Nobody goes to the movies anymore.
No, wait, everybody goes to the movies.
What a difference a week makes.
One week, Nicolas Cage’s movie is driving people away from the multiplexes. The next week, “Spider-Man 3” is bringing them back.
Hollywood is a funny place. Well, it’s funny as long as you didn’t invest in the Nicolas Cage movie.
The opening of “Spider-Man 3” not only kicked off the summer movie season, but it also ignited a collective round of celebration among people who have nothing to do with the movie business.
I’ve never seen so many people excited over someone else’s good fortune. But I shouldn’t be surprised. We all love winners, and there is no bigger winner in Hollywood right now than “Spider-Man 3.”
The money it made on its opening weekend is mind-boggling. It makes “Batman” money look like chump change.
And how many records did it break? I lost track after the first couple of days.
Just for starters, there was the biggest worldwide three-day opening ($382 million), the biggest domestic three-day opening ($151 million), the biggest single-day domestic box office ($59 million) and the biggest single-day foreign box office ($118 million)
And the giddiness is only going to get giddier. Records will continue to be broken in a summer that many industry insiders predict will be a record-breaking season for movie attendance.
In the coming weeks, records that are expected to be broken include:
- The biggest weekend haul ever for a green leading man, beating former record holders Incredible Hulk and Kermit the Frog.
- The biggest adjusted profit margin for a movie about people who wear eye patches. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, star Johnny Depp and the rest of the gang filmed the second and third installments of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise at the same time, so one has to assume that the big money made on the second movie took care of all of the expenses. The box-office take on the third movie is pure gravy.
- The biggest weekend haul for a sequel that nobody demanded. One can understand why the third “Spider-Man,” “Shrek” and “Pirates” movies were made. In each case, the previous sequel not only made a ton of money but also was critically lauded (for the most part). But where was the love for “Ocean’s Twelve?” Who liked it? Who went to see it? It was a terrible sequel, and even the people involved knew it. There are reports that the new film was going to be called “Ocean’s Thirteen: We Owe You One.” That’s only funny if they refund the ticket admissions to people who paid to see the last one.
- The longest span of time between John McClane movies. Everybody loves Bruce Willis as the tough cop from the “Die Hard” movies, and his fans have waited 12 long years for the actor to come to his senses. Until he decided to make “Live Free or Die Hard,” fans had to suffer through dozens of bad choices and only three good choices (“The Sixth Sense,” “Armageddon” and “Sin City”).
- The most money ever made by a former cast member of a cable TV show. Steve Carell, who used to be a fake journalist on the fake news show “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” already holds the record (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and TV’s “The Office”) but his fee is huge for “Evan Almighty,” which has broken a dubious record of it own as the most expensive movie comedy ever made.
- The most anxiety ever exhibited in advance of an animated movie. Of course, the current record-holder is “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” which lived up to the anxiety. But “The Simpsons Movie” has provided many anxious moments of its own after a rumor started circulating that Homer Simpson might show full frontal nudity. Don’t have a cow, man. He’s only a cartoon character.
- The largest number of young people who will pick up a book after seeing a movie. The Harry Potter franchise is amazing on many fronts, but the most amazing aspect of this phenomenon is that as popular as the movies are, the books may be even more popular. The fifth installment in the movie series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” will open July 13. It will make a lot of money. On July 21, J.K. Rowling’s seventh book in the series will hit bookstores. It will make a lot of money. In fact, it probably will make more money than the movie (if that’s possible) because fans of the boy wizard are just a little curious about whether the author will kill off her money-maker in the final book. I can’t imagine that Warner Bros. is too happy about that possibility. They have two more movies to make.
// Short Ends and Leader
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