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Transformers Is No. 1 + Bridesmaids the Top R-Rated Female Comedy Ever?

Kristen Wiig Maya Rudolph Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids with Kristen Wiig Maya Rudolph.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

July 8–10 weekend box office: Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon topped the North American box office for the second consecutive weekend, grossing $47 million, down 52 percent from a week ago, according to studio estimates found at Featuring Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, and Frances McDormand, Transformers 3 will be passing the $250 million milestone in North America some time today, its 12th day out.

Second-weekend comparisons to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are iffy. Revenge of the Fallen‘s second Saturday – the strongest box office day of the week – fell on July 4, a notoriously poor day for movie attendance. Revenues were down 40 percent from the day before, seriously impacting Transformers 2‘s overall box office gross for the weekend. As a result, Revenge of the Fallen was down 61 percent compared to the previous weekend.

It’s also worth noting that Revenge of the Fallen was coming from a higher box office level than Dark of the Moon: $109 million vs. $97.9 million – and without the revenue-boosting 3D gimmick. In all fairness, I should add that Dark of the Moon‘s 51 percent drop-off rate isn’t at all bad, considering that last weekend’s figures were inflated because Sunday fell on a pre-holiday July 3; in other words, Transformers 3 had the equivalent of “two Saturdays.”

With an estimated cume of $261 million, Transformers 3 can now boast the title of biggest box office hit of 2011, surpassing some time today The Hangover Part II‘s $250.8 million. One shouldn’t forget, however, that bigger box office doesn’t necessarily mean more ticket sales: The Hangover 2 remains ahead of Transformers 3 in that regard, as 3D can add up to 40 percent to the cost of a movie ticket; i.e., approximately 60 percent of Transformers 3‘s first-weekend revenues originated from 3D houses.

Note: By its 12th day out, Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which starred LaBeouf, Duhamel, and Megan Fox, had bagged $293.3 million at the domestic box office in 2009, or about $307 million today.

Despite Dark of the Moon‘s box office impact, U.S. and Canada 2011 box office figures remain down 8.3 percent – or about $500 million – compared to 2010. Earnings for July 2011 are down 11 percent from last year, when movie theaters were offering Pixar’s Toy Story 3, Universal’s Despicable Me, the Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattinson-Taylor Lautner combo The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups.

Internationally, Transformers 3 has collected an estimated $297.1 million. Worldwide total: $558.1 million. And that’s why movies like Transformers 3 continue to get made.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey, Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses earned a solid $28.1 million. The R-rated comedy was no. 2 on the box office chart.

At 3,040 theaters, Horrible Bosses averaged a quite good $9,247 per site. Reviews have been widely mixed, with a mediocre 62 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics.” Also in the Horrible Bosses cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, and Donald Sutherland.

For comparison’s sake: Two weeks ago, the R-rated comedy Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel, opened with $31.6 million and a $10,365 per-theater average. In mid-May, Paul Feig-Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids debuted with $26.2 million and an $8,995 per-theater average. Perhaps not exactly a good sign: whereas the extremely well-received Bridesmaids was up 35 percent on Saturday, Horrible Bosses was up a minuscule 5 percent.

Directed by Frank Coraci, the Kevin James vehicle Zookeeper opened in third place with $21 million at 3,482 locations. Its per-theater average was a so-so $6,031. Kiddie flicks usually perform best on the weekend proper, but Zookeeper was up a tiny 2 percent on Saturday. Expect this latest Kevin James entry to disappear as fast as the Ron Howard-directed global bomb The Dilemma, especially considering upcoming competition from a behemoth such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

For comparison’s sake: Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins, another kiddie movie featuring animals and humans, opened with $18.4 million. The Carrey vehicle was also handicapped by a tiny 2 percent rise on Saturday; the following weekend it was down 45 percent, and has been dropping within that range since then. After four weeks, it’s now in the #10 slot on the domestic box office chart.

Internationally, Zookeeper has collected about $7.5 million at 19 territories, averaging less than $5,000 per site. Kevin James isn’t exactly a box office draw outside the United States: Paul Blart: Mall Cop may have taken in $146 million in North America in early 2009, but its overseas cume was a mere $36.9 million. The Dilemma fared even worse, collecting a paltry $17 million.

More box office news: John Lasseter’s Cars 2, featuring the voice of Owen Wilson, was no. 4 on the domestic chart this weekend, with earnings of $15.2 million. Internationally, Cars 2 has collected an estimated $121.6 million, opening at the top of the box office chart in Spain and Argentina this weekend. The Disney/Pixar animated feature’s worldwide total stands at $269.8 million.

At no. 5, the Cameron Diaz-Justin Timberlake-Jason Segel R-rated comedy Bad Teacher drew $9 million, lifting its domestic total to $78.8 million. Worldwide: $124.5 million.

And definitely not: Allen’s Midnight in Paris will not become the director’s biggest hit ever at the North American box office. Regardless of the inevitable studio hype, it would be downright stupid not to consider that $40 million in 2011 is a lot less than $40 million in 1986, the year Hannah and Her Sisters came out. More on the inflation-adjusted performances of Woody Allen movies.

Source for international box office grosses: The Hollywood Reporter.

July 6: Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, has become “the top R-rated female comedy of all time,” having surpassed Sex and the City according to The Hollywood Reporter. Impressive? Well…

First of all, how many “R-rated female comedies” have ever been released?

