The movie business is difficult; that shouldn’t surprise anyone. A lot of thought and care and preparation — not to mention money — goes into the filmmaking process, and sometimes the end result just doesn’t quite turn out the way its creators intended. But even when a film production goes sideways, for whatever reason, there’s often a glimmer of something incredible hidden beneath the botched line deliveries, mediocre special effects, and general ineptitude on display. Sometimes, there are great scenes to be found in truly Rotten movies.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled an initial list of 30 examples in which an inspiring exchange, an ingeniously staged action sequence, or a hilarious performance helped shine a light on otherwise mediocre productions. We’re talking about genuinely outstanding moments — not ones we find ironically amusing — that might feel right at home in more expertly crafted films. There are, of course, countless more we could have included, but we’ll save those for the next installment of this series. And, if there are any that you think belong here, let us know in the comments!
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
DARTH MAUL vs. QUI-GON AND OBI-WAN
The long-awaited Star Wars prequel introduced us to such inexplicable horrors as Jar Jar Binks, midi-chlorians, and mind-numbing Galactic Senate debates, but the film did offer an awesome glimpse of what it could have been. The final battle pitting Darth Maul against Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most dynamic lightsaber duels we’ve ever gotten, thanks in part to the martial arts talent of Ray Park as the Zabrak Sith Lord. Not only is the fight kinetic and inventive, who can forget the iconic moment when that second crimson beam emerges from Darth Maul’s double-bladed lightsaber?
The Transformers franchise is largely a jumbled mess of CGI, explosions, stilted dialogue, and perfunctory storytelling. That said, Michael Bay knows his way around visual spectacle, and while Dark of the Moon features its fair share of incomprehensible robot mayhem, there is one practical stunt (read: they did it for real) in the film that is genuinely thrilling. Bay enlisted the aid of experienced wingsuit flyers to jump off the Sears Tower and soar between Chicago’s skyscrapers as chaos unfolds all around them. It’s impressive, it’s majestic, and it’s just cool as hell. If only the rest of the movie could match this three-minute sequence…
OPENING HIGHWAY PILEUP
None of the Final Destination movies is particularly well-reviewed (Final Destination 5 is the only Fresh one at 62%), and for the most part, they all feel like a series of morbid Rube Goldberg-esque vignettes strung together by the thinnest of plots. A few of those gory scenarios, however, are surprisingly inventive, and none of them tops the opening to Final Destination 2, which sets its wheels in motion with an immaculately staged, over-the-top highway pileup that is equal parts ridiculous, harrowing, and literally explosive. Nothing else in the film even comes close.
(Photo by Distant Horizon)
DONNIE YEN vs. COLLIN CHOU
You may know Donnie Yen from Ip Man or Rogue One, and you may know Collin Chou as Seraph from the Matrix sequels, but chances are you haven’t seen this Hong Kong action thriller by Wilson Yip (who also directed the Ip Man movies). The story is a predictably rote potboiler about a loose-cannon cop who takes on a crime syndicate, but the climactic battle between Yen’s Detective Ma and Chou’s gangster Tony is savage and visceral, with bone-crushing stunt work and Yen adding MMA techniques to his more traditional martial arts style.
PARKING GARAGE SINGLE TAKE
Since directing and co-writing the first Saw, James Wan has introduced the world to the Conjuring universe, brought us the best-reviewed Fast and Furious movie, and earned the right to bring DC’s Aquaman to the big screen. Before all of that, though, he did direct this fairly absurd action thriller about a grieving father (Kevin Bacon) out for revenge against the gang who murdered his son. It’s a violent film with a ridiculous plot, but it does feature one sequence that demonstrates Wan’s potential for greater things. A two minute-long single take follows Bacon’s character as he attempts to lose his pursuers in a multi-level parking garage, with seamless camerawork that weaves up and down the ramps and alongside the outside of the garage to capture perfectly timed appearances by different characters. It’s impressive, and it far outshines everything else in the movie.
ABNER DOUBLEDAY INVENTS BASEBALL
Adam Sandler began his stint on Netflix with a bang, garnering a rare 0% with this joyless — and casually racist — spoof of The Magnificent Seven. There is one gloriously effective moment of inspired comedy, though. In a scene that riffs on the invention of baseball, John Turturro cameos as Abner Doubleday, who invites the titular sextet and a dozen others to play a new game with him, only to make up all of the sport’s rules and terminology on the spot just to ensure he wins. It may be the only joke in the movie that lands, but it lands superbly.
(Photo by New Line Cinema)
AUSTIN GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
By the time the third installment of Mike Myers’ Austin Powers series hit theaters, the world had just about had its fill of “Yeah, baby!”s and shagadelic double entendres, but the cameo-filled opening scene of Goldmember is pure magic. The film begins with an action-packed Hollywood adaptation of Austin Powers’ life story, starring Tom Cruise as the titular spy, Gwyneth Paltrow as Bond girl stand-in Dixie Normous, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, and Danny DeVito as Mini Me. To top it all off, as the scene ends, the cameras pull back to reveal the man at the helm is none other than Steven Spielberg. Genius.
