(Photo by Trans World Entertainment /courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: 20th Century Fox / courtesy Everett Collection.)
Jaws. The Karate Kid. Speed. Paul Blart: Mall Cop. All classic movies. What’s also binding them together is the fact they’ve all had terrible sequels. These forlorn follow-ups are below 10% on the Tomatometer and we’ve rounded them up, and other movies like them, for our guide to the 50 worst sequels of all time.
Franchises with multiple entries include Atlas Shrugged, Highlander, and Big Momma’s House. If you’re questioning why Police Academy only appears only once despite multiple sequels with a 0% Tomatometer score, it’s because there’s a 10 review minimum, to ensure that each sequel that shows up here has crushed enough critics’ hopes for getting a decent follow-up. And for movies with the same Tomatomter score, we ranked the the ones with more reviews higher up. We used the same ranking method for our list of the 100 worst movies ever.
Now, get ready for some brand name disappointment with the 50 worst sequels of all time!
People love to laugh at Segways, mall cops, and mustaches, and the box office receipts for 2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop offer more than $180 million worth of proof. This weekend, Kevin James jumps back into the line of fire in the descriptively titled Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and although we applaud him for refusing to argue with success, we somehow doubt critics will be willing to give this movie the same amount of slack — and with that in mind, we went about assembling a list of some of the worst-reviewed Number Twos in cinematic history. Roll up your sleeves and hold your nose, because we’re droppin’ deuces Total Recall style!
Caddyshack is a comedy classic that virtually hums with the madcap energy thrown off by director Harold Ramis and his incredible cast, a marvelously motley bunch that included Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase. Naturally, the sequel brought back virtually no one who’d been involved the first time around, limiting the classic Caddyshack vibes to a supporting appearance from Chase and a new song from Kenny Loggins on the soundtrack. This might not have been such a bad thing if these crucial absences had been filled by the right people or a suitably funny storyline, but director Allan Arkush was presented with a cobbled-together script that virtually reprised the original and asked Jackie Mason to serve as a Dangerfield facsimile with Robert Stack as Knight’s proxy. Audiences saw through the flimsy carbon copy and so did critics; the result was, as Steven Rea wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “a sight not to behold.”
20th Century Fox had 190 million reasons for making a sequel to 2003’s Cheaper by the Dozen, but none of them had anything to do with unanswered questions or compelling plot lines left dangling in the story’s conclusion — as amply demonstrated throughout 2005’s Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which reunited much of the original cast (including Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the increasingly thankless roles of bumbling family patriarch and matriarch) in order to pit them against another comically outsized brood led by Eugene Levy and Carmen Electra. Audiences turned out again, but critics were unmoved. “Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is so incredibly bland and by the numbers it’s painful to watch,” seethed ComingSoon’s Joshua Starnes. “It’s just a collection of unfunny moments that are both uninteresting and annoying.”
Here is where we pause for a moment to consider the career trajectory of Cuba Gooding, Jr., whose Academy Award for Jerry Maguire was followed by appearances in a string of increasingly ill-advised duds that grew to include Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, and the Razzie-winning Radio — and reached its arguable nadir with 2007’s Daddy Day Camp. A sequel to 2003’s Eddie Murphy-led Daddy Day Care, only without Murphy or anyone else viewers might have remembered from that film, it was essentially an excuse to film 89 minutes of our beleaguered Oscar-winning hero mugging for the camera and/or getting whacked in the family jewels. “Never work with children or animals,” warned the BBC’s Jamie Russell. “Unless you’re a child or an animal, in which case, never work with Cuba Gooding, Jr.”
The original Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery as members of an immortal race who travel around the world chopping each other’s heads off, offered the sort of delightfully preposterous sci-fi/fantasy fun that only comes from hiring a legendary Scottish actor to play a character named Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez. Cult status naturally followed, making 1991’s Highlander II: The Quickening something of a foregone conclusion; alas, the scatterbrained script — which begins with Lambert’s character promising his dying wife that he’ll fix a hole in the ozone layer and only gets weirder and more convoluted from there — made these Highlander hijinks all but impossible to enjoy. “Highlander 2: The Quickening is the most hilariously incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day,” wrote Roger Ebert, deeming it “a movie almost awesome in its badness.”
Eight years after Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko started its journey to cult classic status, the story continued with S. Darko — a sequel that Kelly publicly informed fans he had absolutely nothing to do with. Without his singular vision dreaming up new narrative twists and turns, things turned out about as well as one might expect; although Daveigh Chase returned to reprise her role as Samantha Darko, the movie around her had trace amounts of the form and little of the function that propelled the original to midnight movie glory. “I love Donnie Darko. It is ominous, funny, replete with … well-observed moments,” wrote Jordan Hoffman for UGO. “S. Darko is a callous attempt to cash in on its well-earned appreciation.”
