(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
He’s traveled through time in search of knowledge, saved Sandra Bullock from getting blown up on a bus, freed humanity from being enslaved by computer overlords, and delivered some of the most righteous vengeance ever exacted on behalf of a murdered puppy — and all that really only scratches the surface of all the stuff Keanu Reeves has been up to on the big screen. Since making his mark as a quirky young lead in the ’80s, Reeves has followed his cinematic muse all over the genre map, from hit comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to blockbuster action thrillers like Speed, John Wick, and Point Break, as well as dramatic showcases like Dangerous Liaisons and My Own Private Idaho. Also, he knows kung fu. Whoa.
On the horizon, we got The Matrix Resurrections and another John Wick. Now, we’re ranking all Keanu Reeves movies by Tomatometer.
(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)
Martin Scorsese followed his Best Picture and Director-winning The Departed with his most directly entertaining, plot twist-heavy movie, a psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio investigating a remote asylum with a missing patient. Of course, it’s apparent from the beginning things aren’t as they seem…
If you’re looking for more movies like Shutter Island, why not start with the grandaddy of unreliable narrator movies: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It may be 100 (!) years old, but it still has the power to spook and captivate.
Part of Shutter Island‘s fun is that it encourages viewers to participate in solving the mystery, poke holes in the movie’s established reality, and look for the actual truth. It requires filmmaking mastery to create these puzzle boxes, so it’s not surprising some of our most beloved directors built their reputation on these: Alfred Hitchcock (Rebecca, Vertigo), David Fincher (The Game, Gone Girl), Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive).
Movies like Shutter Island are all about building paranoia, like the hero has tapped into something true and sinister that nobody else is taking seriously. And frequently they’re told from a female perspective: Along with the already mentioned Black Swan, there’s also The Girl on the Train, the classic Diabolique, and Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, who’s convinced the missing son the police have returned to her is not her boy.
Psychological thrillers like Shutter Island differ from typical mysteries in that the nature of the film itself is the central mystery, as opposed to, say, figuring out who the murderer is. Movies in this vein include Open Your Eyes (remade as Vanilla Sky), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (which helped drive Brian Wilson over the edge in real life), the sci-fi noir Dark City, the relentlessly scary Jacob’s Ladder, and A Scanner Darkly, arguably Keanu Reeves’ best movie made in that period between The Matrix and the Keanussance.
And if you’re looking for something more basic and primal, check out Identity or Secret Window. Not too taxing on the mind, but they’ll still give it a good twist.
(Photo by Paramount courtesy Everett Collection)
Before he became synonymous with playing playboy millionaire rascal Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. was…a playboy millionaire rascal, but with an Oscar nomination! Born into minor Hollywood royalty, Downey spent his formative ’80s career as a Brat Pack honorary in films like Weird Science and The Pick-Up Artist. An Oscar nomination for playing the titular silent-era legend in Chaplin suggested a watershed moment for Downey and his future career.
Instead, he spent the rest of the ’90s in a maelstrom of wild parties and tabloid headlines as he publicly battled addiction. Early 2000s work in A Scanner Darkly, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Zodiac told the world he was still capable of intriguing work, though, and the marked the early stages of a career comeback.
His tumultuous decades seem like a lifetime ago, simply a precursor to his role today as the Man in the Iron Mark IV. Director Jon Favreau fought hard to get Downey in as star of the first Iron Man, with Marvel Studios literally put up as collateral, and the rest is modern history. Across nearly a dozen appearances in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Downey has utterly owned the Tony Stark role, whose redemption arc mirrors the actor’s own in real life. Downey’s first post-Avengers: Endgame appearance was Dolittle, a high-profile critical disaster. We’ll see where the future takes him (including Jamie Foxx’s All-Star Weekend this year, and Sherlock Holmes 3 next fall), but first we’re taking the time to rank the best Robert Downey Jr. movies (and the worst!) by Tomatometer!
Between The Killing Joke, Hell & Back, and Anomalisa destroying Charlie Kaufman’s career, R-rated animation is making a real comeback! Continuing the hot streak unabated is this week’s Sausage Party, which looks to be the purest distillation of co-creator/star Seth Rogen’s comedy MO: a literal walking talking dick joke. And we keep the party going with this week’s gallery: the
24 28 best and worst R-rated animated movies by Tomatometer.
Philip K. Dick was born 1928 and died 1982, just months before the first movie based on a novel he wrote, Blade Runner, would be released, changing the film landscape forever.
In his 52 years, Dick wrote 44 novels and over 100 short stories, mainly within his adopted literary realm of science fiction. At a time when sci-fi was disrespected and stereotyped with martian invaders and zap guns, Dick turned the genre inward, obsessing over themes of identity, humanity, the nature of reality, religion, and drug abuse.
Since 1982, and especially after the release of 1990’s Total Recall, Hollywood has trawled the Dick library for movie ideas. Television has also been getting into the game, with Fox premiering Minority Report in September (Rotten at 29%), and Amazon releasing all 10 episodes today of The Man in the High Castle (Certified Fresh at 97%), an alternate history series that explores life in America if the Axis powers had won World War II.
Now, Rotten Tomatoes explores the history of Philip K. Dick stories on the big screen and how they compare to their literary sources.
In a world… ravaged and emptied after World War III, people are lured into outer space where human cyborgs perform all manual labor. Physically superior to their creators, these replicants are banned from Earth. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a blade runner, a detective/bounty hunter whose latest assignment is to track down and “retire” four replicants.
