Sunday, May 26, 2024

Box Office Update: Bette Midler-Billy Crystal Comedy Beats Tom Cruise Shooter-Upper


Here’s an update on Christmas Day box office, thanks to numbers from boxofficemojo,com: Bette Midler and Billy Crystal’s family comedy, “Parental Guidance,” with Marisa Tomei, handily beat Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher” for fourth place. The first three films were “Les Miserables” with $18.1 mil, “Dhango Unchained” with $15 mil, and “The Hobbit” with $11.3 million.

But who would have expected Midler and Crystal, names not seen above the credits or opening a film in more than a decade, to knock it out of the park? With $6.3 million they outpaced Cruise by $1 million. Of course, with kids, on Christmas, do you take them to see a Disney type comedy or a movie where a sniper picks off five people in the first few minutes? You tell me.

Kudos to Midler and Crystal, who are not exactly family fare from the old days. They were both pretty R rated comedians, delivering cutting edge stuff with a sweet smile. Now, in their 60s, they just deliver the sweet I guess. Imagine if Midler stopped in mid movie and told one of her old bawdy jokes!  But you know, now they’ll get a little franchise out of this, maybe one or two more “Parental Guidance”episodes and find a new audience. That’s called reinvention.

As for Cruise, who has refused to reinvent himself, “Reacher” has been something of a reach. The thriller now has $23.5 million since Friday, which wouldn’t be bad if your star didn’t get the first $20 million before costs and the movie didn’t cost at least $80 million. I guess some of that will be mixed into his “Mission Impossible” pay out.

Elsewhere, “Zero Dark Thirty” is doing well, but presenting an interesting problem day to day. On Monday and Tuesday it did less well than on the weekend. Instead of building interest, the Kathryn Bigelow directed thriller (yes, it’s a thriller) didn’t maintain its highs in very limited release. It’s hard to say how this bodes for the future. All the controversy should have pushed more people to see it, as they did for “Django.” But maybe “ZD30” will fare better once the kids are back in school.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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