Bridesmaids Get Lucky With Summer Box Office Pause
By John Hamann
May 15, 2011
Finishing second this weekend is Bridesmaids, this year's early-summer Judd Apatow-produced comedy from Universal. Usually we don't see Apatow comedies until early June, but by dropping Bridesmaids into early May, there was hope of seeing his return to box office glory. While it's no Superbad ($33 million opening frame), Bridesmaids did earn a quite respectable $24.4 million this weekend, a number that is going to leave tracking services in tatters. Pre-opening polling had Bridesmaids debuting to $15-17 million, a laughable estimate, as even my two beagles knew it would do more than that. Bridesmaids went out to only 2,918 venues, and garnered a decent venue average of $8,365. It also had some ridiculously good reviews, coming in at 91% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, which might help it become one of those leggy Apatow-produced comedies. The Kristen Wiig flick cost Universal and Relativity Media only $32.5 million, a number this one will likely see before it has its second Friday.
There's been a lot of talk about what kind of movie one would compare Bridesmaids to – is it a Sex in the City? Is it a Baby Mama? The Hangover? How about Mamma Mia!? It stars a bunch women and has a wedding in it, after all. None of these examples really worked for me. Bridesmaids has a cast only regular watchers of Saturday Night Live would recognize, a director (Paul Feig) whose best credits come from television, and no male leads. It really didn't have much going for it, except for the name Judd Apatow and a trailer that is simply laugh out loud hilarious, regardless of the sex of the viewer.
These things were also true for Knocked Up. At the time, Seth Rogen was the dude from the 40 Year-Old Virgin, and Katherine Heigl was on a TV show. Some familiar but not overly-identifiable faces, a funny trailer and some really good reviews helped make Knocked Up a $31 million opener, much like what happened to Bridesmaids this weekend, just on a slightly smaller scale. Knocked Up opened the weekend after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End; Bridesmaids pulls the reverse, and will act as excellent counter-programming against On Stranger Tides, as nothing else opens next weekend.
Third spot goes to the third weekend of Fast Five, Universal's other film in the top three after Bridesmaids. Fast Five continues to follow the pattern of its predecessors, but the one it follows most closely is more apparent this weekend. Fast Five took in $19.5 million from 3,793 venues, and drops a much better 40%. Last weekend the car flick fell 62%, a steep number, but understandable against Thor and the fact that Fast Five had an $86 million opening . The improved drop matches it up quite nicely with 2 Fast 2 Furious, which opened to $50.5 million, fell 63%, then improved to 41% in the next weekend. Fast Five benefits from little competition this weekend, as Priest and Thor are the only other films competing for the younger male demo. Fast Five has now earned $168.8 million domestically, already becoming the highest grossing F&F movie. It will at least approach the $200 million mark stateside, and has already crossed the $215 million mark overseas.