Other Guys Take Step Up at the Box Office
By John Hamann
August 8, 2010
With August upon us, it's time to roll out the buddy comedy. Like Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3 did in 2001 and 2007 respectively, The Other Guys was trying to find the same magic over this early-August weekend. Comedy has not been king so far this summer, as we have been without films like The Hangover or The Proposal, and instead received Get Him to the Greek and Killers. The other wide opener this weekend is Step Up 3D, which mixes some big hitters at the box office: Dance and 3D. Is the franchise too tired to support another film?
We have a new number one film this weekend for the first time in three weeks, as the now four-weekend-old Inception drops only one spot to second. That means our new number one is The Other Guys, the new Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy, from director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights). The Other Guys opened to an expected $36.5 million from 3,651 venues, giving it a venue average of $9,751. It looks like the Sony flick will be a good investment, as the comedy cost the studio $85 million, a figure this one will have no problem achieving. Sony has had a quiet summer, but a hot one. Sony released The Karate Kid in June to more than $250 million worldwide against a $40 million budget, and Grown Ups, which has proven to be one of the more successful Adam Sandler comedies. Now successful with Will Ferrell, I bet Sony is going to stick with ex-SNL comedians for all their film projects.
For Will Ferrell, The Other Guys is a big relief for the comedian's career. After a couple of rough outings, Ferrell needed to bounce back in a big way this summer, and it looks like he has. His last movie in release was the well-known but little-seen Land of the Lost, last year's comedy car accident from Universal. Land of the Lost cost about $150 million (all-in) to make, and grossed less than $50 million domestically. It was critically reviled, and if Ferrell had followed it up with a consecutive bomb, studios may have been gun shy to hire the actor. Instead, The Other Guys serves up a hit for Sony, and that's not where the good news ends. This is also one of Ferrell's better reviewed comedies. The Other Guys managed an 80% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes (no, really) – and Ferrell hasn't had a film review this good since the incredibly leggy Elf earned an 84% back in 2003.
For Mark Wahlberg, a win for The Other Guys was almost more important for the Oscar nominee than it was for Will Ferrell. Wahlberg hasn't been in a $100 million plus earner or critically successful picture since The Departed, with his previous success, Invincible, having been released just prior to The Departed in 2006. Since then, Wahlberg has led films like The Lovely Bones (32% fresh, $44 million gross), Max Payne (17% fresh, $41 million gross), The Happening (18% fresh, $65 million gross), We Own the Night (56% fresh, $29 million gross), and Shooter (48% fresh, $47 million gross). Wahlberg is certainly not known for comedy, but his small part in Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell may have helped push audiences toward this one. The Other Guys could conceivably be a leggy August flick, much like Tropic Thunder.