Last week I boldly declared that there seemed to be a greater feeling of ’90s-era nostalgia related to “Titanic” than to the “American Pie” films, a franchise born in 1999.
The weekend’s box office results have proven me wrong.
“American Reunion” — the movie that reunited Jim (Jason Biggs), Stifler (Seann William Scott) and the rest of the sex-obsessed gang from the original — opened in second place over the weekend, with $21.5 million. That’s not a huge number — it’s lower than the debuts for previous “Pie” sequels, “American Pie 2” and “American Wedding” — but enough to beat the love story about a girl who meets a boy who (spoiler alert!) eventually drowns.
“Titanic 3D” brought in $17.3 million over Easter weekend but has added $25.7 million to the heart of its ocean since its Wednesday opening. Do these results suggest that people are more pro-“Pie” than pro-Jack and Rose?
Well, a highly unscientific, modest poll conducted in this blog kind of did; 36 percent of voters in that survey from last week said that the “American Reunion” release made them feel a little wistful for the first time they heard about that one time at band camp.
But a close examination of the box office data suggests that in an “American Pie” vs. “Titanic” battle, we might have to call it even.
First of all, “Titanic 3D” made more money over the course of its five-day opening than “American Reunion” during its Friday-Sunday reunion, suggesting that maybe the hard-core DiCaprio obsessives went to see his film before the weekend arrived. That makes it challenging to do a true Finch-to-Fabrizio, apples-to-apples comparison.
“American Reunion” also showed on 500 more screens than “Titanic,” which certainly helped tip the balance in its favor. In fact, when you look at per-screen averages, “American Reunion” and “Titanic” were pretty closely aligned. Box Office Mojo reports that “Reunion’s” average was $6,736 in per-theater revenue, while the “Titanic” re-release landed $6,488 in per-theater revenue.
So perhaps fans of horny adolescents and fans of Celine Dion-y romance can just collectively call this one a draw?
At the very least, they can admit that “Hunger Games” kicked both of their movies’ butts, earning another $33.5 million over the weekend, bringing its total gross to more than $300 million. Apparently it’s more lucrative to look forward to a dystopian future than back at our ’90s fixations.