Sunday, 25 October 2009

US Weekend Box Office Estimate, October 23 - 25, 2009

Halloween's approaching: The US majors are unleashing their annual slew of horror flicks.

1. Paranormal Activity (Paramount ) 1,945 $22,000,000
2. Saw VI (Lionsgate) 3,036 $14,800,000
3. Where the Wild Things Are (Warner Bros.) 3,735 $14,420,000
4. Law Abiding Citizen (Overture Films) 2,890 $12,713,000
5. Couples Retreat (Universal) 3,074 $11,097,000
6. Astro Boy (Summit Entertainment) 3,014 $7,017,000
7. The Stepfather (Sony) 2,734 $6,500,000
8. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (Universal) 2,754 $6,347,970
9. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Sony) 2,741 $5,600,000
10. Zombieland (Sony) 2,447 $4,300,000

This is the US weekend box office estimate according to Variety. Without intending to harp on about 'the good old days', but doesn't the sheer lack of quality of the majority of the films that made the above top-ten list say something about the times we're living in? Although I do not have comparable figures for an October weekend in say, the 1970s, in 1972, however, according to among the top ten box office hits were classic - and classy - films such as Deliverance, Cabaret, The Getaway, while The Godfather Part 1 ranked in top position.
That gives me pause.

Deliverance, UK-director John Boorman's classic film from 1972

I've long been wondering as to why the quality of the output by the majors has continuously declined since the beginning of the 1980s. Neither Peter Bart's book, Who Killed Hollywood, nor Peter Biskind's, Easy Riders/ Raging Bulls, nor Mike Harris' Scenes From A Revolution - although the latter is better in my opinion than the former two - managed to provide me with a satisfactory answer.
Does anybody have any suggestions that go beyond the usual big-blockbuster-bucks explanations that links the demise of the New Hollywood with the dawn of disaster films such as Jaws, Star Wars, etc.? Because I, for one, believe that it's not that simple as the drop in quality (major US-) films went along with a 'depolitication' of society which increasingly began to concern itself with money, celebrity, and status, preferring to be entertained rather than using their brains and, possibly, rock the boat.

Mike Harris' engrossing study of an Old Hollywood on the verge of change, using as case studies all five 1968 nominees for the Academy Award for Best Film. A highly recommended read!