We have no idea who will win the World Series. Both the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians have suffered historic championship droughts — the Indians last won in 1948, while the Cubs’ postseason futility extends all the way back to 1908, and the last time they even made the World Series was 1945. We could contrive a prediction based on advanced stats (though we’re better versed in the Tomatometer than we are in wins above replacement), or we could delve into the superstitions (the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Curse of Rocky Colavito) to determine which franchise is more jinxed. Instead, we’re going to look at the movies that prominently feature both teams in order to forecast the ultimate victor.
At first glance, the Cubs would seem to have the more impressive cinematic legacy. Even non-baseball fans who came of age in the 1980s are likely to remember Ferris catching a foul ball at Wrigley Field in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Marty’s astonished reaction to news of a Cubs’ world championship in Back the Future Part II. But let’s delve a little deeper into those scenes, shall we? After years of speculation, Baseball Prospectus writer Larry Granillo concluded that the game that Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane attended was an 11-inning loss to the Braves. And the joke in Back to the Future Part II is that the Cubs are so inept they’d never win the World Series (unless, of course, they were opposed by a nameless American League team with a Miami area code and a jovial alligator mascot).
Other examples of the Cubs’ celluloid legacy are similarly discouraging. The team’s earliest appearance on film was the creatively titled World Series Baseball Game, a 1906 documentary about their loss to crosstown rivals the White Sox. The tale of a 12-year-old who joins the Cubs after an arm injury gives him a magical fastball, Rookie of the Year (1993), was pleasant, but it didn’t exactly set the box office or critical community on fire. And in The Break-Up, Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston meet at a Cubs game; as you may have guessed from the title, though, they don’t live happily ever after.
Here’s the reason the Indians are winning the World Series: Major League. This classic tale of a ragtag team of misfits and oddballs remains one of the most beloved of all sports movies. During the dark days of the late 1980s, the Indians were one of the worst teams in all of baseball, and not even stars like Joe Carter, Cory Snider, or Albert Belle could lift them above a .500 winning percentage. Sure, Major League had to create the likes of Pedro Cerrano, Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Willie Mays Hayes, but those fictional players were easy to root for, and most importantly, they gave Ohioans a glimmer of hope. The Tribe’s silver screen legacy is slim, but if you ask any random bro in his 30s or 40s to name his favorite sports movies, chances are Major League is near the top of the list.
(And let’s just pretend Major League II never happened.)
Sorry, Cubs fans, but based upon our incredibly scientific formula — one that pits the number of cinematic high schoolers playing hooky at the Friendly Confines against the speed of a Ricky Vaughn fastball — it appears you’re gonna have to wait a little longer for that World Series trophy. Let’s just hope it’s not another century.
With the passing of Ingmar Bergman Monday, the world of cinema lost one of its most unique and important voices. Thus, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to pick our favorite Bergman films as a tribute to the man who contributed so much to the art of movies.
From dark allegory (The Seventh Seal) to light(er) comedy (Smiles of a Summer Night), from emotionally wrenching period drama (Sawdust and Tinsel, Cries and Whispers) to musical theater (The Magic Flute), Bergman contributed a depth of feeling and intelligence to the cinema seldom seen before. The great Swedish director confronted the mysteries of human existence head-on, and, in doing so, carved out a niche that casts a long shadow over the medium.
Bergman’s work has influenced everything from The Break-Up to Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey; Wes Craven utilized The Virgin Spring as the basis for Last House on the Left, while Woody Allen and Robert Altman cited him as a key influence.
With a filmography as rich and potent as Bergman’s, it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re a beginner to Bergman’s oeuvre, here are some of our favorites.
A lyrical and sometimes surreal film about a man in the twilight of his life, Wild Strawberries explores Bergman’s recurrent themes of innocent children subjected to dishonorable elders. The old man in Wild Strawberries realizes too late that he’s failed to create meaningful relationships with those near to him and remembers, with some dishonesty, his often painful past.
Fanny and Alexander
A broadly autobiographical film about Bergman’s own upbringing, Fanny and Alexander was made for Swedish TV and re-edited from 300 minutes down to 168 for release in American theaters. Bergman’s most popular film in the states, Fanny and Alexander deals again with Bergman’s issues of innocence and knowledge and displays in, sometimes depraved ways, how children don’t lose their innocence so much as have it stolen from them.
— Sara Schieron
Best known as the middle entry of Bergman’s “faith trilogy,” Winter Light revolves around a pastor’s crisis of faith after he’s unable to console one of his congregation. It’s an emotionally direct film — no dream sequences, no parlor games with Death — and Bergman skillfully draws tension from this simplicity. The film essentially ends the same way it begins, but everything that transpires in between gives the film’s final moment a shot of existential horror Bergman is legendary for.
— Alex Vo
A deeply unsettling, hypnotic work, Persona explores the fluidity of human existence. Liv Ullman plays Elizabeth, an actress who has suffered an onstage breakdown; she refuses to speak, and is cared for by Alma (Bibi Andersson). What follows is a disquieting journey into the depths of the soul; as Alma reveals her deepest secrets to Elizabeth, she finds herself in an emotional tug-of-war with her patient. Persona is Bergman at his most formally experimental, and his obsession with the poetry of the human face is at its apex in this mysterious, rewarding film.
One of Bergman’s earliest films, Monika is about the fleeting nature and naiveté of youthful passions. A free-spirited teenager named Monika (Harriet Andersson) and her reserved boyfriend Harry (Lars Ekborg) spend an idyllic summer on a remote island — before reality and responsibility set in. Monika may lack the existential probing and Big Questions of Bergman’s later films, but as an examination of the messiness of teenage emotions, it has a delicate beauty all its own.
— Tim Ryan
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comedy is about a guy who decides to say “yes” to absolutely every question that comes his way. Obviously all sorts of comedic hijinks will inevitably ensue.
