It is time once again to take a stroll down memory lane, all the way back to a long-ago era known as the first weekend of August 2010. Our current weekend has many savory new offerings -- The Change-Up, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the limited-release Bellflower -- but that's no reason to forget the brave cinematic heroes who have gone before. Let's go back 365 days and see what everyone was talking about way back then.
The weekend of Aug. 6-8, 2010
The Other Guys Starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg
This was the long-awaited reunion of Will Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay, the duo responsible for Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, all of which also came out in July or early August. It was also the long-awaited debut of Mark Wahlberg's sense of humor, which had previously been difficult to find. Rumors swirled that he had lost it to a gypsy's curse!
The Other Guys opened to $35.6 million, Ferrell's best debut in six movies. It displaced Inception, released three weeks earlier, from the top spot at the box office. And it got mostly positive reviews from critics (78% at Rotten Tomatoes), even though the Internet has told me that critics are cranky and humorless and don't like comedies or happiness in general. The film went on to earn $119.2 million in the U.S., plus another $51 million overseas -- fairly typical for a Ferrell comedy. Many people felt like The Other Guys was what Kevin Smith's Cop-Out would have been if Cop-Out had been a comedy.
The Other Guys marked the end of a flurry of activity for Ferrell, during which he seemed to be trying to make a comedy about every sport and appear in as many movies as possible. Since then, his only live-action appearance has been the indie dramedy Everything Must Go, plus voice work in Megamind. Naturally, his next film will be Casa de mi Padre, which is mostly in Spanish and costars Gael Garcial Bernal, because of course that's what Will Ferrell's next project would be. Wahlberg (who had a nice turn in Date Night, too) rounded out 2010 with The Fighter, where his subtle performance was overshadowed by Christian Bale's. Become a terrifying meth addict next time, Mark!
Step Up 3-D Starring 3-D and dancing.
You probably still remember how sad you were in 2008, when Step Up 2 the Streets ended and you realized you'd have to wait another two years to see more stepping up, 2 the streets or otherwise. To compensate for this interminable hiatus, the sequel didn't just offer additional footage of people stepping up. No sir or madam, the sequel was in 3-D, the most beloved and useful storytelling tool since the invention of foreshadowing! Fans of stepping up would now be able to see their favorite up-stepping characters stepping up, as well as out, right at them! Well, except that none of the major characters from the previous films appeared in this one, but whatever. Everyone looks pretty much the same when they're stepping up.
The film's $15.8 million debut was good enough for third place (behind Inception), but it was less than its predecessors had made. They hadn't been boosted by 3-D ticket prices, either. It went on to make $42.4 million in the U.S., plus a whopping $116.9 million overseas. No matter how much you think YOU love stepping up, foreigners love it even more! So even though Step Up 3-D had the lowest U.S. box office of the series, it had the best worldwide -- meaning yes, another sequel is in the works. These things only cost like fifty bucks to make anyway.
Director Jon Chu made the 3-D Justin Bieber concert film next, and is now signed to direct the G.I. Joe sequel, which should be pretty hilarious. Whoever the actors were in Step Up 3-D, they are almost certainly back to their regular jobs performing on cruise ships.
Hey, look what else opened a year ago!
Flipped had a strange, sad lifespan. It was directed by Rob Reiner and looked like a perfectly charming little movie about a couple kids falling in love in the '60s. It opened on 45 screens, and a wide release was set for later in the month. The reviews weren't great, but they were OK (57% at Rotten Tomatoes). Then, suddenly, after a so-so per-screen average that opening weekend, Warner Bros. panicked and started burying the movie. Press screenings in markets where it hadn't opened yet were canceled. It did finally expand to 440 screens in September, but to no avail. It topped off at $1.7 million, went to DVD, and was never heard from again until right now.
Twelve, on the other hand, had been the laughingstock of Sundance, a Joel Schumacher debacle -- a Joel Schudebacle -- about awful teens doing awful things to each other. Everyone had laughed when it found a distributor at Sundance, and everyone continued to laugh when it opened to brutal reviews and made less than $200,000 in the U.S. Here was a movie so bad even Armond White couldn't pretend to like it! Now it's on Showtime just about every day, so you can watch it if you want to.
And what about FIVE years ago??
Aug. 4, 2006, gave us Talladega Nights (more Will Ferrell), Backyard (that was the weird cartoon where even male cows had udders), and The Descent (the scary English thriller about hot chicks in a cave).
(All box office figures are from Box Office Mojo.)