Confession: I loved The Smurfs when I was young though I knew that they drew scorn from many corners. I would sing "la la laLALALA la la la la la" loudly whenever I wanted to annoy my older brother. That said, the movie looked a-tro-cious so I felt roughly zero in the way of nostalgic pull. I don't know how you cast talents as comedically strong as Hank Azaria and Neil Patrick Harris and then rely on fart jokes but apparently they did since "Who smurfed?" is supposed to be a joke therein. I was discussing this on Twitter last night with strangers lamenting that their kids liked it and Miyazaki would have to wait. I just returned from a vacation week with close friends and their children (including my goddaughter) and I'm happy to report that Miyazaki is well loved by the tween / early teen set. So there's hope for all disheartened parents of toddlers out there! Some of your children will grow out of their bad taste. Some of them won't and will grow up to rush to movies like Zookeeper wtih Kevin James on opening weekend. It's not the end of the world. It only feels like it to the devoted cinephile.
box office top ten
01 COWBOYS AND ALIENS new $36.4
02 THE SMURFS new $35.6
03 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [review] $25.5 (cumulative $117.4)
04 HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO [review] $21.9 (cum $318.5)
05 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [your take] new $19.1
06 FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS $9.2 (cum $38.1)
07 HORRIBLE BOSSES $7.1 (cum $96.2)
08 TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON $6 (cum $338)
09 ZOOKEEPER $4.3 (cum $68.8)
10 CARS 2 $2.3 (cum $182.1)
Items of Note: HP 7.2 passed the difficult $300 million barrier domestically and the even rarer billion mark globally placing it at the #2 position for 2011 just behind #1s Transformers 3 (domestic) and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (global). Given that "It All Ends!" has only been in release for two weeks, it'll easy defeat both of those films any day now. In ten days Captain America has earned about $116 here in its home country which means its already falling behind Thor despite a similar opening weekend draw. Thor was an even bigger hit across the Atlantic which doesn't seem likely for Cappy due to his homeland hero specificity. Cars 2 is running out of fuel, and may become the first Pixar release since A Bug's Life to fall short of $200 million domestically. Ah well, they'll always have their merchandising bonanza. Wasn't that the whole point of the sorry film to begin with?
other films we thought we'd check in on...
18 SARAH'S KEY $.3 (cum. $.5)
20 THE TREE OF LIFE [overheard / thoughts] $.3 (cum. $11.6)
25 BEGINNERS [review] $.2 (cum. $5)
39 THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE new $.09
53 THE FUTURE new $.02
Sarah's Key a Holocaust drama starring TFE favorite Kristin Scott Thomas has been surprisingly robust with ticket sales thus far at only 33 theaters. Should we have been considering this one long ago?
I included The Devil's Double and The Future because I missed critics screenings but I'm totally curious about both (would love to hear your thoughts if you've seen them). Plus, we hadn't checked in on the lower ranks of the charts in some time. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, keeps puttering along in arthouses (widest release peaked at 237 theaters) and it might even eventually gross as much as the first two days of Zookeeper (!) which, as one friend soberly notes, '...is why we can't have nice things.'
Beginners has been a small and sturdy arthouse attraction itself, roughly akin to Winter's Bone at this point in its life (2 months) in terms of both gross and theater count. But can a 5 million grosser summon up enough energy to grow legs and stride through the often brutal precursor awards season without, one presumes, a lead performance and director with similar awards hopeful traction? Do you think Christopher Plummer has a good shot still or did the film need to catch on with more fervor for what might be a lone supporting bid?