What went right: Blade Runner eschews the book’s nuttier elements (the world is obsessed with religions and owning animals as status symbols) and transforms itself into hard-boiled neo-noir, full of high-contrast lighting and architectural wonder. The movie is a slow burn for sure, and it doesn’t draw you in so much as smother you with world-building and detail. The 2007 Final Cut is when the film finally came together after existing for decades in various forms of refinement; this version cleans up effects and clarifies dialogue, turning Blade Runner at last into an immaculate timeless nightmare.
In a world… of implanted memories that feel just like the real thing, Douglas Quaid dreams of shedding his humdrum life and becoming a superspy. Quaid goes to Rekall to sidestep reality but when the procedure goes awry, he realizes he was a spy — his identity had been erased and life as he knows it is a forgery.
What went right: A hyper-violent classic! If Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero was a parody of meathead action movies of the ’80s and ’90s, Total Recall delivers the same goods with a straight face. It’s got everything: guns, sex, plot twists, foot and car chases, and Arnie getting hit in the junk half a dozen times. The short story Total Recall is based on plays it straight: the main character goes to Rekall and realizes he was a spy in a previous life and his dreams of Mars were repressed memories coming to surface. The power of Total Recall is that it finds an extra layer that Dick didn’t conceive: What if everything that happens to Quaid is a dream? The movie plays out so conveniently to Quaid’s fantasies that it’s impossible to tell whether it’s actually happening or if he’s still strapped to a chair at Rekall having a psychotic episode. Such existential ruminations represent Dick’s themes at its most fun.
In a world… where people are horrible to each other. Yeah, not a stretch of the imagination with this one. The crap artist in question is Jack (Hippolyte Girardot), a collector of useless junk and absurd ideas who is invited by his sister to live on her estate with her abusive husband.
What went right: Dick wrote a series of non-science fiction novels before the 1960s, all of which were rejected by book houses. The only one to be eventually published during his lifetime was Confessions, written in 1959 and released in 1975, during a dry spell as Dick dealt with personal issues and labored over A Scanner Darkly. Ostensibly, Crap is a comedic look at the social mores and increasing wealth of California life during the 1950s, though its film adaptation transports this setting to modern France. The movie version of Jack is softer and more accessible as an anti-hero than in the novel, and his observations on the hypocritical nature of family and community translate well, despite this upheaval in setting. Human nature, it seems, transcends time and space.
In a world… where man has colonized the planets, war is being waged by two factions (the New Economic Block and the Alliance insurgents) over a precious radioactive mineral. The Alliance has developed “screamers” — autonomous robots that burrow through the ground to fight for them. But the screamers have evolved, developing new varieties that look and act like humans.
What went wrong: The opposing forces in the short story are Americans against Russians with the fate of mankind at stake. In the movie, it’s essentially a war over commercial interests, which drastically reduces the scope and weight of the action. The screamers themselves are not particularly menacing, especially in the wake of Edge of Tomorrow, which nailed the look of fluid cybernetic monsters. Screamers‘ dialogue can be effective and there are some scary moments, but the last 20 minutes are laughable and stupid.
In a world… where a hostile civilization from Alpha Centauri is waging relentless war on Earth, the aliens have introduced a new weapon: replicants. These replicants arrive, kill their target human and assume its identity — all the while equipped with an internal nuclear device that can blow at any second. Spencer Olham (Gary Sinise) is a government scientist developing humanity’s own secret weapon when he’s arrested with a serious charge: the real Spencer is dead and he is, in fact, a ticking timebomb replicant.
What went wrong: Toss this one onto the pile of Dick adaptations that doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, but also nothing exemplary. Impostor seems to have been something of a passion project for Sinise (who gets a rare producer credit), selling himself as a credible action star with plenty of moments running around shirtless and sneaking in a shower butt shot. But the visuals lack creative spark and the sets are drab and monotone, while the movie’s middle section is essentially a single chase sequence with a few jumps to other locations and not much plot development. Impostor was originally shot as a 40-minute film to be packaged with Mimic (which also became a feature film) and Danny Boyle’s Alien Love Triangle. It works better as a short. Kudos, though, for Impostor retaining the short story’s challenging ending.
In a world… that has zero murders, thanks to PreCrime wielding mutant predictions to accuse and arrest individuals before their bad deeds get committed, Captain John Anderton goes on the run as the “precogs” accuse him murdering a stranger in 36 hours.
What went right: Some of Dick’s stories lack much action (like this, or “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”), existing more as existential inquiries. That’s a boon for filmmakers as it provides a great groundwork which visionary directors can build upon and overload with imagination. Along with Blade Runner, Minority Report presents the most “complete” worlds: these movies feel lived-in and the technology is logical. In Minority’s case, it predicted total societal integration with electronics before it happened to us in real life. The action is some of Steven Spielberg‘s best, frequently fused with black humor, though I still take umbrage with the movie’s improbably upbeat ending.
In a world… where your memory is erased after finishing a job, engineer Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) has just completed a majorly lucrative two-year contract. When emerging with his employment memories wiped, Jennings discovers his past self has inexplicably forfeited the paycheck in favor of an envelope of useless everyday trinkets. Soon afterwards, he’s targeted for assassination and goes on the run.
