Got My Mojo Workin’!

Although I’ve never been much of a math wiz, I’ve always liked numbers. Well, I’ve always like statistics, especially when they’re related to sports and movies. I can even remember the “inciting incident” for my ongoing statistics fascination. When I was 10, my parents bought me the program for Super Bowl XXI at the airport—kids get bored quickly on long flights, you know. And although we went on to spend a nice week in warm, sunny climes, the highlight of my winter vacation was probably the time I spent studying that magazine. I mean, really studying it! Tampa Bay lost 14 of their 16 games that season? How interesting! Eric Dickerson, of the L.A. Rams, led the NFL in rushing with 1,821 yards during the regular season? Tell me more! The Jets finally snapped their five-game losing streak by beating Kansas City in the AFC Wild Card Game? All right!

In the wide world of tables, graphs and charts, the only thing more fun than sports statistics, is movie statistics. Budgets, grosses and salaries, oh my! Among movie websites that cater to the statistically inclined, Box Office Mojo reigns supreme. Well, at least when it comes to earnings. Don’t believe me? Check out the Daily Box Office chart. Oh, mama! You’ll find more numbers there than in Rain Man’s brain!

Zombieland made $51,102 on Saturday. Isn’t that fascinating? On Monday, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, which author/critic Kim Newman deemed “Ugly” in the latest issue of Empire, had limped along to what must surely be a disappointing $33,389,464 take in 88 days. Compare that to New Moon, which on the same day had a healthy total gross of $153,345,623 … amassed in only four days! And Paranormal Activity is still hanging tough, in 1902 theaters, with total domestic earnings of $106,224,428. This means that in the US alone, Paranormal Activity has made back its miniscule budget of $15,000 well over 7000 times! (Boohoo, I won’t get to see it until December.)

Well, anyways, I just wanted to say that numbers are fun. I could easily spend a couple of hours on Box Office Mojo, scrolling and clicking, comparing and deducing. And you know what? Even though I’ve more or less lost all interest in football since 1987, I still have that Super Bowl program. Yup, numbers are fun.


Paranormal Activity: The Math

Paranormal Activity, with its ridiculously slim budget of $15 000, is currently king of the US box office. In the space of five weeks, it has grossed $62 477 000, earning back the puny initial outlay 4165 times over. Ten years ago, The Blair Witch Project cost $60 000 and ended up reaping a cool $248 639 099 worldwide—that’s the budget 4144 times over. Proportionately, Paranormal Activity is already a bigger hit. But can it top that impressive haul of a decade earlier? I thought Blair Witch was terrible, save for the final screamtacular minutes, and the Paranormal Activity trailer is kind of blah. What’s all the fuss about? Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

Saw VI opened to an acceptable $14 800 000 this weekend, which means that they’ve recouped the budget. Still, that’s less than half of what Saw V grossed during its opening weekend only one year ago. (If you’ve read OP-dEaD since the beginning, you might remember that I bailed after part four, when the series just got too contrived for its own good.) However, thanks to an eager core audience and low production costs, Saw VI will end up making a healthy profit. And Saw VII was in the works even before this one premiered, so the filmmakers clearly have no intention of stopping.

In other BO news, the weekend top ten contained three other horror movies/thrillers—The Stepfather, Cirque de Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant and Zombieland. It’s encouraging to see darker movies doing so well.

Note: I did the math for this post with numbers from Box Office Mojo, one of the best movie sites on the web. Numbers are fun—whoda thunk it?

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