(Photo by Sony/courtesy Everett Collection)
Welcome to our guide to the worst romantic comedies ever: Movies suspiciously light on love and laughs that scored less than 10% on the Tomatometer – after 20 reviews from critics. This bubbly mix of misfires and killjoys includes infamous bombs (Gigli), questionable nuptials (The Big Wedding, License to Wed), vanity projects (Good Luck Chuck, The Hottie and the Nottie), and holiday hokum (New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day). Expect some big names to show up as well: Forest Whitaker (First Daughter director), David O. Russell (director of Accidental Love…until the money ran out and the movie was then thrown together without him), Tom Cruise (Cocktail), and Sandra Bullock, whose grating All About Steve had the distinct fortune of being Bullock’s first movie to release after her comeback The Proposal.
Now, it’s meet-cutes of the damned in our guide to the worst rom-coms ever made!
Cinema history is filled with movies that got burned under the hot summer sun, and every year, we get our share of critically panned big-budget duds (this year’s slate includes such low achievers asFantastic Four and Hot Pursuit). However, it takes a rare kind of awful to merit inclusion into RT’s Worst Summer Movies list, a compendium of cinematic horrors that were granted a wide theatrical release between the months of May and September in the years since the release of Jaws in 1975 kickstarted the blockbuster era. Without further ado, we present our countdown of the 50 worst-reviewed summer movies!
Stand down! That’s the order that studios have given to their troops as no wide releases will open against the new James Bond actioner Quantum of Solace which will have a clear path to the number one spot. Holdover Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa should generate another solid weekend of ticket sales from family audiences as the top two movies should muscle their way to a combined $100M+ over the frame which would exceed what the entire Top 20 grossed a year ago.
Even an awful title can’t stand in the way of Mr. Bond who will seize control of pole position with his latest adventure Quantum of Solace. The PG-13 film sees Daniel Craig returning for the second of his contract’s four turns as the British super agent, this time battling a villain out to take control of natural resources. The latest Sony/MGM project follows 2006’s Casino Royale which opened to $40.8M on its way to a stellar $167M domestically. Since the film industry chooses to measure success by dollars and not admissions, Casino gets the distinction of being the top film in the four-decade-old series. Since the low point of Timothy Dalton‘s License to Kill in the Batman-Indiana Jones-dominated summer of 1989, each Bond installment has grossed more than its predecessor and the trend is likely to continue this year.
The opening weekend average should certainly shoot higher than Casino Royale‘s $11,891, but will probably fall short of The Bourne Ultimatum‘s $18,930 from last year. To American audiences, Jason Bourne is the more popular spy. Quantum will benefit from the lack of new wide releases and from the fact that there really hasn’t been any popular action movie since September’s Eagle Eye which remains the fall season’s top-grossing picture. The time is right for a proven action franchise to hit the multiplexes and offer audiences some top-notch escapism.
In some ways, Quantum is in the same position that The Dark Knight was in a few months ago. Both are sequels to very popular reboots of very popular franchises that used quality actors with a tougher, grittier tone. Now, the new Bond is unlikely to scale the same box office heights, but its opening weekend should easily beat out its predecessor’s. For both Batman Begins and Casino Royale, there were many fans that hesitated in the first weekend and waited until later to buy a ticket. That wait flies out the window for the new installments as the new and improved franchises have proven themselves.
The new 007’s weaknesses are few, but they do exist. Quantum‘s reviews are somewhat good but not nearly as glowing as those for Casino two years back. Most find the new flick to be a step down from the last one. Given that the franchise skews older, the reviews might have a small impact. And of course the title could not be less exciting. But those factors will be overshadowed by the strength of the brand, the clear playing field, and the strong marketing push. Jumping into more than 3,400 locations, Quantum of Solace might take in roughly $57M this weekend.
Look for last weekend’s top film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa to slide down to second place with another solid gross. Weekday sales have been sturdy with $5.1M on Monday followed by a big bounce to $9.8M on Tuesday which saw many schools closed for the Veterans Day holiday. Generally family films opening in early November post strong holds on the second weekend. However in the small world of cartoon sequels playing theatrically, it’s a different story with Ice Age: The Meltdown falling 50% in its sophomore session in April 2006. With no new competition, Africa should drop by a smaller amount, maybe 35%. That would give Ben Stiller and company about $44M for the weekend and a robust ten-day tally of $131M.
