It’s been a rough couple of weeks for nerds:
- Comic-book nerds saw arguably the biggest nemesis of a mid-level Marvel superhero reimagined in Iron Man 3 (71.73 index rating), which could have easily been subtitled: “The Quest for China’s Lucrative Box Office.”
- Literary nerds were subjected to a framing device in The Great Gatsby (59.73) that completely altered the character of Nick Carraway in a way almost as egregious as if Gatsby’s tagline was changed from “old sport” to “fo’ shizzle.
- Star Trek nerds sat through Star Trek Into Darkness (80.65), which was essentially a remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, except with fewer mind-controlling space eels.
But purists represent a mere fraction of the moviegoing public. So from that perspective, it’s been a pretty fantastic summer blockbuster season, which creeps earlier every year in a way that suggests the folks running the move industry also decide when the Christmas shopping season starts (last Thursday).
Those decision-makers must be awfully happy with the fruits of their plot-massaging because box-office numbers continued their torrid pace this week. The $145.36 million total marked the third straight week in nine figures and was led by Star Trek Into Darkness, which took over the top spot at more than $70.55 million in its first week. Iron Man 3 lost a bit of momentum but still managed a respectable $35.18 million, bringing its total to $337 million. And Gatsby’s domestic haul edged closer to surpassing its $105 million budget with a $23.41 million weekend that pushed its overall tally to $90.1 million.
The rest of the top 10 was little more than hangers-on like The Croods (65.98) and plucky indie underdogs like Mud (82.58), all of which pulled in a combined $16.2 million, or what Iron Man 3 spent on goatee combs for Robert Downey Jr.
From a quality perspective, moviegoers directed their dollars wisely, as Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 continued to garner positive reviews from nearly everyone who doesn’t spend most of their time on Tumblr debating the proper length of Spock’s bowl cut. In fact, the top 10’s overall quality rating rose for the third straight week and hit 62.22, the first time it has breached 60 since early February.
There’s a good chance it’ll stay above that mark this weekend, when sequel-palooza continues with the debuts of The Hangover Part III and Fast & Furious 6. True, the meh-worthy newcomers’ middling reviews won’t push quality into the stratosphere, but their presence will likely shove Peeples (46.48) and The Big Wedding (32.22) out of the top 10, ridding it of the two biggest ratings anchors.