In a series of tweets this morning, Brett Ratner — the hack director behind the Rush Hour series and X-Men: The Last Stand — linked to several pages on Box Office Mojo comparing the performance of his film against X-Men: First Class, as well as the other X-Men films. The insinuation was clear, given how soon after this weekend’s box-office results were announced: Because Ratner’s The Last Stand opened with $102 million — compared to Vaughn’s First Class, which opened this weekend with $56 million — Ratner’s was the better, more successful film.
I don’t even know where to begin with this, but let’s start here: The timing of the tweets was, if anything, classless. A total douche move, not exactly atypical of Ratner. When Matthew Vaughn gets tired of the prequel franchise, Ratner can take over and direct: X-Men: Low Class. Second, Matthew Vaughn’s $56 million opening for X-Men: First Class is really not bad at all considering there were no A-Listers in First Class and it didn’t have the benefit of a Hugh Jackman to carry it (or even a Liev Schreiber or Halle Berry), not to mention the fact that the Last Stand opened on a holiday weekend while First Class opened after one. Third, First Class might have actually performed better if the colossal fuck-up of Ratner’s The Last Stand hadn’t diminished interest in the X-Men series. But I’d like to see which film has the better legs. Why? Because Ratner’s The Last Stand scored a soft 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (and I’m guessing there’s a lot of positive reviews critics would like to take back) compared to Vaughn’s 87 percent. Vaughn created a story; Ratner blew shit up.
The point is: It was a tacky thing to do. But, I suppose that’s to be expected from the director who once said this about The Last Stand as compared to Bryan Singer’s opening installments: “Mine was the one that made the most narrative sense. And I’m not knocking Bryan’s movie but he just does a certain thing; Bryan uses his brain and I use my eye and my instincts more. It’s a whole different approach to making a movie. I’m not saying my movie wasn’t smart; I just wasn’t intellectualizing it.”
Well, I’m saying his movie wasn’t smart.
Oh, and I’ll just add, another quote from Ratner (from a 2009 interview with Mike Ryan at Starpulse), because I want to see geek eyeballs pop: “I didn’t read the comic books but it doesn’t matter, the cartoon is the same f*cking thing.”
There were other movies playing over the weekend. The Hangover Part II was one of those. It dropped 62 percent from its opening weekend, but held on to number two with $32 million. It’s already made $186 million and by next weekend it will probably be the biggest movie of the year so far. Kung Fu Panda, which came in third, also hit the $100 million mark in its second weekend, adding $24 million to its total. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides continues to stumble. In its third week, it dropped another 54 percent, adding $18 million to bring its overall total to $190 million domestic. But, it’s made $600 million overseas so far, so nobody needs to worry about it meeting its $250 million production budget or Johnny Depp’s adorable children going hungry.
Finally, hanging on to the top five yet another week, Bridesmaids made $12 million and passed the $100 million mark. Not bad for a $32 million film starring actresses with little feature film recognition.
There wasn’t a lot popping in the indie world: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris did add another $3 million on only 167 screens and it looks like Allen might have himself a legitimate hit. Meanwhile, one of my favorite films of the year, Submarine, made a respectable $40,000 on four screens only. It’s also gratifying to see that, after 12 weeks of release, the little film that kind of could, Win Win, is approaching the $10 million mark. Go see it if it’s still in your neighborhood.