Weekend Fix: For A 7th Weekend, Avatar Tops Box Office; Outgrosses Edge Of Darkness And When In Rome COMBINED!

on Sunday, January 31, 2010   13 comments

Another week, another victory for Avatar... As expected, Avatar easily dominated the competition, grossing a record-breaking $30 million in its seventh weekend!  If you had combined the opening numbers of Edge Of Darkness and When In Rome, they still couldn't have taken down James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster.  The alien film now sits just $6 million shy of Titanic's record as the highest grossing film in the US of all time.  Overall, it was a fairly lackluster frame at the box office, despite the fact that drops were pretty small across the board (with the notable exception of Legion).  The Top 12 films were up 4% over the same weekend last year, but when you look at all films tracking, results were actually down 4%.  Tooth Fairy held very well, dropping a scant 29% to $10 million.  That would be much better news if the film had had a solid debut.  Unfortunately, it didn't.  If 2010 hopes to build on 2009's success, it will need to produce some legitimate hits pretty darn quick, because the December team of Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin, It's Complicated, The Blind Side, and Up In The Air, can't half of the revenue at the box office forever!  To see my thoughts on the weekend, watch the video above (posts in the afternoon).  Then check below for the full box office chart.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For January 22-24, 2010
Rank Movie Studio Theaters Weekend Gross
ChgAVG.Total
1
Avatar Fox 3074 $30,000,000 -14%$9,759 $594,472,387
2
Edge Of Darkness Warner Bros 3066 $17,120,000 New$5,584 $17,120,000
3
When In Rome Disney 2456 $12,065,000 New$4,912 $12,065,000
4
Tooth Fairy Fox 3345 $10,000,000 -29%$2,990 $26,106,278
5
The Book Of Eli Warner Bros 3075 $8,770,000 -44%$2,852 $74,373,000
6
Legion Sony 2476 $6,800,000 -61%$2,746 $28,646,000
7
The Lovely Bones Paramount 2638 $4,735,000 -44%$1,795 $38,014,000
8
Sherlock Holmes Warner Bros 2250 $4,510,000 -32%$2,004 $197,596,000
9
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 2526 $4,000,000 -38%$1,584 $209,297,861
10
It's Complicated Universal 2096 $3,720,400 -36%$1,775 $104,027,220
11
The Blind Side Warner Bros 1751 $3,020,000 -28%$1,725 $237,913,000
12
Up In The Air Paramount 1430 $2,700,000 -31%$1,888 $73,173,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Here We Go Again... Edge Of Darkness Can't Dethrone Avatar

on Saturday, January 30, 2010   10 comments

Early Friday Estimates are coming in, and as predicted, Avatar will be the reigning champ at the box office once again this weekend.  I could spend a long time analyzing every single figure, but let me make things easy for you.  Here's all you need to know: Avatar earned $7.5 million on Friday.  It should finish with $28-29 million.  Edge Of Darkness opened with an sub-par $5.7 million on Friday.  It should find just $17 million overall, which is below my expectations, showing that audiences are still turned off by Mel Gibson.  When In Rome earned a solid $4.4 million on Friday.  It should reach $13 million, which is slightly above my expectations.  Meanwhile, there weren't too many surprises in the rest of the Top 10. Tooth Fairy fell 37% from last Friday to $2.3 million, while Legion plummeted 70% to $2 million. They should reach respective grosses of $9 million and $6.5 million this weekend.  My favorite news to report to you, though, is that Alvin And The Chipmunks and Sherlock Holmes should once again be beside each other on the box office chart come Sunday!  The December BFFs have been separated for the past two weeks, but nothing could keep them apart forever, and each of the enduringly popular films will gross about $3.5 million.  Check out the full Top 10 below:

Friday Estimates for January 29, 2010
1. Avatar - $7.5 million
2. Edge Of Darkness - $5.7 million
3. When In Rome - $4.4 million
4. The Book Of Eli - $2.5 million
5. Tooth Fairy - $2.3 million
6. Legion - $2 million
7. The Lovely Bones - $1.4 million
8. Sherlock Holmes - $1.2 million
9. It's Complicated - $1 million
10. Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - $810,000

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Weekend Preview: Edge Of Darkness Aims To Shoot Down Avatar; When In Rome Just Hopes That Somebody Will Love It

on Friday, January 29, 2010   4 comments

Fellow box office junkies, this could be it.  The time may have come.  We may actually have a movie that can take the #1 spot from Avatar.  Will it happen?  Probably not, but we can dream, right? This week, two new films are entering theaters, and they couldn't be more different.  On the one hand, we've got the relatively well reviewed, R-rated, revenge thriller Edge Of Darkness, and on the other hand, we have the critically savaged romantic comedy When In Rome.  Despite the new openers, though, the box office should once again look pretty similar to last week, since 2010 really hasn't produced any spectacularly box office performers yet.  Avatar will probably stay on top, though last week's #2 movie, Legion, will plummet.  Tooth Fairy and Extraordinary Measures might hold a little bit better, but overall, this isn't going to be the most exciting weekend at the movies.  To see my predictions of the new wide releases (and hear some analysis of Christian movie To Save A Life as well), watch the video above (it's coming), and then check below for my full box office predictions.