Role Models was admired by Universal last weekend for its outstanding debut. Bond will take away some of its audience, but the Seann William Scott–Paul Rudd pic is the only major comedy for adults so it should still carve out a nice slice of the pie. A 45% decline would leave it with $10.5M and a cume of $38M after ten days.
Disney is still rocking with its franchise film High School Musical 3 which has been holding up better than most had expected. Another 40% fall would give the teen superstars $5.5M for the weekend and push the total to $85M.
LAST YEAR: A different type of animated film topped the charts as the actioner Beowulf debuted at number one with $27.5M for Paramount. Co-starring Angelina Jolie, the period pic went on to capture $82.2M. The studio’s kidpic Bee Movie from DreamWorks dropped a notch to second with $14M in its third frame and was followed by fellow holdovers American Gangster with $12.9M and Fred Claus with $11.9M. Fox saw a disappointing fifth place bow for the Dustin Hoffman vehicle Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium which grossed $9.6M on its way to just $32.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
It should be a smooth trip to number one for the action thriller which will face competition from the teen comedies "Accepted" and "Material Girls" plus the expansion of the indie darling "Little Miss Sunshine." After two weeks in the top spot, Will Ferrell‘s hit comedy "Talladega Nights" will decelerate and lose pole position, but will have the distinction of crossing the celebrated $100M mark.
All eyes are on Sam Jackson this weekend as his much-blogged-about action vehicle "Snakes on a Plane" makes its way into theaters. The R-rated film presents an old fashioned good guy versus bad guy story with the former Mace Windu playing an FBI agent assigned to escort a key witness to a mob murder on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. When the crime boss masterminds a plan to unleash poisonous snakes mid-flight, all hell breaks loose. New Line has no ambitions of winning Oscars here. "Snakes" is pure entertainment aimed at giving fans a thrill ride for two hours. No advance screenings are being held for the media which is usually a sign that the studio believes that the reviews will only trash the picture so why waste the time and money?
No R-rated film this year has broken the $30M mark on opening weekend. In fact, in the past two years, only a pair of R pics have opened north of that mark – last year’s duo of "Saw II" with $31.7M and "Wedding Crashers" with $33.9M. "Snakes" will be relying on an adult male audience for its ticket sales with older teens and twentysomethings being the driving force. Jackson may also be able to pull in African American audiences given his stature and the type of role he is playing. Typically, the Oscar-nominated actor does not have much box office muscle when anchoring a film solo. But the buzz and media coverage surrounding "Snakes" has almost made it into a franchise.
With so many on the internet buzzing about the movie since the beginning of the year, uploading their own trailers and "Snakes"-related videos, and pushing for more violence and profanity, the fans have gotten a sense of empowerment. They feel like they have been part of the filmmaking process and you can be sure that they will be out when the film opens to see the final product. And since everyone knows that the film will be cheesy and that there are no press screenings, expectations are not too high. Without all the hoopla, this film would only be seen as action movie number ten that Hollywood churns out for the summer season. New Line is taking the step of launching "Snakes" a day early on Thursday night with showtimes starting at 10pm.
August has been a great month for these types of action films for young males. Three years ago, the studio opened the R-rated horror flick "Freddy vs. Jason" to $36.4M while a year later, Fox found a $38.3M bow for its PG-13 sci-fi pic "Alien vs. Predator." Jackson’s film lacks a franchise following, although the hype has generated a sizable built-in audience of its own. "Snakes" will come and go quickly from theaters. A strong start should be followed by massive erosion, but with a reported budget of only $30M, it can’t lose money. Plus Jackson has done a commendable job hitting the trail and promoting his new flick. Attacking over 3,300 theaters, "Snakes on a Plane" could open with around $28M this weekend.
Universal is hoping that those too young for "Snakes," but who are still looking for some late-summer fun, will line up for its new comedy "Accepted." The PG-13 film stars Justin Long as a high school senior rejected by every college he applies to who then decides to make up his own fake university. The under-25 set is the target audience here with teens who can relate to the character’s nightmare making up the bulk of the crowd. Recent young-skewing hits like "Step Up" and "John Tucker Must Die" have proven that no-star vehicles with an interesting concept can lure in solid numbers on opening weekend. Those films debuted to $14.3M and $20.7M, respectively. Studios have done a poor job satisfying teenagers in recent weeks with their big ticket items which has only helped these low-cost pictures. "Accepted" will certainly have to face "Snakes" taking away older guys and "Step Up" in its second weekend stealing away the gals. But the concept is a good one and with so many young people getting ready to head back to campus, memories of rejection letters will come flying back. Marketing materials register some laughs too and appeal to both genders is there. Entering over 2,700 locations, "Accepted" could open with around $12M this weekend.
