Sunday, April 27, 2008

Box Office Report: Calm before the storm

Dude here again. Only one more week left until I get to start all the hyperbole-laden and record shattering weekend box office grosses. I can't even begin to convey how excited I am. Rest assured, it involves involuntary releases of bodily fluids. But out of sheer joy and excitement. And not at all due to a "drinking problem." (I don't understand what the big deal is, it's not even a "problem"!)

This weekend, comedies ruled the roost, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler squeaking into the top spot over Harold and Kumar and a certain other lady that someone is trying to forget. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. Baby Mama (Uni) - $18.2, 2543 screens, week 1, $18.2 total

2. Harold and Kumar... (NL)- $14.5, 2510 screens, week 1, $14.5 total

3. The Forbidden Kingdom (LGF) - $11.2, 3151 screens, week 2, $38.2 total

4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $11.0, 2799 screens, week 2, $35.0 total

5. Nim's Island (Fox) - $4.5, 2977 screens, week 4, $38.9 total

6. Prom Night (ScrGms) - $4.4, 2821 screens, week 3, $38.1 total

7. 21 (Sony)- $4.0, 2952 screens, week 5, $75.7 total

8. 88 Minutes (Sony) - $3.6, 2168 screens, week 2, $12.6 total

9. Horton Hears A Who! (Fox) - $2.4, 2159 screens, week 7, $147.8 total

10. Deception (Fox) - $2.2, 2001 screens, week 1, $2.2 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, it means that of all the things that are making people laugh, Tina Fey rules them all. Attracting more folks with a PG-13 rating (as well as female skewing subject matter) Baby Mama easily surpassed the R-rated pothead antics of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But it's pretty clear that the audiences felt like having some laughs this weekend, before the onslaught begins.

(I have to point out that Harold and Kumar did come awfully close to surpassing the original's entire box office run. Very interesting, and considering how low the costs are for these films, plus the huge profit they make on video because potheads don't realize the movie actually came out in theaters, it's possible a third Harold and Kumar could be winding around the mountain.)

A movie with Obi Wan and Wolverine called Deception came out. It didn't too well. The holdovers are fading fast, but it's worth noting 21 keeps adding screens, despite being out for 6 weeks already.

Below the top ten, a Burt Reynolds movie called Deal opened up. Anytime Burt Reynolds is in a movie that opens up, it's worth noting. It made $31,000 on 50 screens. Yeah Burt! I'm gonna watch Smokey and the Bandit in celebration! (You should, too).

And in the "Because It's There" series: The Bank Job took in $183,000 on 239, bringing its grand total to $29,570,000 in 8 weeks.

There you have my break down. Next week, Ironman! Plus, extra added bonus, Son of Rambow!

Until next weekend....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Box Office Report: Hitler's Birthday Weekend

Dude here again. The weeks are just flying by, as we're towards the end of April, a mere two weeks away from big noisy, stupid summer movies. And I can't wait. However, we still have two more weeks, and I'll be damned if I'm not gonna report those two weeks with gusto and energy and absolutely no slacking whatsoever. No matter what!

This weekend, Jackie Chan and Jet Li walk into a bar and... (fill in pun about making a lot of money that I'm too lazy to make here). Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. The Forbidden Kingdom (LGF) - $20.8, 3151 screens, week 1, $20.8 total

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $17.3, 2798 screens, week 1, $17.3 total

3. Prom Night (ScrGms) - $9.1, 2700 screens, week 2, $32.5 total

4. 88 Minutes (Sony) - $6.8, 2168 screens, week 1, $6.8 total

5. Nim's Island (Fox) - $5.6, 3277 screens, week 3, $32.8 total

6. 21 (Sony)- $5.5, 2903 screens, week 4, $69.9 total

7. Street Kings (FoxS) - $4.0, 2469 screens, week 2, $19.8 total

8. Horton Hears A Who! (Fox) - $3.5, 2670 screens, week 6, $144.4 total

9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (RM) - $3.1, 1052 screens, week 1, $3.1 total

10. Leatherheads (Uni)- $3.0, 2798 screens, week 3, $26.5 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, what do YOU think they mean? Ask yourselves what Forbidden Kingdom grossing $20 million means to you. And how about the nice showing of Sarah Marshall? The Apatow brand name isn't dead yet, wouldn't you agree? And what about 88 Minutes, an Al Pacino movie that's been released in Europe over a year ago. It was released, and looking at the chart, you can see what the numbers mean.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary on Creationism opened in 9th place. How does that make you feel? Inside, I mean? How about the declining performances of the other films in the top ten? Does that make you feel sad, that they weren't given a proper chance to succeed? Or joy, at their failures? Or complete and utter indifference? Please tell me.