The poster’s tagline promised “the next generation of mischief,” but Son of the Mask was really just another feeble attempt by a studio to cash in on a hit movie by filming a sequel without the involvement of the original star. Part of the same glum tradition as such afternoon basic cable schedule-fillers as Smokey and the Bandit Part III, Curse of the Pink Panther, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, 2005’s Son of the Mask vainly attempts to wring madcap laughs out of a story involving a sad-sack cartoonist (Jamie Kennedy) who stumbles into possession of the same magical totem from The Mask and ends up siring a son who’s been gifted with the power of Loki. It’s all very silly without ever being funny — kind of like the notion that a sequel to The Mask would make money without Jim Carrey. “Sequels without their original stars are usually sent direct to video. Some deserve better,” observed Garth Franklin for Dark Horizons. “This isn’t one of those.”
It’s pretty much a given that the reviews for a sequel will be more unkind than those for its predecessor, but even in the context of the law of diminishing returns, Speed 2: Cruise Control is an appalling anomaly: its 3 percent Tomatometer stands in almost inverse opposition to the 93 percent that Speed earned in 1994. Of course, given that the original was a standalone story that did absolutely nothing to ask for a sequel (besides earning hundreds of millions of dollars), it stood to reason that critics and viewers would be less than excited by the prospect of another chapter — especially given that Speed star Keanu Reeves bowed out, leaving co-star Sandra Bullock to muddle her way through a thankless follow-up that put her and new male lead Jason Patric on a boat (instead of a bus) trying to foil madman Willem Dafoe (instead of Dennis Hopper). “Speed cost something like $30 million; this sequel cost four times as much,” pointed out the A.V. Club’s Stephen Thompson. “So why is it such a feeble, aimless piece of junk in comparison?”
There’s something almost noble about the way this belated and belabored follow-up to Saturday Night Fever came together — not only in the face of common sense and good taste, but well beyond the box-office run of the original and the shelf life of the musical trend that turned the soundtrack into such a sensation. All of which is to say that a Fever sequel in 1983 probably wouldn’t have been a big hit no matter what, but when you add into the equation Sylvester Stallone directing from a script he co-wrote, a storyline that does essentially nothing with main character Tony Manero (John Travolta), and a soundtrack album whose second side consists of songs written and/or recorded by Stallone’s brother Frank… well, you’ve got yourself one of the biggest, sweatiest dancefloor duds of the decade. “It all amounts,” wrote TV Guide’s Movie Guide, “to an embarrassing show of unrestrained, Hollywood-style egomania.”
How do you go from winning seven Academy Awards and racking up nearly $160 million (in 1973!) to getting universally dumped on by critics and eking out less than $7 million with your follow-up? Well, you can start by taking 10 years between movies, ditching the original’s stars, and basing the sequel on a script that — while written by the fellow responsible for the first installment — mistakes intricate wit for thick exposition and club-footed twists. Case in point: The Sting II, which attempted to recapture the magic of The Sting by subbing in Jackie Gleason and Mac Davis for Robert Redford and Paul Newman. That’s probably all anyone needs to say about this limp retread, but let us close by quoting a few words of backhanded praise from Radio Times’ Tom Hutchinson, who wrote, “Oliver Reed and Karl Malden are welcome presences, and Teri Garr is the winner on all feminine counts, but this isn’t enough to save it.”
Jon Voight is a very famous, highly respected actor, but he also has bills to pay, which may explain how he ended up alongside Scott Baio and Vanessa Angel playing second fiddle to a diaper-clad quartet in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. Then again, if you take Voight at his word, he chose the project because “When you look around the world, everybody’s really in a fearful state in some way, and kids are getting that, they’re getting that fear, and they need to be given a kind of empowerment in some sense” — but no, you know what? We prefer the “bills to pay” explanation. Either way, this alleged action comedy about an evil media mogul who’s out to kidnap four freakishly smart toddlers has gone down as one of the more shockingly awful stinkers to seep out of Hollywood in recent memory — as well as, sadly, the final effort from Porky’s director Bob Clark. “The first Baby Geniuses, released in 1999, was one of the most inane, humorless, ill-conceived, poorly acted comedies of the year,” wrote Jean Oppenheimer for the New Times. “As difficult as it is to imagine, the sequel is even worse.”
Finally, here’s a clip from one of the most infamous part twos of all time:
It takes a lot of satisfied cinemagoers to turn a movie
like Wild Hogs
into a $160 million smash. So why mess with formula?
Lawrence hits the road again in
College Road Trip,
his upcoming family comedy co-starring
Rotten Tomatoes’ has got your first look at the March 2008 release with
exclusive premiere trailer!