Box Office Predictions for January 29-31, 2010
RankMovie Theaters Predicted Gross
1Avatar 3,074 $28 million
2Edge Of Darkness 3,066 $25 million
3When In Rome 2,456 $9.2 million
4Tooth Fairy 3,345 $9 million
5The Book Of Eli 3,075 $8.8 million
6Legion 2,476 $6.5 million
7The Lovely Bones 2,638 $5 million
8Sherlock Holmes 2,250 $4.4 million
9Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 2,526 $4.1 million
10It's Complicated 2,096 $3.9 million

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Hell Hath No Fury Like A Father Scorned; Revenge At The Box Office

on Thursday, January 28, 2010   1 comments


Alright guys, I've already talked a good bit about Edge Of Darkness this week, but I'm going to do it a little bit more.  Since the popular box office game of the week (wouldn't it be awesome if we actually had one of those?!) has been to see what can take Avatar out of the #1 spot, and since Edge Of Darkness has the best shot of doing so, and since it is Box Office Analysis Thursday, I thought we could take a quick look at three similar movies at the box office and perhaps make an early prediction for Edge Of Darkness.  Take a look inside for this box office quickie:

Taken (2009)
This revenge thriller followed Liam Neeson on a vengeful quest to rescue his kidnapped daughter.  It opened on the same weekend last year that Edge Of Darkness is opening on this year, though it had to compete with The Super Bowl, which hurt its Sunday grosses.  Still, people enjoyed Neeson's determined drive to take down the evil society that had kidnapped his baby girl, and Taken opened to a solid $24.7 million before grossing $145 million overall.

Man On Fire (2004)
Denzel Washington played Dakota Fanning's bodyguard in a dangerous Mexico City.  Despite his desire not to get attached, Washington grows to care deeply about the young girl.  When she's kidnapped, he goes on a rampage, stopping at nothing to get her back, even if it's at a major cost to himself.  The gritty revenge thriller was a mid level hit, grossing $22.7 million on opening weekend and $77.9 million total.

Payback (1999)
Mel Gibson starred in this thriller back in 1999, and I can't get over the poster's uncanny resemblance to the ads for Edge Of Darkness!  In Payback, Gibson played an oily guy who was betrayed by his friend and shot by his own wife.  Remarkably, he recovers and quickly decides to seek revenge on his former loved ones.  The thriller opened to $21.2 million and earned $81.5 million overall.

Edge Of Darkness (2010)
Based on the predictions above, I think we're going to be looking at yet another debut in the $20 millions.  Mel Gibson may have a tarnished image, but he's still a star, and he looks like a perfect fit for this angry role.  This mini-genre of individual men seeking revenge has proved to be pretty consistent, and with a good advertising campaign, I think Edge Of Darkness might be looking at a $26 million opening weekend and a $95 million gross.

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7 Reasons To LIKE Mel Gibson

on Wednesday, January 27, 2010   12 comments


Lately, as I've been reading other movie blogs and even the comments on my recent posts, one of the trends I've noticed is that people really love to hate Mel Gibson.  The cool thing to do right now is to feel disgusted by the accomplished actor/director, and if you write about movies on the web, it seems as if you are almost obligated to approach Mel Gibson and his new movie, Edge Of Darkness, with a sense of dread.  Indeed, people just can't understand why anyone would like Mel Gibson.  Well, I have a confession: I do.  He's not my favorite star in the world, but the man has taken a lot of grief for his unfortunate DUI incident in 2006, in which allegations of anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia were made.  Instead of forgiving Gibson for his unfortunate drunk actions the way America loves to forgive other celebrities, people have instead decided to hold a grudge.  Still, I believe there are things about Mel Gibson that, believe it or not, aren't totally bad.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, here are seven reasons to like Mel Gibson.

1. Because he's actually a very good actor
Sure, he's known for mainstream blockbusters like Lethal Weapon and Signs, but that doesn't mean he's not a talented actor! If being a serious actor means you have to be in serious movies, then take a look at films like We Were Soldiers, Galipoli, or Hamlet for proof that Gibson has got some serious chops.

2. The Passion Of The Christ
Say what you will about Gibson's film: it's anti-semitic, it's too violent, it's blah blah blah ad nauseum.  At the end of the day, The Passion was a compelling piece of work about Jesus Christ's last hours.  It's no surprise that critics didn't like it!  Anything remotely conservative is considered pure evil in the eyes of Hollywood. Fortunately for Gibson, who invested $25 million of his own money into this movie, the rest of America is much more moderate, and for $370 million worth of ticket buyers, this was a very moving film.

3. Because he's funny!
Mel has that old-school Hollywood charisma that so many movie stars lack these days.  Not only is he an effective dramatic actor, but in movies like Lethal Weapon and What Women Want, interviews, and acceptance speeches, Gibson proves he's got a great sense of humor comic timing.

4. Braveheart
This movie is awesome.  If you're a girl, and you just don't get it- don't worry about it.

5. Because he's bold!
I think it's admirable that Gibson takes chances.  He directed a movie about Jesus and funded it himself.  He shot a Mayan adventure entirely in another language.  He frequently commits to producing television episodes and films, despite the fact that TV is a highly hit-or-miss format.  Now, though conventional wisdom would tell Gibson to star in a friendly comedy to rebuild him image, he's decided to make his comeback performance in a dark revenge thriller called Edge Of Darkness.  He's not entirely predictable, and he knows his super-violent movies will ruffle some feathers, but he just keeps blazing his own career trek.  I think that's pretty cool.