Hilary and Haylie Duff graduate from the world of breath mint commercials to feature films in "Material Girls" from director Martha Coolidge ("Real Genius," "The Prince and Me"). The PG-rated film finds the sisters playing heiresses to a cosmetics fortune who stumble upon bankruptcy. Anjelica Huston co-stars. The MGM release will play primarily to a female audience of teens and pre-teens. Males interested in buying tickets should number about three. "Material Girls" is not getting too big of a push and with "Step Up" doing so well with the same demographic, it will be an uphill battle attracting business. Once a potent asset, Hilary has lost much of her pull at the box office with recent clunkers like "Raise Your Voice" and "The Perfect Man" landing poor debuts of only $4M and $5.3M, respectively.. The Duffs may end up taking a lesson from the Olsen twins whose own film "New York Minute" opened a week after the bow of 2004’s surprise teen girl hit "Mean Girls" and ended up being squashed with a weak $6M debut from over 3,000 theaters. "Material Girls" will enter only 1,509 playdates and could settle for an opening of just $4M.
After three weeks of sparkling results in limited release, Fox Searchlight’s comedy sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" expands nationally into 694 locations from its current run in 153 sites. Last weekend, the R-rated dysfunctional family pic averaged a stunning $17,014 which is one of the best showings in recent years for a film playing in 100-200 locations. With strong reviews and positive word-of-mouth, "Sunshine" should jump into the top ten this weekend and could gross about $5M pushing its cume into double-digit millions.
Searchlight also debuts its next indie flick "Trust the Man" which opens in 37 theaters in selected cities on Friday. The R-rated dramedy stars Billy Crudup, David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, and Eva Mendes and tells the story of two New York couples going through relationship troubles. Moore’s real-life husband Bart Freundlich directs. "Trust the Man" has garnered mixed reviews from critics and will expand nationwide on September 8.
Also opening in limited release, but attracting more glowing praise from critics, is the dramatic thriller "The Illusionist." Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel star in the PG-13 film which finds a turn-of-the-century magician battling wits with a Vienna cop. Two weeks after the limited bow, Yari Film Group will expand "Illusionist" wide over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
A variable that could affect moviegoing behavior this weekend could be all the current stories in the news this week that have connections to major films in release. Tapes of 911 calls from victims of the World Trade Center disaster have been released after nearly five years. New terror plots aboard commercial planes have dominated the headlines lately, and a new arrest in the Jonbenet Ramsey case has brought attention back to little girls in beauty pageants. How this news coverage will affect the grosses for films like "Snakes on a Plane," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "World Trade Center" is anyone’s guess. But at a time of year when moviegoing typically slows down anyway, some potential ticket buyers may decide to look elsewhere for their weekend entertainment.
Will Ferrell’s "Talladega Nights" looks to race past the $100M mark by the end of its second full week in theaters. The Sony hit won’t win a third box office crown, but it should remain in the top five and drop 45% to about $12M. That would give the racing comedy $113M in 17 days making it the comedian’s second biggest hit ever, in a leading role, behind "Elf" which took in $173.4M.
Last weekend’s surprise smash "Step Up" is not afraid of "Snakes on a Plane" which is likely to tap into an older and more male audience. Instead, Buena Vista’s dance drama will see its competition come from "Accepted" and "Material Girls." Word-of-mouth for "Step Up" has been encouraging with the film averaging a solid B+ from over 5,500 users of Yahoo Movies. Still, teen pics tend to fall fast so a 50% decline would give the film around $10M for the weekend and a stellar ten-day total of $40M.
Paramount’s "World Trade Center" got off to a healthy start at the box office and is also generating positive buzz from moviegoers. Competition is not too fierce this weekend for adults looking for mature fare so a 35% drop would give the Oliver Stone movie roughly $12M and a cume of $46M after 12 days.
LAST YEAR: The surprise comedy hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" debuted at number one with a better-than-expected weekend opening of $21.4M. Universal’s R-rated smash displayed strong legs in the weeks ahead and ended up scoring $109.3M. Settling for second place in its first flight was the DreamWorks thriller "Red Eye" with a solid $16.2M on its way to $57.9M. Rounding out the top five were holdovers "Four Brothers" with $12.5M, "Wedding Crashers" with $8M and "The Skeleton Key" with $7.7M. The frame’s two other new releases were mostly ignored by moviegoers. Disney’s animated pic "Valiant" bowed to $5.9M for eighth place while Fox’s action drama "Supercross" crashed into 15th place with a dismal $1.3M opening weekend. Final tallies reached $19.5M and $3.1M, respectively.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got snakes…. on a plane ("Snakes on a Plane," starring Samuel L. Jackson), slackers on a campus ("Accepted," starring Justin Long), and Duffs on the screen ("Material Girls," starring Hilary and Haylie Duff). What do the critics have to say?
