Film Weekend Per Screen Totality
1 Megamind $47,650,000 $12,082 $47,650,000
2 Due Date $33,500,000 $9,985 $33,500,000
3 For Colored Girls $20,100,000 $9,450 $20,100,000
4 Red $8,858,000 (-17.4%) $2,743 $71,871,000
5 Saw 3D $8,200,000 (-63.6%) $2,920 $38,801,000
6 Paranormal Activity 2 $7,298,000 (-55.8%) $2,304 $77,224,000
7 Jackass 3-D $5,097,000 (-40.1%) $2,354 $110,814,000
8 Hereafter $4,020,000 (-37.4%) $1,700 $28,730,000
9 Secretariat $4,002,000 (-20.1%) $1,531 $50,965,000
10 The Social Network $3,600,000 (-20.3%) $1,935 $85,047,000

This just in: Daylight Savings Time, or as people who work 9 to 5 jobs call it: the most depressing two months of our lives.

Three new pictures, and a little over a hundred million between them. As I said, the season’s started.

Megamind is off to an okay start numbers-wise for a kids film. Animated films often have great multipliers (multipliers are  how much of the opening weekend was the business), as they aren’t necessarily front-loaded, and – for a film like this – getting to or around $200 is the end game. In the 40’s are the numbers How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda did and they got over $200, so it means we could get a Megamind 2. But those pictures also had excellent word of mouth. And these numbers (which are similar to Madagascar‘s opening weekend numbers in 2005) raise this question: with inflated 3-D ticket prices, are companies like Dreamworks keeping parents away or are they covering the enthusiasm gap? If it’s a family of four, and you’re adding two or three dollars to the ticket price, that shit adds up. The mathematic formula here on whether that the film will do better or worse than How to will be based on audience reaction. Harry Potter is two weeks away, so there’s definitely competition. As I wasn’t crazy about Megamind, it’ll be interesting to see how kids and parents react.

Due Date was never going to do Hangover numbers, but with the cast and crew it also had to do $100 Million. They’re in a good place for that to happen, unless this is incredibly frontloaded. Though the word is mixed, it’s a big comedy with stars people like so that that $33 Million should be able to translate into a little over a hundred. Phillips has shown that he has a track record, and also shown that Warner Brothers is happy to have him – especially if he’s making Hangover 2 and Hangover 2 works. There’s something very cash-grab about this film: I don’t think anyone is proud of the product, and this is not the sort of thing anyone is going to highlight on their resume. But even if the film was more expensive than it should have been, and $100 isn’t double the cost, and international might be weak (though Robert Downey Jr. might not make it a complete loss), a hundred always looks good, and ancillaries and TV will make it a slight win.

Tyler Perry is Tyler Perry, regardless of who wrote For Colored Girls. Manohla Dargis wrote a glowing review of the film, and it may crack the Oscar top ten, so some things have changed. But this proves even with class and glowing reviews Tyler Perry has a box office ceiling, and no Madea means this is going to do $20 Million. I thought this might do a little bit better because of audience affection for the material, but Tyler Perry plays to certain black audiences, and the name is such – like Kevin Smith (who plays to a certain white audience) – that it has its positives and negatives. And like Kevin Smith, there is a partisan divide among the community that Perry supposedly speaks to or for or whatever. This would have been the film to get him out of that – it’s his Jersey Girl - but though attention may get paid in terms of awards, box office wise, his ceiling remains.

Red is turning into something of a motherfucker. I thought $80 was the ceiling, but whatever audience it’s playing to, it’s playing to. After this, Taken, Gran Torino, etc. you can sell old people kicking ass. $80 Million is going to happen. $90 is not out of the question. $100 is possible. Not bad. Saw 3D didn’t tumble over 70%, so it should be able to get over $50 Million. And Paranormal Activity 2 may yet get to $90 Million. I’m surprised Paramount has announced the third film yet. Maybe they’re trying to get Oren Peli back for it. But even though it’s not doing the first film’s numbers, Paramount treated the franchise like a ready-bake oven, so most of the heavy lifting was done by the first film for this one. Huge numbers. Jackass 3-D is less than ten million away from becoming the most successful non-fiction film of all time (of ALL TIME!)

Hereafter is a muddle, but I don’t think anyone gets too hurt on it. Universal may have called Matt Damon and asked him if he wanted to be in Bourne 4 a little, but that’s about the worst of it. Damon’s probably thinking to himself “Fuck you, I’m in True Grit, bitches.” Cause he thinks like that. Secretariat got over $50 Million, and could conceivably still limp for a little bit, but who cares, and The Social Network’s eyes are prizing $90 for now, though there will probably be a solid Academy re-release.

Someone said in the comments that I seem to be poo-pooing these Network numbers. Here’s how this works: “if it doubles its budget” is a hard and fast rule for the success of a movie; it’s not always true – because it’s hard to say how much a factor home video is, and international – but it’s not a bad measure. And, no matter what something cost doing around or over $100 Million looks good – it’s still a marker of a film appealing to a larger audience. Network was supposedly done for around $50 Million, and is likely not going to double that domestically. Even if I take the $50 at face value (and it could be more or less) Sony gave it the full court press in terms of ad buys, which could mean they spent up to $100 Million dollars to get it out there. I have no idea what the ad buy was, and I don’t want to assume anything. But I would guess they at least spent the budget of the film on selling it. But part of the proposition of the film was that it might be an awards picture, which – right now at least – things are heating up for The King’s Speech more so than it, and then there’s the question of True Grit. Perhaps we’re all writing off The Fighter, but I doubt it. Point is, the film may get lost in the award shuffle, and at this juncture I think their best shot is all chips on David Fincher for best director. Because you can see his fingerprints, and he’s obviously a skilled technician, where King’s Speech‘s Tom Hooper is still a relative novice, and there’s an argument to be made a win for him would be damaging. It all depends on the spirit.

But here’s the thing: David Fincher hasn’t had a runaway success at the box office since Se7en, which was arguably a totally different industry. Panic Room did okay, and Benjamin Button was redeemed by international. Fight Club turned into a big money earner, but that was through home video, and that revenue stream has dwindled – arguably Fight Club was boosted by the DVD format itself, as the film – whether you liked it or not – had four commentaries, and flash frames of Tyler Durden, etc – it was made for poring over. Though I’m sure if I said “David Fincher might have to direct a comic book adaptation” would get some people excited, it’s kind of beneath him – or at the very least not really his M.O. I’d rather not have Fincher attaching himself to franchises just to keep going. And the truth is I don’t look at The Social Network numbers and see Fincher having enough success with the film to be able to walk into a studio and make a David Fincher movie without compromise. These aren’t “I deserve final cut” numbers. Good enough isn’t good enough. But that’s just my read.