6. Apocalypto
This is one of my very favorite movies.  A non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, Apocalypto, which is really just an extended chase scene, benefited tremendously from Gibson's vision.  The Mayan adventure features gorgeous sets, incredible stunts, a heckuva lot of violence, and a cast of very good unknown actors.  Gibson set out to make an exciting film that didn't rely on CGI, and he succeeded on every level.  It's a shame that Gibson's infamous DUI took place just before Apocalypto's debut, because it deserved a much bigger audience.

7. Because everyone has overreacted!
Look, I don't stand by the words that Mel Gibson said, and I certainly don't condone drinking and driving, but come on, people, Mel Gibson is not an evil man.  You can't work in Hollywood for as long as Gibson has and hate gay people and Jewish people- they run that town!  Ever since Gibson aligned himself with conservatives (and don't misunderstand: Gibson is neither a model conservative or Christian) with The Passion Of The Christ, the liberal media has wanted to dislike him so badly.  Unfavorable reviews of Apocalypto had very little to do with the movie itself, and much more to do with the critic's pre-conceived notion that he disliked the director.  Any slight incorrect speech Gibson makes or potentially rude action he takes is scrutinized to no end!  To the media, there's nothing Mel Gibson can do right.  Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen tries to stab his wife, and he gets off with nothing more than a few tabloid articles.  A little consistency please?

All right, I'll get down off my soap box now and turn things over to you.  What do you think of Mel Gibson?  Am I crazy for writing this post?  Are you a fan?  A hater?  An indifferent party?  Are you excited for Edge Of Darkness?  Let me know in the comments.

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New And News: Will Edge Of Darkness Finally Topple Avatar?

on Monday, January 25, 2010   7 comments


Every week, Monday means it's time for New And News, where I summarize the week's upcoming wide releases and share some of my favorite movie news articles from the past seven days.  Two new films are entering theaters this frame, and with When In Rome being one of the movies debuting, I couldn't think of a more appropriate week for the other wide release to be called Edge Of Darkness, since When In Rome looks like it came from the bottom of the crappy romantic comedy barrel.  Still, it's not just the new releases that are "dark" this week- so is the news!  Inside, you'll find some great stories about Disney's Sleeping Beauty spinoff, the Spider-Man reboot, and New Line's The Hobbit!

New:

Edge Of Darkness (Warner Bros) - 3,000 theaters - Reviews
On January 30, 2009 Taken debuted and took the box office by storm.  The story followed a man (Liam Neeson) avenging his daughter's kidnapping, killing every adversary that got in his way.  Exactly one year later, we have Edge Of Darkness, which is essentially the same film.  Just replace Neeson with Mel Gibson and kidnapping with murder.  Advertising has been strong, and Warner Brothers is clearly trying to tap into the same audience that pushed Taken to a $145 million total.  Mel Gibson, who directed The Passion Of The Christ, has been a massively polarizing figure since his DUI arrest in 2006, where he was accused of anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, and pretty much every other un-politically correct thing someone can be accused of. Personally, I like Mel Gibson. I think the man has film making in his bones (Apocalypto haters, back off), and though this hardly looks groundbreaking, I'm excited to see him back on the big screen.  This film has the best shot to take down Avatar this weekend, though I'm guessing that both films will finish somewhere in the $27-30 million range.

When In Rome (Disney) - 2,200 theaters - Reviews

Maybe Disney is trying to get an early start on Valentine's Day with this romantic comedy, but it's been pretty clear from the advertisements that Rome is not a very appealing destination.  In the movie, Kristen Bell plays an American tourist who takes three coins from the Fountain of Love, which is apparently a big mistake.  By removing the coins, Bell magically turned the three men (Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, Will Arnett) who cast them into the fountain wildly in love with her.  Still, Josh Duhamel plays a nice-guy reporter who seems to have genuine feelings for her.  Hmm. I wonder who she'll end up with?  One of the three average-looking guys that are under a spell to love her, or the handsome man that really does love her? It shouldn't be too hard to figure out.  Reviews for the predictable rom-com should on par with other recent January releases, and I wouldn't look for this to break out the way that Dear John and Valentine's Day will in the coming weeks.

News:

Maleficent May Get The Tim Burton Treatment
According to AICN, Disney, who's gearing up for the release of Alice In Wonderland is looking to team up with Tim Burton for yet another live-action film.  This time, the movie would be a spin-off of the classic Sleeping Beauty, only this time, it would be told from the evil Queen Maleficent's point of view à la Wicked.  Can we assume that Burton's wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, will be playing the titular character? Probably, but I totally think Angelina Jolie could rock this part.  Either way, Maleficent sounds pretty cool to me!

We Scrapped The Old Franchise For Angsty Teen Spider-Man? Ugh.
Last week, Sony announced that they were scrapping production of the current Spider-Man franchise, instead opting to reboot the entire series with Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) in the director's chair.  Now, THR reports a few more details about the reboot.  First off, the new Spidey movie will focus on The Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, which take place in high school and focus more on angsty teen drama than the action.  Second, Sony has budgeted $80 million for the film, and while I applaud a major studio for trying to be frugal, that is simply not enough money to make an exciting superhero movie!  Ugh. I'm still bitter about Spider-Man 4 getting canned.