The project is based on a book by Danny Wallace that WB acquired a few years back. No word on who’ll be on adaptation duty, but you’ll probably remember Peyton Reed from flicks like Bring It On, The Break-Up, and the rather underrated Down With Love.
More on this “high concept” comedy when it hits the wires. Sounds like a potentially amusing project though.
The Hollywood Reporter
Fox scored its first number one hit in five months with "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which grossed an estimated $57.4M on its opening weekend, tripling its nearest competitor’s sales.
Carrying a milder PG rating into 3,959 theaters, the super hero sequel averaged a sturdy $14,499 and just barely edged out the $56.1M bow of the first "Fantastic Four" pic from July 2005. A sequel has now topped the box office for seven consecutive weekends.
Reviews were mixed, but were better than for its predecessor which was critically panned. The sequel brought back director Tim Story along with the four main cast members Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis. However, the iconic Marvel Comics character Silver Surfer was prominently added to the film, and even to its title, to help bring back comic fans who may have had a bad taste after the first "Fantastic" pic. Laurence Fishburne provided the voice for the computer-generated space traveler.
The latest summer sequel kicked off the weekend on Friday with $22M, dipped an understandable 11% to $19.6M on Saturday, and is projected to drop by another 19% on Sunday to $15.8M. Fox also reported that "Rise of the Silver Surfer" opened in 32 overseas markets with a combined $25.4M this weekend although most were minor territories. Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom were among the only major international markets that launched this frame with more to come in the weeks ahead.
"Ocean’s Thirteen" enjoyed a good hold in its second weekend dropping only 47% to an estimated $19.1M in its sophomore frame. Warner Bros. has now made off with $69.8M in ten days. Threequels often drop by 55% or more and "Ocean’s Twelve" even fell by 54% in its second try. That caper sequel grossed $18.1M in its second weekend and bagged a similar $68.5M worth of loot in its first ten days. "Thirteen," which will not benefit from holidays like Christmas and New Year’s prolonging its run, could be on track to finish with $105-110M domestically which would still be the lowest in the "Ocean’s" series.
Universal’s sleeper hit "Knocked Up" continued to capitalize on strong word-of-mouth and held onto third place with an estimated $14.5M, off only 26%, for a $90.5M cume. The R-rated smash will join the century club next weekend making it the studio’s first $100M hit since its last June romantic comedy offering "The Break-Up."
Disney’s "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" followed dropping 43% to an estimated $12M in its fourth adventure. Cume stands at $273.8M which is up 31% from 2003’s "Curse of the Black Pearl" after its fourth weekend, but down 24% from last summer’s "Dead Man’s Chest" at the same point. "At World’s End" did manage to rise to number 32 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list sailing past the $267.7M of 2001’s "Shrek."
A trio of kidpics followed. The animated penguin movie "Surf’s Up" sank 47% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.3M giving Sony a not-so-cool $34.7M after ten days. A final gross of about $60M could result. "Shrek the Third" landed in sixth place with an estimated $9M, off 41%, for a $297.2M total. Knocking on the triple-century mark, the Paramount release now stands at number 24 on the all-time list just behind the first "Pirates" film which banked $305.4M four years ago.
Moviegoers passed on solving a mystery with "Nancy Drew" which opened poorly in seventh with only $7.1M, accoridng to estimates. Averaging a weak $2,732 from 2,612 theaters, the PG-rated film starring Emma Roberts failed to make a dent in the summer box office this weekend. "Nancy" opened in the same neighborhood as other films aimed at tween girls like "Ice Princess," "Little Black Book," and "Aquamarine" which all bowed to roughly $7M a piece.
Lionsgate saw its horror sequel "Hostel Part II" tumble 64% after its weak opening to an estimated $3M this weekend. With only $14.2M taken in thus far, the torture pic should finish with just under $20M, or less than half of the $47.3M of the first "Hostel" flick from last year. MGM’s "Mr. Brooks" grossed an estimated $2.8M, off 43%, pushing the cume to only $23.4M for the Kevin Costner thriller.
"Spider-Man 3" rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.5M falling 42% from last weekend. With $330M after its seventh frame, the Sony sequel climbed to number 15 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind "Finding Nemo" which took in $339.7M in 2003.
Opening dead on arrival was the new actioner "D.O.A.: Dead or Alive" which bowed to an estimated $232,000 from 505 theaters for a pathetic $460 average. The Weinstein Co. title was released with little fanfare and should see most of its business on DVD.
A pair of hits fell from the top ten over the weekend. Fox Searchlight’s indie darling "Waitress" grossed an estimated $1.3M, down only 21%, for a $14.1M cume to date. A final tally of $17-20M from a limited national release is likely. Paramount’s Shia LaBeouf thriller "Disturbia" collected an estimated $250,000 in its tenth frame pushing the stellar cume to $78.3M. Look for a $79M final which will serve as an appetizer to the studio’s next Shia offering — "Transformers" opening July 3.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.8M which was down 2% from last year when "Cars" remained at number one with $33.7M; but up 8% from 2005 when "Batman Begins" debuted in the top spot with $48.7M over three days.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
With schools letting out for the summer, Hollywood rolls out a pair of PG-rated films hoping to attract kids to the multiplexes with some mindless fun.
Fox unleashes "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which looks to give the box office its seventh consecutive weekend ruled by a sequel. Warner Bros. counters the testosterone effects pic with its teen girl story "Nancy Drew" while The Weinstein Co. mixes the formulas by opening its all-female action flick "DOA: Dead or Alive."
Marvel super heroes look to top the charts for the third time this year with the new "Fantastic Four" film which reunites the main cast members of the first pic. That comic book actioner opened to a sturdy $56.1M in July 2005 and went on to gross $154.7M domestically and over $330M worldwide. Though panned by critics, it got the franchise going and Fox hopes to keep the cash registers ringing this summer. The studio aims to follow the same pattern it saw for its other Marvel ensemble series. 2000’s "X-Men" debuted to $54.5M and reached a $157.3M final with the 2003 and 2006 followups each grossing more and more.