THE FIGHT FOR THE KEY
The first Pirates of the Caribbean film was a pleasant surprise, able to silence most of those who thought it silly to build a movie around an amusement park attraction. Every film since then has been a gradual step down, and it all began with the first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, an overstuffed bombardment of spectacle with little but Johnny Depp’s performance to hold it all together. That said, the extended swordfight for the key to the titular chest is the high point of the film, making use of some fine stuntwork and clever setpieces to deliver a top-notch action scene.
“I WAS UP FOR PRINCESS LEIA.”
The Scream formula was getting creaky by the time they shifted the setting to Hollywood for the most meta entry in the series (the cast of a Stab film, based on the real events of Scream, start getting plucked off by a real-life ghostface). The laughs were still there, thanks mostly to a killer performance by Parker Posey as Jennifer Jolie, the actress playing Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers; the scares, not so much. But kudos to Wes Craven and whoever else convinced Carrie Fisher to make a cameo as the disgruntled, and loyal-to-a-point, studio archivist Bianca. When approached by Jolie and Weathers on the hunt for details on a former starlet, Bianca stops them before they even get a chance to ask if she’s you know who. “I was up for Princess Leia,” Fisher explains. “I was this close. So who gets it? The one who sleeps with George Lucas.”
(Photo by Universal Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
“LA MER” ON THE BEACH
It’s hard to deny that Mr. Bean is something of a cultural icon, and it’s essentially defined the career of Rowan Atkinson. While the early-’90s series was hugely popular, the character’s big screen outings didn’t quite measure up. 2007’s Mr. Bean’s Holiday found the endearing man-child stumbling his way through France, and it largely consisted of watered-down slapstick and his trademark buffoonery. But it was also intended to be an unofficial send-off for the character, and the film’s final moments absolutely shine in that respect. As Bean makes his way across a picturesque beach, everyone around him joins him in an uplifting rendition of “La Mer,” and it’s equal parts triumphant and bittersweet. Love him or hate him, his goodbye was perfect.
If you thought Cher singing “Fernando” to a man named Fernando in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was as good, cheesy, and Cher-y as it gets at the movies, you clearly didn’t stick around for the second half of 2010’s Christina Aguilera vehicle Burlesque. The movie, which is Rotten at 36%, overflows with small pleasures for those in the just right mood (read: at least three Chardonnays into your evening), among them Kristen Bell as the vampy, villainous dancer Nikki. But when club owner Tess (Cher), fretful for the future of her business, belts out the Dianne Warren-penned survival anthem, “You Haven’t Seen the Last Of Me,” singing it to no one in particular, but somehow touching anyone who hears it, well… all hail the queen.
Poor man’s Scream, rich man’s Urban Legend, I know What You Did Last Summer was one of the defining slashers of the mid-to-late ’90s – even if it was one of the most generic and uninspired, sitting at 35%. Most remember it for its laughably hysterical moments (“What are you waiting fooooor!?”) and that weird Anne Heche business, but even the most discerning of genre fans give credit to director Jim Gillespie for the sequence in which the guy with the hook chases Sarah Michelle Geller’s Helen Shivers all over town. It’s genuinely scary (beware the mannequin jump scare), giggle-inducing (did she really just drop the keys), and a tiny bit moving in the end. Why the hell did she turn around?
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
LOGAN AND VICTOR THROUGH THE WARS
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was Fox’s first attempt at a solo story based on one of their beloved Marvel properties, and other than hiring Liev Schreiber to star opposite Hugh Jackman, the film has precious few things going for it. (Seriously, who thought letting will.i.am speak — and shutting Ryan Reynolds up — was a good idea?) At least we got a pretty great opening credits sequence out of it: after revealing the origin of Logan’s (Jackman) relationship to Victor Creed (Schreiber), the film depicts the half-brothers fighting alongside each other in the US Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War, illustrating Victor’s violent descent in the process. That’s the movie we all wished we could have seen.
GARY OLDMAN WAXES NOSTALGIC ABOUT DISFIGUREMENT
Neither director Jonathan Demme nor star Jodie Foster returned for this 10-years-later sequel, but most assumed it was in capable hands, with Ridley Scott taking the helm, David Mamet penning the script, and Julianne Moore taking Foster’s place as Clarice Starling. The end result wasn’t expected to live up to its predecessor, but few foresaw the smug, unsatisfying tale of gore we ultimately got. However, in an initially uncredited role, an unrecognizable Gary Oldman plays disfigured Lecter victim Mason Verger, whose macabre retelling of his encounter with Lecter is chilling, gruesome, and a testament to Oldman’s ability to captivate an audience, even with a slab of play-doh stuck to his face.