New Hobbit Film Likely Appearing In Late 2012
Maybe I'm just interested in this news because I'm reading The Lord Of The Rings for the first time and loving every second of it, but I think you all would care to know as well! Via Variety, the first part of the hotly anticipated Guillermo Del Toro picture, The Hobbit, will likely reach theaters in late 2012.  Delays up until now have been due to New Line's restructuring.  Even though I'm still not on board with the idea of splitting The Hobbit into two parts, I can't wait!

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Weekend Fix: Avatar Wins For A Sixth Weekend, Doubling Legion's Surprise #2 Debut

on Sunday, January 24, 2010   11 comments


The weekend box office estimates are in, and it shouldn't come as any surprise when I say that Avatar easily won the weekend, dipping a mere 16% to $36 million for the weekend.  That pushes the film's domestic total to $552.8 million, and the sci-fi epic is just two short weekend's away from surpassing Titanic as the most successful film in America. It has reached that milestone worldwide even sooner The film has now earned $1.29 billion internationally, passing Titanic's $1.24 billion international gross. The worldwide total sits at $1.848 billion, and Avatar is showing no signs of slowing down now- $2 billion, here we come!   Among the newcomers, Legion stood out with an $18.2 million debut, Tooth Fairy under-performed with $14.5 million, and Extraordinary Measures didn't live up to it's name with just $7.1 million.  Excluding last weekend's new releases, drops were pretty small this week, due to all the awards attention that many films are garnering, and the Top 12 managed to earn $134 million, up 4% from the same weekend last year.  The December releases continue to perform impressively, and they remain the foundational force for 2010's strong box office thus far.  Next weekend, 2010 should start pulling its own weight a bit more with the Mel Gibson feature Edge Of Darkness. Watch the video above for my take on the box office, and then check out the full chart below:

Top 12 Box Office Hits For January 22-24, 2010
Rank
Movie
Studio
Theaters
Weekend Gross

Chg
AVG.
Total
1
Avatar
Fox
3141
$36,000,000
-16%
$11,461
$552,797,418
2
Legion
Sony
2476
$18,200,000
New
$7,351
$18,200,000
3
The Book Of Eli
Warner Bros
3111
$17,000,000
-48%
$5,464
$62,003,000
4
Tooth Fairy
Fox
3344
$14,500,000
New
$4,336
$14,500,000
5
The Lovely Bones
Paramount
2571
$8,800,000
-48%
$3,423
$31,624,000
6
Sherlock Holmes
Warner Bros
2670
$7,115,000
-28%
$2,665
$191,564,000
7
Extraordinary Measures
CBS Films
2549
$7,000,000
New
$2,746
$7,000,000
8
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Fox
2973
$6,500,000
-44%
$2,186
$204,236,844
9
It's Complicated
Universal
2301
$6,189,690
-24%
$2,690
$98,649,750
10
The Spy Next Door
Lionsgate
2924
$4,750,000
-51%
$1,624
$18,710,000
11
The Blind Side
Warner Bros
1932
$4,515,000
-19%
$2,337
$234,027,000
12
Up In The Air
Paramount
1707
$4,330,000
-20%
$2,537
$69,674,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

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Friday Estimates: Avatar Holds Remarkably Well; Legion Stands Out And Tooth Fairy Disappoints

on Saturday, January 23, 2010   2 comments


Early Friday Estimates are starting to come in, and while there is some box office news that is completely expected (Avatar dropping just 12% to $9.1 million and easily topping the chart), other news is quite surprising: Namely, that Legion came in a strong 2nd place on Friday, with a gross of $6.8 million, easily outgrossing Tooth Fairy, which entered the box office in fourth place with an opening day gross of $3.8 million.  From here, Legion should be fairly frontloaded, since it appeals to a fanboy audience, and it might see a final weekend gross of $16 million.  Tooth Fairy, on the other hand, should hold up throughout the weekend, since it appeals to families, and it might gross $13 million.  Further down on the chart, the weekend's other newcomer, Extraordinary Measures, was DOA, earning a paltry $2.1 million on its first day, which should lead to a sad $6.5 million weekend.  Obviously, Avatar will top the chart (for a sixth week!) with a figure of about $35 million, while last week's big opener, The Book Of Eli, will earn an additional $18 million.  Keep reading on for a full list of early Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for January 22, 2010
1. Avatar - $9.1 million
2. Legion - $6.8 million
3. The Book Of Eli - $5 million
4. Tooth Fairy - $3.8 million
5. The Lovely Bones - $2.8 million
6. Extraordinary Measures - $2.1 million
7. Sherlock Holmes - $1.9 million
8. It's Complicated - $1.7 million
9. Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - $1.4 million
10. The Blind Side - $1.2 million

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Weekend Preview: Brace Yourself For Tooth Fairy, But Avatar Will Win... Again

on Friday, January 22, 2010   4 comments


Three very poorly-reviewed films enter theaters this week, and while each of them will find some business, none will be able to take down Avatar, which will surpass The Dark Knight this Saturday to become the most successful film of the 2000s.  Tooth Fairy should open considerably better than Legion and Extraordinary Measures, and if you'd like to see my predictions for these newcomers, watch the video above.  (Side note: my video also features one of the official screenplays of The Hurt Locker that is sent to members of the Academy!)  Amongst the holdovers, things should be rosy.  The weekend following MLK Day usually sees small drops in the 25-35% range, and that should hold true this year, as well.  Avatar, fresh off its Best Picture win at The Golden Globes, will continue its series of ridiculously small drops and easily top the box office once again.  The Book Of Eli and The Lovely Bones should hold up well, too.  Robert Downey Jr.'s Golden Globe win should keep Sherlock Holmes' drop low, and overall, it looks like this will be a pretty solid frame at the box office.  Check out my full predictions below:

Box Office Predictions for January 22-24, 2010
Rank
Movie
Theaters
Predicted Gross
1
Avatar
3,141
$35.4 million
2
Tooth Fairy
3,344
$22 million
3
The Book Of Eli
3,111
$20 million
4
Legion
2,476
$13.5 million
5
The Lovely Bones
2,571
$11.3 million
6
Extraordinary Measures
2,549
$11 million
7
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
2,973
$8 million
8
Sherlock Holmes
2,670
$7 million
9
The Spy Next Door
2,924
$6.3 million
10
It's Complicated
2,294
$5.7 million

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Why Sandra Bullock Should NOT Win The Oscar For Best Actress!

on Thursday, January 21, 2010   14 comments


Two weeks ago, Sandra Bullock won the Critic's Choice Award for Best Actress for her work in The Blind Side.  I wasn't too happy, but I managed.  This past weekend, Bullock won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, and once again, I was less than pleased.  You see, with every award that Sandra Bullock racks up, her chances to win the Oscar for Best Actress improve, and that, my friends, is a big problem.  The way I see it, the Best Actress Oscar is cursed.  For the past decade, every woman that has won that award has been reduced to nothing more than box office poison, and Sandra Bullock is far from box office poison!  In fact, the Quigley Publishing Company ranked Bullock as the top box office draw of 2009!  Audiences connect with her down-to-earth attitude, accessible personality, and comedic chops, and she is one of the few stars whose star power alone can open a movie.  With The Proposal having just earned $165 million in 2009 and The Blind Side pushing $230 million, Sandra Bullock is at the top of her game, and I fear that if she wins the Academy Award for Best Actress, her box office viability will quickly deteriorate.  It's happened to hordes of actresses already, and I can only assume the trend will continue this year.  Look no further than the career trajectories of the last ten Best Actress winners for my reasoning why Bullock should not win the Oscar:

1999 - Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry)
Since her famous gender-bending role, Swank has hardly been box office gold.  Her biggest hit since her 1999 Oscar came from her 2004 Oscar-winning performance in Million Dollar Baby, which earned $100 million.  Swank has starred in movies like Insomnia ($67 million) and P.S. I Love You ($53 million) that weren't total failures, but other than that, with movies like The Affair Of The Necklace ($471,210), The Core ($31 million), The Black Dahlia ($21 million), The Reaping ($25 million), and Amelia ($14 million), her resume isn't particularly impressive.

2000 - Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)
Roberts had a banner year in 2001, following her Oscar win.  The Mexican earned $66 million, America's Sweethearts found $93 million, and Oceans Eleven grossed $183 million, but of those films, really only America's Sweethearts was opened on Julia Roberts' star power.  Since then, her performances in Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind ($16 million), Mona Lisa Smile ($63 million), Closer ($34 million), Charlie Wilson's War ($66 million against a $75 million budget), and Duplicity ($40 million) haven't justified the actress' $20 million salary demands.

2001 - Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)
Sure, Halle Berry has had a few hits since her brilliant performance in 2001's Monster's Ball, but they were all in action franchises. The success of Die Another Day ($161 million), X2: X-Men United ($215 million), and X-Men: The Last Stand ($235 million) had more to do with the famous characters of James Bond and the X-Men than the actors playing them.  Mostly, Berry has just made poor decisions about which films to star in.  Gothika ($59 million), Catwoman ($40 million), Perfect Stranger ($24 million), and Things We Lost In The Fire ($3 million) all not only under-performed at the box office, they were also all just bad movies.

2002 - Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
Studios, if you would like to lose money on a major investment, then by all means, have Nicole Kidman star in your motion picture!  She's proven box office poison!  She can help expensive sitcom film adaptations like Bewitched earn just $63 million!  She can encourage just $14 million worth of ticket buyers to see Invasion, which cost $80 million!  Even more impressive, she can turn a $180 million blockbuster like The Golden Compass into a sad $70 million earner, or a $130 million epic like Australia into a small $49 million picture!  Truly, there is no box office poison quite as potent as the fair-skinned Ms. Kidman!

2003 - Charlize Theron (Monster)
In the six years that have passed since 2003, Charlize Theron has just one successful movie under her belt, and that's Hancock, which earned $228 million.  It was no small secret, though, that Sony completely hid her character in the advertising, instead focusing exclusively on Will Smith and his drawing power.  Indeed, I don't blame them!  With meager grosses from films like The Road ($7 million), North Country ($18 million), In The Valley Of Elah ($6.7 million), and The Burning Plain ($200,730), Theron's biggest hit that was opened on her appeal comes from the laughably bad Aeon Flux, which only earned $25 million.

2004 - Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
See 1999 above.

2005 - Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)
Immediately following her beloved performance as June Carter Cash, Witherspoon starred in two remarkably unsuccessful movies: Rendition ($9.7 million) and Penelope ($10 million).  When she got back to doing what she does best in the 2008 comedy Four Christmases ($120 million), her audience returned.  I can only hope that if Sandra Bullock is unfortunate enough to win Best Actress at the Oscars, she also will remember that audiences like her for her comedic chops, and no amount of Academy Awards will change that.