But "Silver Surfer" is different from "X2: X-Men United" which bowed to $85.6M. That mutant sequel earned strong reviews, followed a predecessor that was well-received, and opened at the beginning of May when there was no competition. The current sequel fatigue that has been hitting the box office could prevent "Four" from expanding beyond its core base. The studio gets credit for building the marketing campaign around the Silver Surfer character so it feels like it is offering something new. The milder PG rating could allow it to reach a broader audience, but many parents may not even notice as the ads make it look like all the other PG-13 comic pics. Cruising into over 3,800 theaters, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" could take in around $53M this weekend.
"Nancy Drew" hits the big screen with the teen sleuth from the popular mystery books moving to California to find herself in the middle of an unsolved case. The PG-rated film should see most of its business from the under-18 female set however since the property has been around for so long, it could bring in some older folks too. With Unfabulous star Emma Roberts as the title character, the Warner Bros. release offers little starpower beyond its core demographic. The studio will have to rely on the brand name and the current lack of films exciting girls. The turnout could be similar to what Warners saw two years ago in June 2005 with "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" which bowed to $9.8M over three days and $13.6M over its five-day launch. Opening in 2,612 theaters, "Nancy Drew" might debut with around $12M.
The videogame-inspired action film "DOA: Dead or Alive" gets a quiet release in 505 theaters on Friday. A babes-in-bikinis fight flick, the Weinstein Co. release is not being pushed too feverishly and will have little chance of drawing in business against the more high-profile action films out there now. With no major stars, the much-delayed PG-13 film might find itself with $1M or less this weekend.
"Ocean’s Thirteen" was met with the smallest jackpot ever won by the franchise last weekend. "Ocean’s Twelve" fell by 53% in its second weekend in December 2004. The new installment should also see a steep drop given that it is the third time around and people are not exactly loving the pic. Warner Bros. could suffer a 55% decline and collect about $16M for a ten-day cume of $67M.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" has been dropping by more than 50% each weekend and with the new "Fantastic Four" sequel arriving, this frame should be no different. Look for sales to get sliced in half and dip to about $11M pushing the domestic cume to $272M.
A 30% drop could be in the works for "Knocked Up" which will not face much competition for adults. Look for a $14M weekend giving the Universal comedy $90M in 17 days.
LAST YEAR: The Disney/Pixar collaboration "Cars" held onto the top spot for a second weekend with $33.7M for a reasonable drop of 44%. The Jack Black comedy "Nacho Libre" led the newcomers with an opening of $28.3M on its way to $80.2M for Paramount. "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" followed in third with a $24M bow while "The Lake House" debuted in fourth with $13.6M. Final grosses reached $62.5M for Universal’s racing sequel and $52.3M for the Warner Bros. romance. Jennifer Aniston‘s "The Break-Up" ranked fifth with $9.8M in its third frame. The kidpic "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties" opened in seventh with $7.3M for Fox on its way to $28.4M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The stars come marching out to do battle with the pirates for the number one spot this weekend.
For the sixth consecutive weekend, a threequel is poised to command the top spot at the North American box office as Warner Bros. rolls out the caper pic "Ocean’s Thirteen" reuniting Hollywood’s fun boys. Sony counters with the family offering "Surf’s Up" while Lionsgate goes after the horror crowd with "Hostel Part II." Each film should target its own audience so there should be space for all newcomers.
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and their endless list of co-stars are back again as everyone’s favorite criminals in "Ocean’s Thirteen." The PG-13 pic finds the group back in Las Vegas on a heist driven by revenge against a real estate mogul, played by Al Pacino, who is launching his latest luxury hotel/casino. The first two in the series had December openings of $38.1M for 2001’s "Ocean’s Eleven" and $39.2M for 2004’s "Ocean’s Twelve." They also had little direct competition for adults. Although they opened in the same fashion, the sequel was not as well-liked and found its way to $125.5M, or about one-third less than the $183.4M cume of the original which itself was a remake.
"Thirteen" should play to the exact same audience of mature adults. Appeal is equally strong for males and females and even some teen interest should be there. Reviews have been generally positive but that should have little impact. Moviegoers know exactly what they are getting the third time around and will decide based on if they want to take another two-hour trip seeing slick actors, with slick hair, and slick clothes, acting cool. Those soured by "Twelve" may take a pass on "Thirteen." Plus "Pirates" and "Knocked Up" will provide some solid competition. But the sheer amount of starpower should make this entry hard to resist to many looking for a fun mature film without pirates, super heroes, and endless special effects. "Ocean’s Thirteen" rolls the dice in 3,565 locations this weekend and might win about $37M over three days.
For those kids who can’t get enough of talking cartoon penguins, Sony unleashes its big summer animation entry "Surf’s Up." Delivered in a mockumentary style, the PG-rated film tells the story of penguins that compete in a surfing competition, and of course crack jokes along the way. Arriving just three weeks after "Shrek the Third," "Surf’s Up" will have to deal with competition from the ogre toon and to some extent the other aging threequels which combined should gross north of $40M this weekend. The new penguin pic does not have the buzz or the starpower of a Robin Williams that helped "Happy Feet" shoot to number one last November with a $41.5M bow on its way to a terrific $198M.
Instead, "Surf’s Up" seems to be in the same middle category with recent films like "Open Season" and "Meet the Robinsons" which opened to $23.6M and $25.1M, respectively. With children in the process of ending their school years and starting their summer vacations, parents should be in the mood to take them to the movies for some non-violent fun. "Surf’s Up" lands in over 3,000 theaters on Friday and could debut with about $24M.