“I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN”
Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor made names for themselves with the Crank series, so it was evident from the start they weren’t exactly interested in high art. Right after Crank: High Voltage, in fact, they came back with this futuristic thriller starring Gerard Butler that plays more like a CGI-blasted update on The Running Man, but with far fewer genuine thrills. Rotten at 28%, the movie is kind of a slog to get through, but when Butler’s Kable infiltrates the mansion of evil game developer Castle (Michael C. Hall), something almost magical happens. Castle reveals himself to Kable via a choreographed dance routine set to Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You under My Skin,” complete with a troupe of mind-controlled brawlers. As Kable fends off his attackers and Castle continues lip-syncing in the background, you can’t help but wonder, “Why couldn’t the rest of the movie have been this interesting?”
(Photo by Columbia Pictures)
TERRY CREWS LOVES VANESSA CARLTON
Despite the cult popularity of In Living Color during the early 1990s, the various members of the Wayans family have struggled to achieve the same kind of success on the big screen. Much of their output has been defined by spoof movies and sub-subpar comedies like White Chicks, built from interesting enough ideas for a sketch or two, but a bit too flimsy for an entire movie. In this case, though, the presence of Terry Crews does help liven things up, and he is at his absolute best when he gleefully lights up as Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” comes on the radio and he begins to lip-sync with it. It’s a small chunk of comedy gold in the middle of a stale, moldy, powdered-sugar donut.
THE “FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER” SEQUENCE
Back when he was still going by “The Rock,” Dwayne Johnson paid his dues in stinkers like 2005’s Doom, which did little to inspire confidence in video game adaptations on the big screen. At a measly 19% on the Tomatometer, Doom is an incoherent mess of a sci-fi action flick and an unfortunate stain on the resumes of all involved. But there is one instance of blatant fan service that, well, actually kind of works. The camera takes on the first-person viewpoint of Karl Urban’s character, Reaper, for several minutes as he tears through the research facility, blasting mutated baddies along the way. It’s a carefully planned and choreographed sequence that’s not only true to the game, but incredibly ballsy to attempt, and they managed to pull it off with pizazz.
THE 15-MINUTE FINAL BATTLE
After he brought a fresh new take on martial arts films with 2003’s Ong Bak, Tony Jaa co-directed and starred in its “sequel,” Ong Bak 2, which was neither set in the same time period as the first nor really related to it in any way outside of its title. Ong Bak 2 left much of its predecessor’s playfulness by the wayside in exchange for an overly serious and familiar tale of revenge that exposed Jaa’s shortcomings behind the camera. With that in mind, it’s still worth fast-forwarding to the final battle of the film, a glorious display of Jaa’s martial arts prowess that sees him utilizing multiple fighting styles and weapons techniques to take down an entire village of assassins over 15 brutal minutes of non-stop action. It’s visceral and awe-inspiring, and it highlights not only Jaa’s immense skill but also the dedication of his stunt team, who no doubt took a massive beating during the shoot.
(Photo by Lou Faulon/STX Entertainment)
This is not Luc Besson’s first space rodeo, but working with a $200 million budget, he evidently felt compelled to throw every wacky idea he ever had at the screen. The end result is a visually exquisite but narratively slipshod adventure, but it features another standout opening scene that hints at the film’s true potential. Set to the music of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” it chronicles the history of technological advancement that eventually leads to the film’s intergalactic setting, and it reflects a refreshingly hopeful, wholesome future of peace and cooperation that’s both touching and clever. And then the rest of the movie happens.
ROD’S QUIET PLACE
Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer have amassed a huge following, thanks to their work as The Lonely Island, and fans of their brand of humor are often quick to come to the defense of this cult comedy (we get it; some of you love it). Unfortunately, critics didn’t quite feel the same way, calling Hot Rod a loosely threaded collection of hit-or-miss sketches that fails to live up to its stars’ potential. The biggest “hit” of the lot, though, is clearly the scene when Rod (Samberg) escapes to his “quiet place” in the woods to blow off some steam and ends up tumbling down a hill for nearly a full minute. It begins as a spoofy Footloose homage before it suddenly turns into one of the greatest — and probably the longest — pratfalls ever filmed, and it’s pretty glorious.
“THERE WAS A FIREFIGHT!”
Perhaps the only good thing about The Boondock Saints is the opportunity to see Willem Dafoe at full tilt (though, to be fair, when is that ever not a good thing?). Much of the film is dedicated to macho posturing and childish fantasy wish-fulfillment — not a surprise considering its notoriously toxic writer-director — but there is a brief moment that lingers long after the credits roll. As Dafoe’s FBI agent Smecker arrives on the scene of a shootout, he begins to visualize what took place, passionately conducting a chorus that only exists in his mind and proclaiming, “There was a firefight!” The whole scene falls somewhere between unhinged and insane, and Dafoe’s exclamation is the cherry on top.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)
A RHINO GIVES BIRTH
Before he really began to demonstrate his range in movies like The Truman Show during the 1990s, Jim Carrey had to wade his way through a number of films that almost solely relied on his gift for physical comedy. His outlandish antics weren’t for everyone, though, particularly when you’d seen them before, and so the Ace Ventura sequel, When Nature Calls, settled at a measly 33% on the Tomatometer. While the movie feels like a somewhat stitched-together series of vignettes, the scene when Ace becomes trapped in a mechanical rhino, strips naked, and escapes through a tiny hole in the rear is… Well, as Simon Pegg put it, “It is one of the single most genius pieces of comedic writing that will never be given its due because it’s part of a ridiculous, vaguely racist, silly comedy.”
