The dream project of writer-director J.J. Abrams did not disappoint last weekend at the box-office. Super 8 was strong enough to lead a pack of good holdovers coming from what was the highest grossing May ever (not adjusted for inflation). More on Super 8 and the rest after the break.
Super 8 opened to $35.4 million last Friday and while that might not seem like much for a Steven Spielberg produced, J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible 3, Lost) directed and written flick, this in fact only had a $50 million reported budget and was advertised in a very mysterious way, not to mention it has no real big name actors attached. In just 5 days (plus one preview day that generated $1 million on Thursday, before the opening) Super 8 has generated $44.6 million and weekdays are fantastic so far meaning word of mouth is doing some magic here. While it might not have had the best opening of the summer, Super 8 got people to talk and tell their friends about it, so I expect this to finish higher then it might have first looked like it would, probably north of $140 million becoming the 2nd highest grossing movie for J.J. Abrams.
X-Men: First Class was 2nd with $24.1 million and has now a total of 103.7 million in 12 days in North America. Compared to previous X-Men movies, this doesn’t look well at all and it saddens me since X-Men: First Class was a good movie, the best X-Men in 8 years. Just to give you an idea how First Class stacks against the others we will look at where all were after 12 days in release starting with the highest grossing and going down from there. X-Men: The Last Stand already had $181.3 million after 12 days while X2: X-Men United made $155.3 at the same point. X-Men Origins: Wolverine had $132.9 million while X-Men made $105.2 million, 11 years ago. If we take into account attendance then X-Men: First Class is even more far behind. Thankfully this wasn’t all that expensive ($160 million) and reception (critical and fan) has been great. As long as it can make about as much as X-Men and more around the world, chances for a sequel are still there.
Next up, Hangover Part II did $17.6 million and a massive $219.6 million in 20 days making this the highest grossing movie of 2011 in North America so far. While this is indeed higher then the original Hangover was at the same time 2 years ago, it will ultimately fall short of the $277.3 million made by that one.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is 4th with $16.5 million and only $130.7 million in 20 days. That is a lot less then what Kung Fu Panda made in 2008 at the same point in time so chances that this one will come close to the $215.4 million made by the first one are zero. Now this is damn well surprising because Kung Fu Panda was a very well recieved movie and I was expecting the sequel to make a lot more, not the other way around. Oh well, international box office will have to save this one also.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is another disappointing sequel at the box office, failing to match even the first Pirates flick (that came out 8 bloody years ago without 3D), at least in North America, internationally things are very very different but more about that at another time. With $10.9 million Pirates 4 is now at $211.5 million in 26 days.
Bridesmaids in 6th with $10 million and 126.6 million in 33 days will become in no more then 2-3 weeks the highest grossing Judd Apatow movie (produced or directed) and this feat was not accomplished with his usual suspects (Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell to name just a few), instead with Kristen Wiig (who also co-wrote the script), another regular but hardly the person you would expect.
Finally in 7th we have the other new release of the weekend, kid flick Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Opened with $6 million and I don’t know what else to write so I will leave it at that, for the better.