What went wrong: “Paycheck” was one of Dick’s earliest published stories and, as such, pure 1950s pulp. The screenwriters update the setting and remove the lame original ending, though its replacement isn’t much improvement. The plot hook (that the envelope’s contents rescue Jennings at seemingly random life-threatening moments) is pretty weak. Being aware Jennings will escape every hairy situation with a paper clip or some lederhosen drains all tension from the action as we wait for the envelope to deplete itself, and in the movie that doesn’t happen until there’s 20 minutes before credits. Until then, our hero runs sweatily around clutching a bag of convenient dei ex machina. Uma Thurman plays the love interest, Aaron Eckhart is the evil talking chin, and there’s a motorcycle chase that recalls director John Woo‘s early career but, otherwise, this is forgettable stuff. No need for a memory wipe after watching Paycheck: you won’t remember it the next day.
In a world… of widespread drug addiction, Americans are hooked on mind-altering Substance D. The government responds with heavy policing and ubiquitous surveillance, creating a black job market of narcs who spy and report anonymously on their friends and neighbors. Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) is one such narc, a Sub D addict keeping tabs on his chums for local police. Things are hunky dory until Arctor receives his next surveillance assignment: himself.
What went right: Dick’s masterpiece in the hands of a master filmmaker (Richard Linklater). The book is a howlingly funny, anguished eulogy to tripped-out hedonists whose major crime is hoping the Summer of Love would last forever, based on Dick’s own experiences as his friends succumbed to hard drugs during the 1970s. Linklater rotoscoped this adaptation, slathering a layer of animation over his live actors which emphasizes the story’s theme of disconnection — mentally and physically — as Arctor loses track of his multiple personas. The casting is perfect, especially Robert Downey Jr. as one of Arctor’s asshole pals. This is also the most faithful of the PKD movies, and in a way reminds me of No Country For Old Men: both strive for such fidelity to the book they develop an un-movielike pace and rhythm, to the point of being unsettling. Though Linklater’s film ups the paranoia and loses a chunk of the book’s humor, this is as good an adaptation it’ll ever get.
In a world… where one man can see two minutes into the future and its myriad of possibilities, Nicolas Cage is Cris Johnson, a clairvoyant relentlessly pursued by an FBI agent (Julianne Moore) who wants to use his ability to track down a nuke.
What went wrong: In the short story, mutants are common and they’re rounded up to be studied then euthanized, while the Cris Johnson character can see 30 minutes into the future as opposed to two. Also, Cris is a sex object, covered gold head to toe. So yeah, the movie strays far from the source, though that’s no crime if the filmmakers come up with something better. They don’t. Next‘s plot has the depth of a weekly CBS procedural as it pushes Cage around, who wears an ugly jacket with a bad haircut during the runtime. Then there’s loads of CGI, none of which looks convincing. And the ending — wow, a total copout. Place it somewhere between “It was all a dream!” and “Turns out you were crazy the whole time!”
In a world… where your fate is controlled by angelic bureaucratic agents, Matt Damon dares to defy the odds. Damon plays David Norris, a Senate hopeful who meets Elise, the woman of his dreams (Emily Blunt), on the campaign trail. After accidentally seeing the Adjustment Bureau at work behind the scenes, they warn David he risks everything (including death) in pursuing her.
What went right: The short story is a fairly low-stakes affair, so the movie does right by putting David’s possible candidacy for POTUS on the line. Dick wrote about women a lot but he was not particularly sensuous about it, so it’s refreshing to see a sweeping romance effectively seared into a story of his. And Bureau simply looks great: the colors are lush, deep, and the lines and angles that make up a majority of the backgrounds are wonderful (they’re subtly used to guide the eye around the frame, in the same way these characters are guided by the agents). The movie sets up a lot of rules about this universe and threatens to collapse under their weight; sagely, the story concludes before this occurs.
What went wrong: Sometimes when Hollywood remakes a classic, producers will claim that their version is going to be closer to the book (see:True Grit). Not so in this case. The remake, directed by Underworld‘s Len Wiseman, doesn’t mine any additional story elements from “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” and instead works completely off the template laid by Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 version. Wiseman is a better director of action scenes than Verhoeven, who’s always been enchanted with gore and sleaze (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and his camera work here is fluid and kinetic. Likewise, the city landscapes and gadget designs are out of this world. But the main characters (this time played by Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel) undergo zero development and all the story beats were done better the first time around. For lightweight spectacle, you could do worse, but this overall is a redundant and bloodless trip down memory lane.
In a world… where a fascist president has ruled over America for 15 years, record store clerk Nicolas Brady (Jonathan Scarfe) begins receiving messages in his dreams from a far away galactic supreme being called VALIS. Under its direction, Brady moves his family to Los Angeles, takes up a position at a music label, and awaits the appearance of a songwriter named Silvia (Alanis Morissette) who will help him overthrow the president.
What went wrong: Albemuth is clearly a labor of love but not of particular talent, resulting in a poorly lit film with crap framing, hokey CG, and scenes jammed together without grace. If I hadn’t read the novel beforehand, I would’ve had a tough time following the plot or even understanding what the title meant. The 1970s were a tumultuous decade for Dick: he was questioned by the FBI, his house was burgled (with Dick believing it was the government trying to spook him), and he had a deep religious awakening, all of which are described in this work, where the author himself is a major character. Written as a sci-fi confessional and introduction to his new gnostic viewpoint, Dick’s book is something of a noble failure, beautiful but flat, and it’s crazy somebody thought a movie could be made out of it on such a low budget.
