Jackass Does Not Stunt Box Office Growth
By John Hamann
October 17, 2010
BAM! After a couple of dull weekends at the box office where no one seemed excited about anything, everything changed over this mid-October weekend. Johnny Knoxville and friends blew the cover of the box office with Jackass 3D, and Red didn't do so bad on the 2D front, either. Holdovers in the form of The Social Network, Life As We Know It, and Secretariat also fared well, fitting in nicely to cover all the demographic bases. Between coming off of a couple of slow weekends, and a frame that was huge last year (where five films grossed more than $11 million), the box office got caught up in a perfect storm of success.
Our number one film of the weekend is Jackass 3D, the third and most expensive film in the series to make. Jackass 3D earned a wild $50 million from 3,081 venues this weekend, and had a stellar venue average of $16,228. Due to the 3D element of this episode of Jackass, production costs were the highest ever, coming in at a still slim $19 million. To say that Jackass 3D is a breakout success is a complete understatement. Tracking was looking for $30 million over the entire weekend, and the event flick drew $21.7 million in Friday night business alone. Due to the "event" nature of these films, internal weekend multipliers (Friday gross divided by weekend gross) are often quite low due to the 'rush to see' factor. If Jackass 3D had earned $21.7 million every day of the weekend it would have had a take of $65.4 million; however instead of a multiplier of 3.0, this one came in at 2.3, which means it was just as frontloaded as the first two films, as the original Jackass had a multiplier of 2.3, and the second a multiplier of 2.45.
Frontloaded over opening weekend or not, these are better overall earners then say the Saw films. The first Jackass had open-to-domestic-total multiplier of 2.83, after opening to $22.8 million and finishing with $64.3 million. The second opened to $29 million and finished with $72.8 million, giving it an overall multiplier of 2.5. Jackass 3D is doing one of those rare things we see at the box office today – it likely is profitable, including all marketing costs paid, after only three days of release.
The Jackass films are a rare breed. Not at all documentaries, and definitely not for kids, Johnny Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine and producer Spike Jonze have found a way to hack into the primal zeitgeist of American youth, make people laugh, and make a ton of money doing it. Critics are just as funny when talking about these movies. At RottenTomatoes, 38 reviews were counted by the time of this writing, and of those, 25 were fresh, giving Jackass 3D a fresh rating of 66%. When we look closer, though, the site's “top critics” rating sat at 23% - lower than the overall rating by 43 points. The top critics HATE Jackass 3D (much like I hated Life As We Know It last weekend), but the regular joe critics LOVE it. I have never seen such divisive crop of critics in all my life. Jackass 3D to me is the adult version of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds movie. Both are done in 3D, both have hate it and love it groups, and both were wildly successful – amongst completely different demographics. Only at BOP will you hear that Johnny Knoxville=Hannah Montana.