Overall, this might have been the best movie weekend of the year. There may have been better movies released in 2010 than The Town and Easy A, but I don’t think there’s been a weekend where two movies this good were released at the same time. What’s doubly great about having two smart, character-driven, competent, well-written, well-acted, and well-directed movies was that they were actually appreciated by audiences. Believe it: America gave a shit about quality films this weekend.
No: The numbers weren’t staggering, but — at least in the case of The Town — they were surprising. Ben Affleck’s follow-up to Gone Baby Gone — which has aged immensely well — outgrossed the entire box-office run of the former, scoring $23 million on the weekend to land at number one. Few were expecting this result, as neither of the three leads — Affleck, Renner, or Jon Hamm — are proven box-office commodities. But I think real moviegoers, especially those that appreciated Gone Baby Gone, came out to support Affleck. Easy A, meanwhile, was expected to be the top movie of the weekend; it landed at number two, but still put up a solid $18 million, which is the best opening for a teen movie since Superbad, and it’s the third biggest opening for a teen comedy overall (behind on Superbad and American Pie. I think Easy A is going to have legs, too; it should reach $80 million and make Emma Stone the legitimate star she deserves to be. And it’s going to be a monster on DVD.
Meanwhile, Devil opened at number three, with a decent $12 million, which isn’t a terrible showing for a small, low-budget film. It’s probably enough to ensure the another entry into Shyamalan’s Night Chronicle series.
Oh, and to those commenters who felt the need to spoil The Town and Devil in the comments section over the weekend: Listen. I know that the regular Pajiba commenters can be intimidating; I know that, in some cases, they make you feel intellectually inadequate; you probably feel like you can’t match their wit. They’re smarter than you; they have a better sense of humor. You can’t compete. So, you spoil movies, because it’s the only way you know how to attract attention to yourself. If you can’t beat ‘em, ruin everyone’s fun. Amiright? Your inferiority complex is transparent, but I get it. I forgive you; your life is sad enough as it is without me piling on. Hug?
In other news, Alpha and Omega fizzed, with a meager $9 million opening to land at number five, falling a place below last week’s number one film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, which fell 62 percent, grossing $10 million to bring its 10 day total to $43 million.
There were a lot of notable movies opening in limited release this weekend, too. The winner among them was probably Catfish, which racked up $21,000 per theater in 12 locations. Never Let Me Go did a solid $30,000 per theater in 4 locations. The news wasn’t as good for Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Jack Goes Boating ($7,500 in four locations), Ed Norton’s Leaves of Grass ($8,300 in 3 locations), or the phenomenal The Freebie ($4,000 in one location).