All That Is Necessary for the Triumph of Evil Is for Robin Williams' RV to Top the BO List


Color me Dee Dee "I Don't Want to Live This Life (Anymore)" Ramone as the AP reports on the weekend's movie box office:

Audiences hit the road with Robin Williams as his family-vacation romp "RV" opened at No. 1 with $16.4 million, while the Sept. 11 drama "United 93" debuted with $11.6 million.

More here.

Yes, yes, I know that the customer is always right. Or at least that the audience has a mind of its own. And certainly that culture isn't something that needs to be good for you (god no). And that Robin Williams has been absolutely mesmerizing since he began playing only truly evil villains since his turn as the Josef Mengele of laughter-is-the-best-medicine advocates, Patch Adams. But still, when a zany, poorly reviewed knockoff of Vacation (itself nothing to write home about) tops a well-received 9/11 movie, well, it's cause for a sigh, innit?

Update: As several early-rising, mathematically competent commenters point out, United 93 opened in far fewer theaters than did RV. The former's per-screen take is $6,465 vs. $4,506 for RV. More details here.

NEXT: Toward a Leaner, Meaner Army, Where Junior Officers Will Think For Themselves

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  1. RV was in more than twice as many theaters as United 93. So at least we can say United 93 did better per theater. But yeah, after seeing the faux fashion show intro to the NFL Draft on ESPN, I think some sort of new cultural low is being reached out there.

  2. I think that this is the much awaited sign that the country just wants to go on with life as usual and have a good laugh, even at stupid shit, rather than having their lives continually shaped around the threat of terrorism.

    That’s just my silver lining…

  3. Yea, United 93 did open in 1/2 the number of theaters as RV. I think that’s part of the marketing strategy many moveies use, correct? Open in a smaller number of theaters the first weekend, build buzz, and do that mass relaese in week 2. The Box Office for U93 should jump for next weekend.

  4. Yes, but the idea that a Robin Williams movie makes money at all is worth a sigh. I just skipped the theater this weekend.

    My favorite movie review ever was Paul Clinton on CNN when he called Patch Adams a “slobbering ass-kiss of a movie.”

  5. Personally, I for once don’t see this as being a cultural low. Even some piece of shit “Vacation” knock-off can be a diversion. There may be scenes that are actually entertaining (though I’m certain they’re not worth the $10).

    “United 93”, on the other hand, is just a big collectivist jerk-off. As far as I can see it, there are only two types of people who are interested (excluding family members/friends of the murdered):

    1) masochists who like to cry and feel lousy. And this is their chance to bond with other masochists
    2) people with morbid curiousity. They want to have a peek on what went on in that airplane.

    And yeah, I will defend the apparent fallacy of it being “too soon”. We all went through this in one form or another. And now some people are watching it on a big screen munching on stale popcorn and ju-ju bees.

    “Titanic”, on the other hand, happend almost a century ago. Most of the principles are gone. So, yeah, I think we can get away with having some 12-year-old looking guy and fat chick run around on the deck, enjoy the impressive special effects, and completely ignore the real tragedy.

  6. “fat chick”

    oh for shame sir!

  7. I’m of two minds about going to see United 93. On the one hand, I’m glad it is apparently not the grotesque life as only Hollywood sees it mockery I was afraid it would be.

    On the other hand, I have thoughts along Mr. Nice Guy’s. Either the movie succeeds for me and I endure a two hour groin kick, or it doesn’t and I get annoyed. It seems like lose – lose to me.

    That is basically my approach to horror movies, too. If a movie is actually trying to scare me, it either succeeds and makes the experience unpleasant, or it doesn’t and annoys me. There is room here for the horror flick that is entirely something to laugh at, of course.

  8. MNG,

    What if the popcorn isn’t stale?

  9. What the hell? I don’t think I’ve seen a single ad or trailer for “RV.”

  10. Zoidberg:

    I’m thinking some really mean thoughts so ALL popcorn for that movie will be stale. May it be ashes in their mouths! Ashes!

    I’m wondering why there isn’t a McDonalds/Burger King tie-in for this movie. Where are the 9/11 Happy Meals?! Someone’s dropping the ball here.

  11. There is also the possibility that some potential viewers stayed away because they suspect United 93 is just going to be a pack of self-serving propaganda. Supposedly nobody knows exactly what happened on board, since the raw CVR tapes were never released. And yet there’s this neatly-packaged Official Story that doesn’t seem to fit all the available facts…

    er…not that I would ever listen to conspiracy theories, or anything like that… But that suspicion is why one person I know stayed away…

  12. “I’m wondering why there isn’t a McDonalds/Burger King tie-in for this movie. Where are the 9/11 Happy Meals?!”

    I’m still waiting for the poseable action figures of the 9/11 hijackers — collect all 19!

  13. I’m rather used to playing the devil’s advocate so forgive me if I’m a little clumsy while standing up for the good guy’s…I’m a touch out of practice.

    There’s a third type of person who wants to see this movie: people tired of seeing slick packaged heroism and drama and would like to catch just a glimpse of the real thing even if it is in a recreation. Let me say this in no uncertain terms: they were real heros and I only hope I could do the same. Let me give a hearty and soulful “Fuck You” to the cynics out thre. Every now and then we need to see what it really means to be a man.

    BTW, I haven’t seen the movie yet for the simple reason that I am in law school taking final exams over the next two weeks and I don’t need to be distracted by anger. I will see it when exams are done.

  14. Would they short pack the Zacharias figures, making them harder to collect?

  15. “Would they short pack the Zacharias figures, making them harder to collect?”

    I was assuming that he’d be a special edition figure that you could only get by mailing in the proof of purchase tabs from the boxes for the other 19 or just one proof of purchase and a coerced affidavit from a Guantanamo detainee, plus $5 shipping & handling, allow three to five years for delivery.

  16. So, if I don’t really care about seeing either film, what does that say about me?

  17. I got there late for the showing of United 93, so I had to catch the next one, which was United 141. It was pretty boring. There was a little turbulence over Albuquerque, but that was about it.

    Thanks folks, and don’t forget to tip your servers!

  18. SR/keith:

    Officially, the 9/11 Happy Meals would only have 19 collectible action figures. But yeah, there would be a special Moussaoui figure for those lucky, lucky few. Sorta like the Bobba Fett promotion in the 70s.

    I have a vision of the requisite Angry Dad at McDonalds’, yelling at the beleaguered clerk rifling through the goody box.

    “God DAMN it!! All you got are Attas!? What about Fayez Banihammad? Look again!”

  19. Lost in #8 is the excellent “Akeelah and the Bee,” which hopefully will stick around through good word-of-mouth.

  20. I’ve seen Ebert & the other guy slag RV as a sad knock-off of a NatLamp Vacation flick, which is a damn shame, as I’d run to a good movie that starred Cheryl Hines & Kristin Chenoweth. Rowr!


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