After last weekend's shameful box office numbers, things are looking up in Hollywood. Originality is still dead, for the most part: The big movies were a re-release and a sequel. But at least the same old, unoriginal stuff made some money!
First, good news for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Out in only five theaters, it managed a $729,745 haul. That's a $145,949 per theater average, and that's the BEST per-theater average for a live-action film EVER. (The record was most recently held by Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, which put up a $130,749 figure). Yes, The Master reviews are already gushing, and Oscar glory seems destined. But (relatively) big money is always a bonus come award season, differentiating your classy high-brow fare from all the classy high-brow fare nobody saw. PTA's highest-grossing movie to date was his last, 2007's There Will Be Blood, which managed over $40 million. If The Master's hoping to take that title, it's off to a damn fine start. If David Miscavige seems particularly irritable this morning, this is probably why.
Another qualified record: With $190 million in the bag, Seth MacFarlane's Ted is scheduled to pass The Hangover’s international box office today. That'll make it "the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time overseas." Citizens of the world! On your next spiritual journey through the dark recesses of the globe, if you want to forge a deep connection with the locals? Try quoting Family Guy.
Over in the general field: Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth installment in director Paul W.S. Anderson's franchise, nabbed $21.1 million, and beat the Finding Nemo re-release to take the top spot. As Deadline explains, this whole franchise is a sickly underrated money-printing operation: "The previous 4 films have an aggregate worldwide gross of $675M. The last film made $296M. If this 5th film could get to $325M worldwide" — and it's already over $70 worldwide — "then the franchise hits $1B in worldwide box office." And as we speak, all manner of aspiring directors are changing their names to the tried-and-true Paul [Blank] Anderson format.