Mighty Mirren Tackles Box Office on Super Bowl Weekend

Super Bowl Sunday typically brings little in the way of new releases to the multiplex. The movie studios, perhaps rightly, assume that its coveted 18-49 male demographic is more concerned with touch downs and chicken wings than cinema.

Leave it to the ladies then. The only new release over the Super Bowl weekend was the stylish genre picture, Winchester, starring not a pretty young thing, but a wise older one, by the name of Dame Helen Mirren.

Inspired by the true story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the rifle-makers fortune, who at the turn of the last century built a stately pile in San Jose, California filled with secret passages and the like because she was convinced the spirits of those killed by her family’s invention were haunting her. Can’t make this stuff up.

Despite poor reviews all around, the appeal of Mirren and horror proved an irresistible draw and the film took the number three spot at the box office with a $9.3 million ticket haul, behind holdovers Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and the Maze Runner sequel.

According to the New York Times, “Winchester did not perform like a typical horror movie. Ticket sales increased from Friday to Saturday; horror movies often drop after opening day. Horror also tends to appeal primarily to teenage girls. But women over the age of 25 — the line that marks ‘older’ ticket buyers in Hollywood’s view (yes, really) — made up 64 percent of the opening-weekend audience for Winchester.”

What lessons could Hollywood take from this? Women don’t lose their appeal to audiences once they pass the age of 30? That women buy movie tickets? But will studios ever learn? Stay tuned. In the meantime we say, more Mirren please.