Things feel somewhat back to normal around here now as the Twilight fans seemed to have had their fun with the load of images I dropped on them yesterday and I am glad to make them happy, but it is back to business as normal and as always on a late Friday/early Saturday we have early Friday box-office estimates courtesy of Steve Mason at Fantasy Moguls and today's results may shock some and trend to a rather competitive box-office weekend overall.
I have got to be frank at the beginning here. This is what is so depressing about the box-office reports. Sure, we can look at reporting on box-office numbers as a bullshit practice that turns films into nothing more than surface level commodities, but it is also an excellent study of people and the times we are in. What connects and why? Beverly Hills Chihuahua is an awful film, but so many families will head to it and have fun and their kids will be entertained which gives parents a moment to breath. Even if they are breathing in 90 minutes of awful with Chihuahua they can at least hope it keeps the kids quiet for that time and they can just relax. I understand this. As much as I wish it wasn't the case I understand it.
However, what I don't understand is how Quarantine can take the Friday box-office #1 spot with $4.9 million while Body of Lies comes up short at $4.85 million. I don't say this because I think Quarantine is a bad film (I didn't see it) or a film that doesn't look good (it actually does and is currently at 70% at RottenTomatoes). I say this because the excuse many are making as to why Body of Lies isn't performing well is because it is set in the Middle East and the thought of a film set in the Middle East is disheartening for Americans.
Body of Lies stars bonafide stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe and is directed by Ridley Scott, whose last film (American Gangster) made $130 million. Mason at Moguls is quick to point out the problem with Body of Lies "is not pedigree, [it] is subject matter." The subject of course being terrorism. Mason then goes on to say this:
Let's face it. With the Dow down 18% this week, the biggest one-week drop in Wall Street history, ticket buyers are not necessarily looking for a complex, arcane, espionage thriller. With the country arguing over Presidential politics and life seeming very, very serious, a lot of people would rather see a funny movie about a dog in a purse.
Hmmmm, a funny movie about a dog and a purse? Or a horror in which people are quarantined in an apartment complex with some infectious virus that has people killing each other. To quote Eric Snider's review, "The firemen and the police (including one played by Columbus Short) find the woman incoherent, snarling, and dangerous. She makes her point by attacking a policeman and
Anyway, on Friday Quarantine came in #1 with its $4.9 milly, Body of Lies hit #2 with $4.85 and Beverly Hills Chihuahua nabbed #3 with $4.5 million. It appears that Chihuahua will leap frog #2 and bounce into #1 for the weekend with an anticipated weekend kiddy bump while Quarantine will slide to 3 with Body of Lies holding on to #2. Things could change, but Americans are quite predictable even though we continue to hope they will change.
Other new release, Universal's The Express seems to be hitting audiences the same way I looked at it when I skipped the screening to watch the debate, generic. Express racked up only $1.8 million on Friday and is expected to only rush for $5.5 milly for the weekend. Fox's City of Ember is the only other new wide release this weekend and it scored a measly $1 million on Friday and is expected to finish the weekend with $3.4 million. Reviews haven't been kind for Ember with reports on the film looking great but coming off rather dull. Too bad really.
Below I have the complete list of early Friday estimates from Fantasy Moguls. Now I urge anyone that reads this to now go out and see Body of Lies and don't let the dog take top prize or you are just asking for more like it. Laremy will be here Sunday with a complete wrap on the weekend.
- Quarantine (Sony) - $4.9 million
- Body of Lies (Warner Bros) - $4.85 million
- Beverly Hills Chihauhau (Disney) - $4.5 million
- Eagle Eye (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $2.85 million
- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (Sony) - $2.2 million
- The Express (Universal) - $1.8 million
- Nights in Rodanthe (Warner Bros) - $1.25 million
- The Duchess (Paramount Vantage) - $1.1 million
- City of Ember (Fox) - $1M, $495 PTA, $1 million
- Apaloosa (Warner Bros) - $950,000