‘Squeakquel’ is the newest addition to the English and Hollywood language today. The ‘Squeakquel’ in question comes from Alvin and the Chipmunks, who couldn’t just name their second live-action movie a sequel. Naturally, they turned the traditional term into a chipmunk-related pun – as if the Alvin and the Chipmunk brand wasn’t marketable enough. But their Squeakquel didn’t get any more respect from critics than the original did, and may have a hard time matching the first film’s box office.
The first Alvin and the Chipmunks made well over $200 million in winter 2007, and became one of that year’s big hits. The Squeakquel ups the score by bringing the franchise’s other memorable creations to CGI life – the Chipettes. Alvin, Simon and Theodore battle their female counterparts – who for some reason, have the helium disguised voices of Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate – in their brand new high school.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is meant to be the big family film of the Christmas weekend. What’s more, it is getting a two day head start on other Christmas openings like Sherlock Holmes and Its Complicated. That should have made it an easy box office winner – in any other year.
The problems for the Squeakquel aren’t just from reviews, though they aren’t too favorable. Rotten Tomatoes has the reviews at only 24% positive, which is fairly low but not unexpected. That didn’t stop the original from being a hit, and it won’t stop this second film either. But Alvin and company have tougher box office competition this time.
The Chipmunks must unseat last weekend’s box office champion, Avatar – which may have gotten much more difficult. After a $77 million opening weekend, Avatar has gotten even stronger, making over $16 million on both Monday and Tuesday. With that surprising success before the weekend, and with word-of-mouth spreading, James Cameron’s revolutionary epic could stay on top for some time. If it doesn’t, then Sherlock Holmes is more likely to top it when it opens on Christmas day.
In regards to family audiences, the Squeakquel may be able to beat out The Princess and the Frog, which has been out for two weeks. But reaching the $217 million domestic gross of the original may be too tall of an order. Yet it probably doesn’t need to make that much to guarantee a third film – though ‘threequel’ can’t be so easily turned into a chipmunk pun.
No matter what the Squeakquel makes, FOX is due for a gigantic weekend, since they have both Alvin and Avatar to dominate the box office. Will the chipmunks and chipettes bring in more than blue aliens on Pandora? The Wednesday box office totals will bring the first clues.
The Hollywood Reporter- “Alvin sequel, Sherlock taking on Avatar”
Box Office Mojo- “Daily Box Office”
Rotten Tomatoes- “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”