Archive for the ‘Fast And Furious’ Category

2009’s Biggest Box Office Star: Stupidity!

October 16, 2009

After five days and $43.1 million, someone add Couples Retreat to the list!  2009 has been called the Era Of Easy Entertainment by many great film scholars (well…. really, just me) because in the doldrums of one our country’s worst-ever recessions, the film industry, particularly the less intellectual section of it, is thriving.  With depressing news on our TVs, depressing pink slips on our desks, and depressing bills in our mailboxes, it appears that Americans are decidedly in the mood for something light and fun.  Movies that offer a respite from these harsh realities seem to be the antidote-of-choice for many sad Americans, and 2009 has seen dumb movie after dumb movie top the box office.

Now when I say “dumb,” I am not claiming that these movies shouldn’t exist, nor am I trying to act pretentious and snobby.  I am merely stating that there have been a huge number of generally poorly-reviewed, generally illogical and senseless movies that have succeeded at the box office this year.  These films typically don’t take themselves very seriously, and though many are comedies, there have been equally stupid and equally successful action flicks and thrillers as well.  Americans like not having to think very hard when they’re at the movies, and 2009 has been all about cinematic junk food! Let’s take a look at some of the top benefactors of the EEE:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $402.1 million

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $179.9 million

Fast And Furious – $155.1 million

G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra – $149.2 million

Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $146.3 million

G-Force – $118 million

The Ugly Truth – $88.9 million

Knowing – $80 million

Hotel For Dogs – $73 million

I Love You, Man – $71.4 million

Obsessed – $68.3 million

The Final Destination – $66 million

Bride Wars – $58.7 million

Tell me, how many of these titles are people going to remember in ten years?  Heck, it hasn’t even been ten months and I can barely remember Knowing!  The point is, the above movies are reaping the benefits of a stressed American populace, capitalizing on the desire for escapism of so many people. 

Since When Do Articles Determine Sequels?

June 23, 2009

Remember that movie, the one where a group of kids are about do something, but one of them has this weird vision of a horrific crash, and pleas to the rest of them to leave, because they’re all going to die, and they think it’s all crazy until the accident does happen, and then they’re like, “whoa, you saw it before it happened,” but then they all start to die in really bizarre, completely implausible ways, because they never were supposed to survive that initial catastrophe?

Is it:
A. Final Destination
B. Final Destination 2
C. Final Destination 3
D. Legally Blonde

If you answered, A, B, or C, congratulations! You’ve identified a film series that is literally identical in it’s structure and plot, and solely exists to show horrific ways to die. Now, sequels are often retreads of the originals, but they usually have some semblance of a new plot or a new situation. These are carbon copy, cut from the same cloth movies (that suck ass, by the way) and managed to bring in enough cash to generate a fourth movie. The plot? I already wrote it, it’s up at the top. The ‘horrific accident’ this time takes place at a flipping Nascar race (apparently the creators thought they weren’t hitting the redneck demographic strongly enough), where a group of teens who are way too good looking to be watching Nascar barely escape a car crash that, evidently, levels the entire stadium. Death starts picking them off one by one, yada yada yada, the end. Here’s the trailer:

Wait, wait, wait. Did you catch that title? The Final Destination? That’s all it takes to designate a sequel now? An article? Evidently the first two follow-ups weren’t good enough to get such a definite article in the word ‘the.’ It must have borrowed the ‘the’ from Fast and Furious (A series which already has the shittiest sequel titles known to man), which dropped its article to show everybody it was a brand new movie. God, let’s hope this isn’t the start of a titling trend. Iron Man 2 gets renamed The Iron Man. I’ll stick with my numbers, thanks. Call me old fashioned.

And did you notice the part of the trailer that said, “Death…Saved the best…” when I first saw this, and realized what it was, I mumbled under my breath “please be ‘for last,'” over and over again. Nope. “Death…Saved the best…For 3D.”

Oh shit. I was hoping this series could go the way all it’s character’s do, but they’ve completely left it open for a sequel, which they’ll make. And 3D? Alright, that’s the one thing this movie has going for it. Maybe. But I’m still pissed they teased the possibility of me never having to watch one of those movies again just to reveal they’ll be making the blood and body parts fly OUT OF THE SCREEN this time.

Awesome. Can’t wait. I still maintain that, gramatically, this should be the last movie. Since it’s ‘TheFinal Destination, it means there can’t be another.

Right?

Please?

The Buzz Meter: Dragonball: Evolution Lives Up To Its Buzz. Unfortunately, That Buzz Was Almost Nonexistent.