Yet another horror sequel makes its way into theaters with Lionsgate’s "Hostel Part II." The first "Hostel" was a number one hit last year opening to $19.6M on its way to an impressive $47.3M off of a tiny budget. The new R-rated entry finds three American students in Rome who find themselves caught in a grisly game of torture and mayhem. Horror fans have been suffering from fright fatigue lately. The recent sequels "The Hills Have Eyes II" and "28 Weeks Later" both opened to just under $10M failing to match the bows of their predecessors. Other horror flicks like "Bug," "The Condemned," "The Reaping," and "Vacancy" all underperformed over the last several weeks and have helped to scare fans away from the genre.
But Lionsgate is among the best at selling this type of fare to older teens and young adults and the distributor is hoping to tap into a built-in audience. Just as with the first one, Quentin Tarantino whores his name out again with a ‘presents’ credit on the marketing materials. It would be interesting to know what kind of compensation, monetary or otherwise, he gets for these transactions. Locking up ticket buyers in 2,350 theaters, "Hostel Part II" may open with around $12M.
Following its two frames at number one, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should give up the top spot this weekend, although the runnerup slot is not necessarily a guarantee. The pricey Disney adventure fell by 62% last weekend and could see its drop dip to 50% this time. That would give Johnny Depp and his buddies about $22M for the session and $254M overall.
Last weekend’s number two flick "Knocked Up" raced past "At World’s End" to claim the number one spot on Monday and Tuesday thanks to great buzz and is prepared to see a solid hold this time around. Two summers ago, the R-rated comedies "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" both dipped by only 24% in their sophomore frames thanks to stellar word-of-mouth and no major competition from new releases. "Knocked Up" has the same great satisfaction from moviegoers, but will see much of its adult audience get tempted away by Brad and company. A 30% drop would still give it a great hold with about $21M for the frame. That would push the cume to a stunning $68M in only ten days.
"Shrek the Third" will face direct competition from rival toon "Surf’s Up" this weekend. That could lead to a 40% decline to roughly $17M boosting the cume to $282M.
LAST YEAR: Disney and Pixar joined forces for the number one opening of "Cars" which cruised into the top spot with $60.1M. The animated comedy raced to $244.1M domestically becoming the summer’s biggest non-Captain Jack flick, and over $462M worldwide. Universal’s comedy "The Break-Up" fell 48% in its second date grossing $20.3M and was followed by "X-Men: The Last Stand" with $16.1M. The horror remake "The Omen" bowed to $16M over the weekend and a creepy $36.3M over six days since its Tuesday launch on 6/6/06. Fox scared up $54.6M eventually. "The Da Vinci Code" rounded out the top five with $10.4M in its fourth lap. Debuting to solid results in a moderate launch was "A Prairie Home Companion" with $4.6M from 760 locations for a $6,008 average. The Picturehouse release found its way to $20.3M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Call it the weekend of the actor/producer. Three new films with stars that do double duty behind the scenes (or have good agents that can snag a free credit) enter a marketplace filled with big-budget tentpole pics quickly eroding away.
Seth Rogen headlines and executive produces the new comedy "Knocked Up," Kevin Costner stars and produces the crime thriller "Mr. Brooks," and Elisabeth Shue acts in and co-produces the sports drama "Gracie." Following an explosive May at the box office, the first weekend of June should see ticket sales calm down a bit before George and Brad usher in the next big wave of sequels.
For adult moviegoers sick of pirates, ogres, and webslingers, Universal has the answer – the raunchy romantic comedy "Knocked Up." The R-rated film from Judd Apatow ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin") stars Rogen and Katherine Heigl as a stoner loser and a just-promoted entertainment newswoman, respectively, who share a one night stand which leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Older teens, young adults, and couples make up the target audience here and the studio is hoping to bring back the same folks that opened "Virgin" to $21.4M on its way to a stellar $109.3M (five times its debut) two summers ago.
With mindless popcorn sequels dominating the marquees for the past month, "Knocked Up" brings a breath of fresh air into the multiplexes. Moviegoers looking for new characters and new situations will be pleased. The marketing push has been strong but television spots are not too funny, mostly because the bulk of the humor is too racy to feature on broadcast television. But when opening weekend audiences find out how much funnier the actual film is compared to the trailer and commercials, red hot word-of-mouth will keep the pic playing week after week.
The public’s appetite for studio comedies has been healthy over the last six months with "Wild Hogs," "Night at the Museum," "Blades of Glory," and "Norbit" selling an amazing $626M worth of ticket stubs combined. "Hogs" even popped back into the top ten last weekend in its thirteenth session signaling the hunger in the marketplace right now for something good that will make people laugh. Universal enjoys going after adults on the weekend after Memorial Day. In 2005 it debuted the serious Russell Crowe–Renee Zellweger boxing pic "Cinderella Man" to $18.3M while last year the studio exceeded expectations with the $39.2M bow of the date flick "The Break-Up." "Knocked Up" should play to much of the same audience as the Jennifer Aniston film, although with less starpower and no tabloid gossip about the star’s personal lives, the grosses won’t soar as high.
Critics have been praising "Knocked Up" and its strong cross-gender appeal will make it a hit with the date crowd. A unique concept and a great title will also help sell the film. "Pirates" will only be in its second weekend and will still be pulling in a broad audience so there will be some competition. But "Knocked Up" has great buzz and will start selling itself after people begin pouring out of the Friday night shows. Opening in 2,873 theaters, the Universal release may gross about $24M this weekend and witness small declines in the weeks ahead.