THE EMINEM INTERVIEW
Eminem is no stranger to controversy, and his most recent album reignited a familiar one about his use of homophobic slurs in his lyrics. Say what you will about his word choice, but the man is essentially besties with Elton John, and he even skewered himself on the issue in what is certainly the best scene in the 2014 comedy The Interview. As James Franco’s talk show host Dave Skylark interviews Em on his show, the contentious rapper casually reveals that he’s gay, and that he’s surprised no one has figured it out yet, considering the “breadcrumb trail” he’s left behind in all his lyrics. It’s a rather surprisingly effective moment that only works because of all the controversy he’s attracted, and his deadpan, matter-of-fact delivery is pitch perfect, making him the funniest man in the room.
After the success of the Matrix trilogy, the Wachowskis had carte blanche to work on whatever they wanted, and they chose to take on this long-in-development feature adaptation of the classic animated series. Despite their impressive technical wizardry and the candy-colored dreamscape they brought to life, the film bombed both critically and commercially. Even if you don’t love the movie as a whole, it’s hard to deny the power of the climactic race, an unexpectedly heartfelt finale bursting with top-notch special effects that not only boasts kinetic thrills but also provides closure on a key plot point. The film has gone on to inspire a cult following, and this ending is a big part of it.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
THE WET BANDITS GET BRICKED
The law of diminishing returns is very real, but when it comes to movies, it’s difficult to argue with a moviegoing public that saw something it liked and simply wanted more of the same. Enter Home Alone 2, which essentially repurposes the story from its predecessor but changes its setting from Chicago to New York. The silly shenanigans here are so familiar that it all essentially feels like a lazy rehash of the same movie. That said, the scene where little Kevin (Macaulay Caulkin) displays Hawkeye-level brick-throwing accuracy just gets funnier with every painful crunch, if only because Daniel Stern’s googly-eyed desperation and concussed mumbling reaches vaudevillian heights.
QUINN AND CREEDY DO STAR WARS
Nowadays, a fantasy action film headlined by Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale might be met with fierce anticipation, but that’s exactly what we got in 2002’s Reign of Fire, and it was far less than the sum of its parts. Despite an intriguing, if somewhat goofy, take on post-apocalyptic humanity and some fairly successfully realized CGI dragons, the film bombed with critics and audiences alike. But in one scene, Bale’s Quinn and Gerard Butler’s Creedy reenact the climactic battle from The Empire Strikes Back for a crowd of awestruck children, playing it as an oral tradition, a campfire tale told from generation to generation. It’s an inspired nod to the power of Star Wars and a wink to the audience that hits its mark much more effectively than much of the rest of the film.
THE MISSING PHONE
By the time the third Jurassic Park movie came along, it was already clear the franchise was starting to run out of ideas (gymnastics battle, anyone?), and putting dinos onscreen was deemed sufficient. At least JP3 had a pretty formidable new breed in the Spinosaurus, and one scene in particular hints at how much better the film would have been with a bit more ingenuity. After Paul Kirby’s (William H. Macy) satellite phone goes missing earlier in the movie, his newly reunited son Eric reveals it was the sound of that phone that alerted them to their location. Cue the ominous ringing of the phone… and the Spinosaurus that swallowed it.
(Photo by Universal Pictures)
MEET MR. HYDE
Last year’s reboot of Universal’s classic monster movie franchise performed so dreadfully that the studio’s plans for its own “Dark Universe” were almost immediately eighty-sixed. That was, in itself, a pretty incredible feat, considering they had the talents of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe to work with, but at the very least, the latter provided arguably the one standout moment of the movie. Crowe brought a complex intensity to the dual role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, sophisticated in one breath and savage the next, and it left many of us asking if we couldn’t at least see a bit more of him, regardless of what happened to the Dark Universe.
Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday could have been so much more than it was, and at over two and a half hours, it was already a lot. Its overlong run time isn’t the only issue the film has, though; it also reiterates timeworn sports movie cliches and attempts to cast a critical eye on pro football even as Stone fetishizes it. All that aside, when you’ve got Al Pacino at your disposal, the smartest thing you can do is set him loose on some meaty lines, and that’s exactly what happens when Pacino delivers a pregame pep talk late in the film. It’s a powerful moment that really cements what Stone saw when he cast Pacino in the role of a head coach. Who wouldn’t follow that man?
