If our benevolent and cruel managing editor, TK, had not assigned me to review Popstar, I’d have done what almost every other moviegoer did over the weekend: Completely ignore the Lonely Island mockumentary. I was not impressed with the trailers, and couldn’t imagine an Andy Samberg movie sustaining a joke over the course of an entire hour and a half.
I was wrong. Popstar was fantastic, one of the funniest movies of the year, and far more clever than I might have ever anticipated. It was like a Christopher Guest movie for a new generation. Unfortunately, like most Christopher Guest movies, it didn’t make much of a dent at the box office, scoring a lousy $4.6 million, less than Lonely Island’s previous effort, Hot Rod made in its opening weekend and less, even, than the catastrophic box-office failure MacGruber (from director Jorma Taccone, also of Lonely Island).
Fortunately, both MacGruber and Hot Rod have found second lives for home viewers, and expect the same for Popstar.
Meanwhile, the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Out of the Shadows, was twice better than the original and made half the dough, proving how important it is to land the first in a franchise. People may show up in droves to see a first entry out of curiosity, but if it sucks, they’re much less likely to return for the second, even if it is marginally better. The $35 million put up by the sequel was $30 million less than the original made on the opening weekend.
Elsewhere, Emilia Clarke’s weeper, Me Before You was a modest success, racking up $18 million on a $20 million budget. It should earn its money back, but don’t expect to see a sequel featuring a Sam Claflin after he’s also lost the use of his arms.
In holdover news, X-Men: Apocalypse fell 66 percent and Alice Through the Looking Glass dropped 60 percent to continue their wan efforts at the box office. We are officially in a rut, and I somehow doubt Warcraft is going to interrupt it this weekend (although, Now You See Me 2 might continue the sleeper success of the original). Central Intelligence and Finding Dory will almost certainly reverse the tide in two weeks, however.
In better news, Zootopia crossed the $1 billion mark over the weekend, and The Lobster saw a decent jump after the A24 film added 500 theaters.
Finally, I’ll leave you with “Mona Lisa,” one of the hilarious tracks from Popstar, with an overall assessment with which I do not necessarily disagree (I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa in person. It was so small!)