In Which I Have the Worst Case of Morning B.O. (Box Office) Ever

At 12:42 p.m. today (this would be Pacific Standard Time, or PST to those unable to read, or PT to those who are even worse readers than those unable to read), I noticed a link on my Gmail page that alerted me to a story on Yahoo which announced the weekend's box office report from a story reported on another site. This greatly confused me, since it was barely after noon, box offices had only been open in the most populous state in the union for two hours (if that), and I had yet to go see The Forbidden Kingdom that afternoon.

Mostly out of confusion, I clicked on the link. Indeed, it took me to a Yahoo page featuring that very story, itself spewed out by Reuters, the financial news network based in London. The story told me it had been placed "two hours and 6 minutes ago," which in my time would have been 10:36 a.m., just after most of the box offices had opened here, but in England, would have actually been 8 hours the other way, or this evening.

The story reported that The Forbidden Kingdom, featuring Jet Li and Jackie Chan, had conquered the weekend's box office totals over the three days with 20.9 million dollars, and further reported that Forgetting Sarah Marshall came in second with $17.3 million. And then it went on blah blah blah about disappointing returns over last year's grosses, blah blah blah, last week's champion dropping to third, blah blah blah, Ben Stein's idiot parade about creationism coming in 10th, blah blah... blather. The usual box office hooey...

Now, this Reuters story actually creeped in from L.A., but it really doesn't matter to me. What does matter is that today was NOT DONE. I believe, where I live, that the day was just getting underway here. Most of the movies in the -- start here -- West Coast still had anywhere from three to four showings to go on each screen on which they were to run -- this would be California (#1 most populous state), Washington (#13) and Oregon. Count in Hawaii and Alaska in that mix, and then zip back right across the country to all of the states who were still proceeding with the bulk of their prime viewing hours, and it becomes quite clear that this box office report is nothing but an estimate, and not a real figure. Because, for the entire country, people were still lining up for movies at every single theatre.


People, I beg of you. Don't let box office monetary reports help you to decide what movies you want to see. Movies shouldn't be about seeing what is popular. They should be about seeing a decent film. I understand if all of your friends want to see a film, and that makes you want to see it too. After all, they are your friends for a reason. You have common interests, and you generally have a feel for bullshit when one of your friends is throwing it out. It just shouldn't matter to the common person how much money a particular movie has made. If you have stakes in hoping for a sequel, sure, you might care. (That also generally makes you an uncritical pussy from the outset, but that's O.K. Be who you have to be...) Or you just might have horrible taste. Regardless, your world doesn't live and die if a movie makes $20 million at the box office. It might to certain people in Hollywood, and that is where I get confused about this whole subset of the game. This bothered me in Alaska, because I would be heading to a film on a Sunday and already hear that my money had been counted on the news. But, now it really fucking bothers me in California.

Why? Because this is where the movies are mostly made. Isn't it strange in a company town like L.A. that you can catch the news on a Sunday morning, expecting to hear how your film performed from Friday-to-Sunday, when Sunday hasn't fucking happened yet? Well, no, apparently to people here, it isn't strange, because all of this hooey is based around the term "studio estimates." And the studios are right here, for the most part. These are not real figures. They are made-up figures. And studios will argue, argue, argue these figures sometimes, but somehow, come Monday, they will all somehow agree on them for the most part. And it's all so, so serious, becomes it comes down to stocks, and it comes around to shares going up and down with the various companies involved, and it actually does affect tons of people in the long run.

And they are all so anxious to get their answer, like the rest of this increasingly impatient society that they have to be so condescending to their audience that they release news reports telling you that they have pocketed your money before you have even spent it. Or even decided to spend it. Is it just more evidence of the Illuminati and how all of your decisions have been made for you? I don't care. I have a stupid movie to attend so that I can pony up bucks that I apparently owe Hollywood now.


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