THE BIG WAVE
It’s always a little tricky to turn real-life tragedy into a blockbuster production, but Wolfgang Petersen gathered a top-notch cast and gave it a go anyway. The Perfect Storm provided a pre-Pirates opportunity for Petersen to practice his nautical storytelling skills, but he proved he was more interested in the spectacle of it all. At the very least, he delivered an epic climax that ramped up the drama and pitted George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, and the rest of the Andrea Gail crew against a monster wave they couldn’t hope to survive. It’s an amazing image, and the fact that it isn’t an exaggeration of what the open sea may hold makes it that much more terrifying.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Movie audiences have always been able to rely on Marlon Wayans as one of the folks who take the Movie of the Moment and skewer it with some good, old fashioned silliness. The same applies to his latest film that he wrote and stars in, Fifty Shades of Black, that takes sex, relationships, and Florence Henderson, and gives you a night to remember. When we spoke to him, he was so passionate about five films not being enough to cover it that he added honorable mentions. He also made sure to point out that he really loves his films White Chicks, Scary Movie, and Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, but he decided that adding them wasn’t fair. But just know they are among his favorites.
Fifty Shades of Black opens this week.
Welcome to Day Two of RT’s Five Days of Christmas Countdown, where we serve up a different list each day of the best holiday flicks around. Today, we’ve got some heavier seasonal fare — wartime dramas, family heartache, and a touch of yuletide murder.
**The holidays are here, and it’s time to break out the sleds, roast the chestnuts, and watch a movie or five about yuletide magic (or a decided lack thereof). And when in doubt regarding your best viewing for any occasion, as always, we’re here to help; the merry elves at Rotten Tomatoes have listed the Tomatometers, checked them twice, and will be presenting, during the Five Days of Christmas, the best-reviewed holiday films in the following categories: Classics, Comedies, Animated/Children’s, Dramas, and Thrillers. Pour yourself a cup of eggnog and get ready for some fine seasonal viewing!**
Top Five Holiday Dramas
It might be the season to be jolly, but even Santa himself would go a little nuts if he couldn’t mellow out and give all that eye-twinkling a rest once in awhile. Whether the holidays put you in a reflective mood, or you just can’t stomach another 90 minutes of old-fashioned Christmas cheer, here are the five freshest dramas of the season!
5) 8 Women (2002) 77%
If you aren’t well-versed in French comedy murder mysteries, you may be unfamiliar with director Francois Ozon‘s "8 Women" — think of it as sort of like "Clue," only with less Martin Mull and more females. (And musical numbers.) The plot is too intricate to get into here; suffice it to say a house full of women find their holiday preparations interrupted by an unexpected murder mystery, and much singing and dancing ensue. What would the holidays be without a little good-natured Sapphic love and tragicomic family intrigue?
4) Joyeux Noël (2006) 78%
Based on the true stories of Christmas ceasefires on the front lines of World War I in 1914, "Joyeux Noël" isn’t what you’re looking for if you’re in the mood for a madcap holiday comedy, but for an extraordinary example of what the season can mean to people from all walks of life — even those on opposite sides of a battlefield — you could hardly make a better choice. With a pan-European cast led by Daniel Bruhl and Diane Kruger, "Joyeux Noel" was also last year’s French-language nominee for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
3) A Midnight Clear (1992) 83%
It’s easily one of the lesser-known films on our list, but no less worth seeking out — just take a look at the cast, which includes Ethan Hawke, John C. McGinley, Peter Berg, and Gary "Lieutenant Dan" Sinise. The plot, which centers around an American platoon in the waning days of World War II, has no shortage of cockles-warming holiday spirit, and Keith Gordon‘s Independent Spirit Awards-nominated screenplay may actually be one of the better ones on this list. Want to add something new to your holiday viewing rotation? Start with "A Midnight Clear."
2) Little Women (1994) 89%
By our count, director Gillian Armstrong‘s 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s novel marked the story’s 18th trip to the screen, which makes its critical success an incredible exception to the cinematic law of diminishing returns. Of course, having a cast which includes Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Gabriel Byrne, Christian Bale, and Eric Stoltz doesn’t hurt. It goes without saying that the estrogen-impaired among us may be tempted to sneak off and watch a game while it’s on — if only to keep from sniffling at the injustice of scarlet fever.
1) Heidi (1937) 100%
Like many 19th-century stories about children, "Heidi" has its share of mysterious illnesses and ridiculous plot twists, but for cute-as-a-button holiday cheer, you simply cannot beat Shirley Temple as the Alps’ most famous cinematic resident. Brew up some Swiss Miss, pop a few Ricola, and relax in front of the definitive film version of a timeless tale. (For bonus nostalgic kicks, start the movie in the final moments of a tight football game.)
Check back tomorrow for the Top 5 Christmas Thrillers!
Dug "Scary Movie"? Loved "White Chicks"? Laughed your freakin’ butt off during "Little Man"? Well here’s some good news for you: The Wayanses have signed a deal for their next flick. It’ll be called "Pretty Ugly."
From The Hollywood Reporter: "Marlon Wayans is grooming "Pretty Ugly" for DreamWorks Studios. Wayans is set to develop, produce and star in the story about a handsome lifestyle mogul who wakes up hideously ugly because of a curse. As a result he must discover his inner beauty to save his company and win over the woman he loves. The project originated at DreamWorks and then was picked up by Walt Disney Pictures. It went into turnaround and recently returned to DreamWorks where studio execs warmed to Wayans fresh take."