Less than a year after co-starring with Ashton Kutcher in "The Guardian," Kevin Costner teams up with the "Punk’d" star’s gal pal Demi Moore in the new psychological thriller "Mr. Brooks." In the R-rated film, the former bodyguard plays a family man who moonlights as a serial killer while the ex-G.I. Jane stars as a detective hot on his trail. The MGM release should play to the oldest audience of any major release out now. That’s a good thing since direct competition will not be too fierce. But despite some moderately good reviews, Brooks is anchored by two aging actors who were bulletproof box office stars fifteen years ago, but are not all that reliable at the turnstiles nowadays.
"Knocked Up" has much more buzz around it and will take away much of the thirtysomething crowd, but the forty-plus audience might give "Mr. Brooks" a try. Older adults did little for "Georgia Rule" which bowed to just $6.8M but April’s "Fracture" had a decent $11M opening. Costner should draw an audience more like the one that came out for the Anthony Hopkins thriller. The marketing push has not been too forceful so a large turnout is not likely. Invading 2,453 theaters, "Mr. Brooks" may generate a $9M debut.
Picturehouse targets the Lady Foot Locker crowd with its new drama "Gracie" which tells the true story of a teenage girl in the late 1970s who fought to play competitive soccer when the sport did not open its doors to her gender. The PG-13 flick stars Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Shue, and Carly Schroeder and has been marketed squarely to its core audience of teenage girls. "Gracie" is unlikely to score any goals with other audience segments and is not being released in too many theaters so a modest opening is likely. Reviews have been mixed. Kicking its way into about 1,000 locations, "Gracie" might find itself with an opening weekend take of around $3M.
Fox Searchlight invades the arthouses once again with its Russian fantasy epic "Day Watch," the sequel to Timur Bekmambetov‘s "Night Watch" which became a mammoth blockbuster in its home country in 2004. Last year, "Night Watch" bowed in the U.S. to a sturdy $35,475 average from only three theaters and eventually collected $1.5M from 158 sites. "Day Watch" continues the battle of Light vs. Darkness in an adventure set in Moscow with digital effects that could rival any $200M-budgeted Hollywood tentpole pic. The R-rated film debuts on Friday in New York and Los Angeles with two theaters in each city plus a solo house in San Francisco. More markets across the country will be added in the weeks ahead.
None of the newbies looks like first-place material so "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" should easily retain its box office crown. However, a substantial fall is likely. As a third part of a franchise coming off of a big holiday bow, the drop would of course be large. "Dead Man’s Chest" fell by 54% in its sophomore frame. Add in the fact that fan reaction isn’t exactly stellar and the ship should sink by a large amount. Don’t expect the latest "Pirates" to suffer the 67% crash that the third "X-Men" flick saw a year ago when it came off of the Memorial Day frame. Instead, it could perform more like 2004’s "The Day After Tomorrow" which fell 60% coming off of the same holiday weekend. Luckily for Johnny Depp and pals the competition is not too fierce this weekend. A similar 60% tumble would give "At World’s End" about $46M worth of weekend loot which would boost the ten-day cume to $218M.
"Shrek the Third" will also not have much in the way of competition for its family audience, but comedy fans will certainly abandon ship and head for "Knocked Up." The ogre franchise makes a sizable portion of its money from teens and young adults and those folks are going to be moving on. Last weekend’s 56% drop was affected by the arrival of "Pirates." This weekend, it could stabilize and fall by 45%. That would give "Shrek the Third" around $29M for the weekend and $256M after 17 days.
"Spider-Man 3," the only May threequel with the actual number three in its title, has also been fading away. A 45% drop would give the Sandman saga roughly $8M boosting the cume to $319M.
LAST YEAR: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn proved more popular than super heroes as their romantic comedy "The Break-Up" knocked "X-Men: The Last Stand" out of the number one spot in only its second weekend. The Universal comedy opened to $39.2M on its way to a better-than-expected $118.7M. The mutant sequel tumbled 67% to $34M in its sophomore frame for the runnerup position. Paramount’s toon sensation "Over the Hedge" held up well in third with $20.6M followed by "The Da Vinci Code" with $18.6M and "Mission: Impossible III" with $4.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Total domestic box office showed a 3.4% climb in 2006, thanks mainly to semi-expensive profit-turners like "Talladega Nights," "The Break-Up," and "The Devil Wears Prada." And boy oh boy did Sony have a good year!
$9.13 billion looks to be the final tally on the 2006 box office pool, with every studio slicing up their own part of the pie. (2005 brought in $8.83 billion, while 2004 was pretty impressive with $9.21 billion.)
Sony took 18.59% of the 2006 market share, thanks mainly to titles like "Casino Royale," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Ricky Bobby," while Disney settled for second place, bolstered mainly by the one-two punch of "Cars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest."
Warner Bros. and Paramount follow up the rear, although both had solid turnouts for flicks like "Happy Feet," "Superman Returns," "The Departed," "Over the Hedge," and "Mission: Impossible 3." Universal had a tough year; according to Variety, their biggest hit of 2006 was the aforementioned "The Break-Up," which made just under $119 million.
For a closer and much more thorough breakdown of the studios’ year-end report cards, click right here.
Everyone always says The Oscars would be better if "normal people" were allowed to vote on them. And yet every year, The People’s Choice Awards Nominations are embarrassingly silly.
Here’s a list of the movie category nominations, thanks to ComingSoon.net:
FAVORITE ON-SCREEN MATCH-UP
Jennifer Aniston & Vince Vaughn in "The Break-Up"
Matt Damon & Jack Nicholson & Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Departed"
Johnny Depp & Keira Knightley in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest"
Apparently the "Best Movie" nominees will be announced later. "Santa Clause 3" hasn’t been out long enough, I guess.
Also, John Woo‘s "He-Man" might not, in fact, "have the power" to make it back to the bigscreen, and Rupert Grint lets slip a rumor about Chris Columbus returning to direct another "Harry Potter." Read on for details.
This Week’s Most Popular News:
Has James Cameron Found His "Avatar" Star?
