Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Airbender bends $3 million worth of midnight ticket sales.

I've of two minds about The Last Airbinder's box office run. On one hand, it's a ghastly film. M. Night Shyamalan will learn few lessons if the film becomes a hit anyway, and he desperately needs some tough love right now. On the other hand, I don't want to see him tank at the box office, as that by itself will do major damage to his career, to the point where his allegedly-excellent new script might not end up as a feature (me-thinks he leaked the info about the new script when he realized what a disaster Last Airbender had turned into). I strongly disliked Alice in Wonderland, but I did get small amounts of pleasure at watching Tim Burton rule the box office in a manner not seen since Batman twenty-one years ago. That's the nature of fandom - we don't want the artists we respect and admire to fail, even when they probably deserve to. So it is with mixed feelings that I report that The Last Airbender scored $3 million in midnight showings. That may seem like small potatoes compared to the $30 million scored by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse or the $18 million snared by The Dark Knight two years ago, but it's still the biggest midnight haul for a non-sequel this summer, if not this year (did Alice in Wonderland even have notable midnight screenings back in March?). Heck, it's almost half of what Iron Man 2 grossed in its midnight run ($7.5 million), which means that we could be in for a much higher opening-day ($20 million?) than we were expecting. Of course, I don't expect the fans of the original television show to be anymore forgiving than the nation's critics, so the front-loading on this one may rival the Twilight series. The numbers should be out by early tomorrow morning, so we'll see soon enough.

Scott Mendelson

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