Wait, which one’s Marlon again?
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
A pair of new star-driven comedies will try to steal away some treasure from the record-breaking hit Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest in a laugh-filled battle for the number two slot.
Universal launches You, Me and Dupree starring Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Matt Dillon while Sony counters with Little Man anchored by Marlon and Shawn Wayans. Neither film, though, is expected to come close to the massive second weekend haul that Johnny Depp will take away as his blockbuster sequel looks to shatter the quarter-billion mark in a mere ten days.
52 weeks after Wedding Crashers opened to stellar business, Owen Wilson returns to the big screen playing a slacker in his mid-thirties who moves in with his best friend and his wife who are a newlywed couple. The PG-13 film stars Hudson and Dillon as the lucky duo while Michael Douglas plays the father to Hudson’s character. The date crowd will be the primary audience here and like most romantic comedies, Dupree should skew a little more female. However, the starpower and the concept give the film solid male appeal so both genders should show interest which will be important. Though formulaic and predictable as can be, the Universal release does offer up lots of laughs which will work with audiences willing to check their brain at the door.
As the anchor, Wilson has seen his share of box office hits, especially when there are other stars surrounding him. The R-rated Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn bowed to $33.9M this weekend a year ago, 2004’s Starsky and Hutch with Ben Stiller opened to $28.1M, and his last Jackie Chan action-comedy Shanghai Knights debuted to $19.6M. The blonde funnyman plays the exact same character for the umpteenth time, but somehow audiences keep buying it.
June has served up a steady diet of hit comedies like The Break-Up, Click, and The Devil Wears Prada so audiences are certainly not starving for a laugh right now. Competition will be tough and Little Man’s arrival will take away some folks looking for a chuckle too. Even Pirates, which packs a hundred laughs into its two-and-a-half-hour package, will be a factor. But Dupree does offer four big and likable stars even if Douglas has been underutilized in the marketing campaign. The plot has come across very clear in the advertising which is crucial. And the same audience that powered March’s Failure to Launch to a $24.4M opening could be out once again for this one. Making itself comfortable in 3,131 locations, You, Me and Dupree could gross around $22M this weekend.
For the fourth time in seven summers, the Wayans brothers regroup for some raunchy fun in Little Man opening this Friday. Keenan is once again at the helm while younger siblings Marlon and Shawn take to the screen in another high concept story. This time, a pint-sized criminal disguises himself as a toddler in order to uncover a stolen diamond from an unsuspecting couple. CGI allows Marlon to become a little man and laughter ensues. The Wayans clan last hit theaters two years ago in White Chicks which opened to $19.6M and a five-day $27.2M take. Little Man’s plot is not as catchy as Chick’s, but much of their loyal fan base is still likely to give it a try.
Sony has been pushing its latest summer comedy heavily, but with so many other laughers in the marketplace right now, some of the audience will get split. The Wayans team has always had a strong urban following which will once again be out in solid numbers. Waist Deep has been the only summer film anchored by black stars so an underserved audience is sure to come out and drive ticket sales. With about 600 fewer theaters than Dupree, Little Man is likely to find itself debuting in third place with an average that will challenge Owen’s. Poor reviews should not make a difference and a PG-13 rating will open the doors to a large teen crowd that might find Dupree to be too mature. Hiding out in 2,533 theaters, Little Man could make off with about $18M over the weekend.
Dead Man’s Chest set off the kind of box office fireworks last weekend that the industry has never seen before with a towering $135.6M opening and a per-theater average of nearly $33,000 from more than 4,000 locations. Despite its popularity, the Disney smash is bound to see a substantial drop this time coming off of such a large number. Spider-Man, which previously held the record for the largest opening weekend, dropped only 38% in its second session in May 2002 while fellow megahit Star Wars Episode III fell 49%. However, the webslinger was not a sequel and did not have Thursday night preview grosses during its debut frame, and the final Jedi flick had the Memorial Day holiday prevent its decline from surging too high.
Even though audiences are happy with Johnny Depp and his motley crew in their second adventure, big budget summer sequels like Chest are made to erode quickly. Plus with no holiday or expansion to soften the blow, sales could get sliced in half and then some. Weekday sales have been red hot with the Davy Jones pic looting $18.1M on Monday and $15.7M on Tuesday. By the end of its first full week in theaters, Disney should have more than $190M in its chest. A weekend fall to about $66M would give Pirates the third largest sophomore weekend gross in history after Shrek 2 ($72.2M) and Spider-Man ($71.4M). Coincidentally, all three franchises will launch their third installments next May. After only ten days, Captain Jack Sparrow would drink down an amazing $261M worth of rum.
Superman Returns has been completely overshadowed by Pirates. Its 59% sophomore fall last weekend was troubling but this weekend’s decline should stabilize to around 50%. No new action films will be opening which is good news to Warner Bros. A weekend gross of about $11M would give the Man of Steel $163M in 19 days.