2006 - Helen Mirren (The Queen)
To be fair, a woman in her sixties can't be expected to be a major box office draw, but the reality around Mirren, as well as the next two actresses on this list, is that she's always been a critical darling, but not a box office heavyweight.  National Treasure: Book Of Secrets grossed a great $220 million, but again, the action sequel was its own draw, not the supporting actors.  Her other recent films include Inkheart ($17 million) and State Of Play ($37 million), both of which disappointed.

2007 - Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Starred in the pretty well-performing Public Enemies ($97 million), a film marketed solely on Johnny Depp and Christian Bale's appeal, but she also starred in Nine ($18 million), which has disappointed in every sense of the word.

2008 - Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Ironically, the woman who starred in the biggest (soon to be second biggest) movie of all time, Titanic, has a wholly unremarkable box office record.  She hasn't starred in anything since The Reader, but a quick look at her 2000s movies reveals ample evidence.  With movies like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind ($34 million), Little Children ($5 million), and Revolutionary Road ($23 million), it's clear that Winslet chooses material that can be hard to market, but there's just no excuse for the mega-flop of All The King's Men, which only found $7.2 million, despite a star-studded cast.

2009 - Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Sandra Bullock has infinitely more box office appeal than these actresses, for she can actually open a movie on her star power alone!  Hollywood mistakenly believes that because the above women have Oscars, it makes sense to pay them ridiculously high salaries, but from a box office analysis standpoint, they provide very little bang for your buck!  Bullock deserves a high salary because of her wide appeal, and I'd hate to see her fall prey to the curse of the Best Actress Oscar- It's a career killer!

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Day Off!

on Wednesday, January 20, 2010   2 comments


Hey friends! Today is my first day of classes back at school, and I want to make sure I'm attentive and prepared.  I've got lots of places to go, classes to try out, and books to buy.  I just got accepted into a seminar called "Scriptwriting For Film And TV." Awesome, right?  I'm going to pay good attention today, so that means no blogging in class, and unfortunately, no Wednesday List! I'm sure you understand!  I'll see you tomorrow! (hopefully)

-Grady

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DVD Sales: The Chart Was Already Hungover Before New Year's Eve

on Tuesday, January 19, 2010   1 comments


Good news, everyone!  The-Numbers is getting all caught up with their DVD Sales Charts after the holiday delays, and this week, they posted two charts, which wrapped up 2009.  Next week, they should post two more charts, and then be right back on schedule!  You should really check out the site- it's fantastic.  But let's get on with the numbers.  Over the past two weeks, a few new movies debuted on the home market, but none of the newcomers could even come close to The Hangover's level of success.  The surprise blockbuster (and surprise Best Picture winner at the Golden Globes) continued its dominant run with two straight weeks atop the DVD Sales Chart.  Click inside to see two weeks of DVD Sales along with my observations:

DVD Sales Notes:

-The Hangover finished out a relatively weak year of DVD sales with a bang!  With 5.9 million units sold, the R-rated smash comedy has grossed a tremendous $113 million in just two weeks.  It's a little depressing when you consider that most of those egregiously inappropriate DVDs were opened on Christmas Day... have we truly lost any of the meaning of Christmas?

-Three movies with similar grosses debuted in the last two weeks.  Inglourious Basterds, the sole movie keeping the Weinstein Company alive at this point, had a pretty solid start on the home market.  The fictional World War II account, which earned $120 million in theaters, has moved 2.3 million copies in two weeks, good for $42.5 million in revenue.  Meanwhile, District 9, which earned a similar $115 million in theaters, got off to a softer start.  The alien comedy sold 1.1 million units in its opening week, earning $18.4 million along the way.  Finally, G-Force, the animated guinea pig comedy that found $119 million in theaters, got off to the softest start of the three.  Audiences apparently weren't too impressed with what they saw in theaters, as G-Force sold only 1.7 million copies for $33.8 million after two weeks.

-Indie sleeper hit (500) Days Of Summer took its sweet time grossing $32.4 million in the late Summer and early Fall.  Will that be the case on the home market as well?  The film, which never earned more than $3.7 million on a weekend during its theatrical run, earned $5.2 million in its first week on DVD.  Not bad for a film budgeted at just $7.5 million.

-Let's not even talk about All About Steve.  Maybe Sandra Bullock's success in The Blind Side fooled $3.8 million worth of people to actually pick up this crappy movie on DVD.

-The TV-on-DVD performer of the week goes to Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Darkside, which earned $8 million in its first week.  Other TV big-shots are Lost - The Complete Fifth Season, with it's $28.5 million gross, and Planet Earth, which has become a $187 million blockbuster in its two and a half years on the home market.

