21 Jul


1. The Conjuring/WB                             Wknd/$  41.5            Total/$  41.5

 2. Despicable Me 2/Universal             Wknd/$  25.1            Total/$ 276.2

 3. Turbo/Fox                                           Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  31.2

 4. Grown Ups 2/Sony                            Wknd/$  20.0            Total/$  79.5

 5. Red 2/LG                                             Wknd/$  18.5            Total/$  18.5

 6. Pacific Rim/Warners                         Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$  68.2

 7. R.I.P.D./Universal                              Wknd/$  12.8            Total/$  12.8

 8. The Heat/Fox                                      Wknd/$    9.3            Total/$ 129.3

 9. World War Z/Paramount                  Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$ 186.9

10. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$ 249.0



The Conjuring opens gangbusters at number one and as everyone knows: I don’t do the scary.  Especially if it looks even remotely effective and this looked somewhat effective.  No matter how many times I saw it, when those hands popped up out of nowhere to clap behind Lili Taylor? Messed. Me. Up.  But clearly I’m the only one who didn’t turn out to see it and right now they’re trying to figure out how to make a sequel to something that was a true story.  But they made a million Amityville Horror movies so I’m sure they’ll find a way.



Despicable Me 2 holds at number two just to spite me I’m sure.  It’s followed by Turbo, opening at number three and nothing says your animated film sucks more than one that’s been out for three weeks still beating you at the box office. This movie has two problems that doomed it from the start: 1) Ryan Reynolds is your star voice.  2) its premise makes no sense and they actually acknowledge it in the commercials. A snail can’t race in the Indy 500.  I know it seems contrary to argue about what makes sense in a kid’s movie about talking snails that move at 200 mph, but even in the realm of talking animal children’s films, there are still rules.  The best comparison is Ratatouille.  It was also about a creature that longed for something in the human world that was its polar opposite.  The difference being people don’t just suddenly accept a rat as a chef.  Here people suddenly decided that a snail could be part of a car races when we’re shown earlier that they exist in different worlds as opposed to a world like Shrek or Warner Brother cartoons where animals walk, talk and behave like humans. If a child can comprehend a car race then he or she understands that only cars are in it. Not trains, not plains and not snails. This sounds like the concept of two stoned filmmakers that got out of control.  Incompetent and lazy stoned filmmakers at that if they didn’t put the effort in to find a way to make it work.  The snail could simply have been the pet of a driver who drew inspiration from its ability to suddenly move fast and he kept it in the cab with him.  But no, they wanted a snail to race in the Indy 500 and didn’t care whether or not it made sense. Despicable Me 2 thanks them. And it thanks Ryan Reynolds.



Grown Ups 2 is down to number four followed by RED 2 opening poorly at number five and the first one was a classic example of a movie that was “meh” in the theater but totally enjoyable on cable at 1:00 am.  This one…not so much. Clearly they understood that the real appeal of RED was the chemistry of the ensemble cast and how they relished in playing a bunch of killers. Helen Mirren and John Malkovich especially.  Add in some Ernest Borgnine gravitas, Richard Dreyfus ham, wicked wit from Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox and a dose of fresh blood from Karl Urban and you had some late night cable fun. Willis is back but now he wants to enjoy retirement as opposed to the guy forced into it.  This is putting him slightly at odds with Mary Louise Parker, back as his bright-eyed girlfriend who prefers the excitement of bullets to brunch and John Malkovich who is more than happy to try and bring her into their world.  Unfortunately both he and Mirren have lost a little of the energy of the first film because they clearly put no effort into writing their characters and just have them do the same thing over again (actually Malkovich does less). So basically it’s a typical sequel.  They even xerox the plot. Once again, they’re marked for death because of a mission they barely remember, but without the basic logic of a politician trying to clean up his dirty past.  In fact if you think about it, it makes no sense whatsoever that they’d be trying to kill them this time. If anything they’re needed alive to clean it up.  We’re also missing the fun of them going memory lane and “getting the band back together.”  A different mission means different actors and they waste this opportunity.  Catherine Zeta-Jones pops up as a former KGB agent and lover of Bruce Willis, but is wasted on jokes about Mary Louise Parker being jealous.  Even the action scenes are dull and overlong. The fun in the first film was that it was unexpected these retirees could still kick ass. Now they mow through legions of people like Bond in his prime.  It’s just boring.  By the time they go to Moscow then back to London with some plot involving Anthony Hopkins I began checking my watch to see when it would end. At least this means there won’t be a third.



Pacific Rim is down to number six and I feel badly for this silly ass movie, which is all kinds of fun and not insultingly stupid like a Transformers film which make zillions more.  But like I said, American audiences aren’t buying you building giant robots to fight giant monsters.  We like to fight our giant monsters with guts and tanks and brains and planes. Transformers gets a pass from us because those robots came from space and also turn into things we do like in America: cars.  It’s doing better overseas, but it may not be enough. Then again, it hasn’t opened yet in the home of the giant robot: Japan.  But I doubt if they’re going to come up with the $300M extra this needs to make to be profitable theatrically. I say “theatrically” because home video is another animal that has saved many a film, especially those of Guillermo Del Toro.



It’s a perfect storm of failure in R.I.P.D., opening at number seven because not only does it star Ryan Reynolds, who flopped earlier with Turbo, but Mary Louise Parker who flopped earlier with Red 2.  Funnier still this director is the guy who directed the first Red movie.  Thinking he’s regretting not taking the sequel now?  Clearly not having learned anything from Joe Piscopo’s Dead Heat, they decided to make Men In Black but with dead people and with no young minority star presence to make you feel old and unhip. It’s even based on a comic book that you’ve never heard of like Men In Black.  But again, we know it’s Ryan Reynolds keeping people out of the theaters. Let’s not pretend it isn’t. He’d boring, he’s bland and his very presence is a clear sign of a mediocre if not downright awful film.  Jeff Bridges doesn’t care. He’ll do dumb big budget films for money, then go make something like Crazy Heart or True Grit, to which this almost seems like an unofficial sequel given his character.  Now that’s something I’d have paid to see.  The main reason Men In Black worked (better writing and directing aside) is because of the central joke that the reason NYC seems full of weirdoes is that they were all from space.  What’s the central joke here?  Exactly.



The Heat is down to number eight and at $129M from a $43M budget this is an unqualified hit and again, so much for The Proposal being a hit because of anything having to do with Ryan Reynolds. But if you think this means more films with female leads keep dreaming. All this is domestic. It’s made nothing overseas and that’s what studios look to these days.  Basically this might as well star black people as far as Hollywood is concerned because a lack of foreign box office also their excuse for no minority casting.  Not that that they’re racist or sexist. Oh, no. Clearly there are something’s that only foreign money can buy that are beyond the reach of US dollars. Certain cheeses I understand…



World War Z is down to number nine and the author of the book finally saw the movie and admitted he liked it, but mainly because it has so little to do with his book it didn’t ruin it. It’s a win-win for him. He got a check and his work remains untouched.



Finally Monsters University closes out the top ten at number ten and believe it or not by virtue of this Charlie Day has two films in the top ten thanks to Pacific Rim. Ironically they both star monsters.

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