April 14, 2009

The experiment continues! In case you forgot, or didn’t see the original post about the Current Cultural Popularity Index, it’s a tool that I slapped together in order to gauge whether films were exceeding the buzz that surrounded them or crumbling beneath it. Well, I’m renaming it this week. It shall heretofore be known as The Buzz Meter. Here’s how it works:

On Friday, I will look up the title of each film in Google News. The number of results that Google News accrues will serve as the News Rating for the Index. I hope all that makes sense. The rest is pretty simple.

Once I have gotten the News Rating for each film, I then look at the weekend gross for each film. Obviously, this will makes up the box office part of the Index. The final step is to divide the weekend box office by the Buzz Rating for each film. This resulting number is something I will call the Current Cultural Popularity Number. The higher the CCPN, the more that a certain film actually matters to audiences at any given time. The CCPN illustrates the extent to which audiences are consuming what the media is presenting them. I will rank the films by their Current Cultural Popularity. Here’s the chart, followed by some notes:


The Buzz Meter
for April 10-12

CCPN
Rank
Movie
Title
Weekend
Box Office
News Rating
(# Of Articles)
Current Cultural
Popularity #
Actual
Rank
1 Hannah Montana The Movie $32,324,487 2,829 11,487 1
2 Fast And Furious $27,237,905 2,829 9,299 2
3 Observe And Report $11,017,334 1,377 8,000 4
4 Dragonball: Evolution $4,756,488 871 5,460 8
5 Monsters Vs. Aliens $21,812,253 8,380 2,603 3
6 Knowing $6,433,433 2,828 2,274 5
7 Sunshine Cleaning $1,733,473
787 2,202 12
8 The Haunting In Connecticut $5,901,215 2,734 2,158 7
9 I Love You, Man $6,280,790 3,449 1,821 8
10 Adventureland $3,353,618 2,687 1,248 9
11 Race To Witch Mountain $1,908,670 1,784 1,070 11
12 Duplicity $2,995,850 3,963 755 10

Hannah Montana The Movie certainly lived up to it’s buzz, with a high CCPN of 11,487, but it’s not nearly the breakout hit that Fast And Furious was with its 25,000 CCPN last week! Just goes to show how absolutely HUGE F&F‘s debut was. It’s still doing well with a nice 9,299

-The fact that Observe And Report and Dragonball: Evolution did rather poorly at the box office yet still have fairly good CCPN’s of 8,000 and 5,460, respectively, shows one thing. The studios did not do a good job of promoting the film and exciting the media, for there were very few articles written for either film. In fact, they had two of the three lowest News Ratings, which is just not okay for a brand new film, especially when Fox paid $100-120 million to produce Dragonball!

Monsters Vs. Aliens has the highest News Rating by FAR, which should push down it’s CCPN, and yet it still has the fifth highest number at 2,603. The massive news exposure and good word-of-mouth from families is helping Monsters Vs. Aliens hold its own.

-Wow, no one but the media cares about Duplicity.

Once again, I’d like to ask you for some feedback. What do you think of the chart? Is it helpful at all or just kind of dumb? I’m genuinely interested in hearing what you think. Please give me some constructive criticism in the comments!

Weekend Fix: Hannah Montana Rules The Easter Roost

April 12, 2009

Sorry about the delay in getting this week’s Weekend Fix posted, but I was at home celebrating my birthday and Easter with my family. It was a great weekend. Anyway, at this point, if you’re a box office follower, you already know that The Hannah Montana Movie crushed the competition with $34 million, Observe And Report underwhelmed with $11.1 million, and Dragonball: Evolution flat out flopped with a very sad $4.6 million. You already know that Fast And Furious dipped a large 59% to $28.7 million, while Monsters Vs. Aliens had a much softer 31% drop to $22.6 million, giving them $118 million and $144 million, respectively. You already know that Knowing and I Love You, Man saw tiny drops of 18% and 17%, further verifying their leggy nature. Thus, because I know that you know these things, because I know that you have other box office websites you visit, because I know that a generic summation of the weekend’s events would be pointless, I’m not going to do a regular write-up. Let me just sum up what I noticed this weekend in a few bullet points:

1. Once again, the fangirls have flexed their box office muscle. With the Twilight DVD already having sold 6 million copies in its first two weeks, and the fantastic $34 million opening of The Hannah Montana Movie, tween girls are proving themselves to be one of the most lucrative audiences in America. Young girls defintely displayed more buying power than the guys Observe And Report was targeting, and certainly more than Dragonball‘s disinterested gamer audience.

