Box Office: Grown Ups and Their Toy Stories

The critical consensus is that “Grown Ups” was so unfunny, it’s almost criminal to call it a “comedy”. Of course, that didn’t stop the film from doing pretty good business in its opening week. The Adam Sandler movie, which co-stars all his comedian buddies, turned in a second place debut at the box office over the weekend, according to studio estimates. “Grown Ups” earned $41 million, second only to “Toy Story 3”, which in its second week continues to roll with another $59 million. The film has made over $226.6 million in two weeks of release so far.

“Grown Ups”, starring Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James, Rob Schneider opened with Godawful reviews. As of this writing, the film is currently boasting a 10% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That means 9 out of every 10 critics who saw it hated it. For comparison, Paris Hilton’s much-derided “The Hottie and the Nottie” currently has a 5% freshness rating on RT. Ouch. The lesson here? Never, ever underestimate the power of promotion. In the last couple of months, I’ve seen every member of the cast on everything from entire segments on ESPN to every Awards show in existence. And oh yeah, people still think Sandler is boss when he doesn’t take himself too seriously, ala “Funny People”, etc.

While Sandler and the boys were battling Hanks and Allen for the top spot at the box office, Tom Cruise was trying to keep up with “Knight and Day”. The action-comedy fell in at a distant third with $20.5 million in its debut. That’s $500,000 short of his last film, 2008’s WWII conspiracy film “Valkyrie”, which opened with $21 million two years ago with about 300 fewer screens. Cruise’s last big hit was 2005’s “War of the Worlds” (which went on to earn $592 million worldwide) and “Mission: Impossible III” in 2006.

So the question is, how will the lack of box office success for “Knight and Day” (which cost north of $100 million to produce) effect Paramount’s “Mission Impossible 4”? It’s been previously reported that Paramount is a little gunshy about greenlighting a movie with “MI4’s” budget, and will be looking very closely at how Cruise’s “Knight and Day” performs before giving the go-ahead to start on the sequel.

'Ha ha, Toy Story 3 beat you at the box office! Oh, wait, I'm in this movie, too. Nevermind.'