Sometimes you just have to laugh when you see the box office receipts pouring in throughout the weekend. Initially, it seemed that the family film sequel ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules’ would take the top spot. Then on Saturday, Zack Snyder’s “edgy,” “sexy” (because these are words the studio uses to describe it) pop art fantasia ‘Sucker Punch’ looked like it would edge out the wimpy kid. But, whoops, the box office seems to have way more twists and turns in store.
That’s right, folks, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules‘, released almost a year after the first ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘, won the box office derby with $24 million. I really don’t have much to say about this, so instead I’ll just clap dramatically at the computer screen. I haven’t seen the first film and have no interest in this one (despite the fact that it was made by one of the directors of underrated Aardman animated film ‘Flushed Away’), but I can appreciate that a scrappy little good-natured family flick could trump the endless cacophony of studio-orchestrated hype that is…
…Zack Snyder’s impenetrable, Comic-Con engineered ‘Sucker Punch‘. This is a movie that I could hardly sit through without rolling my eyes for the entire running time. God, I hated it. Apparently, the American public wasn’t too keen on it either. The $100 million action movie starring girls in strappy underwear (but little sense of the tenants of feminism – including empowerment, strength, or self-worth) took in a mere $20 million for the second spot. This thing is going to drop like a fucking stone once word gets out from the general populace that it’s “Like ‘Inception’ mixed with ‘Moulin Rouge!’… or something.” (Yes, in my mind, the everyday viewer is just as inarticulate as I am.) I’m so happy this thing bombed. There have been some flights-of-fancy floated online that the failure of ‘Sucker Punch’ will make Warner Bros. fire Snyder from the forthcoming ‘Superman’ film. That’s not likely to happen, unfortunately. But, as ‘Sucker Punch’ teaches us, it’s good to dream.
In the #3 and #4 positions were a pair of mid-level genre pictures that have held on surprisingly well, each dropping only 20%. At #3 with $15 million was Neil Burger’s ‘Limitless‘. I saw this one over the weekend and sort of loved it. I say “sort of” because, at its heart, ‘Limitless’ is pretty dumb, despite all its smarty-pants posturing. Bradley Cooper is oddly appealing as the loser writer (bully for me) who gets seduced by a scientific super-drug that lets him tap the untold resources of his brain. Burger directs the movie with a level of visual sophistication that you’d expect from someone like Michel Gondry, and the whole thing has an undeniably zippy, go-for-broke energy. Seriously, if you want to have a great, hands-in-the-air time at the theater, go see ‘Limitless’. It’s pretty great, especially if you overlook the skyscraper-sized plot holes (as I did).
The #4 film was ‘The Lincoln Lawyer‘, which looks pretty crummy but critics have seemed to enjoy (and audiences too). It made $10.5 million. I haven’t seen it yet. But my mom saw it last night, and she seemed to like it. So there’s that.
It’s interesting to note that ‘Rango‘, coming in at #5 with another $10 million, has now eclipsed the $100 million mark. Meanwhile, ‘Mars Needs Moms‘ will enjoy its last weekend in the Top 10, at #10 with $2.5 million. That brings the $200 million-budgeted ‘Mars’ total tally up to $18.5 million, which is about what it cost to make ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and less than what that film made in its opening weekend. Woof.
The Top 10:
01 ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules’ (Fox) – $24 million
02 ‘Sucker Punch’ (Warner Bros) – $20 million
03 ‘Limitless’ (Relativity) – $15 million
04 ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ (Lionsgate) – $10.5 million
05 ‘Rango’ (Paramount) – $10 million
06 ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ (Sony) – $7.8 million
07 ‘Paul’ (Universal) – $7.8 million
08 ‘Red Riding Hood’ (Warner Bros) – $4.5 million
09 ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ (Universal) – $4 million
10 ‘Mars Needs Moms’ (Disney) – $2.5