The news has been confirmed in an official capacity, but according to a handful of movie sites, James Cameron has found a star for his long-awaited "Avatar." And it’s not the sort of leading man you’re probably expecting…
Hugh Jackman: "Wolverine" Prequel Script is "Fantastic"
According to producer-star Hugh Jackman, David Benioff’s script for "X-Men" spinoff "Wolverine" is good to go, and great to boot.
Hellboy vs. Dracula vs. Frankenstein vs. The Mummy??
Mad Spanish genius Guillermo del Toro recently spent some time at the New York Film Festival, because his brilliant "Pan’s Labyrinth" was playing there, and he took some time to ponder the idea of … "Hellboy" vs. some old-school Universal monsters.
John Woo’s "He-Man" Movie Goes …Nowhere
Thank the lord we have websites out there who’ll report on a specific LACK of news. This is how we know that the John Woo "He-Man" movie is stuck in neutral, and not likely to move forward anytime soon. Thrilling.
Chris Columbus Returning to Direct Another "Potter"?
There’s never a shortage of Potter-related news, is there? The latest tidbit comes from young actor Rupert Grint, who either dropped a mild surprise — or has no idea what he’s talking about. It seems that Chris Columbus might be coming back to helm his third "Harry Potter" flick.
In Other News:
Directors take center stage this weekend providing starpower to four new films opening in North American theaters all hoping to take down reigning box office king Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
M. Night Shyamalan leads the way with his latest creepy tale Lady in the Water while fellow east coast helmer Kevin Smith lets the expletives fly in the comedy Clerks II. Oscar winners Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis serve as producers on the animated film Monster House which is aiming for kids, and Ivan Reitman provides a different type of super hero film in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. With four interesting new films and Johnny Depp still firing off his cannons, the overall marketplace should expand as it moves into the late July period.
Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan returns to theaters with his fantasy chiller Lady in the Water which marks his departure from the Disney family. The Warner Bros. release tells the story of a superintendent who discovers a mysterious creature in his building’s pool that must be sent back to her world. Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, and Bob Balaban star in the PG-13 pic. Known for his small cameos in previous pics, Shyamalan the actor has been promoted this time around and gets a meaningful supporting role. As they say, it pays to know the director. Could he be preparing himself for playing the lead role in a future film? Only time will tell.
The Philadelphia-based director has been seeing diminishing returns at the box office over the last few years. In 2002, his alien drama Signs with Mel Gibson opened to a sturdy $60.1M on its way to a robust $228M. Two years later, The Village tested Shyamalan’s brand name since it lacked any A-listers and the opening was still strong with $50.7M. But poor word-of-mouth quickly set in with the film plunging 68% in its second frame on its way to $114.2M overall. This time around, the director is once again the biggest name attached to the project. Giamatti won plenty of acclaim with Sideways, but he’s still not a star who drives in audiences on opening weekend. Shyamalan’s starpower will be put to the test once again, and some who left The Village with a bad taste might just pass on Lady. The new film should also open weaker than Village because it will debut in 500 fewer theaters.
Many elements to the film and its marketing are new this time around. With a different studio in charge, a notable difference is the female voiceover on the television commercials where a little girl whispers to viewers in a creepy way. This reinforces the new angle where the picture is being sold as a bedtime story. Shyamalan also became very visible this year with his American Express commercial. Instead of relying again on a twist, Lady instead plays out like a fantasy arthouse film that offers more comedy than all of Shyamalan’s past films combined. Audiences may end up once again dividing themselves into the love and hate camps after coming out of theaters. But in a world where people complain about the lack of originality coming out of Hollywood, the filmmaker does deserve credit for offering moviegoers something new and different.
The summer has not seen too many scary movies yet so Lady in the Water will stand out to audiences who like a good fright. With a story that is really out there, the film may find more fans with the fantasy and sci-fi crowds than with mainstream moviegoers. That will hurt ticket sales in the long term. Still, like with other Shyamalan movies, there is a mystery to them which draws in fans. That magic will work its charm again as the film will try to attract enough moviegoers to knock the popular Pirates out of first place. Emerging in 3,235 locations, Lady in the Water might find itself with around $33M this weekend.
The late-summer cartoon wars begin with Sony launching the first attack with its computer-animated entry Monster House. The PG-rated film tells the story of some teenage kids who believe that a neighborhood house is actually a ferocious beast. Although directing duties fell on newcomer Gil Kenan, it’s executive producers Spielberg and Zemeckis whose names are used most prominently in the marketing materials. Many families are sure to be fooled into thinking these brilliant filmmakers were behind the camera. The studio reported encouraging results for the sneak previews it offered last weekend to help spread advance buzz.
And advance buzz will be essential to box office success since rival studios will be unleashing their big toons in each of the next two weekends with Warner Bros. opening The Ant Bully on July 28 and Paramount tossing in Barnyard on August 4. There might not be room for all three to thrive so Sony’s early jump on the competition gives it a major leg up. The Disney/Pixar hit Cars has raced past the $220M mark, but is aging so young kids will be looking for something new to rally behind. Direct competition should not be too fierce for Monster this weekend since even the PG-13 Pirates is a bit too scary for smaller children. Sony is going all out with their push of Monster House which debuts in 3,553 sites on Friday. An opening of about $25M could result.
Mixing the date movie formula of The Break-Up with the comic book antics of X-Men, Fox unleashes its new comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend. The PG-13 film stars Luke Wilson as a man who dumps his squeeze only to learn that she is secretly a famous super hero who now will use her powers to exact revenge. The plot has ample appeal to both men and women so interest from the date crowd will be solid. But the marketplace has been flooded with comedies over the last several weeks so those looking for a laugh can easily go elsewhere. The concept does, however, offer a unique what-if scenario that is sure to attract business. A slight female skew is likely.
