Inside Pulse Box Office Report: Shrek's Roar Silences Mrs. Ferris Bueller and Her Girlfriends

Coming Soon: Sex and the Swamp

A word of advice to movie executives looking to keep their jobs after a rough first half of 2010: chick movies sell if marketed correctly. So far in 2010, five of the top fifteen highest-grossing films appeal mostly to females because of its subject matter or has a female in a leading role. You can even make it six out of fifteen if you count Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, a family film yes, but it was women who turned out in droves because of Johnny Depp (who as of last week became the only actor to have starred in two films that grossed over $1 billion each worldwide). Let’s go out on a limb and say Sex and the City 2 will also be one of the big grossers of the early part of the year. It will go alongside the likes of Valentine’s Day, Dear John, and Date Night as films that will have made at least $80 million.

This Memorial Day Weekend girl power ruled supreme as the New York gals smacked around Jerry Bruckheimer’s male-aimed actioner Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The mega producer was hoping for another Pirates of the Caribbean size opening. Unfortunately, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dastan is no Capt. Jack Sparrow. But being a realist, aside from the pirate sequels, Bruckheimer has never had a film open higher than $46.6 million. So while a $30.1 million weekend isn’t good for a summer tentpole release like Persia it’s not as bad as his King Arthur‘s $15.1 million opening in July 2004.

As for Sex and the City 2 it got a critical beating by the press and yet its core audience (mostly white, middle-aged females) was out there in full force. I found the whole movie to be a shallow affair that lacked a story – I left thinking women actually like this? But I guess for all those women who stuck around for years watching the show on HBO couldn’t resist to see Carrie and the gang on the big screen again. It’s too bad they’ll want to watch these old gals and neglect films of substantial value. But what do I know, it’s not like I rent a room in the mind of a female. It’s scarier there than spending a night in a sleeping bag at Camp Crystal Lake.

Shrek Forever After only lost 38.7% of its audience in its second week, and it is performing better than the third one did. It could be because this final chapter (?) wasn’t sandwiched between Spider-Man and Pirates flicks. Or maybe its performance has more to do with its “Tomatometer” rating of 52% versus Shrek the Third‘s 41%. Either way the kids still like the green ogre.

A show of hands, how many people have played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or knew the movie was based on the video game? That’s what I thought. It’s not a pop culture sensation like Super Mario Bros. where people could sing the theme song, or even Resident Evil which pioneered the term “Survival Horror.” And while there’s never been a good video game-based-movie, with this type of production you need an actor that will bring in an audience. Jake Gyllenhaal is new to the action game and he doesn’t have much of a following to begin with, other than the cultists of the Donnie Darko clan. Any comparisons to Pirates of the Caribbean are quickly diminished when you see that Gyllenhaal doesn’t exude the cool personality of Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood finish up the top five, with IM2 dropping faster than its predecessor. Typically with superhero movies, the second in the franchise outpaces the original both creatively and financially, but as is the case with Iron Man, this sequel is good, but audiences weren’t wowed like they were when they first saw hero Tony Stark defeat Lebowski’s evil step twin. While Robert Downey Jr. is on the rise, with bona fide hits almost assured for Due Date and Sherlock Holmes 2, Russell Crowe seems to have lost that blockbusting feeling. The Aussie who would love to make phone throwing an Olympic sport isn’t a box office draw like he thought he was. But with Robin Hood what did you expect from a 46-year-old trying to start a franchise that had its production costs balloon upwards to $200 million. It may do well overseas, but I can’t see some suit at Universal honestly considering a Robin Hood 2.

The rest of the top ten is to be expected with Letters to Juliet and Just Wright trying to hang on to female audiences even with the opening of Sex and the City 2. Date Night is slowly approaching $100 million. MacGruber – what I thought could have been a sleeper hit this summer – dropped faster than Obama’s approval numbers, as it lost 62% of its audience and barely finished above DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon which is still in the top ten after ten weeks.

On the indie front, The Secret In Their Eyes continues to add theaters while its audiences numbers increase. After seven weeks it has earned $3.3 million. New in release is Micmacs from visionary director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It debuted on four screens to the tune of $47,700. A reissue of Breathless pulled $32,700 on four screens. Sadly, none of those four screens is nowhere near me. Darn it to heck!

1. Shrek Forever After – $43.3 million ($133 million)
2. Sex and the City 2 – $32.1 million ($43 million)
3. Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time – $30.1 million
4. Iron Man 2 – $16 million ($275 million)
5. Robin Hood – $10.3 million ($83 million)
6. Letters To Juliet – $5.9 million ($37 million)
7. Just Wright – $2.2 million ($18 million)
8. Date Night – $1.8 million ($94 million)
9. MacGruber – $1.5 million ($7 million)
10. How to Train Your Dragon – $1 million ($213 million)

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