"Snakes on a Plane," the movie with the greatest title since "Dude, Where’s My Car?", has captured the imagination of the blogosphere. However, it will have to wait to capture the imagination of the critics, since it wasn’t screened in advance. The plot involves an FBI agent (Samuel L. Jackson) who, golly, would really like to expel those ophidians from the aircraft upon which he’s traveling. Since "SOAP" (as the fanboys and girls call it) has no reviews, we’re going to play our favorite game: Guess the @#&$*$ Tomatometer.
There’s something inherently appealing about a bunch of party-hearty students and their battles with the uptight squares; that’s why movie people keep trying to recapture the magic of "Animal House" and "Rock ‘n’ Roll High School." "Accepted" tells the story of a high school graduate (Justin Long) who’s having no luck getting into college, so he decides to start his own fake institute of higher learning. To his surprise, a bunch of like-minded outcasts join him. Critics say the movie has its share of laughs, but it never totally gels, and turns a little too sweet at the end. At 31 percent on the Tomatometer, "Accepted" has been waitlisted.
Critics can beg, and critics can plead, but they can’t see "Material Girls" (that’s right!), ’cause the audience members with the cold hard cash are always Mr. (and Ms.) Right. Or, perhaps the people behind the latest Duff sisters vehicle feel the film is in the same artistic league as Madge‘s "Body of Evidence." Guess this Tomatometer while you’re at it.
"Little Miss Sunshine" was a big hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and now that it’s hitting the theaters, the scribes are just as enthusiastic as the folks in Park City. This tale of a dysfunctional family hitting the road for a child pageant is Certified Fresh, and features sharp performances from its ensemble cast, particularly Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell. At 94 percent, this one’s a ray of "Sunshine." (Check out RT’s interview with co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton here.)
Also in theaters in limited release this week: "Factotum," the Sundance-approved Bukowski adaptation starring Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor, is at 75 percent; "The Illusionist," a tale of intrigue in turn of the century Vienna starring Ed Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti, is at 67 percent; Dutch import "Moonlight," a tale of risky teenage love, is at 60 percent; "Trust the Man," a rom-com starring David Duchovny and Julianne Moore, is at 39 percent; and "10th & Wolf," a story of mob family ties starring James Marsden and Giovanni Ribisi, is at zero percent.
Finally, props to XeternityX, who came closest to predicting "Pulse"’s 12 percent Tomatometer. Nobody got particularly close to "Zoom," still flying high at zero percent. Be forwarned when guessing the Tomatometers for this week’s unscreened releases: the average T-meter for movies not screened for critics is 11.75 percent.
Recent Samuel L. Jackson Movies:
25% — Freedomland (2005)
13% — The Man (2005)
82% — Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
18% — XXX: State of the Union (2005)
23% — In My Country (2005)
Reunion fever hits the multiplexes this weekend as four new releases debut bringing together a lot of familiar faces.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunite in the romantic drama The Lake House which will play to adult women, while Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties reassembles the cast of the first film in a new British adventure aimed at families. Another sequel taking a successful formula and transplanting it into another country is the action pic The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which hopes to entice young guys. But the one new film which could flex the most muscle is Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy Nacho Libre which also will be attacking younger boys. With six films reaching double-digit millions last weekend, and four new potent entries opening on Friday, the marketplace will certainly be crowded.
Fresh from his battle with the eighth wonder of the world, Jack Black returns to his bread and butter with the new Paramount comedy Nacho Libre. The PG-rated film is directed by Jared Hess, who helmed the 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite, and sees Black playing a cook who moonlights as a masked grappler south of the border. Shooting directly for immature adolescents, Nacho is purely a marketing-driven film for summer kids. Rather than spend its time and money opening the door for hundreds of critics to pan the pic early on, Paramount has instead chosen to put all its force behind its advertising campaign and is so confident in the excitement it has been building, it is launching the film early on Thursday night with 10pm showtimes at select theaters across the country. Since the movie skews younger, the earlier time should make it more accessible than the standard midnight shows.