Hosted right here at the illustrious Rotten Tomatoes is the official website of the Online Film Critics Society, an international group of flick analyzers who put their heads together every December to come up with their favorite films, performances and components of the year. And as a proud member of the OFCS, I’m pretty happy with our picks this year … even if (almost) none of my choices happened to win.
BEST PICTURE: "United 93"
BEST DOCUMENTARY: "An Inconvenient Truth"
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Pan’s Labyrinth" (Mexico)
BEST ANIMATED FILM: "A Scanner Darkly"
(So what do you guys think? Good picks or lame?)
Any time I hear the phrase "movie based on a Philip K. Dick story," I know I have to do a little more research. The next PKD adaptation is Lee Tamahori‘s "Next," which stars Nicolas Cage as a man who can see the future and Jessica Biel as a woman who is really, really sexy.
From an on-set report by Heather Newgen at ComingSoon.net: "The film is based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story "The Golden Man." Cage plays Chris Johnson, who has the unique ability to see future events and affect their outcome. The FBI learns of his abilities and they want to utilize his power to help prevent a global terrorist threat – European terrorists have stolen a Russian bomb and have threatened to blow up the ports of the city.
Johnson is reluctant to help the FBI for reasons that couldn’t be revealed to us or the plot would be given away. However, we were told that after the terrorists have captured Johnson’s girlfriend Liz (Biel), he is forced to work with the FBI to help get her back. Johnson is ultimately faced with the daunting choice of saving the world or the woman he loves."
Click here for the full report. Also, rank the following PKD films in order from your favorite to least favorite:
He night not be as famous as H.G. Wells or Isaac Asimov, but ask a sci-fi enthusiast what they think of Philip K. Dick, and get ready for a lengthy conversation. The late and legendary author is earning himself as posthumous biopic, and it looks like Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti will be playing the central role.
From Variety: "Paul Giamatti is in negotiations to star as sci-fi author Philip K. Dick in an untitled biopic… Authorized biopic also is being produced by the Philip K. Dick Estate through its Electric Shepherd Prods. Tony Grisoni ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") will write the screenplay.
Dick, who died in 1982, penned more than four dozen books and numerous short stories, with at least seven being adapted for the bigscreen … The nontraditional biopic will interweave the prolific author’s life with his fictionand incorporate elements of his last unfinished novel, "The Owl in Daylight."
Johnny Depp made this weekend’s four new releases walk the plank as his megablockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest became the first film of the year to spend three consecutive frames at number one and zoomed past the $300M mark in record time.
Among the new offerings debuting in theaters, Sony’s animated film Monster House posted the best results opening in second place while M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest supernatural thriller Lady in the Water stumbled in its first weekend settling for third place. The comedies Clerks II from Kevin Smith and My Super Ex-Girlfriend from Ivan Reitman debuted with more modest single-digit results outside the top five. Overall ticket sales were a healthy amount ahead of last year’s.
Sailing past more box office records with ease, Pirates grossed an estimated $35M in its third weekend to remain the top choice among summer moviegoers across North America. Off a moderate 44%, the Disney smash became the fastest film to break the $300M mark when it surpassed the milestone on Saturday, its 16th day of release. Star Wars Episode III previously held the record doing the deed in 17 days last summer. Pirates now stands at $321.7M after a mere 17 days and has soared up to number 16 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which grossed $317.6M in 2001.
Dead Man’s Chest also entered a very exclusive club of films that reached the triple-century mark while still at number one. It joins only 1982’s E.T., 1997’s Titanic, and 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The third weekend hold for Pirates was commendable showing that the high seas adventure is not falling apart like many action sequels and instead still pleasing audiences. It now looks to be on course to reach $400M in box office treasure.
Sony generated a solid debut for the animated film Monster House which opened in second place with an estimated $23M from 3,553 locations. The PG-rated tale about three kids who discover an evil home averaged an impressive $6,473 per theater. Oscar-winning directors Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis served as executive producers and had their names used prominently in the marketing. As the first toon for kids in over a month, Monster scored with children and parents who made up the bulk of the audience. The studio released the $75M production in 163 3-D theaters which collected $2.6M of the overall gross for a sizzling $16,012 average. Reviews were mostly positive.
Suffering his worst opening since becoming an A-list director, M. Night Shyamalan saw his latest thriller Lady in the Water struggle in its debut grossing an estimated $18.2M from 3,235 theaters. The PG-13 film about a mysterious creature from the water who must return to her world averaged $5,629 per site. The opening was less than half the size of the $50.7M bow of Shyamalan’s last film The Village and less than one-third of the $60.1M that his previous film Signs took in when it opened in 2002. Critics panned Lady which was promoted as being a "bedtime story" as the Oscar-nominated filmmaker earned the worst reviews of his career.
Shyamalan’s last four thrillers were all released by Disney but after The Village, the studio passed on the opportunity to make Lady. The project found itself over at Warner Bros. Village opened impressively based on the brand name of Shyamalan, however negative word-of-mouth led to it crashing 68% on the second weekend and quickly disappearing soon after. In fact, its final domestic tally of $114.2M remains the lowest gross ever for any film opening north of $50M. Many former fans may have decided to pass on his follow-up which was Lady. It could be rough seas ahead for Water as well since its Saturday sales were flat compared to Friday’s. Plus, it has scored a weak B- average grade from over 3,000 users of Yahoo Movies which means ticket buyers have not been very thrilled.
