Box Office - Decade at a Glance: May - August 2007
By Michael Lynderey
December 2, 2009
Fourth of July weekend '07 did not disappoint. Michael Bay's Transformers, the much-anticipated (I think) adaptation of the '80s cartoon and toy line, roared into theaters with an $155 million six-day opening and a remarkable $319 million total - the year's fourth (and last) $300 million movie. It's not hard to see how this one played well outside of its fanbase - it was a bright, often funny (if overlong) action-adventure with a lot of appeal to children, and even most critics didn't outright despise it. For Bay, it was a comeback of epic proportions, after the failure of The Island (2005); lead actors Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox gained a lot of star wattage from this one, with Fox turning into a media-designated super-babe. Entertaining supporting roles from Jon Voight, John Turturro and Anthony Anderson out to be noted, too, as should the often amazing special effects (those robots looked so cool that they helped overcome a lot of dead air). Also out on July 4th was fairly lame-brained Robin Williams comedy License to Wed ($43 million total), which gave TV star John Krasinski his first big film role, and one which I'm sure he'll apologize for sooner than later.
This was really a July for the ages, because week two launched yet another mega-hit - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film in the series, opened on July 11 and scored a $77 million weekend before finishing with $292 million - at the time, that was a Potter total second only to the first film's $317 million. As usual, the movie was pretty well received, and supporting actress Imelda Staunton offered a deliciously villainous foil (even if her character's comeuppance was a bit sketchy). Also out on the same weekend was Elisha Cuthbert-starring torture porn thriller Captivity, which totaled at only $2 million; that's notable - Captivity could be seen as one of the last gasps of the torture film, a horror subgenre that was dying out slowly but definitively throughout 2007. I sure won't miss it.
Maybe because only one July 2006 film crossed $100 million, some sort of cosmic karma befell 2007's edition of the month - because July 20th was home to not one but two more $100 million earners. The first, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, was your standard consistent Adam Sandler performer, opening with $34 million and totaling $119 million. The presence of Kevin James as co-star should be noted, considering what he'd accomplish at the box office on his own in 2009. The week's other film, Hairspray, was part of the second wave of 2000s musicals; the first wave was began by Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Chicago (2002) and died out with the 2005 failures of Rent and The Producers. The second got its start after the shocking popularity of Disney television's High School Musical (2006), and was carried on cinematically by Dreamgirls, which crossed $100 million in December 2006. Hairspray gave a nod to the Disney film by placing its star, Zac Efron, in a supporting role, and combining in the film's cast list established adult stars (John Travolta [in drag, of course], Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah) with teen idols (Efron, Amanda Bynes, Brittany Snow). Critics liked it, as audiences must have, because this one legged its way up to $118 million after a $27 million opening. For better or worse, after this, the musical wasn't going anywhere.