Second, there’s something called inflation, which, well, inflates movie-ticket prices. Back in 2008, Sex and the City earned $152.6 million at the North American box office as per Box Office Mojo. In 2011, Bridesmaids has thus far earned $153.78 million.

However, taking inflation into account, Sex and the City‘s box office take represents approximately $167 million in 2011 dollars. In other words, the Sarah Jessica Parker-Kim Cattrall-Cynthia Nixon-Kristin Davis vehicle remains quite a bit ahead of Bridesmaids. (Admittedly, chances are the the extremely well-received Feig-Wiig comedy will eventually surpass that figure – but that hasn’t happened, yet.)

The original Sex and the City grossed $262.6 million overseas, representing nearly two-thirds of the film’s worldwide take of $415 million. Even Sex and the City 2, considered a box office disappointment in North America, went on to gross $288.3 million worldwide thanks to an estimated $193 million originated overseas – or more than two-thirds of the film’s total take. Bridesmaids worldwide total to date? $188.5 million.

That studios would want to hype their product is understandable; it’s less clear why journalists would choose to go along with the farce. Anyhow, apparently ignoring inflation, Universal claims Bridesmaids has become the studio’s biggest “romantic comedy ever”; it’s also the seventh biggest “romantic comedy of all time,” according to tracking service Cinesys. Now those two feats are particularly impressive, considering that Bridesmaids isn’t exactly a romantic comedy.

Also worth noting is that both Judd Apatow’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ($148.2 million in 2006, approx. $178 million today) and Knocked Up ($148.76 million in 2007, approx. $165.7 million today) remain ahead of Bridesmaids in number of tickets sold. In other words, Bridesmaids is Apatow’s biggest hit only if you opt to ignore inflation.

Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph Bridesmaids movie image: Universal Pictures.

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zac -


That’s the whole point of using inflation-adjusted figures: having an idea of how many tickets each movie sold. MANHATTAN, ANNIE HALL, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, to name three, sold approximately 2 1/2-3 times more tickets than MIDNIGHT IN PARIS — which, of course, is nonetheless a solid Woody Allen hit.

JohnP -

It’s true that Midnight In Paris will have brought in more dollars domestically than any of his other films – it’s just that those dollars don’t buy as much as the old dollars. Another way of looking at this is that when Annie Hall and Manhattan were playing, movie tickets sold for $3 or $4 not the $12 we pay now. Perhaps a better way to measure is how many seats were sold for each film? It’s probably true that more seats were sold for Annie Hall and Manhattan than will be sold for Midnight In Paris, but who cares — this is clearly one of his biggest films of his career and for that he deserves congratulations.

JackMcBrayer -

Yes, but to not note that EVEN adjusted for inflation, Midnight in Paris is still in the top 8 of Woody’s Box Office earners. An amazing feet for a 75 year old director with 42 (!!) films.

Anthony Sin -

Terrific article. This, in particular, is an excellent point: “That studios would want to hype their product is understandable; it’s less clear why journalists would choose to go along with the farce.” I’ve often wondered why some news agencies choose to treat marketing hype as credible sources. Laziness, perhaps?

zac -

>>>>>>>>This article is ridiculous. Yes, the top R rated female comedy is a studio spin as there have been few of them, but Bridesmaids signals the start or a resurgence of them.

No one is denying BRIDESMAIDS’ relevance, importance, intrinsic qualities, place in film history, etc etc. The whole point here is the studio spin and those who buy into that sort of bullshit. That’s it.

>>>>>>>>Also, inflation is irrelevant as at the time of SATC’s release it reached 152 million which is essentially the same benchmark. If this was the case every movie released in the 90s would be more successful than anything now.

You’re wrong. Inflation is crucial for an understanding of how many tickets a movie has sold. In other words, for an understanding of its *actual* popularity.

As for BRIDESMAIDS “tracking well ahead” the other movies in terms of attendance … What’s your source, considering that studios don’t release that sort of information?

>>>>>>>>>As for the worldwide figures. So what?

So what?? Ask Universal “so what?” about worldwide movie attendance. See what they have to say.

Alex -

This article is ridiculous. Yes, the top R rated female comedy is a studio spin as there have been few of them, but Bridesmaids signals the start or a resurgence of them. Also, inflation is irrelevant as at the time of SATC’s release it reached 152 million which is essentially the same benchmark. If this was the case every movie released in the 90s would be more successful than anything now. Also, Bridesmaids is tracking well ahead of SATC as well as the other Judd Apatow movies you mentioned in terms of attendance, which also makes your inflation argument redundant.

As for the worldwide figures. So what? It was a hit in the States where it mattered. Unlike SATC this movie had little to no recognizable actors with no proven box office power and didn’t have the advantage of already being a hit TV Show with a built in audience. The success of this movie was because a) it was produced by Apatow b) it was a genuinely funny and well written movie by one of it’s stars who happened to be female c) it was what audiences were waiting for to embrace and d) incredibly strong word of mouth.
Out of every hit blockbuster movie this summer it’s box office has been the most impressive. It’s 2nd weekend was almost identical to it’s first and had slow % decreases each week. It’s staying power in the top 10 for 2 months has already surpassed movies like Hangover 2 & Kung Fu Panda which came and went before it. In Australia, the film has grossed 16millon and growing. In comparison, blockbuster Thor grossed 20million there with probably 3 times Bridesmaids’ budget.
I think you are really quick to sell this film short when it is rightfully being praised for it’s success.


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