The bulletproof animation hut produces a hit once again, narrowly avoiding catastrophe. Also: Green Lantern continues to tank, Cameron Diaz is the new Kristen Wiig (except not), and Conan can't win.
1) Cars 2: The Quickening — $68M
Bucking low industry expectations, based somewhat on the movie's poor reviews, Pixar's latest vroom-vroom performed quite ably at the old cineplex this weekend. I guess people just really like cars. I know it can seem in America sometimes that everyone hates cars, there is just so little evident love of cars in this country, but it turns out that a good portion of our citizens do really like cars. I know most of us would rather have gone to Socialist Mass Transit System 2 this weekend, but enough of us wanted to see a movie about cars. So the next time you're taking one of Joe Biden's Magic Express trains around the glittering BosWash Big Government Megatopia, just remember that somewhere out there some 16-year-old kid is, despite all the odds, scooping ice cream or working the pool lifeguard chair in the hopes of buying some old funky jalopy so he can drive around with his friends/get awkward handjobs. I know that doesn't seem American to most of us, but it is. Cars. Who knew?
2) Bad Teacher — $31M
Nothing bad about this debut! Cameron Diaz's new woman's comedy did a tidy business, indicating that Bridesmaids isn't an island. There are other movies starring women that people want to see. Though, it should be noted, the exit polling for this movie was not good, only earning a C+ grade, which likely means Bad Teacher won't have the same staying power as the B-maids movie. Still, though, it's a victory for women everywhere. A victory that says that you are funny! Provided you are a hot blonde woman or a weird fat lady who talks funny. Anyone in the middle is not funny and should hush up and stop being so uppity. Hot blondes and weird ladies though? Go on with your bad (teacher) selves.
3) Green Lantern — $18.3M
Uh oh. Week two of summer's biggest gunkfest (so far) saw a 65% drop, meaning very few people saw the movie last weekend and implored their friends to go. I mean, was that a conversation anywhere? "Judy, Dirk. You two have to go see this Green Lantern movie down at the cineplex. It will literally, I mean literally, knock your socks off. That Ransom Reinhold has never been better, and the special e-fax are incredible! You have to go see it. Blight Limely, from Gossip Cops, is great in it too. It's just a great little picture." I just don't think that was anyone's conversation this past week. Sorry, Lantern. Sorry, Ransom Reinhold. It just wasn't your summer.
4) Super 8 — $12M
Holding on decently for a third week, J.J. Abrams' throwback homage monster picture is becoming a modest hit. (It's near doubled its production budget at this point.) That's a good thing! I went to go see this movie last week and boy-o, I really liked it. Because I'm a strange old sourpot, I normally detest children in movies, because so often children are the worst, but the little ones in this movie were perfectly adorable! So natural and winning and good at acting. They should never do another movie again, not a one of them, that's how good they were. Not even the Fanning girl. I like them and want them to go back to having good kid lives away from all of the Hollywood snares. Good job, kids, here's your reward: a normal fucking life. I also loved, as always, Michael Giacchino's heart-swelling music and, yeah I'll say it, Abrams' camera work, lens flares and all. I just thought it was a nice, spirited little movie all about wonder and expression and that youthful kind of yearning that seems to flood into all of us in these giddy summer months. I like that someone made it. Super 8: I'm into it.
25) Conan O'Brien Can't Stop — $105K
With a low-ish $4,000 per screen, this movie is a disappointment. It was only on 24 screens, but still. So, OK. Are we done now? Can we all agree that Conan O'Brien got totally jerked around by NBC with the whole Tonight Show kafoozle but that in the end he made tens of millions of dollars and now has another television show and the world has somehow continued to spin on? I mean, I was interested in this story same as the next John Joe Train Rider, but holy hell this isn't the fucking Odyssey here. This story does not need repeating for years to come around fires and tents, or while staring at a sea of stars from the deck of a wooden oar boat. Breaking: Rich Man Gets Fired, Finds New Job Less Than A Year Later. It's just not much of a story, everyone. So let's be done with it, here and now. Agreed? Agreed.