Always eager to don the uniform, Lawrence stars as a
police officer whose graduating daughter (Symone) is preparing to tour the
states in search of her perfect college. The problem? Lawrence is a teensy
overprotective of his daughter (he hangs out under her bed listening to her
conversations), while Symone is a freewheeling young’un who can’t stand daddy’s un-hip antics. Oh, snap!
The trailer nails down the cornerstones of modern family
comedy with its abundance of slapstick, Taser gags, some song-and-dance numbers,
and even a swift exploration of the squareness of argyle sweaters and white
for the trailer of
College Road Trip,
rolling into theaters this March.
Three new releases welcome in the new year this weekend, but moviegoers are likely to keep spending their cash on holiday holdovers.
Family audiences have the new toon "Happily N’Ever After," teens will be offered the drama "Freedom Writers," and the comedy crowd will have "Code Name: The Cleaner." Also, the sci-fi drama "Children of Men" expands across the country after a powerful debut last weekend in limited release. Early January is usually home to two kinds of films – weak pictures that can’t cut it during the competitive holiday season and acclaimed films expanding wider hoping for awards. This frame will see just that with current chart-topper "Night at the Museum" hoping for a third reign in the number one spot.
Kids who have had enough of digital penguins will have a chance to see a new animated film this weekend with Lionsgate’s "Happily N’Ever After." The PG-rated film tells the story of Fairy Tale World after Cinderella’s wicked stepmother takes charge. Sigourney Weaver, Andy Dick, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and hubby Freddie Prinze Jr. lend their voices. "After" has a funny premise and with "Shrek the Third" still four months away, some audiences may give this one a try for the time being. Last January, "Hoodwinked" posted some strong numbers playing to the same crowd and bowed to $16.9M over four days with a potent $7,051 average. "Happily" does not have the same marketing strength behind it plus it faces more competition. Last weekend, six films with G or PG ratings sold over $10M
worth of tickets over four days and even with heavy declines, there will be lots of choices for family audiences. Looking to attract the biggest opening among the three new films on Friday, "Happily N’Ever After" enters 2,381 theaters and may take in around $7M this weekend.
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank takes the Michelle Pfeiffer route and plays a teacher schooling a group of inner city kids in "Freedom Writers" from Paramount and MTV Films. Directed by writer-turned-director Richard LaGravenese, the PG-13 film also stars "Grey’s Anatomy" hunk Patrick Dempsey. Teens and urban youngsters will make up the core audience here as Swank’s mature adult following will likely pass on this role. The actress just doesn’t have the commercial chops to anchor a film like this on her own and the buzz is not loud enough for this to become the next "Dangerous Minds." Paramount is hoping that its push on MTV will help bring in the young vote, but the pic lacks the bang to make teens want to spend the bucks. Opening in about 1,200 theaters, "Freedom Writers" could debut with around $5M.
Also expected to put only a small dent into the box office this weekend is the comedy "Code Name: The Cleaner" starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu. Pairing black and Asian actors in an action comedy worked wonders for "Rush Hour," but here audiences will likely find the premise forced. Cedric plays a janitor who is duped into becoming an undercover agent and finds himself in the middle of an arms scandal. Both stars are great supporting players but neither has a track record of anchoring big hit films. Interested moviegoers will probably wait for the DVD. Look for the New Line release to also debut in the vicinity of $5M.
Expanding nationwide on Friday into 1,200 locations after a powerful limited bow is Universal’s futuristic drama "Children of Men." The Alfonso Cuaron-directed pic about the London of the future where no humans have been born in eighteen years stars Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine. The R-rated film debuted to $702,982 from only 16 theaters for a sensational four-day average of $43,936. Serious adult moviegoers are the target audience here so the studio’s own CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" will be the primary competitor. Reviews have been strong which will help. For the weekend, "Children of Men" could deliver roughly $7M.
Since the incoming line-up of films is not likely to do too much damage to the box office charts, it should be smooth sailing for "Night at the Museum" which looks to spend its third straight weekend at number one. "Happily N’Ever After" will take away a bit of the family crowd, but overall competition should not be too intense. Coming off of the holiday weekend, the Ben Stiller smash may drop 40% and collect $22M worth of tickets and push its stellar cume to $163M.
Will Smith‘s Golden Globe-nominated performance in "The Pursuit of Happyness" has kept moviegoers interested for three weeks. The Sony hit may slide 40% as well grossing $11.5M which would give the father-son venture $123M to date. "Dreamgirls" has been generating the best averages around since opening. Paramount could witness a 35% drop to around $9M for the frame and lift its cume to $55M.
