Another touchdown for “The Blind Side”

First of all, my apologies for the pedestrian football metaphor in my headline tonight, but all the good ones have already been taken. Add to that the fact that, with my knowledge of sports, you’re likely to end up with “‘The Blind Side‘ hits a grand slam'” or “‘The Blind Side’ scores a 3-pointer.”

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Be that as it may, the up-beat social issue/sports drama starring Sandra Bullock did indeed do extremely well this week. Taking a look at the Box Office Mojo chart, the $29 million film earned a very nice estimated $20.4 million for Warners and Alcon Entertainment in its second weekend and has so far earned a really terrific total amounting to roughly $129,264,00 so far.

As a comparison, my favorite movie of the year (that I’ve seen…I’m way, way behind), “Inglourious Basterds,” was considered quite the success. With a $70 million budget, after 16 weeks it has earned $120,467,000 for Harvey and Bob Weinstein. “2012” cost $200 million to make, a rather obscene sum that was unthinkable not so long ago, and in four weeks in wide release has earned a mere $148,787,000. I haven’t seen “The Blind Side,” but it just makes me happy that a modest movie about people is proving, I think, to be significantly more profitable than at least one pretty obviously bloated spectacle.

As for that other movie about teen vampires, werewolves, and waifs, B.O. Mojo’s Brandon Grey is here to tell us that “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” dropped another 63% this week. However, it’s opening week take was so stunning that meant it still took in a respectable estimated $15.7 million for Summit. It’s total domestic bankroll at this point is about $255.6 million and, as per Variety‘s Pamela McClintock, the worldwide total for “New Moon” is $570.1 so far. All that, with a budget of only about $50 million for a fantasy film. The “Twilight” films might not be seen by anyone as great cinema, but they are pretty awesome business.

Some bad guy in For you schadenfreude fanatics, Nikki Finke reminds us that both “The Blind Side” and the “Twilight” franchise were placed into turnaround by Fox and Paramount respectively. However, it’s always possible that those other studios would have found a way to mess up those pictures or their marketing, so who knows how things would have turned out with different studios?  In any case, no one wins all the time.

As for the actual new films in wide release this weekend, it’s not too pretty. As expected, the downbeat Afghanistan war-oriented drama, “Brothers,” came in at the #3 spot, but with an unimpressive estimated $9.7 million, though the modest budget ($3 million lower than “The Blind Side”) will help Jim Sheridan’s remake of a Danish hit to perhaps break even in the long run or do a bit better if Oscar notices it. Still, considering the three major, youngish stars, it’s another testament to the apparently declining value of star power. Are people finally getting sophisticated enough about filmmaking that they understand that actors, as crucial as they are, don’t actually make up the stories or point the camera? Nah. It’s gotta be something else.

In this case, I think the film was probably hurt by a dour ad campaign and the wrong kind of timeliness. People who care about what’s going on in Afghanistan, particularly those who have loved ones in the military or are in the military themselves, probably don’t want to spend their leisure/fun time thinking about it right now, and people who don’t care about it…don’t care about it. A little bit more critical buzz might have been nice as well.

As for the other three new releases, it kind of unpleasant, so I’ll start with the good news, which is that the Oscar and critical support building behind “Up in the Air” is paying off. In limited release in 15 theaters, the adult-oriented R-rated comedy from Jason Reitman earned $1.185 million for an airborne per-theater average of $79,000.

Okay, back to the bad news. Nimrod Antal’s PG-13 heist thriller, “Armored,” was sequestered from critics prior to its release, but actually got a could-have-been-worse 44% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Still, audiences  weren’t overly impressed and the film came in #6 and earned an uninspiring $6.6 million for Screen Gems in under 2000 theaters.

Robert De Niro and Kate Beckinsale in Everybody’s Fine” apparently wasn’t really doing so well. The attempt at a heart-warming family comedy-tearjerker starred Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and Sam Rockwell, but apparently even grandma wasn’t too interested in this one. It came in at the #10 spot on its opening weekend with only an estimate of a little above $4 million  from over 2000 theaters. Again, stars of any age group aren’t really doing it right now.

Not that having no stars is a good thing either. The week’s under-ballyhoed youth-oriented alleged horror-comedy, “Transylmania,” boasted a really dumb name and a trailer so unfunny  I dare not link to it a second time lest I bring a rain of destruction upon this blog and all who view it. Eight critics did venture into a theater to review the movie. Of course, they all hated it. Actually, if those eight tickets all went to the same theater, they would have wound being more than a third of the film’s beyond horrific opening weekend per-screen average of $232. It earned a truly sad $274,000 in over 1,000 theaters.  By comparison, 1985’s “Translyvania 6-5000” with, among others, Jeff Goldbloom, Ed Begley, Jr., Norman Fell, and Michael Richards was a blockbuster.

  

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