-Up and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen continue their impressive runs, and the films have sold 8.5 million and 9.3 million copies, respectively.  Check out the charts below:

Top DVD Sales For The Week Ending December 27, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
The Hangover
2,047,577
-47.5%
5,944,241
$42,875,648
$113,683,099
2
2
District 9
1,080,097
-.-%
1,080,097
$18,379,039
$18,379,039
1
3
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
1,015,598
-29.4%
6,653,089
$16,568,567
$89,246,036
3
4
Inglourious Basterds
819,645
-45.8%
2,331,940
$15,335,640
$42,562,394
2
5
Up
742,861
25.1%
8,477,982
$12,571,808
$145,252,868
7
6
G-Force
647,444
-36.8%
1,671,487
$13,079,081
$33,827,523
2
7
Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Darkside
630,858
-.-%
630,858
$8,062,365
$8,062,365
1
8
Star Trek
459,067
44.6%
6,069,513
$7,471,499
$89,535,355
6
9
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
402,758
27.0%
2,976,654
$6,442,114
$39,038,274
4
10
Julie And Julia
399,277
-13.0%
1,841,435
$6,799,687
$31,359,638
3
11
Public Enemies
326,384
-14.0%
1,590,359
$6,084,287
$28,868,532
3
12
(500) Days of Summer
316,351
-.-%
316,351
$5,150,194
$5,150,194
1
13
Santa Buddies
267,004
22.6%
2,177,890
$4,661,436
$38,436,294
5
14
All About Steve
258,609
-.-%
258,609
$3,876,549
$3,876,549
1
15
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
232,195
-0.9%
9,267,823
$5,802,553
$209,054,675
10
16
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
208,443
38.2%
-
$3,435,287
-
429
17
Terminator Salvation
205,372
-16.1%
1,812,477
$3,361,303
$23,125,217
4
18
The Proposal
195,339
8.7%
4,735,360
$3,404,251
$77,819,029
11
19
Angels And Demons
174,454
4.1%
1,733,804
$3,163,793
$28,808,435
5
20
Four Christmases
173,430
11.0%
1,511,648
$2,970,856
$23,821,144
5
21
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
170,768
50.6%
3,263,274
$2,559,812
$51,580,997
9
22
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
158,687
9.5%
4,825,751
$2,605,053
$81,447,405
9
23
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
147,426
2.3%
4,197,601
$2,578,363
$67,920,913
8
24
Twilight
145,982
16.0%
10,239,767
$2,636,975
$186,221,644
40
25
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
144,968
-.-%
-
$1,439,431
-
632
26
The Ugly Truth
138,416
95.2%
1,793,982
$2,074,856
$28,373,641
7
27
A Christmas Story
132,683
-.-%
-
$1,260,316
-
483
28
American Pie Presents: The Book of Love
128,178
-.-%
128,178
$2,177,744
$2,177,744
1
29
Lost - The Complete Fifth Season
122,036
-22.3%
730,531
$5,206,776
$28,582,126
3
30
True Blood: The Complete First Season
114,255
-.-%
1,790,340
$3,247,127
$61,528,999
32


Top DVD Sales For The Week Ending December 20, 2009
Rank
Title
Units this Week
% Chg
Total Units
Sales this Week
Total Sales
Wks
1
The Hangover
3,896,664
-.-%
3,896,664
$70,807,451
$70,807,451
1
2
Inglourious Basterds
1,512,295
-.-%
1,512,295
$27,226,754
$27,226,754
1
3
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
1,437,869
-65.8%
5,637,491
$23,095,052
$72,677,469
2
4
G-Force
1,024,043
-.-%
1,024,043
$20,748,442
$20,748,442
1
5
Up
593,852
12.7%
7,735,121
$11,420,546
$132,681,060
6
6
Julie And Julia
459,027
-53.3%
1,442,158
$7,817,230
$24,559,951
2
7
Public Enemies
379,535
-57.1%
1,263,975
$7,337,854
$22,784,245
2
8
Star Trek
317,578
-37.1%
5,610,446
$5,248,453
$82,063,856
5
9
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
317,188
-49.4%
2,573,896
$5,276,327
$32,596,160
3
10
Terminator Salvation
244,710
-30.8%
1,607,105
$4,031,940
$19,763,914
3
11
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
234,189
-14.3%
9,035,628
$5,852,383
$203,252,122
9
12
Santa Buddies
217,824
-23.8%
1,910,886
$4,358,920
$33,774,858
4
13
The Proposal
179,636
22.6%
4,540,021
$3,324,326
$74,414,778
10
14
Angels And Demons
167,557
-20.8%
1,559,350
$3,435,874
$25,644,642
4
15
Lost - The Complete Fifth Season
157,036
-65.2%
608,495
$6,787,708
$23,375,350
2
16
Four Christmases
156,256
-20.5%
1,338,218
$2,721,980
$20,850,288
4
17
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
150,801
1.1%
-
$2,577,280
-
428
18
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
144,956
-31.2%
4,667,064
$2,343,620
$78,842,351
8
19
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
144,177
-18.3%
4,050,175
$2,503,533
$65,342,550
7
20
Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series
143,787
-.-%
3,475,176
$3,880,811
$187,320,938
139
21
The Original Television Christmas Classics
129,369
-19.8%
-
$2,530,458
-
275
22
Twilight
125,866
-4.3%
10,093,785
$2,531,920
$183,584,669
39
23
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie
120,017
-.-%
120,017
$2,399,140
$2,399,140
1
24
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
113,393
-13.1%
3,092,506
$1,893,663
$49,021,185
8
25
Monsters vs. Aliens
96,637
-40.0%
4,769,589
$1,394,994
$78,758,267
12
26
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (TV Special)
91,182
-.-%
1,991,486
$1,184,454
$31,619,579
161
27
My Sister's Keeper
88,454
-46.9%
1,044,135
$1,717,777
$17,147,544
5
28
Funny People
74,037
-39.5%
494,994
$1,534,624
$9,632,755
4
29
The Ugly Truth
70,919
-78.8%
1,655,566
$1,063,076
$26,298,785
6
30
Edward Scissorhands
70,140
-.-%
-
$723,550
-
485

