Yes, it makes perfect sense that Identity Thief, by most accounts a landmark stinker (25% Rotten Tomatoes, 37% Metacritic), is expected to earn $35 million (or $10 million more than projected) by Sunday night, even with Nemo putting a significant dent in attendance in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and (to a lesser extent) New York City
If people want to see something, you can’t stop ’em. They don’t give a shit about anything. They just want to see it.
And the people who wanted to see this reportedly agonizing comedy (which I might see today or tomorrow if Jason Bateman or one of his pallies slips me a pass…sorry) are Bridesmaids fans (particularly Melissa McCarthy fans) who don’t read or care about reviews. Which accounts for…what, 90% of the moviegoing public? And no, there wasn’t any kind of rally-round-McCarthy sympathy factor over the Rex Reed hippo review because, as I just said, 90% of the public doesn’t read reviews or the review-aggregate sites. They’re in their own realm and off the grid.
Same principle apples in the case of a really well-reviewed movie that doesn’t look right for whatever reason. They look at the ads and decide if it has what they want and if they sense that it doesn’t, game over. They won’t go with a gun pointed at their heads. They’re incredibly thick and stubborn. The girly-girls refused to see Silver Linings Playbook (which is now at $84 milllon) for weeks and weeks until finally award-season hoopla turned them around, but before that happened they were adamant. Not for us!
I realize, yes, that millions wanted something to go to last night, and Identity Thief was the only new wide-release comedy out there, and most people want to kick back and enjoy themselves on a Friday night. I get it. I get it. But they’re still slow and thick and obstinate.
Steven Soderbergh‘s Side Effects — a much, much better film than Identity Thief — pretty much tanked. Yesterday it made $2,800,000 on 2600 screens, or about $1075 per screen. Maybe $8.5 or $9 million by Sunday night. Over and out and on to Netflix.