LAST YEAR: Horror fans powered the new fright flick "Hostel" to the number one spot over the first weekend of 2006 with a $19.6M debut. The low budget Lionsgate hit went on to scare up $47.3M. Holdovers filled up the rest of the top five. "The Chronicles of Narnia" slipped to second with $15.6M followed by "King Kong" with $12.6M. The comedies "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" took up the next spots with $11.9M and $8.4M, respectively. The weekend’s two other new releases bombed miserably. Fox’s comedy "Grandma’s Boy" bowed to just $3M while the actioner "BloodRayne" barely made it into the Top 20 with $1.6M. Final grosses reached $6.1M and $2.4M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The final weekend of 2006 will see moviegoers catch up on a jam-packed slate of holiday leftovers as no new films open on Friday.
Look for the top ten to be filled with all the same movies as last weekend, although the award-winning musical "Dreamgirls" which opened nationally on Monday should climb higher on the charts in its first full weekend of wide release. With Christmas activites finished and New Year’s Eve celebrations only affecting late shows on Sunday night, ticket sales should be robust with most films seeing either small declines, or modest boosts in their four-day grosses.
Paramount and DreamWorks are enjoying their ride to the $100M mark with the critically acclaimed "Dreamgirls" which has just entered its second stage of release. The PG-13 musical began its run with an exclusive ten-day engagement in three theaters with $25 tickets that resulted in a lucrative $852,000. Then on Monday, the Jamie Foxx–Beyonce Knowles pic expanded into 852 locations across North America for the Christmas holiday. Moviegoers rushed out and spent $8.7M for a stunning one-day average of $10,242 per theater. Tuesday saw sales drop 34% to $5.8M which still led to a remarkable two-day start of $14.5M and $17,051 average.
Thanks to strong reviews, solid starpower, Oscar buzz, and five Golden Globe nominations, "Dreamgirls" looks ready to make an even bigger splash this weekend with the long four-day holiday weekend. With the 1960s storyline bringing in older adults and young stars like Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson attracting teens and younger adults, the Bill Condon-directed film is bringing in business from all sectors. Competition for the African-American crowd will continue to come from Will Smith‘s "The Pursuit of Happyness," but the extended holiday period is giving fans the time to eventually see both. Long-term strength looks promising too as Paramount will expand the pic on January 12 into more than 2,000 theaters for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. The expansion will also make the film easily accessible in all markets when Golden Globes are awarded on January 15. For the final weekend of the year, "Dreamgirls" may sing to the tune of about $22M and propel its cume to $47M with much more to come.
For those who are naughty and not nice, MGM offered up the horror remake "Black Christmas" on Monday. The R-rated pic about a killer who preys on a sorority house during the holidays bowed to a respectable $3.3M on Christmas Day and followed that up with a 46% drop on Tuesday to $1.8M for a two-day start of $5.1M from 1,258 theaters. Fright flicks usually do not do well at this time of year, but Wes Craven‘s "Scream" hits a decade ago made many studios wonder if they could also tap into riches when the target audience is on vacation and horror competition is low. "Black Christmas" should burn through much of its audience of high school and college kids during the week and have one last weekend of decent biz before fizzling away. A four-day tally of $7M could await giving the slasher flick $15M in eight days.
After directing the third "Harry Potter" extravaganza, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron returns to the screen with a much more mature film in "Children of Men." The futuristic drama takes place in London in 2029, eighteen years after the human race lost its ability to reproduce, and tells of a man who protects the only pregnant woman in existence. The R-rated drama starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine opened on Christmas Day with a powerful $180,000 from 16 theaters for a sensational $11,250 one-day average. Reviews have been strong for the Universal release which will add some more dates on Friday. "Children" has already grossed $32M overseas since its top spot debut in the U.K. in September and subsequent openings in Mexico, Europe, and other parts of the the world.
Also in limited release, Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, and Emily Watson star in "Miss Potter," a new biopic on the author of children’s book author Beatrix Potter. MGM is releasing this PG-rated film from Chris Noonan who has not directed a film since 1995’s "Babe." Zellweger nabbed a Globe nod in the Best Actress – Drama category.
Acclaimed actresses Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett both earned Golden Globe nods for their performances in "Notes on a Scandal" which Fox Searchlight platformed on Wednesday. Also opening is the R-rated fairy tale "Pan’s Labyrinth" from Spain which is a Globe nominee in the foreign language category. Directed by Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy," "Blade II"), the Picturehouse release bows on Friday and has already won other foreign lingo awards from various critics groups.
The wide releases are the ones that hope to give the holiday season a boost over last year. The top five films from the crucial November-December corridor, as of the end of Christmas weekend, have grossed a combined $574M which is a considerable 25% drop from the corresponding films of 2005 which had tallied $766M at this point.
The limited release newcomers won’t be making much of a dent on the national scene. Among wide releases, last week’s champ "Night at the Museum" should remain in the number one spot for a second weekend in a row with Ben Stiller welcoming in 2007. The Fox comedy’s powerful $42.2M four-day debut was better than expected and pulled in significant business from the non-family crowd. With fantastic midweek grosses and "Dreamgirls" being the only new element of competition this coming weekend, "Museum" should easily continue as the most popular attraction. The PG-rated comedy followed up its stellar Xmas frame with a hefty $13.5M haul on Tuesday and hopes to get close to the $80M mark by the end of its first full week in theaters. The four-day New Year’s weekend could bring a gross of around $40M which would give the effects-driven pic a towering $120M after only 11 days.
