Well, once again I am speechless at The Reject Report. I really don’t know what to say, or even where to begin with this Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen movie, which has set the five-day record for a Wednesday release with a total gross of $201,246,000. That’s based on the Sunday morning estimates. If we see a spike in the Sunday actuals by at least a couple more million by Monday, this movie may be in a position to also claim victory over The Dark Knight‘s overall five-day haul of $203 million.
In addition, it’s a Wednesday record of $60.6 million and a Wednesday midnight-movie record of $16 million, both of which also rank as second and third overall, respectively, to The Dark Knight for a single day. This flick also shares with The Dark Knight the distinction of being the second motion picture in history to get past $200 million in just five days — again, this is just based on Sunday morning estimates so we don’t know if that is set in stone or not. The per theater average, by the way, was astonishing: $26,453.
Add to that something like $187 million from overseas so far, reportedly, and there you have it: the biggest blockbuster opening of 2009.
It surely is the greatest box office performance ever for a movie this bad! This movie is at 21 percent at Rotten Tomatoes, yet it has one of the greatest box office openings in Hollywood history. Think about it — this really makes NO sense.
Yes, a lot of really bad movies do finish in first place at the box office, but this usually happens in February or March or April or September when the other big movies in wide release are also pieces of junk. Yes, bad movies have even been blockbusters – everyone points to The Da Vinci Code which was laughed right out of the Cannes Film Festival yet still made a ridiculous sum of money, over $200 million domestic. But Transformers 2 is on track to make The Da Vinci Code’s haul look like chump change.
This movie is getting much worse scores than Terminator Salvation or Watchmen, and a lot of other movies that also underperformed for various reasons at the box office. A lot of fans claimed these movies were lousy and that’s why they didn’t show up. Yet the very same people who refused to see these other movies on the grounds of how awful they were are rushing in droves to see this Transformers 2 movie. Heck, Year One was getting a Rotten Tomatoes score that was as bad if not worse (18 percent), and people made a big flop out of that movie on the grounds that they thought the movie sucked. And they know by now that Transformers 2 sucks, but they’ve shown up anyway.
That’s the part I really don’t get — the fact that the weekend numbers have held up to the tune of $112 million. That’s more than what Indiana Jones 4 made their opening weekend last year, more than what Iron Man made. Yet the vitriol against this Transformers 2 movie has been far greater. The buzz has, quite simply, been absolutely terrible. This movie is getting blasted by people for its sheer stupidity, particularly for the “jive-talking robots.” You know, maybe that’s the reason why this is a hit — that has to be seen to be believed.
The fact that you even have some brave writers here at Film School Rejects coming out of the woodwork to blast this movie really says it all, because Film School Rejects is supposed to be the biggest Transformers supporters out there. All I will say, Rob Hunter, is that you aren’t as alone as you think you are on this one.
Yet, this flick will probably end up doing better business than that Indiana Jones 4 movie that was ridiculed by everyone for that scene where they nuked the fridge. I sure hope the same people who took Indiana Jones to task for nuking the fridge are taking Michael Bay to task for these ridiculous jive-talking robots. That sounds like the kind of thing that makes the fridge-nuking look like a stroke of brilliance in comparison. People have decried the racism and the foul language in this Transformers 2 movie, and the lack of the story and the fact that it went on and on and on, and people know all about these complaints, and yet they are STILL showing up.
That’s why I’m mad. I’m mad that folks in middle America are giving a free pass to all this outrageousness when they didn’t give a free pass to Indiana Jones 4 or these other movies. There were people bitching and complaining about that fridge-nuking, and about Watchmen and Terminator Salvation and other movies for all kinds of things, and to various degrees these movies took a hit at the box office as a result – not so much in the case of last year’s Indiana Jones movie, but definitely with these other two. And people are bitching and complaining about Transformers 2 and what a stupid movie it is. Yet it’s still a five-day $200 million haul which will probably hit $400 million by the time it’s done.
As far as I can tell, people are going to this movie for two reasons: (1) because Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf are pretty hot, and (2) they want to see robot fights and big explosions. Uh, that’s pretty much it. From what I gather, people are giving a free pass to the rest of the movie’s ridiculousness and inanity. Defenders are saying “of course, the movie’s stupid, what did you expect?”
So I guess that’s all that people want to see in a movie, then, eh? Explosions and fights? But other movies have explosions and fights, too, and haven’t done the kind of business this movie has done. And other movies have hot babes in them too. Hell, Malin Akerman was in Watchmen, and not only did she wear a hot skin-tight superhero outfit — she also had nude scenes. Yet people would rather see a fully-clothed Megan Fox? I don’t get it, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, by the way, Megan was also in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People which was a massive flop, so don’t give me a whole spiel about how this Transformers 2 movie is a hit simply because of Megan Fox all by herself. Here, people went to see both a fully-clothed Megan AND robot fights. That’s all you need for a big hit, apparently.
And don’t give me this bull anymore that people go to movies to see a plot or a storyline, or any of that. Maybe that is the reason why people will see a PIXAR movie or a J.J. Abrams flick, or even something like Slumdog Millionaire, but it sure doesn’t explain why people make hits out of stuff like Transformers 2. At least when The Dark Knight set all those records I could understand it. There was enormous buzz about how great that movie was and how great Heath Ledger’s performance was, and it was the right movie for the right time (a superhero movie in a big year for superhero movies). But here’s Transformers 2, a movie serious film critics and Michael Bay haters don’t want to see anyway, which is now getting pummelled by the fanboys and even by Transformers die-hards after they see it.
I guess that is why I have such a muted reaction to this box office haul this week. I kind of feel this movie doesn’t deserve the records it is setting or all the loot it is hauling in, and I’m kind of mad at the customers for giving this movie their support when there are other alternatives out there. Heck, they could have played video games at home: that would have been more entertaining. It’s as if people are collectively refusing to pay attention to what most everyone is saying about this movie, and they insist on flushing $200 million down the drain that could have gone towards ridding the world of the swine flu or something like that. It’s one thing to ignore film critics — everyone ignores these uptights, anyway — but to ignore everyone else that is ridiculing the movie or giving less-than-enthusiastic appraisals takes a lot of doing. In spite of all the negativity, this movie’s haul rivals The Dark Knight. I just don’t get it.
All in all, what this weekend proves to me is two things: (1) the box office is still no reflection at all on whether a movie is any good, and (2) there is absolutely no rationale or reason why a movie is a hit or not. Basically, all my theories about what ingredients you need to make a hit movie are up in smoke after this weekend. It’s as if all you need for a massive hit is a lot of CGI and a PG-13 rating, and that’s it.
Anyway, the weekend box office results are as follows:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $112,000,000
- The Proposal – $18,466,000
- The Hangover – $17,215,000
- Up – $13,046,000
- My Sister’s Keeper – $12,030,000
- Year One – $5,800,000
- The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 – $5,400,000
- Star Trek – $3,606,000
- Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – $3,500,000
- Away We Go – $1,678,000
Maybe people were starved by the lack of blockbuster-type movies over the last few weeks and had no further desire to see any movie starring Sandra Bullock. I don’t know, and I don’t care anymore.
I’ll be back for another early preview in a couple of days as Public Enemies rolls out. Hopefully I’ll be in a better mood by then.