Sunday, August 22, 2010


It was yet another sad weekend at the box office. Nobody went to the movies, again, and The Expendables ended up winning for the second weekend in a row, even though it lost a whopping 62 percent of its audience from last weekend!

This weekend has been the exclamation point to what has been a lousy summer at the box office so far. July saw business rebound a bit thanks to Eclipse and other movies, but we are now well into August and it has been back to lower attendances and flop movies at the cinemas.

God help us when September rolls around, folks, if this trend continues -- September is usually one of the worst months of the year for movie attendances.

The new movies this weekend rolled out to particularly pathetic box office performances. Vampires Suck made only about $12 million this weekend, Lottery Ticket made only $11 million, and Piranha 3D made only $10 million for a sixth-place finish! Talk about a bad weekend: the flick opened Friday in fourth place with $3.6 million! It was all downhill from there.

Well, at least Piranha 3D beat Nanny McPhee Returns at $8.3 million, and The Switch, which only made $8.1 million. Jennifer Aniston may be a hit in the tabloids, but at movie houses it's a different story.

When I watched Piranha 3D on the weekend, it was inside a very empty cinema with very few paying customers there. In fact, the whole multiplex was empty, period, for all the movies playing there. It was a sorry sight. And I had actually been worried, going to the theater, that the movie might end up selling out before I got there! I was actually worried I might not get a seat! Boy, do I feel stupid. 

I thought Piranha 3D would play well with the college crowd, but then again, what do I know? People are now pointing the finger at the excessive 3D prices and saying those put a lot of people off.  I wouldn't be surprised -- a lot of movie fans feel the 3D prices are a cash grab. The subject matter also didn't attract an audience. This was no "four-quadrant" movie to begin with, but the horror crowd, normally reliable for at least a $20 million haul, didn't show up -- possibly because they were turned off by the idea of a movie that played less for frights and more for laughs. I'm sure there were other reasons people passed on Piranha 3D.

As I see it, this movie basically was the second coming, in style and tone, of 2006's Snakes on a Plane. That was another campy animals-eating-humans movie, and had a huge Internet buzz going for it that Piranha 3D did not have to the same extent. Nobody went to Snakes on a Plane either, so really, what did you expect? It's too bad for Piranha 3D, but when a movie is made to attract cult audiences, you shouldn't be too surprised if the only people who show up are members of cults. Period.

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