Below the top ten, perhaps a few films. opened up that made some money. Perhaps not.

And in the "Because It's There" series: Last week The Bucket List took in $353,000 on 390, bringing its grand total to $92,171,000 in 16 weeks. The Bucket List. Think about that one.

There you have my complete, thorough, award winning box office break down of the greatest journalistic integrity, chock full of hours of hard work. Next week, another movie opens. And it continues.

Until next weekend....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

People with too much free time

Free time that I want to have, so as to accomplish this myself. Only with different themes. Probably Star Wars.

Because I'm a dork like that.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Box Office Report: Tax Weekend!

Dude here again. For those readers in the states, I'd like to take this moment to remind you that you have two days to finish your taxes. Let me tell you something, if you don't pay those, they come after you. And not all nice, they come at you like you're Wesley Snipes. It's unpleasant and costly, so as a public service reminder, make sure you get those done and postmarked in time. Otherwise, you'll pay amounts of money comparable to this weekend's top movie! (Like that segue?)

This weekend, a large number of movies opens up, and the most insulting one of the bunch takes the number one perch. I almost miss 21 as the number one movie. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. Prom Night (ScrGms) - $22.7, 2700 screens, week 1, $22.7 total

2. Street Kings (FoxS) - $12.0, 2467 screens, week 1, $12.0 total

3. 21 (Sony)- $11.0, 2736 screens, week 3, $62.2 total

4. Nim's Island (Fox) - $9.0, 3518 screens, week 2, $25.2 total

5. Leatherheads (Uni)- $6.2, 2771 screens, week 2, $21.9 total

6. Horton Hears A Who! (Fox) - $6.0, 3209 screens, week 5, $139.6 total

7. Smart People (Mira) - $4.2, 1106 screens, week 1, $4.2 total

8. The Ruins (P/DW) - $3.2, 2814 screens, week 2, $13.4 total

9. Superhero Movie (Wein/MGM) - $3.1, 2526 screens, week 3, $21.2 total

10. Drillbit Taylor (Par) - $2.0, 2205 screens, week 4, $28.4 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? It means Prom Night is the number one motion picture. Prom Night. A watered down remake of Prom Night made $22 million. In three days. Prom Night. Think about what you've done.

Street Kings, Keanu Reeve's contribution to corrupt cop cinema took in a respectable amount, around $3 million per facial expression. (I keed, Ted, I thought you rocked in the flick). And Smart People proved that audiences don't like to watch smart people unless they're a gentrified group of young geniuses taking down a casino.

21 continues it's impressive staying power, Leatherheads continues to disappoint (despite that winning smile from multi-hypenate George Clooney) and Nim's Island proves that Gerard Butler is fine, but he really does need to continue yelling every line possible. The Ruins seems to not be scaring anyone, I'm guessing due to the R-rating because I refuse to believe that horror fans would choose a remake of Prom Night over this vine infested creeper. Prom Night? Really?

Below the top ten, two films in limited release had better per screen averages than that Prom Night movie I seem to be deriding. The Visitor, the latest from The Station Agent director Thomas McCarthy played on 4 screens and took in $88,000. And Young@Heart, a heartwarming documentary about old people singing, also played on 4 screens and took in $52,300. Impressive bows, and outstanding reviews, should boost the profiles of these films.

And in the "Because It's There" series: The Bucket List took in $353,000 on 390, bringing its grand total to $92,171,000 in 16 weeks. The Bucket List. Think about that one.

There you have my break down. Next week, the latest from the Apatow cannon, Al Pacino runs for his life for an hour and half (almost), and the long awaited showdown between Jackie Chan and Jet Li, which will probably disappoint me.

Until next weekend....

April Showers Bring April Tweeners.

I've been really busy lately, and not writing about the films I've seen lately. I can give you a brief rundown of the few I've seen recently, that I haven't posted reviews for. (Son of Rambow, though, I felt the need to publish the whole thing, because I loved it so much).

