Friday, June 27, 2008

You Go (American) Girl!

Though it doesn't get its wide release until next week, last Friday Kit Kittredge: An American Girl opened in 5 theaters, making $220,297. For the non-math types (and I include myself in that), that comes out to an average of $44,059 per theater.

While this doesn't place it anywhere near the top of best theater averages (The only list I could find shows just the Top 25.) it's still a damn good showing for a film that many people, men especially, know nothing about.

I have inside knowledge of the American Girl phenomenon because from April 2006 - May 2007, I worked at American Girl Place at The Grove in Los Angeles. Believe me, I learned more about these dolls and their stories than I ever thought possible. So much so that I picked a favorite doll (Molly) and disagreed with Abigail Breslin being cast as Kit because I didn't think she fit the character well. (The preview changed my mind. Glad to see her playing a non-shy type convincingly.)

This is the first American Girl film to be released in theaters. The previous three (Samantha, Felicity, and Molly) aired on television right before being available on DVD. The only one of these I saw was the Molly film, but it has the dubious honor of being the film I have seen the most times in my lifetime. (It played on a loop at a kiosk in the store's lobby. I've seen it at least 100 times.)

While it wasn't what I'd call a great film, it was well done and accomplished what it set out to do. My guess is that the Kit film is better, if for no other reason than the fact that Breslin is the star.

What I particularly like about American Girl as a company is its mission: "To celebrate girls." They don't just want to sell something; they want girls to feel special.

So I'm thrilled that the movie is doing so well and hope that its success continues upon its wide release. I don't expect it to battle WALL*E or Hancock for box office numbers, but don't be surprised if over the holiday weekend you see a bunch of excited girls carrying their dolls into the movies.

If nothing else, let's all hope that it kicks Bratz' ass.

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