Will Smith will try to hold onto the number two spot and fend off what should be a strong challenge from "Dreamgirls." "The Pursuit of Happyness" was bumped down to number three on Christmas Day thanks to the national opening of the acclaimed musical, but rose back up to the runnerup spot on Tuesday with $7.1M beating the $5.8M of "Dreamgirls." "Pursuit" raked in $68M in its first dozen days and will try to smash the century mark by the end of the holiday frame. Jamie Foxx and company will, however, provide some direct competition for African-American patrons. Feel-good movies should still be in demand so Smith could find himself with about $25M this weekend for "The Pursuit of Happyness" which would boost the cume to $106M.
In its first full week of release, Sylvester Stallone‘s underdog hit "Rocky Balboa" has punched up a solid $31.2M for MGM defying all odds. The PG-rated drama saw its biggest gross on its opening day last Wednesday as the built-in fan base came out early, but it still has been posting solid daily numbers of around $4-5M ever since. This weekend, "Rocky Balboa" might score another $16M over four days and see its winnings climb to $55M.
Universal has counterprogrammed all the feel-good family-friendly films with its espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" and has been banking some respectable numbers. With $18.3M in its first five days from just over 2,200 theaters, the Matt Damon–Angelina Jolie drama has been holding its own as the adult alternative for serious moviegoers. A $13M gross over four days could await "The Good Shepherd" which would raise its sum to a decent but not spectacular $38M after 11 days.
LAST YEAR: The New Year’s frame looked suspiciously like the Christmas one with the notable musical chairs played by the top two pics. Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" reclaimed the number one spot in its fourth weekend grossing $33.7M over four days inching up 6% from the prior session. After two weeks on top, Universal’s "King Kong" settled for second place and took in a four-day tally of $31.8M which was off 4% from the Santa frame. The combined cumes by the end of the weekend totaled a mammoth $401M. The two comedies that opened in third and fourth remained in their respective spots. Jim Carrey‘s "Fun With Dick and Jane" slipped 2% to $21M while Steve Martin‘s kidpic sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" climbed 23% to $18.9M. Rounding out the top five was Jennifer Aniston‘s "Rumor Has It" which collected $11.8M over four days in its first full weekend of release. It bowed on Christmas Day which fell on the previous Sunday. Moviegoers spent a staggering $188.8M on the Top 20 over four days to close out the 2005 movie year.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Moviegoers will have plenty to choose from over the long Christmas holiday weekend as four new star-driven wide releases hit the marketplace adding to an already crowded marquee.
The Ben Stiller fantasy pic "Night at the Museum" leads the way as the frame’s only new comedy while the Matthew McConaughey football drama "We Are Marshall" offers an inspirational story based on true events. Meanwhile, a pair of Italian Stallions hop into the director’s chair as Sylvester Stallone‘s boxing drama "Rocky Balboa" and Robert De Niro‘s espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" offer even more choices to holiday moviegoers. As is typical of this time of year, Christmas Eve will hurt the box office on Sunday as last-minute shopping and early theater closings will take their toll. But the Monday holiday will see a major recovery since Christmas Day brings forth a surge in traffic to the multiplexes.
Blasting into nearly 3,700 theaters including 72 Imax venues is the comedy "Night at the Museum" which finds Ben Stiller playing the new night watchman at New York’s Museum of Natural History where all the artifacts and statues come to life each night. Director Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen," "The Pink Panther") leaves behind Steve Martin to work with a younger funnyman and more special effects. The PG-rated film is aiming for broad audiences hoping to bring in entire families looking for a fun time this holiday season. "Museum" also plans to score with teens and young adults as the only major comedy option for them. With "The Holiday" being the only other laugher in the top ten to register with that lucrative group, look for a solid response.
Stiller brings considerable starpower to the film but he also gets backup from comedians like Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Dick Van Dyke. Plus with the prestigious ‘and’ credit already claimed by Williams, Owen Wilson takes a sizable supporting role but is so cool that he is nowhere to be found in the credits at all. Audiences want happy and funny films during the Christmas holidays and "Night at the Museum" should post muscular numbers thanks to its starpower, lack of comedy competition, mild rating, and formidable marketing and distribution push. Fox looks to close up the books on 2006 by taking over the number one spot this weekend. Attacking 3,688 locations, "Night at the Museum" could debut to about $34M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday period.