Meryl Streep‘s The Devil Wears Prada is likely to see more competition from Dupree than from Little Man.this weekend. A 40% drop would give Fox a weekend take of about $9M and a 17-day cume of $81M surpassing the $71.4M of 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary which was also based on a best-selling book.
LAST YEAR: Starting an annual tradition, Johnny Depp was the handsome groom and Owen Wilson settled for the best man spot at the mid-July box office. The dashing pirate reteamed with his favorite filmmaker Tim Burton for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which opened impressively at number one with a $56.2M debut. The Warner Bros. remake would go on to collect $206.5M domestically and over $470M worldwide. Premiering in its shadow at number two was Wedding Crashers starring Wilson and one of his favorite co-stars Vince Vaughn. The New Line sleeper smash bowed to $33.9M but enjoyed amazing legs and eventually outperformed Charlie in North America with $209.2M. The global gross reached a terrific $285M. Dropping 59% to third place was Fantastic Four with $22.8M in its sophomore frame for Fox. More effects-driven actioners rounded out the top five. Paramount’s War of the Worlds grossed $15.2M and Batman Begins captured $6M for Warners.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got some unwanted houseguests, in the guise of a guy with a bad case of arrested development ("You, Me and Dupree," starring Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon) and a pint-sized thief on the lam ("Little Man," starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans). Will the critics be welcoming, or will they boot these flicks into the street?
Owen Wilson has made a side career of crashing things. He (literally and figuratively) crashed weddings in "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "Wedding Crashers," and now, in "You, Me and Dupree," he’s crashing on the couch of uptight newlyweds, played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon (who’s been involved in a "Crash" of his own). The plot involves the recently jobless Wilson, whose free-wheeling antics get under the skin of his hosts. While the critics say "Dupree" is reasonably warm and fun, it’s inconsistent and lacks the real comic punch to be anything more than mildly amiable. At 22 percent on the Tomatometer, "Dupree" may not be for you and me.
Shawn and Marlon Wayans‘ previous film, "White Chicks," has legions of guilty defenders, despite (or, perhaps more accurately, because of) the fact that it’s tasteless, ludicrous, and often downright bizarre. Now they’re back with "Little Man," the story of a diminutive thief who poses as a baby in order to infiltrate the home of a suburban couple unwittingly in possession of stolen goods (said couple wisely takes the baby in, despite the fact that he has a mouthful of teeth). The question among critics is not whether "Little Man" is a good movie, but whether it contains laughs. Many say no, some resoundingly so, but for those of you who treasure lowbrow humor, politely ignore "Little Man"’s Tomatometer of 20 percent.
Also opening this week, albeit in limited release: Francois Ozon‘s latest, "Time to Leave," is at 87 percent on the Tomatometer; "Gabrielle," starring Isabelle Huppert, is at 73 percent; "Changing Times," starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu, is at 70 percent; the black comedy "Mini’s First Time" is at 50 percent; the David Mamet adaptation "Edmond" is at 33 percent; Ed Burns‘ latest guy-bonding flick "The Groomsmen" is at 29 percent; and the sex comedy "The Oh in Ohio" is at 24 percent.
Wayans fans rejoice! It’s time for another comedy from the brothers who brought you … "White Chicks." The new one’s called "Little Man," and it seems to be based on that old Bugs Bunny cartoon in which a baby-sized gangster posed as an infant to get his big bag of money back. Check out the trailer here. If you must.
"A man anxious to be a father mistakes an extremely short-statured, baby-faced criminal on the run as his newly adopted son." That’s the plot.
Co-starring alongside Marlon Wayans and a CG-shrunken version of Damon Wayans are Tracy Morgan, Kerry Washington, and Lochlyn Munro. The director is Keenen Ivory Wayans. The release date was recently pushed back from May 26th to July 5th.
Head on over to the film’s official site for your first look at the trailer to "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." The supernatural horror flick is directed by Scott Derrickson ("Hellraiser: Inferno") and written by Derrickson and frequent collaborator Paul Harris Boardman ("Urban Legends: Final Cut").
Adding some welcome class to any Satan-strewn affair are veteran actors like Laura Linney ("Kinsey"), Tom Wilkinson ("Batman Begins"), Colm Feore ("Paycheck"), Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog"), and Campbell Scott ("Roger Dodger").
September 9th is when you’ll be able to witness the "Exorcism."
Watch out, Warner Bros., there might soon be a new WB studio in town — as in, Wayans Brothers. That’s right, the talented family of clowning hyphenates (writer-director-producer-actors all) also known as Keenen Ivory, Damon, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans, are looking to build their own film production mecca on 70 acres of a former Army base in Oakland, CA. While the project is still its infancy and awaiting approval, the Bros.’ master plan includes not only studio space for shooting what could be the next White Chicks or Scary Movie, but also a Universal City-esque themed amusement park, hotel, and retail space. Meanwhile, the foursome has a slew of projects on the way, including Little Man, The Munsters, and the promising Homey The Clown.