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New And News: The Rock Will Go To Extraordinary Measures To Bring Legions Of Fans To Theaters. Plus, My Golden Globes Recap!

on Monday, January 18, 2010   8 comments


It's Monday, and that means it's time for New And News!  This week, we've got three new releases, and true-to-January form, none of them look very good!  Tooth Fairy looks likea film that knows its bad, but doesn't care because it can make a lot of money.  Legion looks like a film that's bad because all horror movies look bad.  Extraordinary Measures looks like a film that's bad, but it's okay because it was sincerely trying to be good.  After a quick summary of those films, I'm going to do something a little bit different with the News section of this column.  Instead of linking to articles across the web, I'm going to do a quick recap of the Golden Globes, the last half of which I actually managed to sit through last night, despite my extreme distaste for awards shows!

New:

Tooth Fairy (Fox) - 3,000 theaters - Reviews
 A cocky man that is skeptical of unbelievable fantasy characters like the tooth fairy is punished by actually having to become a tooth fairy.  He mustn't tell anyone who he is, and he cannot expose himself.  He must make the world believe in the tooth- Wait, wait, wait!  Haven't I heard this plot before?  Oh yea, it's the exact same thing as Toothless, starring Kirstie Alley.  This time around, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as the tutu-wearing fairy, and his star power should carry this fish-out-of-water story effectively.  Just like last week's The Spy Next Door, this film reminds me very much of 2003's The Pacifier, as each film stars an action star attempting to appeal to a family audience.  Tooth Fairy has been advertised well, and it's family-friendly nature should equal some pretty good business.

Legion (Sony) - 2,400 theaters - Reviews

This movie claims to tell the story of God sending his angels down into a diner to begin the Apocalypse and end mankind, but judging from the commercials, you'd think the whole movie was about a creepy grandma that turns into demon and crawls up the wall.  With Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany, Tyrese Gibson, Lucas Black, and Kate Walsh, the films has some stars, but no real box office draws.  Just like The Book Of Eli, Legion hasn't emphasized its overtly religious themes too much, instead framing itself as a conventional January horror release.  I'm not expecting huge things from it, but I'm not expecting an outright flop either.  Like most most January horror films, Legion should see some alright box office results before debuting on DVD a few months later and then debuting on the $5.99 DVD rack at Wal-Mart a few months later.

Extraordinary Measures (CBS Films) - 2,450 theaters - Reviews

It seems appropriate that this film was produced by CBS Films because it looks like a made-for-TV movie.  "Inspired by a true story," Extraordinary Measures follows the story of a loving couple (Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell) who find that two of their children have a rare and fatal disease.  Determined to save his children, the father teams up an unappreciated scientist (Harrison Ford) to research and develop a drug that will cure his kids.  The two men take on the whole medical world, fighting an unsympathetic system in order to provide a solution to the awful crisis.  Cheesy but goodhearted, this film seems pretty hard to dislike, and I actually am a big fan of both Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell.  I'm not sure why, but I just love them!  Even though it won't, I'm hoping Extraordinary Measures does well!

News:

The Golden Globes weren't nearly as unbearable as the Oscars, and the show actually ran pretty quickly.  Maybe it was because the awards cover both film and TV, but I thought the show was fairly efficient.  Don't get me wrong- they were still ridiculously douchey and self-important, but I actually didn't tune away, and that says something.  You can see a full list of winners here, but first, here are some general impressions:

-Ricky Gervais was an awful host.

-Only 90 people vote for these awards?! Why the heck do they matter do much?

-Mo'nique is pretty tough to dislike.  The Precious star has a fire in her eyes and passion in her words, which is a welcome change on a night when you could probably narrate most speeches with the TV on mute.

-Beards are back!  Jon Hamm, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz, and William Hurt were all sporting facial hair.  Take that, No-Shave-November-disliking-grandparents!

-James Cameron may make some incredibly successful movies, but man, is he unlikable!  The director came across as cocky ("I used the restroom, so I'm going to take my time, so if the music comes on, we're going to have a problem..."), which was obnoxious enough, but when he used his own Na'vi language from Avatar while talking about himself, it was too much.  James, if you want to be cocky and endearing, please take lessons from Robert Downey Jr..

-Jason Reitman, writer and director of Up In The Air, looks like a cross between Andrew WK and Dave Grohl.

-Hopefully, Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler exhibit more chemistry in The Bounty Hunter than they did while presenting an award.  I know that the teleprompter-induced banter is always awkward, but not saying anything is even more awkward!

-Originally, the only reason I tuned in was to see if Neil Patrick Harris or Lost would win.  I was disappointed to learn that I had missed NPH's category altogether, even more disappointed to learn that he lost, and hugely disappointed to learn that Lost wasn't even nominated!

-Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her work in The Blind Side.  This is a problem.  Sandra must not win the Oscar.  The Best Actress Oscar transforms women into box office poison, and Bullock was just named the biggest box office draw of 2009.  I'll talk about it more in the Thursday column.

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