Sylvester Stallone brings the eye of the tiger back to the multiplexes one last time in "Rocky Balboa" which got a jumpstart on the holiday weekend with its Wednesday launch. The MGM release brings the iconic boxer back to the screen in what is supposedly the end of the franchise with Stallone back in the saddle as writer and director. In this tale, Rocky is brought back into the ring when media hype prompts fans to wonder who the best boxer is of all time. The underdog story on screen mirrored the one within industry circles. How could a franchise that died 16 years ago with the poorly-received "Rocky V" find its way back into the hearts of today’s moviegoers. MGM and the "Judge Dredd" star moved forward. Today, they proudly claim one of the best reviewed films of the Christmas season and the Wednesday bow is being counted on to get die-hard fans out early so they can spread positive buzz at work and in school going into the lucrative yet overcrowded weekend period.
With so many other films in the marketplace, and plenty with PG or G ratings aimed at luring in full families, "Rocky Balboa" will have to take its time at the box office as many moviegoers may need some convincing before spending money on the followup to the Tommy Gunn flick. Older adults are the ones who remember the excitement of the franchise, but the studio is hoping they could bring their kids with them for an uplifting tale that makes you feel good inside. "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "We Are Marshall" will be direct competitors in the feel-good genre and the latter will steal away many sports fans too. "Balboa" will have to rely on nostalgia and good word-of-mouth to carry it through round after round. Already playing in 2,752 theaters and adding more locations on Friday, "Rocky Balboa" may gross about $16M over four days and around $21M over six days.
For football fans this holiday weekend, Warner Bros. trots out another pigskin drama with "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, and David Strathairn. The PG-rated film tells the true story of the football program at Marshall University in West Virginia which had to be rebuilt from scratch after a plane crash killed most of the players and coaches. Hollywood seems to have an endless line-up of sports dramas these days and since most of them become commercial successes, it’s no wonder that they keep getting churned out. Just a few months ago, moviegoers powered the football flicks "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang" to the number one spot with bows of $17M and $14.4M, respectively. "Marshall" should play to much of the same audience and with its underdog feel-good story, the time of year will help since people are in the mood for that type of emotion.
Reviews have not been too good, but that should not matter much. "We Are Marshall" is meant for sports fans and those who love stories about overcoming adversity, regardless of how predictable they may be. Sales from the heartland should be solid and with the tame rating, entire families can come out together. Plus McConaughey is a reliable draw at the box office and is believable as a quirky football coach. Still, competition will be strong and coming from all directions so a blowout will not be possible. Opening in 2,606 theaters, "We Are Marshall" could score about $14M over the Friday-to-Monday frame.
Countering the parade of PG flicks is the R-rated CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" directed by Robert De Niro. The Universal release stars Matt Damon as Edward Wilson, a loyal government agent who helped to create the agency during the Cold War. Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, John Turturro, and De Niro also star. "Shepherd" boasts solid starpower which could help the film have broad appeal. The subject matter appeals to the 30+ crowd, but Damon and Jolie should help to pull in twentysomethings. Teens and ethnic audiences will have minimal interest. Critics have been mixed on the film which could impact the overall turnout.
The last few months have not been kind to star-driven period dramas aimed at adult audiences. Pictures like "Hollywoodland," "All the King’s Men," and "Bobby" have all struggled to find paying audiences with none reaching the $15M mark in total sales. "Shepherd’s" cast is what will allow it to rise above those failures. But the fight for the attention and time of mature adults will be fierce and a running time of nearly three hours will allow for one less showtime per day on every screen further cutting into its commercial potential. Infiltrating 2,217 locations, "The Good Shepherd" might capture around $13M over four days.
With the calendar year coming to a close, things continue to get crowded in the specialty arena this weekend. Clint Eastwood‘s award-winning war drama "Letters From Iwo Jima" debuted on Wednesday in limited release ahead of a January expansion similar to what Warner Bros. did two years ago with the director’s "Million Dollar Baby" which went on to reign at the Oscars. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star in the period romance "The Painted Veil" from Warner Independent which also platformed on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles. Thursday brings the limited launches of Miramax’s "Venus" starring Golden Globe nominee Peter O’Toole and the Chinese period drama "Curse of the Golden Flower" from Sony Classics which stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat.
Last weekend, Will Smith scored a number one hit with "The Pursuit of Happyness" which continues to please audiences. Overall moviegoing should increase over the holiday weekend, but more choices for adult audiences will give Sony some competition. "Pursuit’s" four-day take could drop 25% from its three-day debut gross giving the film about $20M and a cume of $58M after 11 days.
As a sci-fi actioner, Fox’s "Eragon" is likely to see one of the largest drops in the top ten. The dragon adventure might fall by 35% to around $15M over the four-day session leaving the studio with $46M.
Kidpics score big points over Christmas so "Charlotte’s Web" might see many of those fans who skipped out last weekend actually show up this time. The Paramount release’s four-day tally may slip 10% from its three-day bow and bring in roughly $10M. That would give the family film a total of $27M after 11 days.
