Here’s a statistic that will surprise no one: The weekend’s number two film, Life As We Know It, both scored an A- with audiences on Cinemascore, and scored in the 90s with test audiences before it was released. Meanwhile, it fared well with around 29 percent of movie critics, according to RottenTomatoes.
Critics don’t like to believe that we’re more eclectic than mainstream audiences. Cinemablend wrote a nice piece the other day about 10 Common Misconptions that movie blog readers have, and one entry was the misconception that film critics always hate what’s popular. They did a nice job disproving that notion overall (nine of the top ten movies of all time also scored well with critics), except for this one sentence: “It’s not that film critics set out to like what’s popular or hate what’s popular, in general they simply like what’s good and hate what isn’t. Most of the time, so do you.”
The last sentence is not necessarily true. Sure, it’s true for most of our readers, and it’s true for the majority of people that bother to read reviews, but the majority of people — the people that talk loudly on the cell phone on the subway, the guy who cut you off the other day, and the people that bring their 3 year olds to R-Rated movies — don’t really like what’s good, or at least what I think is good. They like the crap that studios make. Or at least what we think is crap. They like “Mike & Molly,” and “Two and a Half Men,” and Michael Bay and Life As We Know It. The people I grew up with, those that we’re always suggesting that they read reviews so they can do the opposite of what the critic says: They do it because that’s what works for them. And who the hell am I to judge? Or any critic, for that matter. If they watched all the movies that I thought were great, they’d probably be unhappy moviegoers. To say what I like is good, and that the formulaic, predictable, high-concept studio star vehicles is bad is a matter of taste. They think I like crappy movies, and I think they like crappy movies, and the only thing we can all seem to agree upon is that Ghostbusters is the tits. The end.
In sum: If you want to be happy, if you want the movies you like to succeed at the box office, then stop reading so much. Stop expecting so much. Stop being so critical all the time. Stop caring about quality or creativity or inventiveness. Turn your fucking brains off and smile when Katherine Heigl smiles and laugh when Ashton Kutcher laughs and cry when Robin Williams dresses up like a goddamn clown and helps children with cancer. You high-fallutin motherfuckers; step off your high-horse and open your mind to the possibility that Michael Bay is the greatest thing to ever happen to cinema, you elitist assholes. Don’t try to change the product; change your perception of the product.
Let’s all be dumb.
Life As We Know It debuted at number two this weekend, scoring around $14.5 million. The Social Network held on to 40 percent of its audience (the highest hold percentage of any number one movie released this year) to take the top spot with $15.5 million. Secretariat — which scored an A with Cinemascore audiences — made $12.6 million to land at number three. The weekend’s other new entry, My Soul to Take debuted at number five with almost $6 million.
Meanwhile, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which opened in 750 theaters and made around $2 million, and Buried, which opened in 92 theaters and made $200,000, totally shit the box-office bed. Serves them right for not appealing to mainstream audiences. Go shit in your hat “indie theater.”