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Arts and Culture

Men Defeat Women at the Box Office

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Posted on Aug 15, 2010

Whether by chance or design, Hollywood turned the weekend of Friday, Aug. 13, 2010, into a cinematic tug of war between the sexes, with two of the most narrowly gender-targeted movies imaginable coming out on the same day.

Ü ber chick flick “Eat, Pray, Love” stars Julia Roberts and has Oprah’s enthusiastic blessing. The film’s website can be found at the cornball self-helpy

The “Expendables,” meanwhile, is an action supermovie that stars almost every muscled killer from the 1980s, ’90s and oughts. It is vulgar, violent and insane. People, buildings and any sense of decency explode when shot by senior citizen Sylvester Stallone and his cohort.

By weekend estimates, the action flick led by $14.4 million in box-office takings. Interestingly, Box Office Mojo reports that a larger majority of “Eat, Pray, Love’s” audience was made up of women (72 percent) than the “Expendables’ ” was of men (61 percent).

We can deduce, therefore, that either Sylvester Stallone has more crossover gender appeal than Julia Roberts or, contrary to popular myth, more men drag women to the movies than the other way around.

But that’s enough trying to make sweeping cultural assumptions based on two late summer releases.  —PZS

Box Office Mojo:

Claiming a burly estimated $35 million on approximately 4,300 screens at 3,270 locations, The Expendables’ opening weekend was a bit less than Inglourious Basterds’ $38.1 million last August, but it was greater than The A-Team’s $25.7 million and nearly doubled Rambo’s $18.2 million. Distributor Lionsgate’s exit polling indicated that 61 percent of Expendables’ audience was male (slightly more than Basterds) and 60 percent was 25 years and older (younger than Basterds).

Eat Pray Love collected an estimated $23.7 million on close to 3,700 screens at 3,082 locations, which topped Julie & Julia’s $20 million first weekend last August. It also marked Julia Roberts’ biggest launch in a top-billed role since America’s Sweethearts in 2001. Distributor Sony Pictures reported that 72 percent of the audience was female and 56 percent was 35 years and older, and the studio noted that 28 percent of moviegoers were 17-to-29-years-old.

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This fan-made trailer plays on the gender politics of the two movies:

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By gold, August 16, 2010 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It unquestionably is portrayed as torture, and yet by the logic many in that audience bought into during the Bush Admin, it isn’t torture and thus perfectly acceptable.  But here it is being used by the bad guys against one of the good guys (actually, the lone woman in the film).

Yes! I watched the movie and, while it is a no brain blockbuster,  - this was an incredibly important scene that seems to have flown under the radar for most media outlets (and on the net).

The American BAD GUYS were waterboarding someone. The way it was depicted showed that it couldn’t be possibly meant as anything other than torture.

Considering the target audience of this movie, I think it was a very important that Stallone chose to do this scene.

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By Tobysgirl, August 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

What crap the American public laps up (I know, a lot of them are teenagers). The Expendables, a bunch of creepy old hacks spewing violent propaganda.

I went to see The Girl Who Played with Fire. Now there’s a thriller! But of course the audience has to be able to read (subtitles).

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By thetruth, August 16, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interestingly, in the Expendables, there is a waterboarding scene done by the villians.

It unquestionably is portrayed as torture, and yet by the logic many in that audience bought into during the Bush Admin, it isn’t torture and thus perfectly acceptable.  But here it is being used by the bad guys against one of the good guys (actually, the lone woman in the film).

Most of this film, the audience were snorting and laughing and carrying on at the ridiculousness.  That scene, pretty much the entire theater was dead quiet.

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By NYCartist, August 16, 2010 at 4:58 am Link to this comment

Oink, with apologies to pigs.

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By Richard Nixon, August 16, 2010 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

Stupider slightly beat stupidest.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, August 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Not only is The Expendables insane, it’s also fascist propaganda. It’s basically a disquised call for invading Venezuela and assassinating Hugo Chavez.

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