LAST YEAR: With Christmas falling on a Sunday, the observed holiday on Monday gave the box office an expanded four-day holiday frame allowing the mega holdovers to repeat atop the charts. "King Kong" spent its second weekend at number one and grossed $33.3M over four days and was closely followed by "The Chronicles of Narnia" with $31.7M in its third adventure. The combined haul for the pair soared to $285M with much more still to come. Newcomers rounded out the top five with Jim Carrey defeating Steve Martin in the battle of the comedies. Sony’s "Fun With Dick and Jane" opened in third with $21.5M over four days while Fox’s sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" settled for fourth with $15.3M. Final tallies reached $110.3M and $82.6M, respectively. Sony also claimed fifth with "Memoirs of a Geisha" which expanded nationally and took in $10.2M over the long weekend. Also opening were Fox Searchlight’s Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer" with $7.7M over four days, the Jennifer Aniston pic "Rumor Has It" with $7.5M in two days for Warner Bros., and Universal’s "Munich" with $6M in four days. The films went on to reach $35.4M, $43M, and $47.4M respectively. The debuting horror pic "Wolf Creek" opened outside the top ten with $4.9M in two days on its way to $16.2M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got snakes…. on a plane ("Snakes on a Plane," starring Samuel L. Jackson), slackers on a campus ("Accepted," starring Justin Long), and Duffs on the screen ("Material Girls," starring Hilary and Haylie Duff). What do the critics have to say?
"Snakes on a Plane," the movie with the greatest title since "Dude, Where’s My Car?", has captured the imagination of the blogosphere. However, it will have to wait to capture the imagination of the critics, since it wasn’t screened in advance. The plot involves an FBI agent (Samuel L. Jackson) who, golly, would really like to expel those ophidians from the aircraft upon which he’s traveling. Since "SOAP" (as the fanboys and girls call it) has no reviews, we’re going to play our favorite game: Guess the @#&$*$ 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)
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.
Lions Gate’s "Hostel," which was produced for less than 5 million clams, had a pretty spectacular opening weekend at the box office, bringing in an estimated $20.1 million from about 2,200 theaters. "Hostel" drew similar numbers to last year’s "White Noise," but had a tougher climb because A) it’s rated R, and B) it’s not as stupid.
Second and third place went to two multiplex juggernauts: Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" tucked an additional $15.4 million into its $247.5 million collection plate, while Universal’s "King Kong" stuffed another $12.4 million into its $192.2 million banana patch.
The top five was rounded out by another pair of hang-arounders: Sony’s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $12.2 million ($81.3 million total) and Fox’s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" raked in another $8.3 million ($66.4 million total).
Debuting (hilariously) in 13th and 19th place, respectively, were Fox’s "Grandma’s Boy" ($2.9 million from 2,000 theaters) and Romar’s "BloodRayne" ($1.2 million from 985 theaters). Expect both to be on DVD in time for tax day.
For a closer look at the weekend numbers, please do stop on by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.
The four-day estimates for New Year’s Weekend (12/30 to 1/2) are in, and it seems that Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" has snatched the #1 spot back from "King Kong," if only by the slimmest of margins.
The "Chronicles" pulled in an estimated $32.8 million over the four-day frame, giving it a pretty impressive grand total of $224.8 million. Close in the Narinaical footsteps was the massive primate known as "King Kong," which made about $31.5 million in the same time-frame, giving Peter Jackson‘s epic adventure tale a total of $174.3 million to date.
Third, fourth, and fifth place went to a trio of late-season comedies: Jim Carrey‘s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $21 miliion ($64.5m total), Steve Martin‘s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" did $19.3 million ($55.1m total), and Jennifer Aniston‘s "Rumor Has It…" settled for $11.6 million ($26.7m total).
The first weekend of 2006 sees the release of some wildly varying little flicks. Uwe Boll‘s "BloodRayne," Eli Roth‘s "Hostel," and the stoner comedy "Grandma’s Boy" will battle for a piece of the early-January box office pie.
As always, you can check out some more numbers at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page. (And Happy New Year to all!)
What is "Fun With Dick and Jane?" Is it slapstick? Satire? Social commentary? Dark comedy? Is it… fun? To the last question, the critics have an answer: sometimes, but not often enough. This remake, starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, updates the 1977 Jane Fonda/George Segal comedy about two yuppies who steal to regain their riches. The plot is updated for the Enron era, and it also adds a scene with Mr. Carrey in a ninja costume. Yes, wacky Jim Carrey is back, but the scribes say "Fun’s" tone is too much of a muddle to really hit any of its targets. At 33 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s a pretty plain "Jane." And it’s Carrey’s worst-reviewed film since "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," which scored 26 percent.
