Games Ruin Reunion, Sink Titanic
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 8, 2012
The idea here was to remind consumers in the 25-30 range of how they grew up with the cast of American Pie. Alas, most of them only cop to finding Alyson Hannigan funny. Everything else about the return of the cast of American Pie borders on sad, which is why Universal has probably understood for a while now that this title will be the first of the four to earn under $100 million. Whether they are satisfied with a $21.5 million debut for a $50 million production depends upon how steep the movie falls in its second and third weekends. Our instinct is to shout “TIMBER!”, especially given the critical drubbing American Reunion has absorbed. Only 44% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, that number falls to 33% among top critics. Frankly, American Wedding was a sloppy money grab in 2003 and rather than redeem the franchise with a better offering in 2012, consumers are instead treated to what feels like one of the American Pie Presents… straight-to-video titles instead. All signs thus far indicate that American Reunion will not be remembered fondly.
The re-release of Titanic as a 3-D feature has created a lot of nostalgia for old school box office trackers. BOP has received several “did you know” factoids from some of our best and most loyal readers this week (thanks, folks), a tribute to the seminal nature of Titanic’s original box office run. While early projections indicated that the magic could happen again this weekend, it wasn’t to be.
Titanic earned a respectable $17.4 million from its diehard fans, thereby boosting it past the $600.8 million mark for the first time since 1998. Titanic closes the gap with Avatar, the film that usurped it as the most popular domestic title of all time, to $142.3 million. Fewer Titanic loyalists than expected were willing to sit through a three hour cinematic experience rather than watch it from their homes.
Reviews indicate that Cameron, the only director universally accepted as a master of 3-D, imbued his masterpiece with the appropriate technical advances to future-proof it for many more years to come. Even so, the 11 Academy Awards-winning production failed to recapture the magic of its initial domestic run. This may sound harsh until we consider that $17.4 million is only the 14th best weekend performance for Titanic. If box office actuals wind up $200,000 lower, it falls to 15th place. As strange as it sounds, Titanic’s re-release is the closest the modern classic has ever come to failure. Still, its current box office tally of $618.2 million represents over twice what The Hunger Games, the industry story of the year to date, has earned thus far. Even almost 15 years later, Titanic's dominant box office run is still difficult to process.
Fourth place goes to Wrath of the Titans, the unwanted sequel to the remake of Clash of the Titans. In its second frame, the 3D effects-driven extravaganza fell hard and fast, declining 55% to $15 million. Wrath of the Titans’ grand total of $58.9 million is less than the $63.4 million that Clash of the Titans made on its opening weekend. Warner Bros. can add in another $75 in overseas receipts to that total, which does help the situation some. Still, with a budget of $150 million and even more that would have been spent on marketing expenses, this sequel has turned out to be a very costly proposition that will probably end up causing some write-offs. When you look at worldwide gross, the film is going to exceed budget, but it’s important to keep in mind the distributors make a lot less from those overseas venues than they do on the domestic front.