We may be getting stuck in the doldrums of summer, I fear. A weekend filled with films earning a lot of money is garnering merely a shrug out of me. Admittedly, that's much the way I am during the summer, with "Moonrise Kingdom" being the only success story that merits emotional resonance from me. The audience circus that is box office stats, while I occasionally enjoy commenting on it, wanes with the years as the sums get larger and real success seems a much smaller thing. For example, on some scale "The Amazing Spider-Man" is doing rather well. It's on its way toward $300 million by the end of its run. And yet not only is it meager in the face of the success of the original "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2", but it'll barely register by the year's end.
True box office achievements are stated by two things: 1) the exceptional quality of the film it belongs to ("Twilight" and "Hunger Games" do not count), and 2) contrast to the average box office of its type of film. Take "Moonrise Kingdom" for example, as usually indie films do not register with mainstream audiences. Not only is it continuing to fare extremely well throughout the summer, but it also happens to be Wes Anderson's most inspiring creation to date. Contrast that with "Ice Age: Continental Drift", which opened in line with its predecessors, sure, but nearly $15+ million below any of the other major animated openings this year. Add to that reviews similar to those of every other film in the franchise, we get something that's not all that interesting to comment on.
And there's the middle ground, starting with "Ted" which received average reviews and debuted to a much higher sum than is expected of most R-rated comedies. Still ascending toward $200 million, it's not a massive achievement, but it's something worth indulging. "Brave" too, be it with plenty more positivity attached to it, is performing well up to the standards of previous Pixar films after the studio took a dip with "Cars 2". And "Magic Mike", a movie about male strippers that proved to be exponentially more than audiences expected it would be, is on the rise to $100 million and beyond. This is what the box office is often filled with, and that's more than fine. Keep this in mind next weekend when "The Dark Knight Rises" opens to record-breaking numbers, and we figure out how much of a success it really is.
1. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (First Weekend; $46 million)
2. "The Amazing Spider-Man" (Second Weekend; $35 million; $209 MILLION TOTAL)
3. "Ted" (Third Weekend; $22.1 million; $159 MILLION TOTAL)
4. "Brave" (Fourth Weekend; $10.7 million; $195.6 MILLION TOTAL)
5. "Magic Mike" (Third Weekend; $9 million; $91.9 MILLION TOTAL)
6. "Savages" (Second Weekend; $8.7 million; $31.5 MILLION TOTAL)
7. "Madea's Witness Protection" (Third Weekend; $5.6 million; $55.6 MILLION TOTAL)
8. "Katy Perry: Part of Me" (Second Weekend; $3.7 million; $18.6 MILLION TOTAL)
9. "Moonrise Kingdom" (Eighth Weekend; $3.7 million; $32.4 MILLION TOTAL)
10. "Madagascar 3" (Sixth Weekend; $3.5 million; $203.7 MILLION TOTAL)