Maybe we should exchange numbers.…”
–Edward Norton (Fight Club)

May 21st, 2012

1. The Avengers ($55 million)

[Total: $457 million | Worldwide: $1.180 billion | Budget: $220m]

You can tell the world has changed when a mere three weeks with the same film at number one makes things feel redundant. The thing is, The Avengers run at number one was written when it opened, as a simple game of halving the numbers each week and stacking that against the contenders made it clear nothing before MIB3 had any chance of beating it. Instead the story is what records what you broken for me lately?

The only ones that are likely to really matter to you is that the film is now well past Michael Bay’s third Transformers film at the 4th spot on the All-Time worldwide gross chart under Harry Potter 7.2, and that, here at home, the film should pass Star Wars on the All-Time Domestic Gross chart today. Granted, adjusted numbers paint a way different story (#61), but the raw numbers are still epic.

Next week is when the film should convert to the quiet phenomenon, leveling off its hold numbers and making money that — while barely a drop in its enormous bucket — will still be larger than what most new releases are making. Passing The Dark Knight will sound the last huge trumpet, which will happen sooner rather than later.


2. Battleship ($25 million)

[Total: $25 million | Worldwide: $240.6m | Budget: $209m]

The early international release did what it was supposed to, which was to paint this as an overall success before it had a chance to flop here and make sure the film would be as close to breaking even for the studio as possible. Even if you take the $209m budget at face value (which you shouldn’t, most likely), the $240m it has made will still make this a write-off for them after all the splits and siphons.

As for the narrative, Battleship managed to underperform even its own floppy expectations, making less than other failures like Cowboys & Aliens and, oh!, John Carter. Audiences just aren’t digging the Kitschy bullshit.

The film is still making more than it’s worth, so I’m happy it will fall into oblivion quickly.


3. The Dictator ($24.5 million)

[Total: $24.5 million | Worldwide: $55m | Budget: $65m]

A respectable opening for an abrasive comedy, The Dictator still shows the trouble Hollywood is having impressing audiences with anything other than Superhero team-ups in this early part of the summer. Falling short of both Borat and Bruno, it’s really the film’s lack of buzz that’s the killer. Borat took a stronger opening on to become a +$100m hit by being charmingly shocking, while Bruno made more at the start but collapsed faster by pushing too far over the line than America was willing to go (not to mention not being all that great). This doesn’t seem to have upset anyone or courted much controversy so much as just failed to make anyone laugh all that much.

Cohen skipped out on being in a Tarantino film to continue promoting this movie heavily, but he’s still setting up a nice career of taking turns in prestige pictures and other big films. One wonders what the future of his own individual shtick is, and if it might be back to the faux-documentary for he and Larry Charles.


4. Dark Shadows ($13 million)

[Total: $51 million | Worldwide: $132m | Budget: $100m

I went this weekend and paid actual dollars to see this piece of shit, and so it’s with great pleasure that I’ll watch Dark Shows plummet without ever hitting nine-figures in the states. I’ll be less pleased as Depp and Burton’s strong international draw buttresses the bafflingly esoteric and hideously under-written comedy.


5. What To Expect When You’re Expecting ($10.5 million)

[Total: $10.5 million | Worldwide: N/A | Budget: N/A]

This failed to connect as counter-programming as well as one might expect just looking at it on paper, and I have a feeling that’s because to make any splash it would have to preach to the choir, i.e. play only with parents. Who in the fuck is going on a date movie to watch a film fixated on the nightmares of having kids? And what couples with young kids that can relate are actually going to make the monumental effort to get their asses in a theater when they can wait for DVD? That’s where I’m sure this film will hit, but it’s lost in a sea of apathy or outright fear of the subject matter in the cineplex.

The Rest…

Just outside of the top 10 is the Exotic Marigold Hotel, which managed over $3m with less than 400 theaters to its name. The film will expand to a wide release next week and could pick up a spot in the top half with any luck, as the thing is legitimately buzzing like the kind of sleeper hit that happens less and less. It’ll be like Little Miss Sunshine for olds!

Beyond that, zilch.

Thanks for reading!

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Numbers (rounded off to nearest .5m) via BoxOfficeMojo