Monday, December 28, 2015

The box office champion, then and now.

Sometimes, like the old song says, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." Or maybe just forgot. Entertainment Weekly reported this weekend that "The Force Awakens secured the biggest Christmas day [box office] of all time, raking in $49.3 million and more than doubling Sherlock Holmes' 2009 record of $24.6 million."

So for six whole years, our favorite master of all detectives has been sitting with the record for most popular Christmas Day movie of all time. And since it opened on the day it set the record, that means that the record was set because people really wanted to see Sherlock Holmes on the big screen before they knew whether or not it was a good movie.

Which makes one wonder . . . if Sherlock Holmes had been a movie franchise instead of written fiction back in the 1890s, just how popular would The Hound of the Baskervilles have been in box office records?

That novel, like this year's Star Wars movie, brought back characters that a loving audience thought it might not ever see again. Unlike Star Wars, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson had gone out at their most popular, with no questionable-quality prequels in the ensuing gap. That gap was only eight years, as well, with Conan Doyle giving in much quicker than George Lucas. (Perhaps if Lucas's mother had been a fan, like Doyle's, he might have been pushed to move a little more quickly.)

Since it's another medium entirely (although showing up in some theaters later), this week's upcoming Sherlock New Year's Day "Christmas" special won't be measurable against The Hound of the Baskervilles or the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes, but once again we find ourselves eagerly welcoming Sherlock Holmes back after a long absence.

Something we hope will continue to happen again and again.

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