Universal’s hit comedy You, Me, and Dupree dropped a moderate 41% in its second weekend and placed fourth with an estimated $12.8M. With a solid $45.3M in ten days, the $54M picture should find its way to a sturdy $70-75M. Fellow sophomore comedy Little Man saw a larger drop and fell 49% to an estimated $11M for a total of $40.6M in ten days. Sony’s $64M Wayans brothers film looks to find its way to $60-65M.
Fans showed support for Kevin Smith whose comedy sequel Clerks II debuted in sixth place with an estimated $9.6M from 2,150 theaters. Averaging a good $4,477 per site, the R-rated story of a pair of slackers still doing little with their lives in their thirties opened a bit weaker than Smith’s 2001 late-summer pic Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which bowed to $11M on its way to $30.1M. Ticket sales for Clerks II fell a sharp 18% on Saturday from Friday indicating that Smith’s loyal fans rushed out on opening day and that there may not be much of an audience left for future weeks. The film earned favorable reviews and was released by MGM and The Weinstein Company.
Fox saw a disappointing opening for its romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend which debuted to an estimated $8.7M from 2,702 theaters for a mild $3,220 average. The PG-13 film stars Uma Thurman as a woman who is secretly a super hero that exacts revenge on her ex-boyfriend (Luke Wilson) for dumping her. Reviews were mixed for the Ivan Reitman-directed pic. Studio research showed that the audience was split evenly between men and women with those age 25 and older making up 59% of the crowd. With so many other comedies in the marketplace from Owen Wilson, the Wayans brothers, Kevin Smith, Meryl Streep, and Adam Sandler, plus Pirates still raking it in, audiences found no special reason to spend money on Ex-Girlfriend.
Superman Returns dipped 39% in its fourth flight to an estimated $7.5M and pushed its cume to $178.4M. The pricey Warner Bros. film is still ahead of the $171.9M that its last super hero film Batman Begins collected after the same amount of time. The Caped Crusader pic, however, held up better grossing $10M in its fourth frame. The $200M domestic mark still seems reachable for Superman. Overseas, the international cume climbed to $110M.
Meryl Streep’s hit comedy The Devil Wears Prada enjoyed another solid hold suffering the smallest decline in the top ten. The Fox release took in an estimated $7.4M, off only 29%, to lift its sum to $97.6M. Devil opened on the same weekend as Superman Returns with a much smaller gross, but is now doing nearly identical weekend business.
Disney bookended the top ten with its Pixar smash Cars which dropped 37% to an estimated $4.9M in its seventh lap. The animated hit has now grossed $229.4M putting it at number 49 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after X-Men: The Last Stand which opened two weeks earlier and has taken in $232.8M to date.
The weekend’s four new releases tossed a quartet of summer pictures out of the top ten. Adam Sandler’s latest winner Click grossed an estimated $4M in its fifth frame, off 45%, for a total of $128.2M. The $83M Sony title should finish with $135-140M. Fellow comedy Nacho Libre with Jack Black tumbled 69% to an estimated $505,000 for a cume of $78.7M to date. Paramount looks to end its run with just under $80M.
Keanu Reeves grossed an estimated $661,000 for his sci-fi toon A Scanner Darkly and an estimated $625,000 for his sci-fi romance The Lake House this weekend. Warner Independent Pictures has taken in $3.2M with Scanner and is shooting for the $5M mark. Parent company Warner Bros. has grossed $50.7M with its Sandra Bullock tale and is heading for $52M.
The global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth remains a popular summer flick slipping just 14% to an estimated $1M in its ninth weekend. Paramount Vantage has collected $18.8M to date and is enjoying remarkable momentum.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $138.2M which was up 12% from last year when Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remained at number one for the second time with $28.3M; and up 2% from 2004 when Matt Damon‘s The Bourne Supremacy opened in the top spot with $52.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The Johnny Depp juggernaut Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest remained the most popular film in North America for a second weekend easily defending its box office crown against two new comedies that fought bitterly for the runnerup spot.
According to studio estimates, Sony’s Little Man narrowly edged out Universal’s You, Me and Dupree opening in second and third, respectively. With less than $400,000 separating the two new releases, chart positions could change when final numbers are tabulated on Monday.
Disney shattered more box office records with its runaway smash Pirates which hauled in an estimated $62.2M in its second weekend in theaters to boost its ten-day total to an eye-popping $258.2M. That’s the largest ten-day start of any film in history and the fastest any movie has cracked the quarter-billion dollar mark beating the old records which were both set last summer by Star Wars Episode III. The final Jedi sequel collected $236.9M in its first ten days and surged to $255.6M in its eleventh day.
Pirates did suffer a sizable 54% drop from its record-breaking opening weekend, however a large decline was widely expected since it had already absorbed such a massive amount of business when it entered its sophomore frame. Second weekend declines for the summer’s other big-budget tentpole pictures were larger including 56% for The Da Vinci Code, 59% for Superman Returns, and 67% for X-Men: The Last Stand. In just ten days, Dead Man’s Chest has quickly become the top-grossing film of 2006 and now sits at number 34 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Monsters, Inc. which grossed $255.9M in 2001.
The high seas adventure also enjoyed the third best second weekend gross ever trailing the $72.2M of 2004’s Shrek 2 and the $71.4M of 2002’s Spider-Man. Pirates is already the seventh biggest film ever for Disney and the fourth largest among live-action pics for the studio. The Mouse House also scored its 13th film to top the $200M mark which is the most of any Hollywood studio.Where can Captain Jack Sparrow sail to from here? The triple-century barrier should come crashing down by next weekend as the megablockbuster sequel continues on a trajectory that could see it loot $350-400M from the domestic market alone.
