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« Emmy Nominations This Week. What Are You Betting On? | Main | The Greatest Help Wanted Advertisement of All Time »
Sunday
Jul142013

Box Office Notes: Pacific Rim & Sandra Bullock

giant fucking robots, the multi-franchise franchiseThis week's box office results are an example of why we can't have nice things. The top two films are both sequels. Audiences didn't get super worked up about the "original" opener, Guillermo del Toro's monster movie Pacific Rim. Yet the people decrying the general moviegoing public for "rejecting originality" -- a claim I keep hearing on twitter and on blogs -- have failed to admit that Pacific Rim looks JUST like Transformers Meets Godzilla in its advertisements. Which is not, you know a hallmark of the truly original, to look like a mashup of two excessively familiar things. Now, before I'm stomped by giant metallic or clawed kaiju feet, please note that though I haven't seen it I'm sure that Pacific Rim doesn't play like a Transformers sequel since one can't really mistake the filmmaking style of del Toro for Michael Bayisms. But audiences don't buy tickets based on how a movie is but how its perceived to be.

This wasn't a rejection of true originality. It was just a third place finish indicating half-interest in something that looked familiar but didn't sound familiar. Maybe they should have just called it Pacific Rim 2? Wouldn't it be awesome if some new franchise hopeful did just that, skipping the first film and testing the public's Pavlovian response to titles that end in numerals?

TOP O' THE CHARTS
01 DESPICABLE ME 2 $44.7 (cum. $229.2)
02 GROWN UPS 2 $42.5 *NEW*
03 PACIFIC RIM $38.3 *NEW*
04 THE HEAT $14 (cum. $112.3) Review
05 THE LONE RANGER $11.1 (cum. $71.1) Review

Of Note:  Fruitvale Station, which eerily opened on the weekend of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin fiasco, opened to a big per screen averages but given the timid amount of screens it didn't make the top fifteen of the box office. If they're aggressive in expansion you'll undoubtedly see a lot of editorial attention in the media.

And Finally...
We'd just like to say "congratulations" to Sandra Bullock who has her umpteenth $100 million hit with The Heat. No, she didn't deserve an Oscar to commemorate her career but applause she does deserve in an industry that's notoriously resistant to appreciating its actresses. You have to hand it to her: she's been a draw for 20 years now and that's true staying power. Here, courtesy of box office mojo are her biggest hits (adjusted for inflation)

SANDRA'S TOP TEN
01 THE BLIND SIDE (2009) $264 
02 SPEED (1994) $230
03 A TIME TO KILL (1996) $195
04 THE PROPOSAL (2009) $174 
05 MISS CONGENIALITY (2000) $151 
06 WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995) $147 
07 TWO WEEKS NOTICE (2002)  $124 
08 * new entry * THE HEAT (2013)  $112
09 DEMOLITION MAN (1993) $111 
10 HOPE FLOATS (1998) $101

What did you spend your money on this weekend?

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Reader Comments (32)

Sandra Bullock was one of the only producers (Dick Wolf the other big one) who came to NYC post 9/11 to film (Two Weeks Notice) when so many others would not, showing the actors and the city that she still had faith in them. I'm glad she has succeeded.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry O.

I don't even want to discuss the Oscar thing, but I still can't believe The Blind Side made that figure in the US. Refresh my memory. What happened? There were no other movies in theatres that season?

I saw The Queen of Versailles. I was revolted and fascinated at the same time.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy Sue -- i always assumed it was one of those genius multi-audience movies.. since it got the inspirational sports drama crowd, the urban movie crowd, the rural crowd, the girlpower crowd, eventually the oscar-crowd.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Last year children's movie The Oogieloves actually tried your gambit, claiming to be the "first ever Oogieloves movie!" in a pre-existing franchise despite never having existed prior to its release. The film was a titanic box-office failure, though I don't know if that was because of the marketing strategy or because it looked horrifying.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

I don't know why I'm complaining... I even saw in theatres months after the Oscars!

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I saw "Brad Pitt vs The Zombies" which was ok but needed true horror action master like Carpenter to make it work ( and yeah this could have been made with Kurt Russell back in the 80's) Bullock is a very likeable star which is the reason why she keeps selling tickets.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Who doesn't love Sandy Bullock?

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Also, I would definitely rank Berry, Swank, and Cotillard's winning performances below Bullock's. Just sayin'.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

THE BLIND SIDE was also a Thanksgiving/Christmas time release. I think Thanksgiving was its second weekend and it went up in the box office. The mix of all those elements and the release date just kinda made it a phenomenon of s(p)orts.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Haven't seen Pacific Rim yet, but will watch it eventually, giant fucking monsters or no giant fucking monsters.

I did finally get to watch Before Midnight this weekend which was everything I thought it'd be, but somehow still surprising. I think I could watch Julie Delpy in her bimbo routine for an entire movie; it was hilarious. And I agree with you Nathaniel that Before Sunset is still the best of the trilogy, one of the best films of the aughts.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I am surprised Hope Floats is no 10,when i visited Los Angeles in 98 this was playing opposite Godzilla and other 90's blockbusters and i choose Sandra and it turned out to be a sweet film with heart and a solid lead perfroamnce,congrats Sandra you left Julia in the dust!!!

