The box-office is in the news a lot of late, with Avatar now on the verge of surpassing Titanic to become the biggest grossing movie of all time, both domestically and worldwide (it surpassed Titanic worldwide yesterday). Once Avatar overtakes Titanic, however, most of the major records will belong to a handful of titles: Avatar (all time, biggest second through seventh weekends), The Dark Knight (fastest to reach $100 through $450 million, plus the biggest opening weekend of all time), E.T. (most weekends at number one and most weekends in the top ten) and New Moon (highest gross in a single day).
However, there are still plenty of other box-office records in existence, though most of them are seldom spoken of. I happen to absolutely love box-office numbers, and over the course of my time with Pajiba, BoxOfficeMojo is probably the site I visit more often than any other, save for IMDb (IMDb purchased BoxOfficeMojo just last year). I find the numbers weirdly fascinating, and often find myself lurking around the statistics trying to find inspiration for a seriously random list or a Guide.
That brings me to today’s SRL: Ten Completely Random, Obscure Box-Office Records.
Biggest One-Weekend Drop: Undiscovered (2005), which starred Ashley Simpson, Carrie Fisher, Fisher Stevens, and Shannon Sossaman, dropped 86 percent after its opening weekend (it made barely $1 million overall at the box office). It was about a group of aspiring entertainers trying to establish careers for themselves in the city of Los Angeles. If the performance of Undiscovered is any indication, they failed to do so.
The Biggest Per-Screen Average for a Widely Released Movie: Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds (2008), which had an average of $45,000 per screen, which means that — based on $8 per ticket and five screenings per day — each screening had around 375 people in attendance. That’s a huge concentration of Miley Cyrus fans. Where were the terrorists when we needed them? (The Dark Knight, with a $36,000 per screen average, is number two of all time in this category).
The Worst Opening Theater Average: Proud American (2008), some patriotic piece of shit written and directed by Fred Ashman, mustered only $128 per theater. Based on $8 per ticket and five screenings a day, that comes out to one person per screening, who could’ve masturbated furiously to the American flag and gone completely unnoticed. I have no idea how Ashman got this movie into wide release, but I suspect he had a lot of help from right-wing talk radio.
The Longest Number of Weeks It Took to Reach Number One at the Box Office: A Fish Called Wanda (1988) took ten weeks to reach number one at the box office, which it did by grossing a mere $2.5 million in its 10th week, to overtake Die Hard (which opened on the same day, ten weeks prior) on a weekend in which it was up against zero new competition. That’s interesting, if only because 99 percent of movies today — even the bigger ones — don’t remain in theaters for two-and-a-half months anymore.
The Highest Grossing NC-17 Movie of All Time: Showgirls (1995) made $20 million at the box office, surpassing Henry and June’s previous record of $11 million for an NC-17 film. I’m just surprised that Showgirls was NC-17; it’d probably get a hard PG-13 just 15 years later.
The Largest Market Share for One Movie over an Entire Weekend: Spider-Man 3 (2007), which had a whopping 83 percent of the opening weekend ticket sales around the country. Its main competition? Drew Barrymore’s Lucky You.
The Slowest Amount of Time It Took for a Film to Reach $200 million: Back to the Future (1985) took 232 days, or nearly seven months, to finally reach $200 million. Can you even believe a movie stayed in theaters for seven months? It opened on the 4th of July weekend in 1985 and crossed the $200 million mark in mid-February the next year. For comparison’s sake, the movies that were released around the 4th of July in 2009 (Public Enemies and Transformers 2) have already been out on DVD for a while.
The Sequel That Improved the Most Over the Original in Terms of Box Office Gross: Terminator 2 (1991) had a 434 percent improvement over the first Terminator, which only grossed $38 million, compared to the $204 million gross of the second movie. That must certainly mean that a whole shit-ton of people caught the original on VHS between the years of 1984 and 1991. (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Rambo: First Blood Part II are second and third on that list.)
The Biggest Opening Weekend, All Time, for a Horror Movie: Signs (2002) opened with $60 million, though who knew you could call Signs a horror movie. Shyamalan is also second on that list with The Village, which had a $50 million opening.
The Biggest Box-Office Bomb of All Time:The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002). Duds can actually be calculated under a few different factors, but if you take into account the overall gross of a film ($4.4 million) as a percentage of the budget ($100 million), in addition to expectations, as measured by the number of screens the movie was released on (2,320, in this case), then Pluto Nash has to be considered the biggest box-office bomb of all time, followed by Delgo (2009), which grossed $694,000 on a $40 million budget after opening on 2,160 screens.