Doomsday - Such an awesome film, for being a complete piece of crap. It's literally Escape From New York crossed with Road Warrior (with a dash of Thunderdome), a touch of 28 Days Later, and a little bit of Excalibur. With a hot accented chick in tight clothing who kicks ass. The movie's a loving mess and homage to awesome movies of our youth that never quite gels together enough to rise above homage and becoming a film worthy of the ranks of its pieces. Still very worth checking out, as you'll note the badass pictures of it I've peppered throughout the article. (7/10)

The Hammer - Adam Corrola as a slacker who turns 40, who suddenly finds some meaning in life as he tries for an Olympic qualifier in boxing. It's got a lot of heart and good humor, and Corrola is winning as all hell. This one's in limited release, but if you get a chance to see it, it's worthy of your time. It's not an Apatow, lose your intestines laugh fest, but it keeps you smiling all through, and doesn't pull it's punches. (I'm so angry at myself for that pun). (7/10)

Run Fat Boy Run - You all know I made Simon Pegg laugh once, right? That was a good day. Sadly, I wish I could say that he once again returned the favor. there are a few moments in this flick where he makes you smile, but honestly, without Pegg, this movie would probably be unbearable. There are a few funny moments, and Pegg has a brilliant and believable scene with his son, but the script hits so many familiar beats and embraces them, when it should be turning them on their side. A major disappointment. (5/10 - extra point given for Pegg)

21 - I finally saw this movie. And it's not terrible. But it's also not really that good. At leat, to me, because the crowd I wound up seeing this with flipped their lids for it. I sat baffled. I understand the appeal of "nerds" beating the system and making tons of money in Vegas by counting cards, but I have a feeling the History Channel "true story" of the events would be more worthy of my time, and not nearly as formulaic. Like Fat Boy, too many familiar beats are hit to the point where it feels the characters are doing their actions solely because the script requires it. Again, not a terrible film, but far from a great one. (5/10)

That's all I got. Maybe I'll check out Leatherheads later today. And I still need to check out The Bank Job, which is allegedly one of the better heist movies to come around in a long time. (I also heard In Bruges is brilliantly hilarious, but again, haven't had much time).

Oh, I also dug Street Kings, which you can check out the review of here.

Fun fact: before viewing Street Kings, I wound up speaking with Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight Pictures. (I think, it might have been Fox Pictures in general, but he was giving out free beer and liked my shirt, so I wasn't paying attention). Anyway, he asks me "What's been good this year?" and I had a long moment of silence. And I looked him in the eye, with absolutely no irony, and told him Rambo was the best movie I saw this year. (Strangely enough, this was before Son of Rambow, which is my favorite movie of the year thus far).

Fun Fact 2: Also at the Street Kings presentation was Keanu Reeves. Two days previous to that, I met Alex Winter. Meaning that last week, I met both Bill AND Ted! I rule.

Son of Rambow! Finally, I really like a movie!

Son of Rambow is such a wonderful motion picture, I wanted to give it a great big hug after it was over. It's heartwarming without any treacle, it's hilarious without resorting to cheap gags, and it's genuine. Son of Rambow will quickly become a favorite movie of any dork (like myself) who dreamed big as a kid and used movie making as an outlet.

Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is an adorable and sad young boy. His father had a stroke and passed away. His family belongs to a religion called The Plymouth Brethren, which forbids television, movies, and music of popular culture. Will has never seen a moving picture in his entire life, but he has a huge imagination and fills the pages of his text books with drawings to the point that you can't see the text anymore.

Fate intervenes when Will encounters Lee Carter (Will Poulter). Carter is the troubled kid in school, always in and out of the principal's office. Events bring these two unlikely kids together, with Carter taking advantage of Will's good nature. Carter lives in a retirement home (his mother is never around) and works for his brother bootlegging movies with his VHS camera. The latest film to come through town? First Blood. (It should be noted the film takes place in the early 80s).

Will sees First Blood and his mind is blown. He and Carter decide to join forces and make a film with the camera and resources they have. The film Will wants to make? Son of Rambow. (Will is unaware of the proper spelling of Rambo). The two form a friendship making the film, despite the growing consequences of WIll's new passion conflicting with the Brethren's beliefs, creating much tension between Will and his mother. (Jessica Stevenson, from Spaced!)

