I woke up the other day (yesterday, in fact) and realized I don’t give a shit about the new Transformers movie. At all. I don’t care if I see it ever. I guess mostly because the first film worked in the sense that it was surprising they could build a narrative out of a piece of junk cartoon designed around selling toys. But to actually care about those characters? Not so much.


This year has proved to be surprisingly robust when it comes to box office, with a number of films doing better than expected. Only Friday the 13th looks to be a classic under-performer, but that has more to do with expectations (the Texas Chainsaw remake did $80, which is out of reach for this film). I don’t know how disappointed Fox is in Bride Wars, but if My Bloody Valentine can get to $50, if Taken can get to $100, and if Paul Blart can get to $120, that’s the world we live in.

Regardless, this weekend is a classic “calm before the storm” approach, even though the Jonas Brothers movie should net at least $30 Million. And Street Fighter should net at least $3 Million. Because even though the Jonas Brothers movie will do business, it’s not really playing to the core, which is 12-30-year-old men. Street Fighter should be playing to that, but the film has a little over thousand screen release. That’s as close as Fox comes to suggesting they are embarrassed by something.

I will say this, pop culture is in a weird place, and with the dissolution of newspapers, it’s even weirder. As we’ve moved into a culture of niches, music is the hardest hit in terms of widespread cultural awareness. Or, that is to say, many of the artists on my iPhone are of the sort that may not be on yours, and once that net gets spread wider, who is to say. What is interesting to me about the Jonas Brothers is that they appeared at the White House for Sasha and Malia Obama’s first night. The oldest is eleven, and this to me suggests that the only widespread cultural saturation of music happens for the tweener set. This is how pop culture has evolved, and though I will swear by Arcade Fire, etc. I’m sure every kid in third grade knows who the Jonas Brothers are. Cinema is no longer for adults, or even people who like to pretend they are cultured by watching films like Out of Africa. Perhaps eventually cinema will head toward this demographic. If it survives.


Though it may feel like an off weekend for people who like going to movies, the Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience should eat up the weekend, while Slumdog may get an Oscar boost as Fox is putting it on nearly 3000 screens. No one knows currently how big Watchmen will be, but the pump is primed. Then again, a couple weeks ago, I thought Friday the 13th might outgross it, and that’s just not going to happen. But I don’t think the film has gotten over the hurdle that its relative obscurity has set up.

But more on that next week, and enough of my yakkin':

1. Jonas Brothers – $35.5 Million
2. Madea Goes to Jail - $16.7 Million
3. Slumdog Millionaire – $11 Million
4. Coraline – $7 Million

5. Taken – $6.5 Million

And then Sunday I will atone for my sins.