Weekend Recap: The world kinda digs its own Armageddon


Isn’t it kind of masochistic for the citizens of the world to spend $225 million on a movie about their own destruction? The amount of money that 2012 made at the domestic and global box office this weekend leads me to believe that we’d all squeal with joy if the world were to actually fall apart.

In fact, I’m convinced that should humanity experience an apocalypse, we’d be so giddy with laughter because despite the moral peril, we’d be entertained. Some would say it was the most excitement they’d had in years.

So note to filmmakers: if you want to make a realistic end-of-the-world disaster movie, you should write that your characters are getting a fun adrenaline rush from all their dodging of debris and narrow escapes from the clutches of doom. That way you can make millions while also being fairly realistic. People will say “now that film, that’s the way it’s really gonna happen.” You can laugh all the way to the bank and be a sadist.

The surprise of the weekend is along the same lines. In 174 theaters, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire made nearly $6 million, averaging $33,000 or so per theater. Considering the difficult subject matters of incestuous rape and domestic abuse among other things, that’s an incredible feat. So not only were people okay with that, but they also wanted it.

Some of you might be thinking “well it got such good reviews,” but early season Oscar contenders don’t do this well at the box office historically (as far as I’m aware).

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. This has been an ongoing trend in film and it’s part of why we love movies: they allow us to experiment with situations or people’s lives that we would never wish to deal with ourselves in a 100 percent risk-free setting. It’s a whole other dimension to the notion of movies as escapism.

  1. 2012 – $65.2 M (weekend) … $65.2 M (gross)
  2. A Christmas Carol – $22.3M … $63.2 M
  3. Precious: Based on the Novel Pusy by Sapphire – $5.9 M … $8.7 M
  4. The Men Who Stare at Goats – $5.9 M … $23 M
  5. This Is It – $5.1 M … $67.2 M
  6. The Fourth Kind – $4.6 M … $20.4 M
  7. Couples Retreat – $4.2 M … $102 M
  8. Paranormal Activity – $4 M … $103.7 M
  9. Law Abiding Citizen – $3.8 M … $67.2 M
  10. The Box – $3.2 M … $13.2 M

The Box continued to be the biggest flop falling further and harder down the box office ranks all the way to No. 10. Messing with my “slide ‘em down” theory, This Is It also lost ground to last week’s releases including “Precious” andThe Men Who Stare at Goats. I haven’t heard any news about extending the Michael Jackson film another week, but with the holiday films coming out Friday, it could be tough for the movie to get anything but the bottom of the barrel.

Meanwhile, those October films keep going strong. Couples Retreat just won’t die, jumping up in the order to No. 7 in its sixth week.

What deserves the most attention is the steep drop off between “Christmas” and “Precious.” Moviegoers are ready for the Holiday season and they showed it by bandwagon-hopping the first big-budget blockbuster of the month. All the films that managed to stay up in the Top 10 are going to take massive cuts next weekend with the big release schedule including The Road, the next “Twilight” movie and family film Planet 51.

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