It feels like turning Ender’s Game into a movie was inevitable, and that sense of inevitability may be why the film doesn’t feel like an event. Or perhaps it’s that Orson Scott Card has turned into a crank who says offensive things, or maybe it’s because the cast doesn’t exactly pop. Whatever the reason, the film is going to have a struggle making much of an impact on the box office.
But that’s not to say the film isn’t going to open. No, Ender’s Game has enough heft to take the top slot. It’s just that some films like this make a hundred million for their opening weekend, and this hasn’t got that sort of heat. Perhaps it’s because the book was originally published in 1985, and though there’s a core fanbase, it’s not exactly contemporary.
But the why’s of this are hard to quantify. Would it have worked better as a summer movie? Maybe. Is cinema burned out on YA? Yes, but Catching Fire is going to do a crap-ton of business. It’s possible that this will have a stronger appeal to the younger set through TV ads, but it just feels like a miss.
Speaking of antiquated material: Last Vegas. That’s a modest performer if there ever was one. Also opening this weekend is Free Birds. Which may do well just because Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is old hat by this point.
So let’s do this:
- Ender’s Game – $30.5 Million
- Free Birds - $17.5 Million
- Last Vegas – $14.5 Million
- Bad Grandpa - $14 Million
- Gravity – $13.7 Million
It’s a tight grouping there, and Free Birds is a variable as a kids film. It could take the weekend, or be DOA, and neither would surprise (who knew Gnomeo and Juliet would open to $25 Million?). Ender’s could go lower, but I like being generous. It’s a weekend of possible surprises. But next weekend brings Thor: The Dark World, and that should be huge.
What are you going to watch this weekend?