2. Miley Cyrus, Tyra Banks, and Taylor Swift are going to take over the world. Honestly, Disney nabbed up all three moguls for The Hannah Montana Movie, and I’m a bit weary of the founding of this triumvirate of power. Seriously, people, we need to be concerned! We live in a country with more women than men, and if these ladies grab enough influence, we might be mandated to sing, dance, make myspace videos, and smile with our eyes until the day we die!

3. Seth Rogen is no Paul Blart. The actor has had a rough run in the recession. Zack And Miri Make A Porno only found $31.4 million last year, and Observe And Report stumbled out of the gate with $11.4 million. It looks like while comedy is in, mean comedy is not. I Love You, Man is just as bawdy, but it’s thriving, probably because it seemed like a whole lot more fun than Observe And Report. We’re in the Era Of Easy Entertainment- audiences don’t want to think too hard, and the Rogen/Faris comedy looked a bit drab and not lighthearted enough.

4. Sunshine Cleaning, after adding 119 theaters, held right where it was last week at $1.8 million dollars. The Amy Adams and Emily Blunt film is becoming a nice, little sleeper hit.

Top 12 For April 10-12
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Hannah Montana The Movie $34,000,000 New $10,904 $34,000,000
2 Fast And Furious $28,782,880 -59% $8,290 $118,042,070
3 Monsters Vs. Aliens $22,617,000 -31% $5,468 $141,009,000
4 Observe And Report $11,140,000 New $4,085 $11,140,000
5 Knowing $6,670,000 -18% $2,280 $68,006,117
6 I Love You, Man $6,412,000 -17% $2,426 $58,997,000
7 The Haunting In Connecticut $5,710,000 -40% $2,098 $46,300,000
8 Dragonball: Evolution $4,650,000 New $2,132 $4,650,000
9 Adventureland $3,433,000 -40% $1,830 $11,450,000
10 Duplicity $2,996,625 -28% $1,525 $36,848,220
11 Race To Witch Mountain $2,000,000 -38% $921 $62,056,000
12 Sunshine Cleaning $1,804,000 0% $3,017 $7,223,257
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

Friday Estimates: Hannah Montana Earns $15 Million On First Day! Biggest Easter Weekend Ever?

April 11, 2009

Steve Mason just posted his exclusive Friday Estimates over at Big Hollywood, and it looks like Hannah Montana The Movie could be headed for a $40+ million weekend! Of course, it will probably be front-loaded, as hordes of tweenage girls rushed out to see the film on opening night, so a $35 million gross seems reasonable. That would put the Disney film as the second-best Easter weekend ever, behind only Scary Movie 4‘s $40 million bow. Between the strength of Hannah Montana and Fast And Furious, which should grab about $28 million over the frame, and Monsters Vs. Aliens, which might find $20 million, we could be looking at the best Easter weekend box office of all time. In less exciting news, Seth Rogen’s Observe And Report underwhelmed with just $4.3 million on Friday, and Dragonball: Evolution flat-out bombed with just $1.9 million. The should find $12 million and $4.5 million, respectively. Here are Steve Mason’s early estimates (how does he get them so fast?!):

EXCLUSIVE STEVE MASON EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – Hanna Montana The Movie (Disney) – $15M, $4,811 PTA, $15M cume
2. Fast & Furious (Universal) – $10M, $2,880 PTA, $99.25M cume
3. Monsters vs. Aliens (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $8.1M, $1,958 PTA, $126.5M cume
4. NEW – Observe & Report (Warner Bros) – $4.25M, $1,558 PTA, $4.25M cume
5. The Haunting in Connecticut (Lionsgate) – $1.7M, $625 PTA, $42.28M cume
6. I Love You Man (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $2.11M, $798 PTA, $54.7M cume
7. Knowing (Summit) – $1.95M, $667 PTA, $63.28M cume
8. NEW – Dragonball: Evolution (Fox) – $1.92M, $880 PTA, $1.92M cume
9. Adventureland (Miramax) – $1.1M, $586 PTA, $9.11M cume
10. Duplicity (Universal) – $750,000, $382 PTA, $34.6M cume

What do you think of all this box office madness? Did you think Hannah would break out this big, and how much do you think it will finish with this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

What’s Everyone Else Predicting? Box Office Analysts Unite!