Eventually, other kids from the school come on board to join these outcasts, most notably the French exchange student that all the other kids think is the coolest. (He wants to be a movie star, and even has prop guns). Does this drive a rift between Will and Carter? You need to see the film and discover that for yourself.

What makes Son of Rambow so damn good is that even though it's filled with whimsy, it's British whimsy, which is always less insulting to your intelligence. Written and directed by Garth Jennings (he of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame), Son of Rambow has some wonderfully fanciful moments and manages to keep it strictly grounded. The problems of Carter and Will are very real, which only makes the accomplishment of their filmmaking that more important.

It's interesting to note the similarities between Son of Rambow and Be Kind Rewind. Both films center their stories on misfits and outsiders coming together to make a movie for a greater purpose. And both make tremendous use of the filmmakers' creative solutions in recreating scenes with the materials available to them. Where Rambow differs is that the joy stems from the minds of children, where the only limit is their own imaginations.

I heart this movie with a passion reserved for few things. It's the first great movie I've seen all year, and my favorite of all that I've seen. It's smart, sweet, funny, and above all made with love and affection for these characters. You want these boys to succeed, and to eventually make Son of Rambow 2. And I would be first in line to see it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

This continues to make me laugh.

It's an SNL sketch from like, 4 or 5 years ago. And it makes me laugh too hard every time. It applies that wonderful comedic gag of going too far, where it not only stops being funny, but starts to be ridiculously hilarious again. See also, Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes. And the entire movie of Hot Rod. (That movie is pure hilarity).

Box Office Report: 21? Again? Really?

Dude here again. With another exciting, involving, thoroughly awesome reporting of the weekend box office numbers. You know you love it. And even if you don't, then what are you doing reading it? Exactly. Curiosity, and rumors of my awesomeness know no bounds.

This weekend, a slew of new movies opened up, but were unable to unseat last week's champ. This seriously boggles my mind, but a lot of things do that lately. Like button fly jeans. I mean, I understand the need to not have interlocking metal pieces that close to your junk, but still. Ummm.... Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. 21 (Sony)- $15.1, 2653 screens, week 2, $46.5 total

2. Leatherheads (Uni)- $13.4, 2769 screens, week 1, $13.4 total

3. Nim's Island (Fox) - $13.3, 3513 screens, week 1, $13.3 total

4. Horton Hears A Who! (Fox) - $9.1, 3571 screens, week 4, $131.0 total

5. The Ruins (P/DW) - $7.8, 2812 screens, week 1, $7.8 total

6. Superhero Movie (Wein/MGM) - $5.4, 2965 screens, week 2, $16.8 total

7. Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns (LGF) - $3.5, 1554 screens, week 3, $37.7 total

8. Drillbit Taylor (Par) - $3.4, 2707 screens, week 3, $25.5 total

9. Shutter (Fox) - $2.8, 2125 screens, week 3, $23.1 total

10. 10,000 B.C. (WB) - $2.7, 2335 screens, week 5, $89.3 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? It means that in addition to gambling puns, there will be a lot of "fumble" puns in people's box office summaries. 21 inexplicably continues to capture the hearts and minds of the people, while Clooney's Leatherheads underperformed. And Nim's Island, which features Gerard Butler not screaming his lines (and wearing pants) is right at the heels of LEatherheads, and could very well wind up being second place. Regardless, it will still be hailed as "The #1 Family Film" in ads next week. Mark my words.

No puns abound for The Ruins, which took in low numbers for a horror movie. However, it was rated R, and involved killer plants, which some might perceive as silly. The trailers creeped me out, though. Just sayin.

Below the top ten, Shine a Light, the Rolling Stones concert film directed by Martin Scorsese took in around $1.5 million on 276 screens. I'm not sure if those screens include IMAX numbers. Still, the prospect of a 7-story Keith Richards freaks me out more than the vines in the ruins. Spooky. His jowl is as big as me. Also opening was My Blueberry Nights, the English-language debut of acclaimed filmmaker Wong Kar Wai opened up on 6 screens and took in $73,000.

And in the "Because It's There" series: Doomsday took in $119,000 on 184, bringing its grand total to $10,954,000 in 4 weeks.

There you have my break down. Next week, more movies will open, and some will make more money than others.

Until next weekend....