Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paul Blart: Box Office Success

A few weeks ago, an unheralded movie called Paul Blart: Mall Cop shocked Hollywood by earning nearly $33.8 million in its opening weekend. Paul Blart then continued to shock Hollywood by holding strong in its second and third weekends rather than dropping off precipitously, which is usually what happens when a bad movie opens big and the people who went to see it tell their friends to avoid it like the plague.



As of this writing, Paul Blart has earned $100 million against a production cost of $26 million, and will probably top out around $120 million. While American comedies often do poorly overseas, the broad nature of Paul Blart means it might make a lot of money abroad. If so, it will end up a phenomenally profitable piece of work.



This wasn't supposed to happen. Variety, which still considers itself the show-business bible even though by now it is more like the show-business Dianetics, called Paul Blart "an almost shockingly amateurish one-note-joke." It was little advertised. Its own distributor hoped it might earn maybe half of what it made in its first few days. As a result, the term "blarted" is now being bandied about to describe the effect of a terrible movie that crowds out more deserving fare, as in "you've been blarted."




The key to understanding the success of Paul Blart is its modesty. There's nary a curse word, nor is there flatulence joke, or an exposed or near-exposed breast. He is an innocent, and so is the movie that surrounds him, and it seems clear that audiences have been hungering for a comedy that doesn't force them to cover their own eyes in discomfort, their children's eyes in embarrassment, or their grandmother's in shame.

1 comments:

Red February 23, 2009 at 2:51 PM  

Can't wait to see it. Paul Blart is a caricature of a friend to a tee.

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