Welcome back to Flop Level Midnight, where we take a look at each of the new wide releases each week and mark what number domestic gross they need to hit to avoid the dreaded "flop" moniker. Remember: Much of this is contingent on a film's budget: The rule of thumb is that 40 percent of a movie's domestic gross comes its opening weekend, so, depending on the cost, there could be a lot of ground to make up, quick. High stakes! This week's contestants are "Footloose," "The Thing" and "The Big Year." Let's do it.
Last Week: Both "Real Steel" and "The Ides of March" passed the flop threshold. "Real Steel" beat its $18 million threshold by a breezy $9 million, and "Ides" just barely inched past its $10 million marker.
Footloose. (The Projector Grade: C.) We've been legitimately surprised to see the level of interest on this one; do not overstate America's infatuation with young people shaking their booties, proverbial and otherwise. Plus, this was a cheapo production for a studio movie, only costing Paramount $24 million. It won't pass that this weekend, but it'll be close. It wouldn't surprise us to see this double its flop threshold number of $11 million.
The Thing. (The Projector Grade: C-.) You've got another 'Thing' comin', America! (This is the last time we'll get to use that joke.) If you want to see how to market a remake of a beloved '80s film, look at what Paramount is doing with "Footloose." If you want to see how not to do it, check this out, which has taken an iconic horror film that's just begging for a franchise and turned it into a derivative, nothin'-special monster flick. This was a lot more expensive to make than "Footloose" too, putting its flop threshold at $13 million.
The Big Year. (The Projector Grade: C+.) Yoo-hoo! A comedy starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black! Hello? Anybody out there? The buzz on "The Big Year" has been so quiet that many haven't even noticed it's opening this weekend. The reviews haven't been bad, but seriously, nobody's talking about this movie whatsoever. Maybe studios only know how to market comedies with CGI baby anus? With expectations so low, and so few theaters showing it, the threshold is a low, depressing $7 million.