The movie at the top of the leader board is called Where the Wild Things Are. Is it the biggest story of the past weekend? I do not know, although it certainly is something to notice. In addition to the success of the children's book adaptation, you have the newly widened release of the horror-indie that could, Paranormal Activity, and the surprising opening of Law Abiding Citizen. I guess that makes the question which one is bigger or more surprising to you?
Yes, Law Abiding Citizen's $21 million was considerably higher than expected, but is it really that big of a story? I would say no, not really. It speaks to the fact that there are no other films like it playing right now and there was a thirst for a more traditional action/thriller. You have Zombieland, but that is comedy, horror, and action. Besides, zombies have a somewhat limited appeal. What about Surrogates? That ship has already sailed with its science fiction trappings and poor reviews; people wanted something traditional. Enter Law Abiding Citizen. It is not as traditional as you may think, but it does have distinctly broader appeal. Next week will be more telling when we get to see its hold.
Could the big story be Paranormal Activity? Perhaps, but last week was the bigger story. This indie really gathered a head of steam behind it as it stormed the charts with its very limited release to reach the fourth position on the chart. This weekend saw it pull down nearly $20 million in its first week of wide release but is that more impressive than nearly $8 million from a mere 160 theaters? It is undoubtedly good and I am ecstatic over its success, but this weekend was a given success. Last week was the eye-opener and next week will show if it has staying power. Regardless of its continued box office success, this is a fantastic movie and a great accomplishment.
I guess that leaves Where the Wild Things Are as my pick for the biggest story of the week. It may not have made as much as I was expecting, but after seeing it I am rather impressed. Perhaps I shouldn't be, as the marketing campaign was hard to miss. Despite the family target it is much more arthouse than mainstream and much darker than I was expecting. It is such a good tale with a lot to say in a simple story. I suspect it will have a pretty big drop-off next week, but that takes nothing away from the film. Spike Jonze has shepherded a cinematic triumph to the big screen with a vision that does not cater to anyone. I definitely recommend this film.