April 10, 2009

It’s high time that someone took the initiative and united all the different box office analysts out there! So many great sites are dedicated to studying the trends of the film industry, and I thought it might be nice to put together a chart of all our various box office predictions each week and see how we compare to one another. I’ve placed some links at the top of the chart, so you can read everyone else’s weekend forecasts. What do you think of this idea?

Box Office Analyst Predictions
Film
Title
The Box
Office Junkie
Box Office
Magazine
The-
Numbers
Box Office
Prophets
Box Office
Guru
Slash
Film
Fast And Furious $30.0 M $31.0 $29.5 $27.5 $32.0 $30.0
Hannah Montana The Movie $27.0 M $29.0 $25.0 $22.0 $26.0 $24.6
Monsters Vs. Aliens $20.0 M $21.0 $18.0 $19.6 $21.0 $21.0
Observe And Report $18.0 M $16.0 $15.0 $18.0 $14.0 $19.5
Dragonball: Evolution $11.0 M $7.5 $6.0 $5.0 $8.0 $10.7
I Love You, Man $5.0 M $5.6 $4.4 $4.9
The Haunting In Connecticut $4.8 M $5.3 $4.6 $5.1
Knowing $4.7 M $5.8 $4.7 $4.8
Adventureland $3.5 M $3.9 $2.9 $3.4
Duplicity $2.3 M $2.4 $2.4
Sunshine Cleaning $1.9 M $2.3
Race To Witch Mountain $1.6 M

Weekend Preview: Hannah Montana And Seth Rogen Will Try To Topple Fast And Furious Over The Easter Frame

April 10, 2009

Every once in a while, you’ll see a weekend frame that has two debuting films for which it would be absolutely awesome if you could switch their casts. The last time I remember feeling that way was on October 24-26, 2008, when Saw V and High School Musical 3 both premiered, and this weekend I feel the same way, as Disney’s Miley Cyrus vehicle Hannah Montana The Movie and Seth Rogen’s Observe And Report hit theaters. Those two films will take on reigning champion Fast And Furious in the battle for the Easter crown, and I don’t mean the religious kind. Dragonball: Evolution is also debuting, but it’s not looking like it will make much of an impact.

You may have read a certain devilish post by my unfortunately misguided colleague, Reed, about the inevitable apocalypse that will accompany the debut of Disney’s Hannah Montana The Movie. Well, I’m a bit more optimistic about the situation, so allow me to stick up for the tween sensation. I’ve never picked on Disney and their veritable pantheon of singing/dancing/acting stars like Zac Efron, Selena Gomez, or Miley Cyrus. Considering the sexed-up alternatives (Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, etc), I’d rather see my little sisters fawn over the clean-cut kids in High School Musical or Hannah Montana any day of the week. Furthermore, I really do think that Disney finds the best of the best when it comes to talent. Say what you will about the company, but they’ve got a pretty great track record when it comes to finding the most talented children (Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, etc), and despite her occasionally grating public persona, Miley Cyrus is a great entertainer that audiences clearly connect with. She seems to me like a perfectly normal 16 year-old, and I don’t think she’s done anything that any other girl her age hasn’t. Plus, she gets major respect points from me for actually singing live!

Okay, now that I’m done defending Miley Cyrus, let’s focus on her equally (more?) famous alter ego, Hannah Montana, and her chances at the box office this weekend. The Disney Channel has never had a show as successful as Hannah Montana, which has become an industry in its own right. Dolls, video games, soundtracks, concerts, 3-D concert movies- it all just keeps making money! Last year, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour opened to $31 million dollars, but that was with $15 tickets, the 3-D gimmick, and the idea that the film would only be running for one week. Hannah Montana The Movie will be lucky to achieve that high of a number, but it should still find a solid debut. In 2003, Disney’s Hilary Duff vehicle, The Lizzie McGuire Movie earned $17 million in its opening weekend, but Hannah Montana is way bigger than Lizzie McGuire ever was. Marketing has been strong, excitement is high among the core fanbase, and reviews are fine, though I can’t think of a more review-proof film than this one. Rolling into 3,111 theaters, parents will be happen to take their daughters to a film that is guaranteed to be sweet and non-controversial. Give it $28 million over the weekend.

