Tag Archives: movie box office

Not again

Making movies cost the big bucks, it’s true.

So perhaps we shouldn’t judge producers too harshly when they remake blockbusters from years past to ensure box office success…like The Great Gatsby or Footloose.

This may also explain ‘sequel-itis’…although quality seems to figure less in that equation.

Case in point:  New Year’s Eve from director Garry Marshall.

New Year’s Eve is the sequel to last year’s horrible Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy jam-packed with stars, cliched story lines and performances that were shallow to say the most.

(Sorry; it was that bad.) 

I’m not surprised actors are drawn to the sequel; it’s the easiest money they’ll ever make.  And Garry Marshall probably just used the Valentine’s Day shooting script and changed the California locations to New York City.

But why do it at all?

Critics skewered the first film, and audience reviews were only slightly warmer.  And while Valentine’s Day did break $100 million at the box office, there were a lot of celebrity salaries to pay.

Well, after seeing the trailer, I think I’ve figured it out.

Garry has directed a train wreck of a film…and we all know how hard it is not to look at one of those.

Cha-ching!

Incognito

I hope the people who make movie trailers actually go to the theater and watch the audience reaction.

It can be a real eye opener.

Case in point:  I went to “Inception” last night — what a wild ride that was — and saw two new trailers before the show:  one for “The Town,” one for “Devil.”

“The Town” stars Ben Affleck, Blake Lively, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner.  Set in Boston, it tells the story of a group of bank robbers, a bank manager they get involved with and the FBI agent who tries to take them down.  The trailer said it was from “the director of ‘Gone Baby Gone.'”

“Devil” puts a group of apparently random people in a high-rise elevator and stalls it.  Then all hell breaks loose.  There are no real name stars in the film; the trailer just touts it as being “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan.”

Two interesting choices.

The first trailer did not specifically name Affleck as its director.  Did they suspect there might be negative connotations?  Some holdover from his earlier work in “Gigli” or “Jersey Girls?”

The second — which I think had the audience until this point — elicited groans and laughter when they threw M. Night Shyamalan’s name into the mix.  The movie appeared to lose all credibility with those three little words.

So, if anyone is listening — I think a teeny edit to the “Devil” trailer could make a big difference at the box office.

And M. Night — the slogan for “Devil” is “bad things happen for a reason.”

Try to keep that in mind…okay?

Cruise control

Today is Tom Cruise’s birthday.  He turns 47.

You may hate his politics, his religion and maybe even some of his movies, but ya gotta admit — the guy has had more than his share of winners:

Risky Business
Top Gun
The Color of Money
Rain Man
A Few Good Men
The Firm
Jerry Maguire
Minority Report
Tropic Thunder

And his latest film belongs on the list as well — “Knight and Day” with Cameron Diaz.

It hasn’t banked the box office of his other action movies — like the “Mission Impossible” series — but it is a ton more fun.  The comedy chops he displayed in “Tropic Thunder” are very much in evidence here, but more subtly used as the story requires.

Cruise and Diaz are a terrific combination — almost a male and female version of each other in energy and screen presence — and the script never lets them or the audience down.  I just wish more people would go see it.

It’s movie fireworks — perfect for the July 4th weekend.

Enjoy!

Biblical proportions

‘John sinks James.’

‘Tearjerker takes down technology.’

‘Love kills the blue people.’

(Sorry…I couldn’t resist.)

Even I was stunned to see that “Dear John,”  the latest weeper from Nicholas Sparks , had taken over “Avatar’s” seemingly permanent Number #1 position at the Box Office.

It actually makes sense.  Most of “Avatar’s” target demographic was occupied with the pre-, pre-pre-, and pre-pre-pre-Super Bowl analysis, followed by the actual game and post, post-post, and post-post-post-game summaries.

And then, of course, there was the Super Bowl commercial viewing and analysis as well, both live and online.

The Super Bowl, if you do it right, can take a good three days.

Alas, “Avatar” was its victim…this weekend, anyway.  I’m sure its box office sales will bounce back for the balance of this week.

But beware, little blue CGI folk:  the Olympics are headed right your way.

And “Dear John” will be there, tear-stained tissue in hand, to pick up the pieces of your shattered audience.

No contest

Television is wimpy.

If movies and TV shows met in a dark alley, movies would kick their butts…easy.

Just take a look at the subject matter of the top movie box office for this past weekend alone:

  • a band of zombie fighters
  • a machine that turns water into food
  • the first man to ever tell a lie in the world
  • people using surrogates to live their lives
  • a roller derby league for women
  • a documentary on capitalism
  • a performing arts high school
  • an executive who turns informant
  • a motivational speaker who doesn’t practice what he preaches

Would any of those story lines ever be a TV series?  No.  (Well, maybe the last one…and that’s because it’s the worst of the lot.)

For some reason, television executives have decided that the only dramas that audiences want to see revolve around hospitals, police stations and courtrooms.  This year they got all excited and found a new angle — nurses.  Awesome…that totally changes things.

In comedy, it’s all about the non-traditional family.  Which version do you prefer?  Courtney Cox in “Cougartown?”  Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “The New Adventures of Old Christine?”  Or the male equivalent in “Gary Unmarried” or “Two and a Half Men”?

Even reality shows are just giving us the same thing over and over again.  “Dancing with the Stars”  and “So You Think You Can Dance” co-mingled with “The Biggest Loser” to begat “Dancing Your Ass Off.”  Kill me now.

Why can’t series television show a tenth of the creativity and risk-taking of movies?  Sometimes it does…in series like “Glee” and “Mad Men” and “True Blood.”  And in case the networks don’t get it — that’s why audiences have gone crazy.

Hey, look — television series about something different…a high school choral group, and an ad agency set in the 1950’s, and a New Orleans town inhabited by vampires and shape shifters.

Not a doctor or lawyer or cop in the bunch.  And we’re still watching.

Stings, doesn’t it?