Opening in second place with an estimated $21.7M was Little Man starring Marlon and Shawn Wayans from director Keenan Ivory Wayans. The $64M Sony release averaged a stellar $8,567 from 2,533 theaters and tells the story of a diminutive crook who masquerades as a toddler in order to retrieve a stolen diamond. Teens and young adults made up the core crowd as studio data indicated that 59% of the audience was under the age of 25. Women slightly outnumbered the guys with 53% of the crowd. Reviews were mostly negative.
Little Man enjoyed an opening that was similar to that of the last effort by the Wayans brothers, White Chicks. That Sony comedy bowed on a Wednesday in June 2004 with a Friday-to-Sunday take of $19.7M as part of a $27.2M five-day launch on its way to $69.1M. The studio reported encouraging exit polls for Man with 85% marking it "excellent" or "very good." If estimates hold, it will be the third consecutive second place opening for Keenan Ivory Wayans after 2001’s Scary Movie 2 and White Chicks which were also summer comedies.
Close behind with an estimated $21.3M debut was Universal’s new comedy You, Me and Dupree. The PG-13 film averaged a solid $6,815 from 3,131 theaters and stars Owen Wilson as a houseguest who crashes in the home of a newlywed couple played by Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon. The $54M film played mostly to young adults in their twenties and thirties and skewed more towards women. Studio research indicated that 58% of the audience was under the age of 30 and 58% was female. Reviews were not very favorable. Dupree opened below the levels of Wilson’s previous hits like Starsky & Hutch which bowed to $28.1M in March 2004 and the $33.9M of Wedding Crashers which debuted one year ago this weekend.
While both new comedies opened with roughly the same weekend gross, and chart positions could change on Monday, it was Little Man that clearly delivered the more impressive performance. Playing in 600 fewer theaters, the Wayans brothers attracted enough of an audience to still sell the same amount of tickets and generated a per-theater average that was 26% stronger than Dupree’s. The Owen Wilson film however, cost $10M less to produce as it did not need to rely on costly special effects.
In its third battle against the forces of box office evil, the big-budget super hero flick Superman Returns fell to fourth place with an estimated $11.6M. Off a moderate 47%, the Warner Bros. pic lifted its cume to $163.7M after 19 days. The Man of Steel is well behind the $192.4M that War of the Worlds collected over the same period last year, but a bit ahead of Men in Black II‘s $158.1M from July 2002. However, those pricey pics posted stronger third weekend grosses of $15.2M and $14.6M, respectively. Superman Returns remains on a course to fly to $190-200M domestically which is less than what most in the industry were expecting from the Bryan Singer film.
Superman flew into over a dozen new countries around the world this weekend and grossed an estimated $38M from 36 markets to boost its international cume to $77M. In most territories, the comic book pic rocketed straight to number one, however in the United Kingdom it scored a solid number two bow behind the sophomore weekend of Pirates.
Despite competition from two new comedies, Meryl Streep held up well with her hit The Devil Wears Prada which grossed an estimated $10.5M in its third session. Down a little more than 30%, the Fox release has commanded an impressive $83.6M and is heading for the vicinity of $115M.
For the third straight weekend, the Disney/Pixar toon Cars enjoyed the smallest drop in the top ten and slipped less than 30% to an estimated $7.5M. After its sixth weekend, the G-rated blockbuster has upped its cume to a sturdy $219.7M passing The Da Vinci Code to become the third highest grossing film of the year after the Pirates and X-Men sequels. Cars is running 6% behind the pace of Pixar’s last film The Incredibles after the same amount of time, but is 3% ahead of the company’s Monsters, Inc. Those pics ended up with $261.4M and $255.3M, respectively. Cars looks to have enough gas in its tank to be able to reach $250M. Barring any surprise megahits, that would give Disney the two biggest blockbusters of the summer season. Coincidentally, the studio also ruled the 2003 summer contest with the first Pirates and Pixar’s Finding Nemo both crossing the $300M threshold.
Adam Sandler followed close behind in seventh with Click which fell 41% to an estimated $7M in its fourth frame. With $119.7M in the bank, the Sony release is still running a bit ahead of the studio’s 2003 Sandler vehicle Anger Management which collected $115.3M at the same point on its way to $135.6M. Click should be able to reach $135-140M.
The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 45%, for a $48.9M total. The Warner Bros. romance should end with a respectable $53M. Paramount’s Nacho Libre laughed up an estimated $1.5M, down 54%, putting its sum at $77.1M. Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy looks to go home with around $81M.
Warner Independent Pictures expanded its animated crime drama A Scanner Darkly from 17 to 216 theaters nationwide and hit the top ten with an estimated $1.2M. Richard Linklater‘s R-rated film averaged a healthy $5,486 per location and raised its cume to $1.8M. The Keanu Reeves-starrer will stay in roughly the same number of locations this coming weekend.
With a brutal heat wave hitting much of the country, audiences continued to flock to the hit global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth which slipped a scant 5% to an estimated $1.1M. Now in its eighth weekend of release, the Paramount Vantage title finished a hair out of the top ten and has taken in a solid $17M.
