While most box office forecasters such as myself will rightfully pontificate on the continued failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story (it’s fading badly in its sophomore frame after a disappointing debut), there’s another story this weekend. This one involves the highly dwindling fortunes at multiplexes of Mr. Johnny Knoxville.
The MTV show “Jackass” premiered in 2000 and quickly became a sensation with younger viewers glued to Knoxville’s dangerous and often hilarious stunts. Paramount didn’t wait long before taking the half hour program and expanding it to the silver screen. In 2002, Jackass: The Movie debuted to $22 million and grossed $64 million overall domestically. Four years later, Jackass: Number Two improved upon its predecessor’s performance with $29 million for its start and $72 million total. In 2010, the gravy train kept on rolling as Jackass 3–D made an astonishing $50 million out of the gate and earned $117 million by the end of its franchise best run.
In 2013, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa was a bit of a question mark. It wasn’t an official entry in the series and was a test of Knoxville’s potency as his signature series had reached its conclusion. However, Bad Grandpa answered any questions with a strong $32 million debut and $102 million overall gross.
Since that time half a decade ago, Knoxville has been largely absent from the big screen. This weekend’s Action Point was a hoped for return to box office dominance. After all, it combines the stunt work and R rated comedy that he’s known for.
Last week, my initial projection for Point put it in the low double digits – far from the $20 million plus dollars of his previous works. By Thursday, that prediction had dropped to a measly $6.6 million. And now early numbers from the weekend suggest that Action Point will only make $2 million, putting it in 10th place and below the fifth weekend of Overboard.
What on earth happened? In my original projection, I asked if Knoxville’s audience had outgrown him. The answer seems to be a resounding yes. It also didn’t help that Paramount didn’t even have faith enough in it to screen for critics (its current Rotten Tomatoes score is just 16%). Perhaps its concept wasn’t interesting to even his fans. After all, a demented Grandpa is easier to grasp.
The huge failure here calls to question Knoxville’s future at the box office. Maybe it’s time to get the whole Jackass crew together for a reunion and see what happens… because there’s no doubt the amusement park in Action Point is permanently closed.