The Baker family is back in "Cheaper By the Dozen 2." Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff and Eugene Levy star. There are lots of family hi-jinks. Despite some mild conflict, everyone loves one another. The first one made tons of money. The critics are pretty united in their disdain for "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," a film that, at 11 percent on the Tomatometer, is a point short of a dozen itself. It’s also substantially below the first "Cheaper," which scored two dozen on the Tomatometer.
Recent Jim Carrey Movies
71% — Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
93% — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
50% — Bruce Almighty (2003)
42% — The Majestic (2001)
51% — How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
OK, so "King Kong" didn’t exactly storm out of the gates following its release last Wednesday, but the lovestruck gorilla enjoyed a rather impressive 3-day weekend all the same. The monkey’s mega-movie grabbed just over $50 million over the weekend, giving it a total tally of $66.2 million from over 3,500 screens.
Variety‘s Ben Fritz sums up the Kong-quest rather nicely: "The big ape is already catching a second wind.
Swinging to a respectable weekend after a weaker-than-expected start on Wednesday, "King Kong" grossed $50.1 million Friday-Sunday; five-day cume was $66.2 million. "King Kong" averaged $14,055 per play at 3,568 locations.
Universal is pinning its hopes on "Kong’s" strongest stat: a 40% jump from Friday to Saturday. That’s significantly better than any of the "Lord of the Rings" pics, all of which also opened Wednesday a week before Christmas.
"This movie is setting its own pattern," asserted Marc Shmuger, U vice chairman in charge of worldwide marketing and distribution. "It’s a new one for those of us in the business and who study it. Who knows where it could go?""
Pulling in at second place, with a pretty impressive $31.1m second weekend, is Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which has now earned $112.5m from the moviegoers. Third place went to the newly-arrived ensemble comedy "The Family Stone," which netted $12.7m from 2,400 theaters.
Next week sees the arrival of five new wide releases: "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" on Wednesday, "The Ringer" on Friday, and "Rumor Has It" and "Wolf Creek" on Sunday … which means there will be a little for something for everyone at the multiplexes.
As always, you can check out a closer look at the weekend numbers by visiting the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.
If you want the newest and most up-to-date MPAA ratings, release date changes, and theater counts, you probably already know that Filmjerk.com is the place to visit every Sunday. This week brings a delay for Aniston & Vaughn’s "Break Up," a release date for some "Dark Materials," and the news on Larry Clark’s latest ick-fest.
"Dave Chappelle’s Block Party" (Rogue Pictures): The part-concert film/part sketch comedy movie from the one-time king of Comedy Central will open March 3.
"Flicka" (Twentieth Century Fox): The horse drama remake has been pushed back from February 17 to July 28.
"His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass" (New Line Cinema): The first adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy will hit cinema screens on December 7, 2007.
The Untitled Sarah Michelle Gellar Supernatural Thriller (Focus Features): It might not have a title just yet, but the latest film from the one-time vampire slayer will open in theatres September 1.
For a lot more info just like the stuff above, feel free to visit Filmjerk.com’s Early Report, and be sure to stop back every weekend.
As if you didn’t see this sequel coming. Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, and Hilary Duff will reunite this Christmas for "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," as directed by Adam Shankman. Oh, and you can see the trailer right here.
"The Baker family goes on vacation, which turns into a head-to-head competition with a rival neighborhood family of eight children." There’s your plot. And let’s not forget that Eugene Levy is now on board, as the dad who’s most likely a broadly obnoxious comedy villain.
"Cheaper By the Dozen 2" hits theaters on December 21st, while the also kid-laden remake of "Yours, Mine and Ours" debuts in multiplexes on November 23rd. Whichever flick you pick, I suggest packing a few aspirins.
What’s a dance choreographer to do after he graduates to the realm of Profitable Director? Why, he goes back to choreography again, which is precisely what Adam Shankman will be doing for New Line’s "Hairspray."
Mr. Shankman, the auteur behind such seminal classics as "The Wedding Planner," "Bringing Down the House," "The Pacifier," and the impending "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," has been tapped to direct (AND choreograph) "Hairspray," which is based on a Broadway show that was based on John Waters‘ flick from 1988.
According to Variety, "Shankman…will begin working immediately with screenwriter Leslie Dixon and lyricist-composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the Tony-winning team that wrote the "Hairspray" score. Production will begin early next year in Baltimore, for a summer 2007 release.
Casting will now begin in earnest. John Travolta is expected to play Edna Turnblad, the role Harvey Fierstein originated onstage. The involvement of Shankman, who directed "Bringing Down the House," makes Queen Latifah an instant front-runner for the role of Motormouth Maybelle.
Shankman fills a vacancy created when original choreographer Jerry Mitchell and stage director Jack O’Brien bowed out as the pic’s co-directors."