Starpower is also an important component here. Uma Thurman has had many hits and though Wilson is not much of a leading man, he does offer value when playing second fiddle to a bigger star, like in this case. Trailers in front of the studio’s recent mutant sequel have raised awareness with the comic book crowd. But Wilson’s brother Owen, coming off of a $21.5M bow for You, Me and Dupree, won’t help any and Super probably has the most direct competition in its way among the weekend’s four freshmen. Flying into 2,702 theaters, My Super Ex-Girlfriend could take off with around $13M this weekend.
Kevin Smith leaves the Jersey girls behind and revisits the boys in Clerks II, a sequel to the 1994 indie hit that launched his career. The R-rated film finds his Garden State slackers in their thirties and working at a fast-food restaurant where colorful customers make their way in and out each day. Released by The Weinstein Company and MGM, Clerks II has a very specific audience of Smith fans it will appeal to. Others will be hard to reach as there is little starpower on the screen. The director’s 2001 summer comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back opened to $11M from 2,765 theaters for a $3,985 average while 1999’s Dogma starring Matt Damon and a pre-J. Lo Ben Affleck bowed to $8.7M from 1,269 theaters for a $6,832 average.
Clerks II will debut in a level of theaters that is in between those two pics. Males in their twenties and thirties will make up the core crowd and there will be other options competing for their attention like Pirates and Lady. The marketing push has been good, but multiplexes will be crowded this weekend so getting in the undecided vote will be difficult. Opening in over 2,100 sites, Clerks II might bow to roughly $12M this weekend.
After two weeks of sailing ahead of the rest of the box office fleet, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest will face a serious challenge for its number one position this weekend. The Johnny Depp megahit dropped 54% in its second frame, but should suffer a smaller decline this time around. A number of new enemies will invade its waters so audiences will be scattered and competition should be formidable. Pirates may fall by 45% this weekend giving Disney about $34M for the frame. That would push the adventure sequel past the triple-century mark in a record 16 days and up to a staggering $321M by the end of the weekend.
Last weekend, the competing comedies Little Man and You, Me and Dupree battled it out for the distinction of being the biggest non-pirate movie in the country. Man inched ahead of Dupree by less than $100,000, but this weekend, the Wayans Brothers could see the larger decline losing about half of its business. That would give Sony around $11M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $40M. Dupree won’t have it easy though. My Super Ex-Girlfriend will offer direct competition for its core audience. A 45% drop could occur leaving Universal with roughly $12M for the frame and a stronger $44M after ten days.
Superman Returns has been chugging away trying to get itself to the $200M mark. But the Man of Steel’s third weekend gross of $12.3M was weaker than the corresponding takes of some of last summer’s big action offerings like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and even Fantastic Four. Pirates has been taking its toll on Superman and this weekend, the Clark Kent flick will no longer be in a massive 3,700+ theaters. Warner Bros could see a 45% decline to about $6.5M which would push the cume to $178M.
LAST YEAR: Johnny Depp spent his second weekend atop the charts with his cooky comedy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which fell 50% to $28.3M fending off competition from a quartet of new releases plus some solid holdovers. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn spent another week in the runnerup spot with Wedding Crashers which held up remarkably well in its sophomore date slipping only 24% to $25.7M. The super hero flick Fantastic Four remained in third with $12.6M in its third mission. Among new movies, the highest gross came from the action thriller The Island which bowed to $12.4M. Given its enormous budget, it was a big disappointment for DreamWorks which found its way to just $35.8M. Paramount did not fare much better with the remake Bad News Bears which debuted in fifth with $11.4M. The Billy Bob Thornton pic scored just $32.9M overall, but at least it didn’t have a huge production cost. Opening in fewer theaters, but with an impressive average, was the pimp drama Hustle and Flow which bowed to $8M and a $7,915 average. The horror film The Devil’s Rejects followed with a $7.1M opening. Final tallies reached $22.2M for the Paramount Classics hip hop pic and $17M for the Lionsgate gorefest.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The Johnny Depp juggernaut Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest remained the most popular film in North America for a second weekend easily defending its box office crown against two new comedies that fought bitterly for the runnerup spot.
According to studio estimates, Sony’s Little Man narrowly edged out Universal’s You, Me and Dupree opening in second and third, respectively. With less than $400,000 separating the two new releases, chart positions could change when final numbers are tabulated on Monday.
Disney shattered more box office records with its runaway smash Pirates which hauled in an estimated $62.2M in its second weekend in theaters to boost its ten-day total to an eye-popping $258.2M. That’s the largest ten-day start of any film in history and the fastest any movie has cracked the quarter-billion dollar mark beating the old records which were both set last summer by Star Wars Episode III. The final Jedi sequel collected $236.9M in its first ten days and surged to $255.6M in its eleventh day.
Pirates did suffer a sizable 54% drop from its record-breaking opening weekend, however a large decline was widely expected since it had already absorbed such a massive amount of business when it entered its sophomore frame. Second weekend declines for the summer’s other big-budget tentpole pictures were larger including 56% for The Da Vinci Code, 59% for Superman Returns, and 67% for X-Men: The Last Stand. In just ten days, Dead Man’s Chest has quickly become the top-grossing film of 2006 and now sits at number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Monsters, Inc. which grossed $255.9M in 2001.
The high seas adventure also enjoyed the third best second weekend gross ever trailing the $72.2M of 2004’s Shrek 2 and the $71.4M of 2002’s Spider-Man. Pirates is already the seventh biggest film ever for Disney and the fourth largest among live-action pics for the studio. The Mouse House also scored its 13th film to top the $200M mark which is the most of any Hollywood studio.Where can Captain Jack Sparrow sail to from here? The triple-century barrier should come crashing down by next weekend as the megablockbuster sequel continues on a trajectory that could see it loot $350-400M from the domestic market alone.
