Parental Guidance: Beating The Odds

Box Office Update: Bette MidlerBilly Crystal Comedy Beats Tom Cruise Shooter-Upper
Dec 27, 2012

Here’s an update on Christmas Day box office, thanks to numbers from boxofficemojo,com: Bette Midler and Billy Crystal’s family comedy, “Parental Guidance,” with Marisa Tomei, handily beat Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher” for fourth place. The first three films were “Les Miserables” with $18.1 mil, “Dhango Unchained” with $15 mil, and “The Hobbit” with $11.3 million.

But who would have expected Midler and Crystal, names not seen above the credits or opening a film in more than a decade, to knock it out of the park? With $6.3 million they outpaced Cruise by $1 million. Of course, with kids, on Christmas, do you take them to see a Disney type comedy or a movie where a sniper picks off five people in the first few minutes? You tell me.

Kudos to Midler and Crystal, who are not exactly family fare from the old days. They were both pretty R rated comedians, delivering cutting edge stuff with a sweet smile. Now, in their 60s, they just deliver the sweet I guess. Imagine if Midler stopped in mid movie and told one of her old bawdy jokes! But you know, now they’ll get a little franchise out of this, maybe one or two more “Parental Guidance”episodes and find a new audience. That’s called reinvention.

As for Cruise, who has refused to reinvent himself, “Reacher” has been something of a reach. The thriller now has $23.5 million since Friday, which wouldn’t be bad if your star didn’t get the first $20 million before costs and the movie didn’t cost at least $80 million. I guess some of that will be mixed into his “Mission Impossible” pay out.
Elsewhere, “Zero Dark Thirty” is doing well, but presenting an interesting problem day to day. On Monday and Tuesday it did less well than on the weekend. Instead of building interest, the Kathryn Bigelow directed thriller (yes, it’s a thriller) didn’t maintain its highs in very limited release. It’s hard to say how this bodes for the future. All the controversy should have pushed more people to see it, as they did for “Django.” But maybe “ZD30”³ will fare better once the kids are back in school.

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