Box Office - Decade at a Glance: May - August 2007
By Michael Lynderey
December 2, 2009
May 25th finished off the month with another threequel. I have to admit here, though, that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End wasn't really any more overlong, overplotted or just plain bloated than the second film in the series (they were both equally so) - and just like its predecessor, it was kinda fun (here and there). This particular follow-up saw a drop from not only the second film's total gross, but also its opening weekend, starting with $114 million for three days and finishing with $309 million (below Pirates 2's $423 million). At World's End featured star Johnny Depp still riding high and character actor Bill Nighy entertaining as a deliciously full-of-itself piece of villainous seafood. The film also marked the last wide theatrical film release to date of Orlando Bloom, who had rapidly come to fame during the early years of the decade; 2005 was the year that sealed his fate - his two starring roles (Elizabethtown and Kingdom of Heaven) disappointed at the box office, and the success of the Pirates follow-ups didn't give him the momentum to make a comeback (at least not yet).
Speaking of last roles to date in wide release films (that's a mouthful, I know), May 2007 also had one-time thriller queen Ashley Judd's last appearance in a big film - Bug, a stageplay-based little thriller that got some good reviews and was summarily ignored by audiences. If only they'd called it Bug 3...
After May's onslaught of $300 million+ earners, June went back down to Earth a little, with box office performances that were somewhat more modest - though the $100 million movie-per-week schedule kept right on rolling.
Nothing much happened on June's first weekend - just American cinematic comedy being reshaped for the remainder of the decade, that's all. Indeed, Judd Apatow's second film, Knocked Up, was released on June 1st to gushy reviews and enthusiastic audience reception, opening with $30 million and finishing at a remarkably leggy $148 million (well above the $109 million score of his first film, The 40 Year-Old Virgin). Knocked Up may not have grossed as much as the May trifecta, but I'd say it had about five times more impact on popular culture; this was the film that made then-chubby comedian Seth Rogen into an A-list comedy star, and firmly established several actors - Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Martin Starr, Craig Robinson, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Ken Jeong - as members of the Apatow crew, a group of comedic thespians who would dominate American cinema for the next several years (try finding a major comedy released since without the presence of at least one of those actors). Knocked Up was also the film that turned Rogen's co-star, Katherine Heigl - then best known to me for her role in the amusing Bride of Chucky (1998) - into a top-level lead actress, a successor to Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, and Kate Hudson. The weekend's other movies - teen soccer tale Gracie ($2 million total) and Mr. Brooks ($28 million) - don't require as lengthy a write-up, although Brooks was an intriguing if overplotted thriller, with Kevin Costner and William Hurt making for a deliciously demented pair of villains. Mr. Brooks was also (all together now...) '90s starlet Demi Moore's last widely released theatrical film to date.