Based on how this weekend’s box office numbers shaped up, odds are good that you either saw Wonder Woman this weekend or you avoided the theater altogether. It was a record-setting few days for everyone’s favorite warrior princess — sorry, Xena — but things were decidedly less rosy if your movie was… well, literally anything else. Here are the box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
Memorial Day is the official start of summer, but in Movieland, summer starts well before, in early May or even sooner. (I generally say there four season on the calendar but only two seasons for movies: Summer and Awards.) Still, Memorial Day is still supposed to be a big deal in movie theaters; kids have an extra day off from school and Hollywood delivers some of the season’s biggest offerings.
There was a time not so long ago when Memorial Day weekend was a big deal for Hollywood, but this weekend felt more like a bunch of under-performers gathering together and learning very little about life. Call it the anti-Breakfast Club, if you will. This certainly isn’t what Hollywood had in mind for most of the franchises, and while Johnny Depp’s latest pirate movie did OK, OK seems to be the operative word of the summer if you’re not a movie about superheroes or literate villagers. Here’s the weekend gross through Sunday afternoon:
It’s gotta be tough for actors and directors when folks don’t like their movie, especially when a lot of those folks are the critics driving the scores on review aggregation websites before the movie has a chance to hit theaters. Baywatch has officially been out since Wednesday, and the critical reception has been… less than great. Some regular non-critics seem to dig the film, which The Rock was quick to pick up on.
If you prefer watching people sit on a beach to actually sitting on a beach for Memorial Day weekend, there’s a new Baywatch movie in theaters today, starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. Though Baywatch endured in syndication for over a decade, it’s not like there was a massive fanbase out there begging for a big-screen version; the film, directed by Seth Gordon, is mostly a lighthearted sendup of the old series about heroic lifeguards.
One of the least funny running jokes in the new Baywatch movie — which is really saying something because there are a lot of unfunny running jokes in the new Baywatch movie — involves these lifeguards constantly inserting themselves into all sorts of situations that fall well beyond their jurisdiction. They refer to laughable old cases that have nothing to do with rescuing drowners, a nod to the old Baywatch TV show that serves as the film’s source material and chief target. But the case the takes up most of the film’s inexplicably expansive runtime (116 minutes! For a Baywatch movie!) is just as absurd, with the lifeguards trying to bring down a drug ring and real-estate swindle centered around their Southern California beach. Ha ... ha?
There was no jocularity on Baywatch when I was a child. These brave men and women in red bathing suits were doing very important things, like guarding lives, performing CPR, running in slow-motion, and occasionally starting totally random spinoff shows featuring sea monsters. The new Baywatch movie is a new breed of ‘watch. These guys do joke around, constantly. It’s Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron as mismatched partners on the lifeguard scene, joking about one another’s testicles, performing highly unprofessional autopsies, and even arguing over severed limbs. Seriously: Not your Hasselhoff’s Baywatch.