On the completely opposite end of the spectrum is Warner Brothers’ Observe And Report, which looks essentially like an edgy, crude, funny version of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Starring Seth Rogen as a police officer who takes his mall security very seriously, the film also features the wonderful comedienne Anna Faris. Critics are split on the film, which is currently sitting with a 59% rating at RT. Some are praising Observe And Report for its ballsy approach to comedy, while others disapprove of its blatant meanness and lack of a moral. Historically, audiences prefer conventional humor, and this shounds to me like a film that’s tough to love. Still, Rogen has considerable drawing power (I attribute the underwhelming $31 million finish of Zack And Miri Make A Porno mostly to the title of the film), and other male-oriented comedies like Role Models, Pineapple Express, and I Love You, Man have been successful lately. Debuting in 2,727 theaters, Observe And Report might apprehend about $18 million this weekend.

The final new film debuting this weekend is Fox’s Dragonball: Evolution, which actually seemed like a good idea two years ago. I’ve never seen a film lose steam quite the way that Dragonball has, and excitement over its production has steadily decreased in the past year. Based on the popular TV show, which was in turn based on the popular manga series, Evolution tells the story of a group of powerful individuals all vying to control the Universe by possessing mystical objects called “dragonballs.” Sound silly? That’s because it is. While the TV show definitely created a built-in audience for this flick, bad reviews and general disinterest are going to keep this from becoming a fanboy favorite. The lowish 2,181 theater count doesn’t reveal that Fox has a hue amount of cofidence in Dragonball: Evolution, and I think Goku and the gang should probably come in with about $11 million this weekend.

Fast And Furious should race to the top spot (I made a palindrome!) again this weekend. After its record-breaking $70.9 million debut, it has decelerated pretty quickly throughout the week, and a drop of about 60% seems in order for the actionfest. But at this point, it’s all gravy for the studio, and Paul Walker and Vin Diesel have to be thanking their agents for convincing them to come back to the franchise. Give the Universal effort $30 million, with Hannah Montana hot on its heels. Meanwhile, Monsters Vs. Aliens should benefit from the family friendly nature of Easter weekend, and see a drop of about 35-40%, which would give it $20 million over three days and $138 million overall. It should be a great weekend at the box office! Here are my full predictions:

Predicted Top 12 For April 10-12, 2009
1. Fast And Furious – $30 million
2. Hannah Montana The Movie – $27 million
3. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $20 million
4. Observe And Report – $18 million
5. Dragonball: Evolution – $11 million
6. I Love You, Man – $5 million
7. The Haunting In Connecticut – $4.8 million
8. Knowing – $4.7 million
9. Adventureland – $3.5 million
10. Duplicity – $2.3 million
11. Sunshine Cleaning – $1.8 million
12. Race To Witch Mountain – $1.6 million

Am I totally off base or right on the money with my predictions? And am I crazy for defending Hannah Montana? Let me hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments!

Fast, Furious, And Front-Loaded

April 9, 2009

Current chart-topper, Fast And Furious, earned $30.5 million on its first Friday, on the way to a massive $70.9 million in its opening weekend. That represents a pretty low internal multiplier of 2.32. For those uninitiated to internal multipliers, they are calculated by simply dividing the total weekend gross by the Friday gross. So in this case, $70.9 million/$30.5 million = 2.32 internal multiplier. In general, a fairly typical internal multiplier is about 3.0. Often you’ll see a family film garner a higher multiplier of about 3.5-4.0, and often you’ll see teen and horror films earn something closer to a 2.0-2.5. These internal multipliers are helpful in figuring out the overall multiplier for a film, which is the total gross divided by the opening weekend. (For example, if a film earns $75 million total after opening to $25 million, it would have a multiplier of 3.0, which is again the standard multiplier for most movies.) Internal multipliers pretty much match up with overall multipliers, so I’d expect something around a 2.3 multiplier for Fast And Furious, giving it about $165-170 million when all is said and done.

I only bring this up because I was looking at the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday box office for Fast And Furious (found right here), and it’s front-loadedness is already quite apparent. Whereas most films saw a 10% increase on Tuesday, F&F fell 9%, and when the rest of the pack fell about 6% on Wednesday, F&F fell 17%. A lot of this is due to the fact that the film opened so huge, and trust me, Universal is more than satisfied with the amount of money Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are raking in, but I expect it to fall pretty quickly from here.

How much do you think Fast And Furious will earn overall?

New Feature: The Current Cultural Popularity Index

April 7, 2009

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to compare how much money movies are earning versus the amount of buzz that surrounds them with some sort of measurable statistic. You see, for every Taken, which arose out of relative obscurity to earn $24.7 million over its opening weekend, there’s a Snakes On A Plane, which everyone was talking about, yet it could only muster $13.8 million in its opening frame. Often the media is ablaze with thousands of articles about a film, only for it to fall flat upon its release. Often the media doesn’t bother to report much upon a film, yet it does very well financially. Often (and probably most often), the media reports endlessly on a film, and it consequently goes on to make hundreds of millions of dollars. I simply wanted a way to document this relationship of buzz and box office. Therefore, I’ve created the Current Cultural Popularity Index.

