A Hit, But Not a Monster

Hey, J.J. ... 38 is one of the good numbers, right?Does every movie need to have the biggest opening in the history of ever? Well, no, but it would have been nice if J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” — one of the most purely satisfying summer movies I’ve seen in a very long time — had done “Fast Five” or “Hangover II” business this weekend, just to shut people up about mass audiences shunning intelligent films in favor of simplistic bang-bang. Hell, I’d have settled for “X-Men” numbers.

Instead, “Super 8” opened with $38 million, which is entirely respectable for a non-franchise movie with no major stars on a non-holiday weekend, blah blah blah. In fact, the linked AP piece qualifies it specifically as:

the first original, live-action non-sequel to take the No. 1 slot in almost three months. The thriller “Limitless” led the field during the weekend of March 18-20.

And that “Limitless” opening was just $19 million, so “Super 8” is clearly the better picture.

Look, the box-office shouldn’t matter. All it tells us is which movie people most wanted to see in a given week; it says nothing about how many of those people actually enjoyed the film. At the same time, it’s great that “Super 8” tops the charts, because that might entice other people to go and check it out … but surely they’d be just as drawn to the movie by strong word-of-mouth, right?

More to the point, art isn’t a popularity contest. “The Tree of Life”, which is nudging at the top of my list of the year’s best films, has earned just $2.4 million in three weeks of North American release. I don’t think anyone in Terrence Malick’s office is keeping a close eye on the tally, though.

Have you seen “The Tree of Life”, by the way? Because you really should.

One thought on “A Hit, But Not a Monster”

  1. Word of mouth apparently didn’t do much for X-Men. It dropped 55% in its second weekend, which is typical for comic book summer movies. It’ll be gone from theaters in a few weeks.

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