Black certainly can shine in the comedy genre as evidenced by his 2003 hit School of Rock which opened at number one with $19.6M on its way to a robust $81.3M. Plus with Viacom sibling Nickelodeon adding its promotional muscle, and school children starting their summer vacations and looking for mindless entertainment to rot their brains, Nacho could be the hot item on the menu. Older boys may be distracted by the Fast and the Furious sequel this weekend which could put a limit on how high Nacho can fly. Plus the Disney/Pixar hit Cars is only in its second weekend so competition for kids will be fierce. Body slamming its foes in over 2,800 theaters, Nacho Libre might pin down about $24M over the weekend.
Universal kicks in the nitrous oxide for a third time in its street racing actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ditching all the major stars of the first two installments (sort of), this PG-13 entry takes the tough-guy-likes-to-race-and-be-cool formula and moves the setting to Japan where an American must learn the local style of racing in order to score some street cred. Paul Walker who starred in the original 2001 surprise blockbuster and the very successful 2003 follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious is nowhere to be found. Instead, the lead role is taken by Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights, Jarhead) while the rapper-turned-actor slot filled previously by Ja Rule and Ludacris now gets passed on to Bow Wow (Like Mike, Roll Bounce). With little starpower, concept will have to sell here.
Since Drift is the third dip into the same well, and with the recognizable stars from before not starring again, some fans of the previous films will wait for this one on a "tricked out" DVD. Young guys are the core audience here and with schools letting out for the summer, many will give Drift a chance hoping it will be a summer thrill ride. Acting and writing score pretty low in this one, but the target audience is not likely to care too much since there is an abundance of hot cars and hot babes. But Nacho Libre could put a dent in the grosses since it will be stealing away many of the same young males this weekend. Tokyo Drift is not likely to reach the openings of the first two Furious pics which bowed to $40.1M and $50.5M, respectively. Speeding into 3,027 locations, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift may cross the finish line with around $21M.
Twelve years and one week after they crashed into theaters in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reteam but this time in a romantic drama starring in The Lake House. A remake of the Korean film Il Mare, the PG-rated film tells the story of a man and woman, two years apart in time, who communicate with each other through the mailbox of a lake house and fall in love. Sci-fi and romance don’t snuggle up too often, so this Warner Bros. release prides itself on a story that has a unique twist to it. But it’s really the starpower that will drive sales for The Lake House. These actors look good together and mature adults will be sold. In some ways, Lake House resembles the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro actioner Heat in that moviegoers will be drawn in by two leads who hardly share any actual screen time together. But that shouldn’t matter to Speed freaks everywhere who would love to see Reeves and Bullock back together again without a looney Dennis Hopper trying to blow them up.
Adult women will overwhelmingly make up the audience here. Lake House should play to the same crowd that came out for two other star-driven films aimed at older women in the first half of the summer of 2002. The Richard Gere–Diane Lane drama Unfaithful opened to $14.1M and a $5,383 average in May while Bullock’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood debuted to $16.2M and a $6,449 average a month later. Many of the same folks will hit theaters this weekend. Competition will come from The Break-Up which also has been skewing heavily female although Cars will be a factor as well since it has been pulling in moms with small children. Given the ages of the stars, Lake House should also do well with twentysomething single women too. Opening in 2,645 theaters, The Lake House could open with about $17M this weekend.
Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the vocal chords of Bill Murray reunite for the family comedy Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. The PG-rated film is the sequel to Fox’s Garfield: The Movie which was a solid hit two years ago when it opened to $21.7M on its way to $75.4M domestically and nearly $200M worldwide. With strong international sales, and further success on video and television, the studio decided that a sequel could bring in more profits. This new tale finds everyone’s favorite fat cat going to England where he is mistaken for a local feline who is royalty. The studio has had a tough problem finding the right release date. Garfield was originally scheduled to open next Friday, one week ahead of Superman Returns, but was moved up one week and now must face the sophomore frame of Cars which is already doing brisk biz with the exact same audience.
While the first film was successful, it did not become the type of pop culture smash that had fans demanding more. Fox’s best bet might be with families that already came out to see the Pixar toon. Long-term success may also be tough since kids of all ages will have interest in seeing the Man of Steel. The studio’s marketing push has been commendable and there is somewhat of a built-in fan base the film will tap into. But it may find itself on the same path as the Scooby Doo sequel which went on to gross 45% less than its predecessor. Opening in over 2,900 theaters, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties might debut with around $14M this weekend.
