Memorial Day Weekend Box Office Blockbusters and Bombs
8:18 PM PDT 5/25/2012 by THR Staff
The unofficial start of the summer brings high stakes at cinemas, with expensive epics and hopeful comedies all trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of the long weekend. Some succeed ("Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), some fail ("Prince of Persia") and some fail miserably ("Super Mario Bros"). THR takes a look back at Memorial Day movies past.
The all-time Memorial Day weekend champ (so far), the last installment of the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy took in a whopping $139.8.7 million. It's total global haul ($963 million), however, is topped by predecessor Dead Man's Chest, which took in $1.066 billion.
Touted as a vehicle to invigorate the iconic and oft-mocked Japanese franchise in the United States, Godzilla did not warrant any sequels. Pulling $55 million it's opening weekend, it was hardly a tragedy, but dismal reviews and the ensuing low gross that didn't justify its title-appropriate budget.
'The Hangover Part II' (2011)
Memorial Day's favorite comedy ever, the Hangover sequel bested most expectations with a staggering $103.4 million over the course of the extended weekend, guaranteeing its yet-to-be-made third installment before the registers were closed.
'Super Mario Bros.' (1993)
Something was lost in translation with this relatively swift adaptation of the pioneering video game series -- and it was apparent from the trailers touting shrunken headed koopa troopas. Likely too dark for much of its target audience, Super Mario Bros. pulled in just $8.5 million, going on to gross little more and never approaching the hype its name should have guaranteed.
'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' (2008)
Decades after its last installment, Harrison Ford staged a welcome box office return of alter ego Indiana Jones, raking in $126.9 million in its opening weekend and an additional $217 million during the rest of its domestic run.
'Drop Dead Fred' (1991)
Are you ready for this nostalgia check? Phoebe Cates probably isn't. Drop Dead Fred, the tale of an adult woman reunited with her devious childhood imaginary friend, was a bizarre stinker in nearly every respect. It took in just $3.6 million during its opening weekend, and remains one of the last projects its star has performed in to date.
'Pearl Harbor' (2001)
Two parts patriotism, one part computer effects and a healthy sprinkling of A-list actors, Pearl Harbor was made for a Memorial Day release. It took in $75.2 million, ultimately grossing just a shade under $450 million worldwide.
Horror has never had a home on this holiday weekend, and Bug helped prove that in 2007 when it landed with a thud. Its $4 million haul was doubly embarrassing considering it ended up counting as more than half of its total domestic gross.
'The Day After Tomorrow' (2004)
Roland Emmerich's climate-change cautionary tale pulled in $85.8 million over the four-day weekend, making it enough to sit at the Memorial Day winner's table -- though it barely recouped its hefty budget with its domestic take.
'Johnny Mnemonic' (1995)
Ever the box office wild card, Keanu Reeves' 1995 sci-fi flick about the evils of a then mysterious Internet whimpered in with just 7.4 million during a weekend that saw Casper outsell Braveheart's opening by almost 100 percent. Money isn't everything.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
Audiences returned to Jurassic Park en masse for the follow-up to Steven Spielberg's dinosaur drama. And while it's opening may have topped the original, it didn't have the previous Park's endurance. Final domestic gross had it nearly a $130 million shy of the original.
'Mad Love' (1995)
Not a memorable bomb, by any stretch of the imagination, this sudsy Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell starrer came in shy of the previously mentioned Johnny Mnemonic with just $6.8 million -- and thus bears mentioning.
'Mission Impossible II' (2000)
A well-paced series if ever there was one, the second Mission Impossible came four years after the original big screen adaptation. It took in $70.8 million its opening weekend, paving the way for its subsequent two sequels, the most recent of which topped all its predecessors.
Hard as it may be to believe now, but in 2002, a lot of moviegoers had had enough of Jennifer Lopez. Her unofficial update of Sleeping With the Enemy earned a respectable enough $17.2 million, but it was still in sixth place, behind something called Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
'X-Men: The Last Stand' (2006)
Like Pirates the year after it, the original X-Men trilogy ended on strong note. Last Stand nabbed a $122.8 million Memorial opening, before losing the top spot to Jennifer Aniston's The Break Up the following weekend.
'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' (2010)
The Sands of Time ran through the box office hourglass much faster than Disney anticipated. Their big budget video game adaptation, an early portend of John Carter's failure, fizzled with a disappointing $37.8 million. It ended up making $335 million worldwide, but it cost upwards of $200 million to make and is largely regarded as a misstep.
'Bruce Almighty' (2003)
Another one of the select comedy MVPs of Memorial Day weekends past is Jim Carrey's $85.7 million cash cow about a man unwittingly imbued with God's power and responsibilities. Over the course of the summer it went on to gross $242.8 million.
'Sex and the City 2' (2010)
You can take the sex out of the city... only not as many people will care. The largely New-York-free sequel to the movie based on the HBO series sent its female foursome to Abu Dhabi -- and did not live up to its predecessor. Sex and the City 2 earned 36.8 million over the holiday weekend, coming in just shy of fellow desert-set flop, Prince of Persia.
'Truth or Dare' (1991)
Hardly a "blockbuster," Madonna's concert flick did earn the unique distinction of pulling $2.5 million in little more than 600 theaters over Memorial Day weekend in 1991. It soon after became the highest grossing documentary of all time -- though it has since been knocked down to #8.
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