It appears that Beyonce Knowles is finally making her bid for independence, as last weekend brought the news that supergroup Destiny’s Child is disbanding. The announcement, made by bandmember Kelly Rowlands onstage at their final concert in Barcelona, cited the trio’s desires to pursue solo careers — ostensibly more solo albums for Rowlands and third mate, Michelle Williams, and full-blown superstardom for their frontwoman. Beyonce, who has already gone the way of the diva with her multi-platinum solo debut album and roles in films like Austin Powers: Goldmember and The Fighting Temptations, is set to continue her quest to fill Diana Ross’ heels with acting gigs in the upcoming flicks The Pink Panther and Dreamgirls.
And finally, though worried fans continue to fret, Batman Begins actress Katie Holmes is inching ever closer to joining that religion of the stars, the Church of Scientology. During a red carpet interview for her new film, Holmes admitted to taking classes on the controversial faith, which the entire world by now knows would please her newfound, Scientology-loving boyfriend, Tom Cruise. Cruise, meanwhile, rocks the cover story of this week’s Entertainment Weekly with a gem of an interview, dropping some (misinformed?) knowledge on his second favorite subject — asserting that Carl Jung, bastion of modern psychiatry, was an editor for a Nazi newspaper and that the drug methadone was originally named for Adolf Hitler.
Celebrating 2004’s Worst Achievements in Film, the Razzie has revealed their nominees for 2004. "Catwoman," the Halle Berry starrer, leads the Razzies with 7 nominations, including those for Worst Picture, Worst Actress, and Worst Screenplay. "Alexander," Oliver Stone‘s swords and sandals pic, follows not far behind with 6, and "White Chicks" is a "surprise" at third with 5 noms.
President George W. Bush ("Fahrenheit 9/11") may need a presidential order to compete against Ben Affleck ("Jersey Girl" and "Surviving Christmas"), Ben Stiller ("Along Came Polly," "Anchorman," "Dodgeball," "Envy," and "Starsky & Hutch"), as well as Vin Diesel ("Chronicles of Riddick") and Colin Farrell ("Alexander") in the Worst Actor category.
Halle Berry ("Catwoman") also faces stiff competition from fellow nominees Hilary Duff ("Cinderella Story" and "Raise Your Voice"), Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen ("New York Minute"), Angelina Jolie ("Alexander" and "Taking Lives"), and Shawn & Marlon Wayans ("White Chicks"), in the Worst Actress category. See the complete list below.
THE COMPLETE LIST
Ben Affleck / Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas
George W. Bush / Fahrenheit 9/11
Vin Diesel / Chronicles of Riddick
Colin Farrell / Alexander
Ben Stiller / Along Came Polly, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Envy and Starsky & Hutch
Halle Berry / Catwoman
Hilary Duff / Cinderella Story and Raise Your Voice
Angelina Jolie / Alexander and Taking Lives
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen / New York Minute
Shawn & Marlon Wayans / White Chicks
WORST SCREEN COUPLE
Ben Affleck & EITHER Jennifer Lopez OR Liv Tyler / Jersey Girl
Halle Berry & EITHER Benjamin Bratt OR Sharon Stone / Catwoman
George W. Bush & EITHER Condoleeza Rice OR His Pet Goat / Fahrenheit 9/11
Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen / New York Minute
The Wayans Brothers (In or Out of Drag) / White Chicks
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Val Kilmer / Alexander
Ah-Nuld Schwarzenegger / Around The World In 80 Days
Donald Rumsfeld / Fahrenheit 9/11
Jon Voight / Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Lambert Wilson / Catwoman
WORST REMAKE OR SEQUEL
Alien V Predator (20th Century-Fox)
Anacondas: Hunt For The Blood Orchid (Screen Gems)
Around The World In 80 Days (Disney)
Exorcist 4: The Beginning (Warner Bros.)
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (Warner Bros.)
Alexander, Written by Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle and Laeta Kalogridis
Catwoman, Written by Theresa Rebeck and John Brancato & Michael Ferris and John Rogers
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, Written by Steven Paul and Gregory Poppen
Surviving Christmas, Written By Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont and Jeffrey Ventimilia & Joshua Sternin
White Chicks, Written by Keenan & Shawn & Marlon Wayans and Andy Mcelfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden and Xavier Cook
NOMINATIONS PER PICTURE
Catwoman = 7 (Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Couple, Director, Screenplay)
Alexander = 6 (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay)
White Chicks = 5 (Picture, Actress, Director, Couple, Screenplay)
Fahrenheit 9/11 = 5 (Actor, Couple, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress 2x)
Superbabies = 4 (Picture, Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay)
Surviving Christmas = 3 (Picture, Actor, Screenplay)
Jersey Girl = 3 (Actor, Supporting Actress, Couple)
Around The World In 80 Days = 2 (Supporting Actor, Remake or Sequel)
Exorcist 4: The Begninning = 2 (Director, Remake or Sequel)
New York Minute = 2 (Actress, Couple)
Starsky & Hutch = 2 (Actor, Supporting Actress)