This weekend asked the question: “Can you open a sequel nearly 30 years after the original and expect anybody to show up?” And the question was answered: “Well, yes. Sort of.” Theaters saw the release of ‘Tron: Legacy’, a movie that I liked for its flashy, art-directed-within-an-inch-of-its-life audio video aesthetic (and the weirdness that goes along with it), but didn’t find nearly as compelling on a commercial narrative plane – or, er, grid. That sentiment seemed to be shared with the masses, as the movie debuted as a hit… but how much of a hit?
Disney’s glowy ‘Tron: Legacy‘ made $43.6 million over the weekend, which was enough to handily capture the #1 spot, but not nearly up to the modest studio expectations of $50 million. The marketing machine behind this movie was nearly unstoppable. The amount the studio has invested in it ($300 million) and various off-shoots (an animated series for next year has already been greenlit, and the gnomes at Imagineering have already started designing a number of high-impact theme part attractions) necessitated a much bigger opening – something more ‘Pirates of the Caribbean‘ and less ‘Country Bears’, if you know what I mean. I’ll be curious to see how this thing plays out in the long run, because it’s a cog in a much bigger plan that the studio has for the property over the next few years. The movie should have been more like J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek‘ reboot – something that’s accessible to newbies but also panders to longtime fans – and less like whatever it ended up being, some weird video art project writ large. It’ll take a tumble next weekend, mark my words.
At #2 was Warner Bros’ 3-D ‘Yogi Bear‘. It made $16.7 million. Let us never speak of it again.
In its first weekend as a nationwide player, Paramount’s terrific ‘The Fighter‘ expanded to 2,503 screens and racked up $12.1 million, enough for the #4 spot. You’ll see this movie connecting with more and more people as the word starts to spread about how unbelievably good it is. (If you can’t tell, I thought it was the shit.)
Way down in #6 was the debut of ‘How Do You Know‘, James L. Brooks’ $120 million romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. It looks atrocious, and apparently the masses have agreed.
‘Black Swan‘, continuing its expansion, came in at #7 with $8.3 million. Keep in mind that I’m writing this on Sunday morning, when the numbers are still fuzzy. Right now, it’s only trailing ‘How Do You Know’ by a few hundred thousand dollars, so the positions could easily swap. What makes this even more impressive is that ‘Black Swan’ is playing on 1,500 fewer screens than ‘How Do You Know’. I saw ‘Black Swan’ again this week and loved it just as much as the first time around. You know what else I love? Hearing white suburban audiences shock in horror at the movie? It’s the best!
The rest of the top 10 is the same old, same old. Look for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1‘ to finally exit the Top 10 next week. But don’t feel too bad for it. It’s nearing the $300 million mark. Magical indeed.
The Top 10
01 ‘Tron: Legacy’ (Disney) – $43.6 million
02 ‘Yogi Bear’ (Warner Bros) – $16.7 million
03 ‘Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ (Fox) – $12.4 million
04 ‘The Fighter’ (Paramount) – $12.1 million
05 ‘Tangled’ (Disney) – $8.6 million
06 ‘How Do You Know’ (Sony) – $8.6 million
07 ‘Black Swan’ (Fox) – $8.3 million
08 ‘The Tourist’ (Sony) – $8.2 million
09 ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1′ (Warner Bros) – $5.3 million
10 ‘Unstoppable’ (Fox) – $1.8 million