This weekend, the movie Rio made 40 million dollars at the box office. That's not a huge surprise since Rio is family friendly.
The big surprise is that the reboot of Scream failed to make even twenty million dollars.
...Or did it?
When I was reading about box office trackers scratching their heads over why a popular franchise's latest edition such as Scream 4 failed to land a bigger opening--especially when fans of the series are applauding the new installment--it took me back to the last time a popular R-rated movie underperformed at the box office.
That movie was American Pie.
The sex-filled comedy eventually made a bundle of movie over a longer period of time--and analysts may remember that the first Scream movie did the same--but both had less than impressive opening weekends.
What some may not remember is that the Disney movie Tarzan is what flattened American Pie...except it probably didn't.
More than likely, kids under the age of seventeen, who wanted to see American Pie but couldn't get past ticket sellers, were buying tickets to Tarzan and then sneaking into the R-rated movie of their choice.
I should know--I was one of those kids.
The fervor over American Pie was so great that movie theaters actually started posting security guards outside of specific shows. One of my friends got caught and had to go see Tarzan--the movie he actually bought a ticket to--and said the theater was empty. American Pie, on the other hand, was packed.
I went to a screening of Scream 4 on Friday, and the theater was full. It was, however, full of teenagers--most of whom were probably under the age of seventeen. I couldn't help but wonder how many of them bought tickets to Rio and then made their way into Scream 4--there was no guard posted outside the theater this time. I guess theaters have given up the fight.
Let's all remember that though Rio is a kid-appropriate cartoon, it didn't get excellent reviews, it doesn't have the Disney/Pixar stamp on it, and even though I consider myself something of a film buff, I had barely heard of the movie until somebody mentioned that it was opening against Scream 4.
Wow, I thought, it's going to get clobbered.
When I went online today, I noticed tons of people on the message boards talking about Scream 4--raving about how unexpectedly good it was.
Not the typical response you get from a box office bomb.
Maybe Rio should be sending the MPAA and their ratings system a big old bouquet of flowers.
As for American Pie, it's coming back this summer in a rebooted form. For the sake of the movie, I hope the theaters don't try rebooting their guard policy...
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- July 19
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