Animated films continue to rewire the frustrating disconnect we often see between critical and box office success, as Despicable Me pulls in $60 million this weekend ($17,000 per screen). But perhaps the more important numbers were those racked up by The Kids Are All Right, bringing in half a million bucks in only 7 theaters for an astounding $72,000 per screen. Two days ago Mark Ruffalo parsed the factors that seem be coming together for box office magic:
“The 600-pound gorilla is that it’s a lesbian movie and we’re in the middle of this huge debate about gay marriage,” said Ruffalo. “But I really loved was how quickly the novelty of the gay marriage and the sperm donor thing just fades away.”
“It’s a real honest movie about family,” he added. “I’ve seen the audiences laughing, and they are laughing because they see themselves. It has Julianne and Annette, that’s it own draw to a certain group. And the idea of them as lovers is also it’s own draw. It’s a nice counter-programming moment.“
Credit reader phantom for pointing out parallels to another Sundance success story in 2006.
Just to put it in perspective Little Miss Sunshine ‚Äì also a critically acclaimed family dramedy starring popular actors with a summer release date ‚Äì made a 53K PTA in 7 theaters 4 years ago. And LMS ended its run with almost 60M.
The best news for Focus Features (and for us) is how the Kids strong opening establishes a promising platform for wider release so we can look forward to an interesting roll-out on weeks to come. Meanwhile, with Despicable Me settling in comfortably with a metascore of 72 (just 2 points lower that How to Train Your Dragon) we’re seeing the roster for Best Animated Featured quickly fill up with worthy contenders. (And when’s the last time we had two of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year open on the same weekend?) It’s getting pretty hard for killjoys to claim 2010 is a weak year for nominees.