After the robust numbers that Sex and the City 2 put up on Thursday ($14.5 million), there was another round of “the death of the critic” hair-pulling salvos launched on a slow-news Friday, as the last few print critics updated their CVs. But while hard-core SATC moviegoers showed up big on Thursday, the reviews (and bad word of mouth) seemed to take its toll over the weekend as a movie many were predicting to make $70 million over the holiday weekend wound up at $51 million overall (and only $37.1 million over the four-day weekend, which was only good for third place).
Suck it, people lamenting the death of the critic round 5,437. Indeed, movies like SATC 2 only embolden the critic. I bet nearly as many people read Lindy West’s review of that movie over on The Stranger as actually saw the film. Indeed, it’s movies like SATC that bring out the best in critics, I daresay, and while a movie critic may not make a huge impact on the box-office, the best ones offer valuable cultural commentary. So, congratulations, movie critics: You helped put a 3 - 5 percent dent in the final box-office returns over the weekend, but more importantly, many of you — or at least those that didn’t recycle “whore,” “hag,” and “bitch” over and over — managed to say something relevant about contemporary culture.
In second place over the weekend was the other big debut, Prince of Persia, which capitalized on the lack of anything else better to see. Seriously: There were several occasions over the weekend where I thought I’d really like to go see a movie right now, and then remembered that the only movie in theaters that I had not seen was Prince of Persia. I stayed home and rewatched DVDs, instead. Meanwhile, parents angling to get their kids out of the house for a few hours forced their indifferent teenagers to go experience Gyllenhaal’s abs to the tune of $37.8 million.
As I remarked in last weekend’s box-office round-up: While Shrek Forever After didn’t quite meet opening weekend expectations, we knew it’d have good legs. It’s the only thing the 3D theaters are showing, and there weren’t a lot of other family film offerings over the weekend. Indeed, Shrek 4 had a very small 21 percent drop, adding another $55 million to bring its total up to $145 million after 11 days and claim to number one spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row. You can expect $250 million domestic, easily.
The rest of the top ten were holdovers. Iron Man 2 added another $20 million and Robin Hood added $13 million. The difference between those two $200 million budgeted movies? Iron Man 2 is going to make $125 million profit domestically, while Robin Hood is going to lose $100 million domestically (but don’t fret for Russell Crowe; the movie has already added more than $150 million internationally and is in the black after three weeks). One other note: MacGruber added less than $2 million in its second weekend and will barely crack its $10 million budget. (It’s worth noting, too, that for a movie that was released in over 2500 theaters, MacGruber had the 9th worst opening of all time last weekend).