Rotten Potatoes

Bad Grandpa shows that, for once, Ireland is not alone in its insatiable desire for braindead shenanigans

 

It’s midterm. So unsurprisingly the ROI chart is, this week, dominated by kids’ movies. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the hyperactive sequel to the similarly titled 2010 original, topped the box office pile with more than €223,000, just clipping Captain Phillips’ €219,000.

Turbo settled for the fourth spot with €104,817 just behind – sigh – Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa. For once, Ireland is not alone in its insatiable desire for braindead shenanigans: the same product is top of the US pops, having trounced the poorly reviewed Ridley Scott drama The Counselor.

Unbelievably Bad Grandpa has finally knocked Gravity off the US top spot. At the time of writing, the phenomenally successful space opera has boosted the US box office with a record October opening, three weekends at the top of the chart and a $203 million domestic haul. Can it expect to repeat the same trick here? Almost certainly. With one minor caveat: in the US, most of the film’s take has relied on its worth as spectacle. This is a movie designed to be watched in 3D on the grandest IMAX screen available. And that’s precisely where most of its American income has come from; from the same folks who turned out for Avatar.

The days when tacking 3D on in post-production meant larger profits may be over. But Gravity shows us – that even when the dialogue and narrative is a bit ropey – spectacle can still pull a crowd. A real film-maker like Alfonso Cuarón knows exactly what to do with 3D and knows precisely how to shoot for IMAX. In the right hands, such gimmicks and novelties are still valuable tools. In the wrong hands, they’re overpriced garbage that savvy audiences have learned to shun.

On both sides of the Atlantic, pundits have cause to wonder where all the teenagers are at? In the US, the much-delayed Carrie remake has imploded on the second week of release, plummeting a whopping 62.8 per cent in a market that considers a 40 per cent drop a disaster. In Ireland, Ender’s Game made a respectable €1,585 per print average. It’s okay. It’s grand. But it’s hardly Hunger Games money.

Here’s a thought. At Halloween teenagers like to see Halloween movies. But with Paranormal Activity moving to January, no one rushed in to occupy the slot that made the Saw franchise a billion- dollar empire. What gives?

Lower down the chart, the combined charms of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 50 Cent failed to draw a crowd in the US or in Britain and Ireland. Is it all over for the movie dinosaurs? We doubt it. Escape Plan suffered from a lack of visibility and publicity prior to release. A big-arse press tour would surely have changed the film’s fortunes. Hey. If it worked for The Expendables 2…

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