The week’s top five movies, for the most part, were a depressing lot if you’re no longer a brain-dead teenager, who are clearly the people who are driving box-office grosses. 17 Again, the Zac Efron/Matthew Perry soul (sucking) transference flick, debuted at number one this week with a nearly $25 million take — Perry’s biggest opening, ever. Hannah Montana: The Movie, despite at 60 percent drop-off from its opening frame, tacked on another $12 million this weekend (good for fourth place), and Fast and Furious continued to perform better than it deserves, adding another $12 million to bring it’s totally to $136 million — $8 million below the original flick after only three weeks. It is sure to pass Talladega Nights at $148 million, and become the second-highest grossing car-centered film of all time, behind Cars $244 million. And the kid-centric, Monsters vs. Aliens, continued to own the family-film demographic, raking in nearly $13 million to bring its total, to date, up to $162 million. It’s the number one film of 2009 so far, and may not be surpassed until Star Trek comes out in the second week of May.
The one bright spot among the top five films was State of Play — the lone film for adults — which debuted at number two with a solid, if unspectacular, $14 million. Although, I’ll concede that the only audience more obnoxious than 200 text-messaging teenagers is the audience that State of Play clearly attracted to late-afternoon Saturday matinees, which is when I saw it. I was the youngest person in attendance, and there were three people (3) with walkers. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but for the fact that it’s hard to hear the movie yourself when you’re watching it with a crowd full of hearing impaired geriatrics who consistently turn to one another and loudly ask, “WHAT’D HE SAY?!”
I think I’d have preferred text-messaging gigglers.
Most disappointing, perhaps, was the showing of Crank: High Voltage, which debuted at number six, with a paltry $6.5 million, although clearly the Crank films aren’t big budget spectacles — the first one only grossed $27 million, lifetime, yet that was enough to get a sequel greenlit. Still, it’s disheartening to learn than the power of Statham does have its limits.
The showing of 17 Again, Hannah Montana, Fast and Furious and the other big hit this year, Paul Blart: Mall Cop presents a curious question, in relation the post we ran on Friday, the top 20 films of 1987. Check out those top 20 films. How many were purely driven by teenage audiences? Dirty Dancing, perhaps? It’s certainly telling with regard to Hollywood’s shifting targeting audience. I’ve seen 19 of the top 20 films of 1987, and I was 12 when they opened. Teenagers in 1987, instead of suffering through Fast and Furious or Hannah Montana: The Movie, went and saw many of the same movies their parents did. Most of those movies managed to be appealing to teenagers without being alienating to adults. Indeed, the top 20 films were better movies that appealed to wider audiences. Of course, if Three Men and a Baby had debuted in 2009, it’d probably do just as well. But a movie like Fatal Attraction, which was the second-highest grossing film of 1987, probably would’ve settled for something in the $40 to $50 million range in 2009. What’s even more telling is that none of the leads in those films in 1987 were under the age of 25. Even Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing was 27. And yet, over the last two weeks, the box-office has been dominated by a 22-year-old Zac Efron and a 16-year-old Miley Cyrus.
What does it all mean? Beats the hell out of me. But with the success of 17 Again and Hannah Montana, there’s got to be a Menudo movie in our future. Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel stars are the future stars of Hollywood. Damnit.
The top five movies for the weekend ending April 19, 2009:
1. 17 Again ($24 million)
2. State of Play ($14 million)
3. Monsters vs. Aliens ($12.9 million; $162 million)
4. Hannah Montana The Movie ($12.6 million; $56 million)
5. Fast & Furious ($12.2 million; $136 million)