Film Weekend Per Total
1 The Expendables $35,030,000 $10,713 $35,030,000
2 Eat Pray Love $23,700,000 $7,690 $23,700,000
3 The Other Guys $18,000,000 (-49.4%) $4,930 $70,543,000
4 Inception $11,370,000 (-38.6%) $3,644 $248,554,000
5 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World $10,525,000 $3,735 $10,525,000
6 Despicable Me $6,767,000 (-27.1%) $2,315 $221,993,000
7 Step Up 3-D $6,626,000 (-58.1%) $2,717 $29,565,000
8 Salt $6,350,000 (-41.8%) $2,241 $103,569,000
9 Dinner for Schmucks $6,316,000 (-39.1%) $2,074 $58,816,000
10 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore $4,075,000 (-41.0%) $1,494 $35,104,000

This just in: A man was lost in an echo chamber for three years, thought to be dead, he survived only on haterade. 

The Expendables got their weekend. I think David Poland was right on the money by comparing this to a Vs. film. Freddy Vs. Jason, Alien Vs. Predator, etc. It’s what you do when you don’t know what to do with franchises any more. And it’s led a number to joke that this is the first weekend in a long time that Eric Roberts has outperformed Julia Roberts. But at the end of the day (regardless of quality) we know how films like Eat Pray Love do, and it’s not an opening weekend picture. It – of all the rest of the summer films – has a real shot of doing over a $100 million dollars. The Expendables should be able to get over $50 million, maybe $60-$80, but anything over that is stretching. If it doesn’t drop 70% next weekend it’s kind of a miracle. Whereas Eat should fall less than 30% or its core audience rejected it. Hell, by Monday it’s probably going to be outperforming The Expendables on a daily basis.

As for Scott Pilgrim, when I talked to Peter Serafinowicz, he brought up that there can’t be The Beatles again because there’s no longer one big audience, instead there are numerous small audiences. Cinema is one of the rare places that there is a global discussion. But that said, the discussion of cinema – much like politics – has also fallen into a number of partisan divides. As such you can see a lot of different partisans reactions to this number. And even though much of the technology in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is antiquated, the film has been labeled “of the moment” or “new,” or perhaps even worse “generational.” Which is partly true: If you’re on the twitter, the film is still one of the top trenders, but the film obviously connected only with a segment of its intended viewing audience. There’s been a strange amount of crowing about these numbers, I guess partly because of the Cera backlash. Opening weekends are about marketing, and I think Universal did a number of smart things that didn’t work – and probably having the main image of the ad campaign hiding the star’s face was not the wisest of moves. And though it’s possible the film won’t drop 50% or more next weekend, the battle is over, unless Pilgrim somehow manages to do something few films have ever done (that is: have an amazing second weekend). But other people – not me – are going to start dropping the “bomb” word so even if the film drops 30% next weekend (which would be a miracle), it’s still not great business, and when a film is a perceived failure the curious tend to stay away. It seems as though the audience this connects to loves the movie, so this may be a big ancillary title eventually. But predicting that is near impossible. The cult for Zach Snyder’s Watchmen isn’t exactly there yet. I think Pilgrim hits resonate notes, but you never know.

The thing that strikes me as odd is that we’re at a point (and this isn’t the first or last) where if a number of people – especially on the internet – flip for a movie it becomes not about the film but about how the internet has been bought, or that the film is destined to failure because it’s being so revered. When it comes to films like this – small, awkward movies that need their champions – there is a segment of the audience (however big) who automatically says “I don’t believe you.” This ties into how press has changed, and – especially when it comes to internet film sites – there is little sense of authority. Growing up, reading newspapers, all critics were older than you – possibly more learned than you (and they have copy editors!), and the newspaper was a respected tradition. And especially in the pre-internet age, there was only your local newspaper, maybe some magazines and TV critics that you could hear about films, unless you got a number of different newspaper subscriptions. With the internet there are so many voices along with a sense that everyone started from nothing (possibly a parent’s basement), which leads to a perceived lack of authority. And – especially with the origins of this world (re: Harry Knowles) – there is a sense of chumminess with talent and the perception that the internet can be easily seduced. And when you have someone like Alex Billington, who – not to dwell on the accusations leveled against him by others – obviously knows very little to nothing about the history of cinema, you’re not going to get a learned perspective, but his is a voice that is heard by an audience that may actually listen to what he says.This begs the question: what do people get out of that? My assumption – like Fox News or Rachel Maddow, etc. is affirmation of beliefs. And there is obviously an audience for that. I don’t know if this is cheapening the discourse or whatever, but as I’ve said before, reviewing movies is a political act, and so is seeing movies. Audience vote with their dollars. And one of the great tricks that the studios have pulled is virtually eliminating the need for criticism. “Fuck you, I’m gonna eat my McDonald’s anyway.”

The Other Guys didn’t tumble over 50%, which is good for its run at $100 Million. It should be able to hit that number, but it’s got some competition next week (along with a general onslaught of titles). I think this is the sort of picture that an unrated DVD and Blu-ray actually does move off the shelves, so the math on its production budget is skewed. This might also have a bigger foreign audience because of its supporting cast than the other Ferrell/McKay titles. Inception is still holding well even though it’s beginning to lose screens, its biggest problem is the sheer number of titles coming over the next couple of weeks. But next weekend, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t do round $10-ish, so that’s a bit over $260 million. Even with piracy issues, I’m sure Warners is gearing up for an Oscar push, so we may yet see a re-release, and maybe they hold video until February,so $300 isn’t out of the question.

Everything else is done. Step Up 3-D might limp to $40 Million, but it was a gimme. Salt gets to $110, but that’s about it. Schmucks is a quiet failure, and Cats and Dogs looks like a huge bomb. Next week offers five pictures, most of which should be able to chart, which means that most of these films are done. Only The Switch seems to have the possibility to open outside of the top ten. I think it’s the “drinking semen” advertising.