Opening in a pair of New York sites is the IFC Films release Wordplay, a documentary that looks at The New York Times crossword puzzles and the celebs that just can’t get enough of them. The PG-rated film played at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals earlier this year and features commentary from such crossword fans as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Jon Stewart. The former commander-in-chief even snagged the coveted "and" credit.
With all the new drivers on the highway, Cars will try to stay ahead of the pack and hold onto pole position in its second lap. The Disney/Pixar film’s $60.1M bow was slightly below what the industry was expecting given the track record of the pair’s previous computer animated movies. However, their digital toons usually have good legs and with more kids getting out of school this week, a solid sophomore performance should result. The Incredibles dropped only 29% in its second weekend in November 2004 while Finding Nemo slipped 34% in June 2003.
Cars has been holding up well mid-week as its target audience has become more available. Although it opened behind the $68M launch of Ice Age: The Meltdown this past spring, the stronger weekday business should allow Cars to match or exceed the $81.9M gross that the prehistoric sequel collected in its first seven days. Garfield will take away some of the family audience and Nacho Libre should distract many young boys so competition will be fierce. A 45% drop for Cars would give the toon about $33M for the frame keeping it in the number one spot. That would give Disney a robust $115M in ten days.
Keanu and Sandra will steal away the attention of women from Vince and Jennifer this weekend. The Break-Up will face direct competition from The Lake House for its core audience of adult females so another sizable drop could be in the works. A 40% fall would give Universal a weekend tally of around $12M pushing the 17-day cume to a still-impressive $94M.
Fox grabbed $16M and change last weekend with each of its films X-Men: The Last Stand and The Omen. The mutant saga could see sales get sliced in half while the horror remake, because of its mid-week launch, might suffer a slightly smaller decline. This weekend could find Omen taking in roughly $9M for a $50M total and X-Men grossing about $8M boosting its cume to $216M making it the top-grossing installment of the franchise.
LAST YEAR: Super hero power hit the box office with the top spot debut of Batman Begins which relaunched a profitable franchise for Warner Bros. with its $48.7M opening weekend. Bowing on Wednesday, the Caped Crusader grossed a solid $72.9M over five days and went on to display good legs reaching $205.3M domestically and over $370M worldwide. The rest of the top films all got bumped down a notch by the Dark Knight. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed second with $26M in its sophomore frame while DreamWorks followed with Madagascar which took in $10.7M in its fourth adventure. Fox reappeared in the number four slot with $10M for Star Wars Episode III and Paramount rounded out the top five with The Longest Yard which scored $8.2M. The only other new wide release to challenge Batman was the chick flick The Perfect Man starring Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. The Universal title opened to just $5.3M on its way to $16.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Courtesy of their official site come the annual Razzie Awards Nominations … or as I like to call them: The Amazingly Obvious Fish in a Barrel Nominations in Which We Savage People We Don’t Like, Regardless of the Quality of Their Work. Oh, and it seems the Razzers have decided to branch out an include a "Most Tiresome" category, which I happen to find pretty ironic.
26th Annual Golden Raspberry (RAZZIE®) Award Nominations
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
Tom Cruise / War of the Worlds
Will Ferrell / Bewitched and Kicking & Screaming
Jamie Kennedy / Son of the Mask
The Rock / Doom
Rob Schneider / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Alba / Fantastic Four and Into the Blue
Hilary Duff / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Perfect Man
Jennifer Lopez / Monster in Law
Jenny McCarthy / Dirty Love
Tara Reid / Alone in the Dark
MOST TIRESOME TABLOID TARGETS
(New Category, Saluting the Celebs We’re ALL Sick & Tired Of!)
Tom Cruise & His Anti-Psychiatry Rant
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey‘s Couch, The Eiffel Tower & “Tom’s Baby”
Paris Hilton and…Who-EVER!
Mr. & Mrs. Britney, Their Baby & Their Camcorder
The Simpsons: Ashlee, Jessica & Nick
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Hayden Christensen / Star Wars III: No Sith, He’s Supposed to Be Darth Vader?!?!
