Ouch Baby Ouch

1193060327Friday night was perfect for seeing Gone Baby Gone. As the rain poured down, we waited in a long line to see Ben Affleck’s directorial debut. While the film lived up to our expectations, the rest of the moviegoing public wasn’t swayed by the hype and the movie opened in a fairly unimpressive 5th place.

What gives?

Whether it’s the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, deadly news out of Pakistan and Myanmar, or Friday’s stock market tumble, moviegoers seem disinterested in more bad news at theaters with films about child-kidnapping, torture, widowhood, and heroin addiction.

“Fall is the season of the serious movie, and it seems like audiences in a way are resisting the serious movie right now,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

So what do the people want if not a story of child abuse and cracked out single mothers from Dorchester? They apparently want Alaskan vampires and The Rock.

The horror tale “30 Days of Night,” with Josh Hartnett leading Alaskans against ravenous vampires that turn up for the prolonged winter darkness, debuted as the weekend’s No. 1 movie with $16 million, according to studio estimates yesterday. . . .

Disney’s family comedy “The Game Plan,” which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and also was filmed in Boston last year, came in at No. 3 with $8.1 million, lifting its four-week total to $69.2 million.

The only way we can justify the poor opening weekend for Gone Baby Gone is that the built in audience for this movie was busy with other things after Friday night, what with the Red Sox playing over the weekend.

Despite the film’s weak first weekend, Gone Baby Gone is worth seeing and Affleck’s directing deserves the praise he’s received. The Boston in the movie looks like the Boston we live in, right down to a tube of Neutrogena hand cream on a nightstand to ease the chapped hands we have from October to May.

There are a few missteps that will stand out to a native, but on the whole the directing is excellent. Most of the movie’s faults lie in the script, with a couple of twists that didn’t seem plausible. If you want a brainless film, head off to Josh Hartnett and his Alaskan vampire flick. If you want to be challenged, see Gone Baby Gone.