Here’s how the Current Cultural Popularity Index will work. On Friday, I will look up the title of each film in Google News. I will enter the title in quotations to assure the most accurate results. For example, I would write “Fast And Furious” or “The Haunting In Connecticut.” If the title is a single generic word, I will also include the last name of the lead actor or actress, so that I don’t get every single article that includes that word in the results. For example, for the movie Knowing, I would look up: knowing cage. The number of results that Google News accrues will serve as the Buzz Rating for the Index. I hope all that makes sense. The rest is pretty simple.

Once I have gotten the Buzz Rating for each film, I then look at the weekend gross for each film. Obviously, this will makes up the box office part of the Index. The final step is to divide the weekend box office by the Buzz Rating for each film. This resulting number is something I will call the Current Cultural Popularity Number. The higher the CCPN, the more that a certain film actually matters to audiences at any given time. The CCPN illustrates the extent to which audiences are consuming what the media is presenting them. I will rank the films by their Current Cultural Popularity. Here’s my very first version of the chart:

The Current Cultural Popularity Index
CCPN
Rank
Movie
Title
Weekend
Box Office
Buzz Rating
(# Of Articles)
Current Cultural
Popularity #
Actual
Rank
1 Fast And Furious $70,950,500 2,801 25,330 1
2 Monsters Vs. Aliens $32,609,165 8,733 3,760 2
3 The Haunting In Connecticut $9,481,647 2,612 3,411 3
4 Knowing $8,146,156 2,779 2,931 4
5 Sunchine Cleaning $1,807,164 759 2,371 10
6 Adventureland $5,722,039 2,634 2,172 6
7 I Love You, Man $7,722,468 4,025 1,918 5
8 12 Rounds $2,260,906 1,543 1,465 9
9 Race To Witch Mountain $3,212,602 2,504 1,282 8
10 The Last House On The Left $1,259,325 1,272 990 12
11 Duplicity $4,174,240 4,466 934 7
12 Taken $1,544,471 2,022 763 11

Here are my immediate thoughts:
1. Fast And Furious is definitely the most popular movie out right now. By a lot.
2. Sunshine Cleaning has breakout potential. It’s really exceeding its buzz.
3. The media cares about Julia Roberts and Duplicity. The public does not.
4. The Buzz Rating for Taken was tough to calculate. I tried to filter out all the articles that were actually about Liam Neeson’s late wife, Natasha Richardson, but I don’t know how well I did.

Now, I want your feedback. Scratch that- I need your feedback! Do you think the Current Cultural Popularity Index is interesting/useful? Is this something I should keep doing? Any suggestions for different ways I could calculate the statistics that might make this chart more helpful and informative? Trust me, this is going to be a learning process for me too, but as for this trial edition, I personally found it fascinating. I’m fully planning on continuing. But hey, you might not agree. Please give me a piece of your mind in the comments!

Fast And Furious Proves It Yet Again: The Era Of Easy Entertainment!

April 6, 2009

Okay, so by now, we’ve all let it process that Fast And Furious earned $70.9 million over its opening weekend! In April! The biggest April weekend of all time by $30 million dollars! Not since April 2003, when Anger Management had a $40 million weekend, has a film opened this big during the rainiest month of the year. It’s seriously amazing that Universal managed to get the third sequel of a “dying” franchise on the top of the charts. Take a look at what people were predicting:

Box Office Guru: $43 million
Slashfilm: $48 million
Box Office Prophets: $41 million
Box Office Report: $52 million
Entertainment Weekly: $41 million
The Box Office Junkie: $38 million

The closest prediction was a full $20 million off! Now, am I simply justifying my own ineptitude, as my prediction was the worst of any of those? Well, sort of. But more importantly, I’m using Fast And Furious‘ crazy $72.5 million weekend to justify my theory of 2009: The Era Of Easy Entertainment. I made this theory back in January, but with the success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Knowing, and now Fast And Furious, the EEE has held true throughout the first part of the year. In the sour times of this recession, Americans clearly want to go the movies for the escapism they offer, and furthermore, when they attend the theater, the last thing people want to do is think too hard. Therefore, the titles that features gag humor, obvious plots, and lots and lots of explosions are going to succeed right now. Cinematic comfort food!