Alan Cumming / Son of the Mask
Bob Hoskins / Son of the Mask
Eugene Levy / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Man
Burt Reynolds / The Dukes of Hazzard and The Longest Yard
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Carmen Electra / Dirty Love
Paris Hilton / House of Wax
Katie Holmes / Batman Begins
Ashlee Simpson / Undiscovered
Jessica Simpson / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST SCREEN COUPLE
Will Ferrell & Nicole Kidman / Bewitched
Jamie Kennedy & ANYBODY Stuck Sharing the Screen with Him / Son of the Mask
Jenny McCarthy & ANYONE Dumb Enough to Befriend or Date Her / Dirty Love
Rob Schneider & His Diapers / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Simpson & Her “Daisy Dukes” / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST REMAKE OR SEQUEL
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
John Asher / Dirty Love
Uwe Boll / Alone in the Dark
Jay Chandrasekhar / The Dukes of Hazzard
Nora Ephron / Bewitched
Lawrence Guterman / Son of the Mask
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard Written
Son of the Mask
My apologies to the Razz Crew, but I think they could put a lot more effort into their nominations. And maybe learn to tell the difference between "bad performances" and "stuff we just feel like ranting about." (And perhaps stop nominating one person for multiple performances, because then it just becomes obvious that you’re gunning for someone. Example: They hated Ferrell in the witch comedy and the soccer flick, but they loved his work in "The Producers?" Phooey.)
Am I too harsh? Are the Razzies really cool and I’m just a crotchety old whiner? Quite possible.
Over the past few days, we’ve tried to counter the common misconception that this summer’s cinematic fare was bereft of quality. However, that doesn’t mean the season was without some stinkers, at least critically speaking.
The most rotten movie of the summer was "Supercross: The Movie," which won praise from two percent of the critics. "Undiscovered," the title of which was often used derisively in reviews, stood at four percent. Rounding out the top five were "The Perfect Man" (six percent) "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" (10 percent), and "Honeymooners" (12 percent). The most rotten limited release of the summer was the Aussie slasher flick "Undead."
Here’s the 20 most rotten films of the summer, in ascending order:
2% — Supercross: The Movie
4% — Undiscovered
6% — The Perfect Man
10% — Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
12% — Honeymooners
13% — Stealth
14% — Rebound
14% — The Cave
17% — Monster-In-Law
17% — The Dukes of Hazzard
20% — The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D
23% — House of Wax
23% — Valiant
23% — Undead
25% — Bewitched
25% — Fantastic Four
27% — 9 Songs
28% — Mindhunters
28% — Pretty Persuasion
28% — The Baxter
Check out the rest of our coverage:
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up: Box Office Down, Tomatometer Up
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #2: The Best of the Wide Releases
– Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #3: The Best of the Limited Releases
This week at the movies brings four studies in aviation. What happens when you’re trapped on a plane with a creepy seatmate? (See "Red Eye.") Is it ever too late for Cupid’s arrows to take flight? (Check out "The 40 Year-Old Virgin.") Were the unsung heroes of the Allies in WWII… pigeons? ("Valiant," this one’s for you.) Isn’t it cool when those Supercross dudes, like, totally go up in the air, and like, for a few seconds, y’know, it looks like they’re, like, flying? (Ahem…."Supercross: The Movie.") And most important of all: which of these flicks will fly with the critics?
Alfred Hitchcock once famously declared, "I like to play the audience like a piano." Wes Craven is no Hitchcock (who is?), but in his finest moments, his work embodies the spirit of that sentiment. And critics say "Red Eye" is one of Craven’s finest moments. Much like many of Hitch’s films, the plot strains credibility, but who cares; brisk, paranoid, and tense, this is excellent popcorn fare, with stars in the making Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy getting their share of props. "Red Eye" soars, scoring 84 percent on the Tomatometer. And it’s Craven’s best reviewed film since "Scream" (87 percent) in 1996.
Speaking of overdue props, Steve Carell has been stealing scenes from movies for a while (and he was in those weirdly funny FedEx commercials — am I the only one who remembers that?). So now that he’s getting his shot in the spotlight, he’s unsurprisingly making the most of it. Critics are showing a lot of love for "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," a film that continues the recent trend of mixing tasteless humor with aching sincerity. At 85 percent, "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" may be worth a date. And it’s getting better reviews than even the surprise comedy megahit of the summer, "Wedding Crashers" (currently at 74 percent).
So CGI is the wave of the future? Maybe. But technology can only go so far; a movie still has to tell a compelling story. Critics say even the technology isn’t that good in "Valiant," a tale of carrier pigeons’ heroism in WWII. And though it features voice work from some of our favorites from across the pond (Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, John Cleese, Hugh Laurie), the writers say it’s plucky but impersonal, and too odd in its plot to make much sense to younger viewers, the assumed target demographic. At 24 percent on the Tomatometer, this bird’s having trouble achieving takeoff. And it’s the worst-reviewed CGI film ever, sinking lower than last year’s "Shark Tale" (35 percent).
