This weekend was a battle between nostalgia and what's new and now and, as always, new and now won out. Also this weekend, lots of people went to see Hop and Atlas Shrugged, so we should be ashamed of ourselves.
1) Rio — $40M
Well there you have it! Wit the biggest opening so far this year, Rio is a certified hit. How exciting. How novel. You know, I was worried that the expensive-and-yet-still-cheap-looking animated movie lazily voiced by paycheck-hungry celebrities genre was in trouble, but no, it apparently is not. Wait, I wasn't worried about that! Because people love this shit. The people that made this nuisance are the same people who made Ice Age, an ugly, unfunny franchise that's farted out three films so far and might never stop. So this Rio business is only encouraging them. Remember when animated movies weren't voiced by Anne Hathaway and then an ethnic comedy relief-type person? OK, I guess Sebastian from The Little Mermaid was kind of that, but it was different, different I say! Today is garbage! The past was wonderful! Tomorrow is grim.
2) Scream 4 — $19M
Well maybe the past isn't so wonderful. Falling about $10 million below industry expectations, the first Wes Craven horredy (horror comedy? no?) in eleven years is a severe disappointment. What happened? Well, time happened. Years happened. The phrase "Neve Campbell" has faded and disappeared in many people's memories. "David Arquette" is an old joke that someone told at a dinner party years ago, these days you don't even remember the joke, only that you laughed at it once, a long time ago. Even Hayden Panettiere feels dated. Doesn't she feel dated? What is this, 2007? So yeah, basically the demand for nostalgia was once again overestimated and mostly the kids stayed away. Kids doesn't remember 1996! Kids don't even remember 2000! Kids were kids back then, and they don't want kids stuff now, they want grownup stuff. And Scream is their grandmother's horredy (is it catching on yet?). Like, there's a Culkin in it. A CULKIN. I feel like the word "Culkin" telegraphs old timey to kids today in the same way a pennyfarthing bicycle does to me. Also, has anyone ever actually liked Emma Roberts in anything? I know her aunt really wants this to happen, but maybe it's just not going to happen? Maybe it's time to pack it in? I don't know. Poor Scream. Poor Wes Craven. Poor horredy. Horredy. Live it.
3) Hop — $11.1M
Haha, we're doomed, America. People are still seeing this. $11 million worth of people are still seeing this!! James Marsden is swinging from the ceiling fan in the guest bedroom, and people are still seeing this. People have said, upon seeing the ads, "Hm, is that Russell Brand's voice?" and then they are still seeing it. Why are we so terrible? Why are people the worst? Hop. All of human history and progress has lurched and tumbled forward and what have we done with it? We've created Hop. And then gone to see Hop. And James Marsden is being cut down now by the police and everyone is wondering why, why, why would he do this to himself, and no one is saying "Hop." A young rookie police officer who was there at the scene will get off his shift and he will take a date to a movie, and that movie will be Hop. And he won't see anything wrong with it. None of us will. We are blind to the apocalypse. We are deaf to the sound of our own undoing.
9) The Conspirator — $3.9M
Hm, OK. This had like a $5,000 per-screen average, so that's pretty good. Pretty good. I mean, the teenagers aren't leaving school on Friday afternoon and saying "Hey, wanna go see the new Robin Wright period piece?" That's just not something that kids are saying or doing. (They are seeing Hop, sitting there in the dark, unaware that their eyes are bleeding.) So the teens aren't going, and teens are most of the movie business, and yet still The Conspirator did OK. So good for US history! Good for Robert Redford. Good, strangely, for Justin Long. Good for the lone teen who did go see this, hoping it would help them write their history paper. Bad for that teen that they'll have the phrase "And then Kevin Kline said..." in their paper.
14) Atlas Shrugged Pt. 1 — $1.6M
All right, who's clowning me. Who went to see this? Really guys? Really, anyone? "It's a stormy spring weekend, so let's go see the latest half-assed Ayn Rand picture." I don't know what's worse, this or Hop. Well, I guess Hop at least doesn't encourage a version of humanity that's completely devoid of compassion. At least not intentionally. I mean, some future brutal dictator will eventually cite Hop as one of his inspirations, but Hop didn't mean to do that. Atlas Shrugged Pt. 1 very much means to do that. So that's a point for Hop.