Sandler Strong, Cruise Not Against Toy Story 3
By John Hamann
June 27, 2010
Toy Story 3 crossed the $200 million mark on Saturday, its ninth day of release, a day faster than the larger opening Shrek the Third did in 2007. Toy Story 3 joins the first Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3, along with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, as the films that have earned $200 million in nine days. Four films have earned $200 million in eight days, and The Dark Knight and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did it in five days. Toy Story 3 will easily make $300 million domestic, and appears able to become a $350-$375 million film without a lot of effort, but let's wait and see the impacts of the upcoming 3D releases. After ten days, Toy Story 3 has accumulated a fantastic $226.6 million, and is just getting started overseas.
Finishing in a somewhat surprising second is Grown Ups, the new film from Adam Sandler and friends. Sandler is busy trying to make his fanbase forget his last two acting choices, the adult Funny People and the juvenile Bedtime Stories. With Grown Ups, Sandler chooses a quasi-family film, and surrounds himself with his old cohorts, many of them from his Saturday Night Live days and early film work. The move definitely paid off, as Grown Ups earned $41 million from 3,534 venues. It had an average of $11,602. As is typical for Sandler, this flick did not work with the critics, as it came it at only 8% fresh at RottenTomatoes with only eight positive reviews (Armond White, natch) out of a possible 103. Somewhat surprisingly, that's even lower than Little Nicky, but I don't think Sandler fans will care.
This opening is right in Sandler's wheelhouse, or at least the wheelhouse that came before Funny People ($23 million opening) and Bedtime Stories ($27.5 million opening). It is more in tune with You Don't Mess with the Zohan ($38.5 million opening) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry ($34.2 million opening, also with Kevin James), and in line with a few of his biggest, The Longest Yard ($47 million), Big Daddy ($41 million) and Click ($40 million). Despite 20 years passing since the start of Sandler's career, his fanbase is still following him when he makes certain movies, and in my opinion there is something admirable about that. With star power definitely waning in Hollywood (see Knight and Day), Sandler can still make big money for a studio, as this one likely cost $70 million, and should make at least $100 million domestically for Sony, followed by another $100 million overseas.
Third goes Knight and Day, the expensive action flick with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz that opened softly on Wednesday tried to get the jump on the weekend. Fox will likely rethink that strategy in the future, as Knight and Day opened mid-week to only $3.8 million. Thursday became an important day for this one, as a 50% drop from that Wednesday figure would have spelled doom. Thursday came in at about $3.5 million, or about 9% off that opening day, which wasn't all that bad. The Friday figure was an accumulation of the Wednesday and Thursday figure, coming in at $6.4 million, and while this is a better number, it was still less than half of what Grown Ups did on Friday night ($14.4 million). The weekend figure comes in at $20.5 million, right about where tracking had it last week, prior to Fox scheduling hasty preview screenings last weekend. It was too, little too late, and now Fox has a domestic bomb on its hands (although foreign sales will mitigate the losses). Knight and Day cost $120 million to produce, with likely an additional $80 to $100 million in p&a costs. After five days the Cruise/Diaz action-comedy has a disappointing $27.8 million.