The Terror Continues

I see angry peopleNope, M. Night Shyamalan’s career is not over.

Despite almost uniformly absymal reviews and a third-place opening behind the “Hulk” sequel and “Kung Fu Panda”, “The Happening” grossed $30.5 million on its opening weekend — which is enough to keep the director’s little crazy boat afloat for another movie.

As Variety explains, “The Happening” may not have ruled the box-office, but it outperformed expectations (which were that it would die a quick and ignominious death by starvation) by placing at all:

Movie racked up the second-best June bow for an R-rated pic after last year’s “Knocked Up” ($30.7 million).

The second-best R-rated opening for the month of June! Ever! Why, when you see it through that lens, it almost doesn’t matter that it’s the year’s most spectacular failure!

Nope, it doesn’t matter at all. The movie gets to chart, Fox gets something resembling a success (though I’m willing to bet next weekend’s gross is going to see the worst percentage drop since the “Matrix” sequels) and Shyamalan can rationalize the sucky opening as a quirk of the schedule: Fanboys went to see the Hulk movie, kids went to see the cartoon, and besides, he didn’t make this movie for them anyway. Everybody’s happy.

Well, except for the people who paid to see the misbegotten thing. But really, who cares about them?

7 thoughts on “The Terror Continues”

  1. I bet the actual biggest percentage drop between 1st and 2nd weekends was Serenity, which cracked the top 10 its 1st weekend, only to sink like a stone because all the Firefly fans saw it opening day, showing up 3 months later on DVD in time for every good little browncoats stocking.

    Can’t stop the signal.

  2. Serenity’s week-to-week drop actually wasn’t that precipitous, if only because it started out so small. It opened with $10 million and then slid to $5 million in the second week. A 50% falloff is pretty common for sci-fi movies. Of course, the bigger problem is that no one went to see it in the first place.

    In this case, they did stop the signal.

  3. Since only about 12 people saw Firefly when it originally aired before being strangled in its infancy by the network, its success on DVD and the existence of Serenity at all is kind of a success story. A better success story than the one Norm described about The Happening doing better than expectations, leading to the possibility of…more…M…Night…Shyamalan…movies!?!
    There truly is no justice in the ‘verse. (I’d curse in Chinese, but I never did pick up any actual words.)

    If anyone reading still hasn’t watched Firefly, go now, watch it. You’ll laugh…you’ll cry.

    Sorry, Norm, to use your blog for crass proselytising purposes.

  4. In adjusted dollars, I think Exorcist II: The Heretic still provides the most extreme opening/downfall ratio in film history. Lineups around the block first night, followed by silence, cobwebs, and a few tumbleweeds rolling down the aisles until it limped out of theatres. And if John Boorman’s reading this, sorry to open old wounds.

  5. Should Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate be considered? Surely closing on opening day gives a 100% drop between 1st and 2nd weekends.

  6. Chris wins!

    And for the record, they can take my HD DVD of “Serenity” from my cold, dead hands … or until Universal releases the Blu-ray edition, whichever comes first.

    I mean, I’m not welded to it or anything.

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