Opening in second place with an estimated $21.7M was Little Man starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans from director Keenan Ivory Wayans. The $64M Sony release averaged a stellar $8,567 from 2,533 theaters and tells the story of a diminutive crook who masquerades as a toddler in order to retrieve a stolen diamond. Teens and young adults made up the core crowd as studio data indicated that 59% of the audience was under the age of 25. Women slightly outnumbered the guys with 53% of the crowd. Reviews were mostly negative.
Little Man enjoyed an opening that was similar to that of the last effort by the Wayans brothers, White Chicks. That Sony comedy bowed on a Wednesday in June 2004 with a Friday-to-Sunday take of $19.7M as part of a $27.2M five-day launch on its way to $69.1M. The studio reported encouraging exit polls for Man with 85% marking it "excellent" or "very good." If estimates hold, it will be the third consecutive second place opening for Keenan Ivory Wayans after 2001’s Scary Movie 2 and White Chicks which were also summer comedies.
Close behind with an estimated $21.3M debut was Universal’s new comedy You, Me and Dupree. The PG-13 film averaged a solid $6,815 from 3,131 theaters and stars Owen Wilson as a houseguest who crashes in the home of a newlywed couple played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon. The $54M film played mostly to young adults in their twenties and thirties and skewed more towards women. Studio research indicated that 58% of the audience was under the age of 30 and 58% was female. Reviews were not very favorable. Dupree opened below the levels of Wilson’s previous hits like Starsky & Hutch which bowed to $28.1M in March 2004 and the $33.9M of Wedding Crashers which debuted one year ago this weekend.
While both new comedies opened with roughly the same weekend gross, and chart positions could change on Monday, it was Little Man that clearly delivered the more impressive performance. Playing in 600 fewer theaters, the Wayans brothers attracted enough of an audience to still sell the same amount of tickets and generated a per-theater average that was 26% stronger than Dupree’s. The Owen Wilson film however, cost $10M less to produce as it did not need to rely on costly special effects.
In its third battle against the forces of box office evil, the big-budget super hero flick Superman Returns fell to fourth place with an estimated $11.6M. Off a moderate 47%, the Warner Bros. pic lifted its cume to $163.7M after 19 days. The Man of Steel is well behind the $192.4M that War of the Worlds collected over the same period last year, but a bit ahead of Men in Black II‘s $158.1M from July 2002. However, those pricey pics posted stronger third weekend grosses of $15.2M and $14.6M, respectively. Superman Returns remains on a course to fly to $190-200M domestically which is less than what most in the industry were expecting from the Bryan Singer film.
Superman flew into over a dozen new countries around the world this weekend and grossed an estimated $38M from 36 markets to boost its international cume to $77M. In most territories, the comic book pic rocketed straight to number one, however in the United Kingdom it scored a solid number two bow behind the sophomore weekend of Pirates.
Despite competition from two new comedies, Meryl Streep held up well with her hit The Devil Wears Prada which grossed an estimated $10.5M in its third session. Down a little more than 30%, the Fox release has commanded an impressive $83.6M and is heading for the vicinity of $115M.
For the third straight weekend, the Disney/Pixar toon Cars enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten and slipped less than 30% to an estimated $7.5M. After its sixth weekend, the G-rated blockbuster has upped its cume to a sturdy $219.7M passing The Da Vinci Code to become the third highest grossing film of the year after the Pirates and X-Men sequels. Cars is running 6% behind the pace of Pixar’s last film The Incredibles after the same amount of time, but is 3% ahead of the company’s Monsters, Inc. Those pics ended up with $261.4M and $255.3M, respectively. Cars looks to have enough gas in its tank to be able to reach $250M. Barring any surprise megahits, that would give Disney the two biggest blockbusters of the summer season. Coincidentally, the studio also ruled the 2003 summer contest with the first Pirates and Pixar’s Finding Nemo both crossing the $300M threshold.
Adam Sandler followed close behind in seventh with Click which fell 41% to an estimated $7M in its fourth frame. With $119.7M in the bank, the Sony release is still running a bit ahead of the studio’s 2003 Sandler vehicle Anger Management which collected $115.3M at the same point on its way to $135.6M. Click should be able to reach $135-140M.
The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 45%, for a $48.9M total. The Warner Bros. romance should end with a respectable $53M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre laughed up an estimated $1.5M, down 54%, putting its sum at $77.1M. Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy looks to go home with around $81M.
Warner Independent Pictures expanded its animated crime drama A Scanner Darkly from 17 to 216 theaters nationwide and hit the top ten with an estimated $1.2M. Richard Linklater‘s R-rated film averaged a healthy $5,486 per location and raised its cume to $1.8M. The Keanu Reeves-starrer will stay in roughly the same number of locations this coming weekend.
With a brutal heat wave hitting much of the country, audiences continued to flock to the hit global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which slipped a scant 5% to an estimated $1.1M. Now in its eighth weekend of release, the Paramount Vantage title finished a hair out of the top ten and has taken in a solid $17M.
Three films from the Universal Studios family fell from the top ten over the weekend. The racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift dropped 59% to an estimated $1M in its fifth lap pushing its domestic total to $59.7M. The $75M actioner has grossed an additional $42M overseas and continues to open in new countries each week. In North America, look for a final take of $61M.
The Break-Up fell 52% to an estimated $777,000 giving the Vince Vaughn–Jennifer Aniston comedy $116M to date. The $52M production should end its relationship with theaters at $118M. Internationally, Break-Up has grossed $24.5M thus far with major European markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy still to come between now and September. The Focus Features actioner Waist Deep tumbled 63% to an estimated $695,000 putting its cume at $20.7M. Little more is expected for the inexpensive film which might close with around $22M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.1M which was off 4% from last year when Johnny Depp‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory debuted at number one with $56.2M; but up 8% from 2004 when Will Smith‘s I, Robot opened in the top spot with $52.2M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com