Weekend Wrap-Up for April 30 - May 2, 2010

Michael Bay Profiteering Dominates Iron Man 2 Lead Up

By John Hamann

May 2, 2010

Nine, ten, never bathe again.

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Wes Craven was the only one who able to pull this franchise off the laugh track with his New Nightmare, Craven’s 1994 return to the franchise. The Nightmare on Elm Street story had degenerated into bad Arnold-esque one-liners following the murders, played for cheap laughs, until Craven came back to try and get the series back to its roots. Unfortunately, despite being a much better film, New Nightmare grossed only about half what its predecessor did three years earlier (New Nightmare unfortunately came out three years after the "Final" Nightmare). Despite the return to form in 1994, Craven was not brought in on the latest film and the results show. The reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street was critically reviled, despite taking the humor out of the script. Director Samuel Bayer's film was reviewed like a Michael Bay movie, garnering only 12 positives out of 82 reviews. That's 15% fresh and should be considered an embarrassment. Obviously, the only thing Michael Bay wanted to do here was make money off of teenagers and young adults, and will accomplish his goal. I can only hope that people are figuring out that Michael Bay is to movies what Freddy Krueger is to nightmares. This is not a Bryan Singer/Superman Returns mistake – this is only profiteering.

While the numbers are much smaller, there is a small bit of good news in the top ten, as How To Train Your Dragon, now six weekends old, finishes second, well ahead of the other horror movie in the top ten, Furry Vengeance. The DreamWorks Animation presentation earned another $10.8 million and was off a still solid 29%. After opening somewhat softly to $43 million six weekends ago, How To Train Your Dragon has shown extremely solid legs, dropping an average 23% prior to this weekend's gross. The $165 million film has now earned $192.4 million domestically, and more than that amount overseas. What once looked like a loss for Paramount is going to turn into a $500 million grosser worldwide.

Third goes to another leggy flick, Date Night, starring the delightful Tina Fey (she and Stephen Colbert would make a cute couple, no?). Date Night repeated in the same position on the chart (ahead of J-Lo's The Back-Up Plan), as it earned $7.6 million and dropped a tiny 27%. Date Night has not seen a drop over 40% in its four weekends of release, and now has a running total of $73.6 million. The Fox film cost $55 million to make, and could earn as much as $90 to $100 million.


The Back-Up Plan drops to fourth, as it appears no one gives a rat's ass about J-Lo anymore. The Back-Up Plan earned $7.2 million in its second weekend, and fell 41%, the biggest drop in the top five. Because The Back-Up Plan is from CBS Films, it will likely make money. The production cost the upstart distributor only $35 million to make, and will likely finish near that amount. Its current total is $22.9 million.

Fifth goes to Furry Vengeance, which flopped with an opening of $6.5 million from 2,997 venues. I hate this one more than I hate the Freddy reboot. Cute critters stalk Brendan Fraser, but don't stop him from making more movies – so what's the point? The overall theme of the weekend is "unnecessary," but at least it seems that parents caught on to this dreck in disguise. Furry Vengeance earned one, yes one, positive review out of a possible 44. For the record, that positive review came from one Chris Hewitt in St. Paul, who also liked Nightmare on Elm Street, which was 15% fresh. Want some quotes from his review? How about “what it lacks in originality it makes up for in cleverness” or “the script boasts sharp dialogue” (the animals don't talk in this one, so he's referring to Brendan Fraser) or finally, “holding things together is Brendan Fraser, who has become a deft physical comedian”. No, I'm not kidding. Take it from me, Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press provided more laughs from his review than you will get from the movie.

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