‘Jackass 3D’ Tops the Box Office

October 18, 2010
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to Newsmax.com

This weekend featured two wide release debuts, “Jackass 3D” and “Red,” both of which, prior to hitting theater screens, had experts predicting the flicks wouldn’t do so well at the box office.

“Jackass 3D” was causing jitters because of its dim-bulb reality-show mentality. “Red” was making execs nervous because of the older demographic of the cast and potential audience.

A lot of folks thought the promos for the “Jackass 3D” movie were some kind of satirical video footage that had been created by renegade YouTube filmmakers. Then came the shock when it turned up as the No. 1 film in America.

Optimists at Paramount had thought lead stuntman Johnny Knoxville’s celebration of inane thrill-seeking would bring in $30 to $35 million over the weekend.

But the third “Jackass” film, based on the MTV reality show of the same name, ended up exceeding $50 million; quite a stunt for Paramount since the studio reportedly spent a mere $20 million in production costs.

Part of the movie’s success may have to do with the fact that it was actually shot in 3-D, unlike other recent releases that were marketed as 3-D flicks.

Despite it being Oscar season “Jackass 3D” shows the public still craves escapist fare even at inflated 3-D prices. Unfortunately, in two weeks another darker extra-dimensional version will arrive in the form of “Saw 3D.”

Another non-Oscar flick that has been released during trophy hunting season is Summit's Bruce Willis action comedy, “Red.” The movie met expectations with $22.5 million, taking second place for the weekend.

Summit used tax credits to get the cost of “Red” down to around $60 million. The film was geared toward adults as opposed to “Jackass 3D,” which aimed its sights at a younger demographic.

“Red” is based on a DC comic book. Willis plays a retired spy who is trying to figure out who’s trying to kill him. He asks other former agents (played by Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich) to help out. Mary-Louise Parker smoothly portrays Willis’ romantic interest.

Two Oscar-seeking flicks opened in limited release: Fox Searchlight's “Conviction” (at 11 locations) and Clint Eastwood and Warner’s “Hereafter” (at six theaters).

“Hereafter” took in a tidy $231,000, which averages to $38,500 per screen, while “Conviction” took in $110,000, a respectable $10,000 per screen.

Both studios are counting on critical acclaim and word of mouth to lead to award nominations and additional revenue. “Hereafter” will be shown in more than 2,200 locations next weekend.