Since there is apparently little appeal in "Segway: The Movie" or, perhaps "Jet-Ski: The Movie," X-treme fans will have to make do with "Supercross: The Movie." But according to critics, there couldn’t be much less appeal to this teen romance in between totally radical and tubular stunts. The reason old-school exclamations make sense in this context is that the plot of this movie is pretty dated; heck, "Don’t Worry Baby," the classic Beach Boys song about romance and drag racing, pretty much told the same story in three minutes. But "Supercross" does soar above the competition in one respect: at three percent on the Tomatometer, it’s among the worst reviewed movies of the year.
Worst Reviewed Movies of 2005 (So Far):
1. King’s Ransom — 0%
2. Alone in the Dark — 1%
3. Supercross: The Movie — 3%
4. Son of the Mask — 4%
5. Modigliani — 4%
6. Fascination — 5%
7. Harry and Max — 5%
8. The Perfect Man — 6%
9. Elektra — 7%
10. White Noise — 9%
Screenwriter Gina Wendkos, the scribe responsible for movies such as "Coyote Ugly," "The Princess Diaries," and "The Perfect Man" will pen "Big Man on Campus" for Columbia Pictures. Ms. Wendkos told Variety: "This is a comedy that takes place in a high school where beauty and brains duke it out, and what happens when the perception of popular changes and the power structure crumbles" — which sounds a whole lot like "Mean Girls," but hey, that was a whole 14 months ago!
The busy screenwriter is also preparing "It Should Happen to You" as a vehicle for Kate Hudson.
Debuting with very strong (albeit not staggering) box office numbers is the long-anticipated return of the Caped Crusader. Christopher Nolan‘s "Batman Begins" handily hooked the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, hauling in just under $47 million over the three-day frame. Toss in the Wednesday and Thursday numbers and the new-fangled bat-flick stands with a fairly impressive five-day tally of $71.1 million.
Strong numbers, to be sure, but most industry experts are certain that WB was hoping for a somewhat bigger haul. Positive word-of-mouth will help the bat to maintain some strong legs, but there’s some pretty impressive competition on the way. (Plus, regardless of the 5-day tally and future box office potential, the bat-fans seem entirely thrilled with the flick, which means that DVD sales will undoubtedly be very brisk.)
Continuing to do some strong business is the Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie action comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," which grossed $27.3 million in its second frame, while third place went to "Madagascar," with $11.1 million. Still hanging in there is "Revenge of the Sith," which pulled in an additional $9.7 million for fourth place, and "The Longest Yard" snagged fifth place with an $8 million weekend.
The Hilary Duff comedy "The Perfect Man" debuted rather unimpressively, bringing in only $5.5 million. Next week sees the arrival of Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in "Bewitched," Lindsay Lohan and a super-smart car in "Herbie: Fully Loaded," and lots of cannibal corpses in George Romero‘s "Land of the Dead."
For a closer look at the box office business, feel free to take a visit to the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page!
It’s the Man-show this week: Christian Bale goes to battle with Gotham City’s bad guys in "Batman Begins," and Hilary Duff goes to battle with her mom’s loneliness in "The Perfect Man." Which is the better “Man?”
As you may have heard, the Caped Crusader is back. Back in black. This Dark Knight is experiencing a dark night of the soul, etc. However you say it, the critics largely agree that "Batman Begins" is one of the best superhero movies yet. Director Christopher Nolan has both revived the Batman series and given emotional heft to one of the most iconic of superheroes. In telling the story of the origin of this particular species of bat, Nolan’s film, currently at 81 percent on the Tomatometer, soars above the other films in the series.
Perfection is pretty hard to come by. Just ask Don Larsen, Nadia Comaneci, and, for opposite reasons, Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. Like Batman, Duff has an arch-nemesis. No, it’s not Louie the Lilac, the Penguin, or the Riddler, it’s Lindsey Lohan. And the first shot fired in this summer battle of the teen queens turns out to be a blank. Critics say "The Perfect Man," the story of a teenage girl who contrives a secret admirer for her lonely mom is both preposterous and creepy at its core. At 10 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s a bummer, man. It currently ranks as the 8th worst reviewed film of the year so far.
The 10 Worst Reviewed Films of the Year So Far:
(based on movies with 20 or more reviews)
1. 0% – King’s Ransom
2. 1% – Alone in the Dark
3. 4% – Son of the Mask
4. 5% – Harry and Max
5. 5% – Fascination
6. 7% – Elecktra
7. 9% – White Noise
8. 10% – The Perfect Man
9. 11% – The Wedding Date
10. 11% – House of D