're doing something wrong.
[Wow, just as a test to see if it would work to connect Carrot Top and Jessica Simpson to Ben Stiller, what I really found was that legendary character actor Larry Miller (maybe best known as the dad from 10 Things I Hate About You) was in both Carrot Top's Chairman of the Board and Jessica Simpson's Blonde Ambition. I feel dirty now and I didn't even do anything wrong.]
Meanwhile, movie-goers sent some coal to A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. The film debuted with a little less than their second film, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, by grossing $13.1 million to H&KEfGB's $14.9 million. This being in spite of higher ticket prices and 3D glasses surcharges is not a good sign that they'll get a greenlight for their next movie: Harold & Kumar's Yard Sale - Everything Must Go!
Justin Timberlake's second single may not have been as big as the first, but the drop-off was very acceptable. It's like going from Sexy Back to My Love. In Time dropped only 36% in its second weekend which is less of a drop than members of *NSYNC get when they call him asking about a reunion tour. Speaking of which, would it be wrong if the Funky Bunch and *NSYNC went on a combined tour without Marky Mark and JT? I mean who wouldn't see a News concert without Heuy Lewis!
At least Johnny Depp was well inebriated while making The Rum Diaries, so he has something to show for his efforts. While the film slipped a respectable 42%, there's not too much respectable about $10.4 million in 10 days when your film cost $45 million to make. Wait, he wasn't really drunk during the filming, he was just acting? Right… No one's that good an actor.
[For those new to the pool, a film normally drops about 40% from weekend to weekend. So, when a film drops by less than that (usually due to positive word-of-mouth), it's seen as a good thing and if a film drops by more (usually due to negative word-of-mouth), it's seen as not so good. The caveat for "blockbuster" films is that they tend to frontload and get so many people in the first weekend that they naturally have larger drop-offs. With this is mind, a 50% fall would still be grand, but anything more is a sign that the film will be coming to DVD sooner than you might think.]
The 2011 Holiday Movie Pool Top Five (If Today Was MLK Day):
#1. Puss in Boots - $75.1 million
#2. Tower Heist - $25.1 million
#3. In Time - $24.2 million
#4. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas - $13.1 million
#5. The Rum Diaries - $10.4 million
by Matt Neuenburg on 11/07/2011
Movies Mentioned in this Post:
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,
Puss in Boots,
The Rum Diary,