Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (aka “the Michael Caine riding on a bumblebee movie”) brought in $27.55 million, topping the opening weekend gross of 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, a movie that you may not have known even existed, much less warranted a sequel, am I right? Journey I (which is what I guess we should call it now?) opened with $20 million at the beginning of the current, lamentable 3D craze, so it benefited somewhat from novelty value; star Brendan Fraser chose not to return for the sequel, which replaced him with The Rock. So the Fraser-to-Rock exchange rate is apparently in the neighborhood of eight million bucks. Adjust your budgets accordingly, producers.
And then, of course, we come to the fourth place winner, Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace 3D, which bled an additional $23 million out of Star Wars fans, in spite of the fact that a) it’s a movie everyone has seen, b) it’s a movie that almost everyone agrees is really not very good at all, and c) its release was preceded by yet another chapter in the continuing saga of Star-Wars-fans-as-abused-wives-on-a-Cops-rerun, when creator George Lucas came out last week and said (insisted) that no, no, Han never shot first, you’re just remembering it wrong. And the fans howled and screeched, and then went out Friday night and gave Daddy George twenty more bucks so they could see his terrible prequel again, but this time with stuff cold comin’ out the screen, woo hoo!
So there’s your top four, all rolling out of the weekend with more than 20 million clams in their wheelbarrows, and while we know, we know that box office success is seldom (if ever) indicative of actual quality, this is a head-scratching bunch of runaway box office successes. Who went to these movies? Who wanted to see them? Tell us, please. These questions need answers. Do it for humanity.