It's true. The spawn of Will.i.am.legend Smith has chop-sockeyed his way past the 1980s' most grizzled and proficient band of van-driving mercenaries. How did this happen? Apparently some '80s nostalgia is more powerful than others.
1) The Karate Kid — $56m
Never mind that he's in China and doing kung-fu rather than the Japanese art of karate. Never mind that Jaden Smith is one of those creepily self-possessed youngsters who act well, but leave one so shivery. Think Dakota Fanning, child acting robot from the Temple of Shirley. Yeah, never mind that. The Karate Kid stormed the box office like mad this weekend, defying expectations and adding yet another strange element to this weird, unpredictable summer movie season. What I find most delightful about this whole thing is that Jaden Smith now shares something very close with Ralph Macchio and Hilary Swank. Musn't that be a weird reunion party? "Hey, Ralph." "Hey, Hilary." "Oh, there's Jaden. Here we are. The three of us. The Karate Kids. Hm." "Can I... uh, see your Oscars?" "Oh, no, I had to give them back after The Reaping. Or was it after Freedom Writers? Or maybe it was P.S. I Love You. I don't remember. Anyway, they're lonnggg gone." "Aha." "My daddy bought me a movie. I mean got me in a movie. I mean I auditioned for a movie like everyone else." "I'm hungry." Related: Did you know this movie is two and a half hours long?? That is crazier than Jackie Chan's Jackie Chan-pants.
2) The A-Team — $26m
I pity the foo' who bankrolled this movie! I pity the foo' who green-lighted it! I pity all the foo's! I pity so very, very many foo's. Not that this was a huge disaster. I mean, it was pretty big. It cost $110m to make versus Karate Kid's $40m, and it only got a B+ in audience polling, so it's still a pretty big mess, but it could have been worse. Did you know anyone who wanted to see this thing? Mind you, there's a difference between "Oh sure, I'd see that" and "I want to see that." I know many people in the former category (myself included) but none in the latter. Which, I guess, isn't all that shocking. "Hey, want to go see that Liam Neeson/Patrick Wilson/Jessica Biel movie this weekend?" That's just not a question many people asked, I don't think! And anyone who would ever ask it just did this past weekend, so I predict the movie will sink like a stone. Goodbye van, glug glug glug. Goodbye Bad Attitude Baracus, glug glug glug. Goodbye Jessica Biel, forever one hopes, glug glug glug. I think I pity that foo most of all.
6) Prince of Persia: Sands Through the Hourglass — $6.6m
Yiiiikes. After only three weeks in multiplexes, this Jake Gyllenhaal sex farce has only earned back $72m of its $200m budget. This does not bode well for the chances of the other two films in Gyllenhaal's planned trilogy, The Camel Has Two Humps and Casa Blanca (about a sexy fair-skinned Spaniard who lives in a villa in the desert). Maybe they'll come out low-budget and straight to video, but if you can't see Gyllenhaal writhing around, getting sand in crevices sand should never be, on the big screen in 3D, then just what the heck is the point?
7) Marmaduke — $6m
Woof. I don't know what's bigger news, that the movie is a flop or that they still managed to sell six million dollars' worth of tickets this weekend. That is not a small amount of people who saw this thing! It's like... 600,000 people! The entire population of Boston Proper went to see Marmaduke this weekend. I'm so ashamed of my parents.
8) Sex and the City 2 — $5.25m
Speaking about things dying in the desert (and dogs! amirite, men?), this film is limping along toward a shallow grave. At a total gross of $82m, the film is only a little more than halfway toward what the first film did two years ago. Plus, it hasn't even made back its budget yet. Yes, this thing cost one hundred million dollars to make. One hundred million dollars! For what used to be a TV show that was made for lots and lots less! Crazy time. So either this means there will not be, as threatened, a third movie, or it will at least be made for a lot cheaper and will take place in, y'know, New York City. Since his Desert Disco Trilogy has now been shelved, Jake Gyllenhaal is interested in appearing in the third movie, maybe as a love interest for one of the characters. Or as Samantha's grandson. BANGO, old women!