Three films from the Universal Studios family fell from the top ten over the weekend. The racing sequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift dropped 59% to an estimated $1M in its fifth lap pushing its domestic total to $59.7M. The $75M actioner has grossed an additional $42M overseas and continues to open in new countries each week. In North America, look for a final take of $61M.
The Break-Up fell 52% to an estimated $777,000 giving the Vince Vaughn–Jennifer Aniston comedy $116M to date. The $52M production should end its relationship with theaters at $118M. Internationally, Break-Up has grossed $24.5M thus far with major European markets like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy still to come between now and September. The Focus Features actioner Waist Deep tumbled 63% to an estimated $695,000 putting its cume at $20.7M. Little more is expected for the inexpensive film which might close with around $22M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $146.1M which was off 4% from last year when Johnny Depp‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory debuted at number one with $56.2M; but up 8% from 2004 when Will Smith‘s I, Robot opened in the top spot with $52.2M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Our friends over at IGN FilmForce have snagged an awesome Christmas in July present for you — an exclusive look at the first 24 minutes of Richard Linklater‘s hyper-visual sci-fi drug pic, "A Scanner Darkly." You can thank them later.
Adapted from sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick‘s novel, "A Scanner Darkly" is set in a near-future Orange County, where undercover cop Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) is assigned to infiltrate a group of narcotics-abusing friends, and must use the mind-altering Substance D drug himself — but as Arctor becomes ever more dependant on the drug, he finds himself losing his grip on reality. "Scanner" also stars Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, Rory Cochrane, and a scene-stealing Robert Downey Jr.
In "Scanner," director Linklater uses the same eye-popping interpolated rotoscoping technique seen in his "Waking Life"; the animation-over-acting effect results in a dreamlike hyper-reality for the viewer, at once familiar and disorienting — much like the drug-fueled perceptions of "Scanner"’s characters.
Click over to IGN FilmForce’s exclusive 24-minute clip to see for yourself! The pic is rated R for "drug and sexual content, language and a brief violent image," so be prepared to pass an age-gate to view the video.
"A Scanner Darkly" is in limited release and expanding to more theaters through July.
Multiplexes are stocking up on popcorn and soda in anticipation of the massive crowds expected to descend upon them on Friday for the opening of the highly anticipated adventure sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest." Rival studios all backed off this weekend when Disney first claimed it as nobody wanted to challenge Captain Jack Sparrow and his mighty treasure-seeking companions. After its top spot debut, reigning champ "Superman Returns" will have a big task ahead of it as the super hero film tries to keep audiences from fleeing in its all-important second weekend. With "Pirates" and "Superman" leading the way, the North American box office looks to zoom higher than last year and even seems strong enough to soar past 2004’s lofty heights.
For the first time in company history, Disney will break the 4,000 theater mark with the launch of its new "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel. The PG-13 film reunites the cast and crew of the 2003 megablockbuster with Gore Verbinski once again in the director’s chair and Johnny Depp, who earned an Oscar nomination the first time around, returning to play the central character. Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and superproducer Jerry Bruckheimer are also back giving audiences another swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. In the latest saga, Sparrow owes a blood debt to the great pirate Davy Jones and must find a mysterious treasure chest, or else be doomed to eternal damnation.
Three years ago, the studio hit theaters with a big-budget action film based on a Disneyland ride which seemed to be one of the riskiest pics of the summer. "Pirates" bowed on a Wednesday and was an instant hit with audiences grossing $46.6M over its first weekend and $70.6M over its five-day launch. But beyond that, "Pirates" had legs and spent eleven weeks in the top ten before ending its run with $305.4M making it the second biggest blockbuster of the summer. Depp provided a breath of fresh air during an endless summer of action sequels with recycled characters and plots. Worldwide, "Pirates" sailed away with $654M worth of loot giving the studio a craving for more gold. Two sequels were greenlit with the concluding chapter set to open over Memorial Day weekend 2007.
Disney has staked out the same weekend after Independence Day for "Dead Man’s Chest." This time around, with a bigger upfront audience and a Friday bow which will compress business into a standard Friday-to-Sunday period, the pirate adventure has a chance of scoring one of the largest opening weekends in box office history. Five films have generated three-day bows north of $100M. The first, 2002’s "Spider-Man," still holds the record with $114.8M from 3,615 theaters. Since then, some of Hollywood’s biggest sequels have come within striking distance of the webslinger, but none has truly been able to match it. "Shrek 2" opened to $108M after a Wednesday bow, "Star Wars Episode III" debuted to $108.4M after a Thursday start, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" launched to $102.3M, and "X-Men: The Last Stand" opened to $102.8M over the three-day portion of its Memorial Day weekend holiday opening.
The second "Pirates" saga has an excellent chance of reaching nine digits in its first three days and even Spidey himself has to be a little nervous about losing his trophy. Disney’s marketing efforts have been very strong, but not over the top. As Paramount found out with its third Ethan Hunt film, moviegoers can get turned off by an overmarketed movie. "Pirates" actors have been doing the talk show and magazine cover rounds, but the studio has made sure that the hype doesn’t get so big that it backfires.
Appeal for the new Captain Jack film is broad as moviegoers of all ages will be lining up. And more importantly, "Pirates" has some of the strongest appeal to women of any of the action franchises around. Men are an easy sell for the genre, but with Johnny and Orlando front and center, the female turnout will be key in getting those grosses up to levels rarely seen. The first film saw its audience grow significantly during its theatrical run and later on video so this time around, there could be twice as many people showing up on opening weekend.