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Good point. Is Sandra Bullock a bigger draw, dollar for dollar, cumulatively, than Julia Roberts at this point? I know the latter has had a lot of hits but damn.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Laurence Anyways. Too long by almost an hour but worth it for how gorgeous the movie is shot. I was sad at first that it was filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio but oh man does that boy know how to fill a screen.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor Ransom

I saw "The Heat" this weekend, which was good for a few laughs and for admiring the talents of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. They manage to make their characters work and made me look forward to future pairings. Hopefully the next film will have more to recommend. The fillm is intended to be a comedy first, but it would have helped a lot if the case they were working on was interesting in some way. The movie also felt very long.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

You're not far off with the 'Transformers vs Godzilla' joke. Given how shadowy most of the shots in Pacific Rim, I'm pretty sure its subtitle is "The Dark of the Moon."

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

It's really cool that Sandra has been renewing her career best opening in recently years. For "The Heat," I understand majority of people credit Melissa that the film is so funny, but I still think Sandra's popularity was very big element to its success. And I think she has been choosing a film very carefully lately, especially after the Oscar. Even though the film itself was a box office/critical flop, in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" she was really good. I hope she'll keep making films while she seems to have slowed down a lot.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterseren

Fruitvale Station is a great little film. Michael B. Jordan is remarkable in it. Sandra Bullock has had remarkable success, but that top ten is awful.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Sharp

If Gravity is a commercial and critical hit then she may have a repeat of 2009, and starts 2014 with an Oscar nomination.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

1. Nathaniel, love the little addition of Hot Topics/Now Playing at the left hand side.

2. When your top two hits are 15 years apart with a majority of the rest being in between, you've got some drawing power. Impressive.

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

but isn't the heat just a remake of this year's other melissa mccarthy pic, with sandy in the jason bateman role, or did the trailers deceive me?

July 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

par3182 -- having seen both films i can tell you absolutely not. plus even if it were it is roughly one million times funnier. although one million times zero would still be zero so that's probably a stupid math equation to make.

July 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

arkaan -- thanks. it was suggested by a new reader who was looking for a review. i'm not sure if i totally like it but i'm trying it out.

July 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I saw Pacific Rim this weekend and it made me giddy with the same excitement that Godzilla (the original) did back when I was 6 or 7 years old. It's a silly movie, but silly in some of the best ways. Now that del Toro has this out of his system, though, can we please get another Spanish Civil War horror film? That's one trilogy I would pay to see completed.

Also, I can't say I've loved Bullock's movies, but I've always been a fan. She's such a charming screen presence even in terrible films. Happy to see she's stood the test of time. For a few years in the mid-aughts it seemed she was one flop away from being banished from Hollywood.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

Kudos to Ms. Bullock - 7 of those 10 films were sold almost completely by her as a star... who else can claim that kind of a return from their 'starpower'? Julia Roberts? Intermittently. Jodie Foster? For a time. Reese Witherspoon? For a year or two.

I'd love to see their Top 10s (and how many relied on their star-wattage)...

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKermit The Frog

I can count on my hand how many Sandra Bullock movies that I like but I found

The Oscar thing does not bother me one bit. That category was unbelievably weak that year. Plus she charmed my pants off with how graceful she was on the awards circuit (Which for many actresses during awards season it can be a time where you **lose** people, see: Lawrence, Jennifer and Hathaway, Anne) where she of among a few things revealed she can speak German. I also thought she would be able to capitalize on that win. I don't think Gravity happens without her winning for The Blind Side, for example.

I worked at a movie theater when The Blind Side was out. Before Avatar came out later that year, I would say The Blind Side was performing the strongest out of our autumn/winter releases. It was a mostly white crowd but it was largely made up of families and I would say the women edged out the men.

I was on a family trip but I re-watched RWF's Veronika Voss (BEAUTIFUL BLACK AND WHITE!) and The Kid With a Bike. I was still crying in the latter's finale when the kid just accepts the punishment he got. I also re-watched Glee on Netflix after the Cory Monteith death announcement. Unbelievably surreal.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

For close to a decade I despised the crap out of Sandra Bullock. Then at some stage I gave up. The woman is just too damn charming.

No, she did not deserve a Satellite nomination, much less an Oscar, for The Blind Side - or really any of her performances (all of which are nevertheless more human-like than Streep's Julia Child, so there!).

But all of that aside, you are very right. This career is to be celebrated.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I finally found my old copy of Being Julia and watched it for the first time since I saw it in the theater. Man, I love me some Bening. It's too bad it came out the same year as Million Dollar Baby (even though Swank should not have even been nominated) and Eternal Sunshine (probably the most deserving winner, so unfortunately Bening isn't even Swank's strongest runner-up), but still, it's a lot of fun to watch her.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I did see FRUITVALE. It's got issues.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I would happily watch at least half of those Sandra Bullock movies again right this minute and enjoy the heck out of them. Speed, Miss Congeniality, While You Were Sleeping, Two Weeks Notice, etc. And I also think Sandy is watchable in her dramas, but the comedies are where she shines because it is SO difficult to get right. I don't know if anyone has had as long a string of comedy successes as Sandy has on the big screen.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Giving Bullock an Oscar was a crock. The academy should have
Given her a blue ribbon.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Julia is still 1bn $ ahead of Sandra, and that is unadjusted domestic. Of course, with the Heat2, and Gravity, she might catch up... As for world-wide, Sandra doesnt even come close to Julia. She has never ever been close to being as successful as Julia (Blind Side for example was only big in the US)

However, in recent years I suppose Sandra has moved ahead.. but I feel that Julia just doesn't care enough anymore? I would say Sandra is more liked though these days.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbacio

The Sandra Bullock allure is totally lost on me. The only performance I've enjoyed was in The Lakehouse. Quiet and natural. Here, I almost forgot it was her.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

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