Hollywood continued an impressive opening to 2009 this past weekend with another record total for this, the 6th weekend of the year. With a lineup that most will have forgotten in six months time, it seems that overall quality does matter all that much as folks are turning out to see new releases each week.
There was a new number one, "He's Just Not That Into You," as well as three other new films in the top six this week: "Coraline," "The Pink Panther 2," and "Push." Maybe even more surprising were the relatively tiny drops seen by the other films in the top 5. Last week's number one, "Taken," fell a scant 17% from it's total last week. Meanwhile, "Paul Blart" saw it's smallest drop off yet (21%) in its 4th weekend. Overall, the top 12 films combined revenue increased nearly 40% over the top 12 from the same weekend last year. Could we finally be seeing that Hollywood bounce expected when everyone canceled their vacations and took "staycations" instead?
Of course, the real story is that we're now T-5 days till the biggest release in the horror community since, well at least since "My Bloody Valentine." But while "MBV" may have made for great spectacle, not to mention discussion fodder around these parts, "Friday the 13th" represents a much bigger fish in the horror pond. It's the kind of franchise that will bring marginal fans out of the woodwork, and perhaps (assuming the film doesn't eat it) bring some new fans into the fold. Combine that with the fact that we're heading into a holiday weekend, that starts with a Friday the 13th, and we could be talking about some large box office numbers at this time next week. As a point of reference, it was two years ago that a giant piece of ass called "Ghost Rider" wowed audiences to the tune of $52 million over the three day weekend. Consider also that last year's largest opening for an R-Rated horror film was "The Happening's" $30.5 million.
Right now, depending on how you want to split genre hairs, "Freddy vs. Jason" (or "Red Dragon") holds the record for the largest opening by an R-Rated horror film. Both hit $36.5 million. I'll go on the record right now in saying that it's not inconceivable that "F-13" takes that crown. It's going to be tough -- hell, "Cloverfield" barely cracked $40 million last year in its opening -- but I'm not one to doubt the folks at Platinum Dunes when it comes to pushing a movie. Just see if you can escape the Jason ads this week.