In yesterday’s New York Times A.O. Scott had an interesting piece about how “summer is no time for grown-ups” at the movies. Pointing to the box office success of films like Transformers, G-Force, Ice Age, Harry Potter, The Hangover, and Star Trek, he asserts that the Hollywood studios think of viewers as “mewling, incontinent little bundles of id with dirty minds and mouths.”
The end result? In this crappy economy, the big guys are even more reluctant to take risks, and we get a “festival of the known.” Films like Funny People and Public Enemies, are considered flops, while an interesting gem like The Hurt Locker is hidden away from mainstream audiences at the art house. Or, as he puts it succinctly: “A movie that people will go and see, almost as if they had no choice, is a safer business proposition than one they may have to bother thinking about.”
And now we’ll let the numbers from this weekend’s box office back him up.
1 – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – $56.20 M
2 – Julie & Julia – $20.10 M
3 – G-Force – $9.80 M
4 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Warner Bros.) – $8.88 M
5 – Funny People – $7.87 M
Judd Apatow tries to grow up as a filmmaker, and he ends up with a film that might make as much money as G.I. Joe — which currently has a 39 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes — took in over one weekend.