So far, 2007 has been a big year at the box office. This past weekend was no different as the top 12 movies took in $125.7 million — that's up 28 percent from the same weekend last year.
"Which is amazing because spring is usually a dead time at the box office," The Early Show entertainment contributor and People magazine Assistant Managing Editor Jess Cagle said. "Mostly, there's a lot of movies that a lot of guys of all ages want to see."
According to Cagle, it's the movie — not the movie star — that is driving sales this year.
"There are very few movie stars working today who audiences find completely reliable," he said. "If they go see this star's movie they know it's going to be good."
Surprise hits this year include the epic "300," "Wild Hogs" and "Ghost Rider," which have all earned over $100 million.
Cagle says that this past weekend's success was another indication of this trend, with the computer animated "TMNT" (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as the surprise hit leading sales. The movie earned more than $25 million over the weekend.
"This movie was a big wild card," Cagle said. "It got the nostalgic audience who grew up on those movies plus a lot of kids."
Meanwhile the star-driven "Reign Over Me," with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, disappointed by making only $8 million.
"Very serious movie," Cagle said. "Adam Sandler plays like a guy — he looks like Bob Dylan but he plays a guy suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after losing his family on 9/11. The main problem with this movie it's a bad movie."
"TMNT" knocked "300" from the top spot but the movie is still making a great deal of money without any star power.
"It's a lot of special effects," Cagle said. "I think men are going to that because it looks like a video game. A lot of young men. Also there's a very strong female character in it so I think it has good word of mouth among women."
While "Wild Hogs" has a lot of stars — John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen — Cagle said Travolta is not a reliable box office draw. In this case, Cagle said the premise of the movie is a bigger draw.
"In this case it's the concept — these middle-aged guys, they go through a mid-life crisis, jump on motorcycles," he said. "For older men, that's a very, very appealing concept. And then you have 'Ghost Rider,' which is a comic book adaptation, which is done very well. Those movies have bolstered the box office this year."
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