Rotten Potatoes

Midterm is a time for children . . . except when there’s a Jason Bateman option

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in Identity Thief. (Photo by Bob Mahoney/ Universal Pictures)

Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in Identity Thief. (Photo by Bob Mahoney/ Universal Pictures)


Let the bunny season commence. Spring break is family time at the multiplex. In addition to the slate of all-ages titles opening day-
and-date (or thereabouts) in the US and everywhere – The Croods, Jack the Giant Slayer, Oz: The Great and Powerful – the UK and Ireland are also squeezing in family friendly holdovers: see next week’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green and this week’s Finding Nemo 3D .

All comers will have a tough time dislodging The Croods from its comfortable top spot at the Irish box office. Dreamworks Animation – now Disney owned and Fox distributed – did not fare so well last time out. The seasonally promiscuous Rise of the Guardians opened here last November with a decent €248,530 showing and ticked along to more than €300 million worldwide. This, however, was not enough to offset the hefty $145 million production budget. Guardians became the first Dreamworks ’toon to lose money since 2003’s Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas : subsequent company “re-structuring” has cost 350 employees their jobs.

Perhaps those lay-offs have been a little hasty: The Croods mustered €312,723 last weekend; add on those St Patrick’s Day previews and the film has already taken €585,501 here. Add on the US gross ($43,639,736) and rest of the world ($62.4) and the film is well on its way to recouping its $135 million budget.

There’s more. The same algorithms and numerical rules that govern box office predictions for grown-up films aren’t always so accurate when applied to kids’ fare; kids’ fare has legs. Last weekend’s midterm boost was not only evident in the upper echelons of the ROI box office chart – Wreck-It Ralph ’s €26,939 haul brought that film’s total to €1,866,202 after seven weeks on release – it was evident at every long-running matinee show. Comme ça: Sammy’s Great Escape took €7,382; The Lorax brought in €2,103 some 35 weeks after it premiered; Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings 3D is fluttering about on her 15th week with a €1,387 haul.

And what’s this? Only two older Dreamworks animations: Madagascar 3 and Rise of the Guardians are still out there, taking €1,028 and €1,289 respectively.

Meanwhile, across the way, Jack the Giant Slayer was comfortably the UK’s second favourite release. Here, Jack never looked to have a chance – Bryan Singer’s film ultimately placed fourth in the ROI - against the ongoing might of Oz: The Great and Powerful and Jason Bateman. I dentity Thief provided Mr Bateman with his second biggest Irish opening weekend and a tally of €185,563 (or €288,791 counting previews). That’s not far off his personal best as part of the Horrible Bosses ensemble back in July of 2011 (€258,723), upward curving from The Change Up (opening €125,133 in September, 2011) and The Switch (€84,197 or €105,800 including previews in September, 2010).