Cutting into "Dead Man"’s potential, however, could be the long running time — a common problem with so many of this summer’s films. At two-and-a-half hours long, the film will test the patience of some and have one less showing per auditorium when compared to the standard two-hour films. Of course, the last "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" films had similar lengths and still soared past the $100M mark on opening weekend. And even though they should suffer large drops, "Superman Returns" and "The Devil Wears Prada" will be in their sophomore frames and still absorb a solid amount of business.
But with no other films opening, the entertainment media has been focusing solely on "Pirates" this week so at least there won’t be fellow freshman to deal with. Reviews have been mixed, and as with most sequels, they have not been as glowing as they were the first time around. That should mean little on the debut frame though. Excitement is sky high and Disney has a solid product on its hands. With clear sailing ahead of it, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" might capture around $104M worth of box office loot this weekend.
Since no other studio dared to challenge Disney this weekend with any wide releases, Warner Independent Pictures picked Friday for its limited bow of the futuristic crime drama "A Scanner Darkly." Directed by Richard Linklater ("Dazed and Confused," "Waking Life"), the R-rated film stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson in a story about an undercover cop hooked on a popular narcotic who is out to bring down drug dealers. "Scanner" is based on the popular novel and features live-action material animated into a stylized new look. The film debuts in 17 theaters this weekend before expanding to more markets later this month.
And what of the son of Krypton? Analysts will be watching the second weekend numbers closely for "Superman Returns" to find its true trajectory over the long run. Will it hold up like "Batman Begins," crash and burn like "The Hulk," or fall somewhere in between? Its opening weekend delivered sales that were lower than expectations, but Warner Bros. insists that those paying to see the pic are liking it. Sophomore drops for recent Independence Day weekend launches include 53% for "War of the Worlds" last year and 49% for 2004’s "Spider-Man 2." The Man of Steel is coming off of a similar type of midweek debut, however it faces the mammoth "Pirates" sequel which will play to much of the same summer action audience. With a little luck, "Superman Returns" might keep its drop-off rate to 50% which would give the Bryan Singer-directed pic about $26M for the frame. That should boost the 12-day cume to $146M.
Meryl Streep was rolling in cash last weekend with the opening of her new comedy "The Devil Wears Prada" which was a potent number two in the holiday race. A sizable decline is in order since Hurricane Johnny will hit but also because the film’s audience of readers of the popular book probably made it out already. A fall of 45% would give "Prada" around $15M for the session and a stellar ten-day tally of $62M.
The usual erosion should hit "Click" which has been playing out like the usual Adam Sandler comedy. Look for another 50% fall to roughly $10M for a cume to date of $101M. The animated hit "Cars" has enjoyed some of the best legs of any summer film so far, but older kids will certainly start walking the plank for Disney’s other big summer blockbuster this weekend. Pixar’s latest flick could drop by 40% to around $9M which would boost the total to $202M making it the third film of the year to break the $200M mark. The May releases "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "The Da Vinci Code" were the first.
LAST YEAR: Super hero power ruled the weekend as Fox’s "Fantastic Four" opened atop the charts with a potent $56.1M launching another successful Marvel film franchise. Reed Richards and pals went on to gross $154.7M domestically and $330M worldwide and will hit theaters again next summer in the sequel. Tom Cruise‘s alien invasion pic "War of the Worlds" dropped to second place with $30.5M in its sophomore session losing 53% of its business. Another comic book flick, "Batman Begins," placed third in its fourth outing with $10M. Debuting close behind in fourth was the Jennifer Connelly horror entry "Dark Water" with $9.9M on its way to $25.5M for Buena Vista. "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" rounded out the top five with $7.9M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got pirates back for more box office bounty (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest“) and a journey to the center of the mind (“A Scanner Darkly“). What do the critics have to say?
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” was a delightful left field surprise: a funny, rollicking, swashbuckling adventure (as well as the greatest film ever based on an amusement park ride). So what does director Gore Verbinski do for an encore? According to critics, more, more, more. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. In “Dead Man’s Chest,” Johnny Depp is back as the scoundrel Jack Sparrow, with Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom along for the ride, this time aboard a craft containing the cephalopodan Davy Jones and his crew. The scribes say that while there are plenty of interesting effects and exciting set pieces, there’s just too much in this “Chest,” and it lacks the easygoing, organic charm of the original. At 55 percent on the Tomatometer, this “Pirates'” life may or may not be for you. And it’s well below the high watermark set by the original (at 79 percent).
The writings of Philip K. Dick have inspired a bunch of good-to-great movies (“Blade Runner,” “Total Recall,” “Minority Report“) and it’s easy to see why: Dick spun futuristic, Orwellian sci-fi tales that are chock full of paranoia and multilayered plot points. With “A Scanner Darkly,” Richard Linklater adapts Dick’s novel with the rotoscoping techniques he applied to “Waking Life.” The story involves a cop (Keanu Reeves) who is so far undercover in a drug investigation that it’s unclear he’ll ever find his way out. The critics say this one’s a visually arresting head trip, but some say it’s not quite as compelling as it wants to be. At 63 percent on the Tomatometer, this one may be worth a “Scan.”
Also in theaters, albeit in limited release: “Once in a Lifetime,” a documentary about the New York Cosmos soccer team of the 1970s, is at 90 percent on the Tomatometer, and “Heading South,” starring Charlotte Rampling, is at 62 percent.