Weekend Wrap-Up

High School Musical Temporarily Down But Not Out

By John Hamann

November 3, 2008

Fist hands are the new jazz hands.

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With a weekend like this one, it is very hard to gauge how films will perform following Friday night. High School Musical 3 is the perfect example. If it was a normal weekend, I would probably apply a fairly high multiplier to this title considering the target audience and genre - maybe a 3.8. But because of Halloween, theaters had almost no children in them on Friday, which throws that 3.8 multiplier out the window. The multiplier this weekend ended up being 8.7, a number used maybe at Christmas Eve or New Year‘s Eve, if the dates were to line up correctly over a weekend. Oh, who am I kidding? There's never an 8.7. High School Musical 3 has worked almost like Brother Bear in that it almost could have had no Friday exhibitions. Its revenue all came from Saturday and Sunday.

All of this leaves us with a problem. Sure, High School Musical 3 dropped 64% this weekend, but is this result representative of the rest of the film's run? Probably not. Was High School Musical 3 seriously frontloaded regardless of how Halloween landed? Maybe yes. Does Disney really care? That's a tougher question. Sometimes if a trend is grounded before it really gets started, it can kill said trend. With movies, weekends after opening are all about word-of-mouth. If no one goes to a movie on Friday, will there still be word-of-mouth? Yes, but fewer people will be talking - and hence the trend is affected. Whatever the case, we will keep a close eye on next weekend's result, but until then, High School Musical 3 has earned a serious $61.8 million so far - all against a budget of only $11 million.


Zack and Miri Make a Porno ends up in second this weekend, and this has to be a disappointing result for the troubled Weinstein Group. Zack and Miri got off to an okay start, earning $10.7 million from a quite hefty 2,735 venues. For star Seth Rogen, this is territory our boy hasn't seen since Freaks and Geeks got cancelled, as he has only appeared in only one film that opened to less than $20 million (The Spiderwick Chronicles - $19 million opening). Director Kevin Smith, on the other hand, is going to feel right at home with this result. Smith's biggest, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, opened to $11 million in August of 2001, and he has only directed two films since then - Jersey Girl ($8.3 million opening) and Clerks II ($10.1 million opening). Zack and Miri falls right in line with these results.

Of course, Zack and Miri is a much tougher film to open. A movie like this is only going to play to a certain age group, and is more likely to be successful on the coasts than in the interior of the country. It doesn't carry a lot of family values, and might make for an uncomfortable first date with the person you met at church, or a screening of Firestorm. Critically, it was the best reviewed film of the weekend (yes, Kevin Smith's porno film is reviewed better than a Clint Eastwood film). Zack and Miri is at 65% fresh at RottenTomatoes at the time of this writing, with 74 out of 113 critics liking it. If this one doesn't manage to break through over its theatrical run, I'm sure it will be huge on home video.

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