Tommy Boy

(Photo by Paramount Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Brian Dennehy Movies Ranked

Brian Dennehy’s film debut was in the Burt Reynolds sports comedy Semi-Tough, a fitting start for a former university football player. His imposing size fit him well in bruising, enforcer-type roles, like in Sylvester Stallone’s F.I.S.T., with character names like Big Tom (Tommy Boy) and Big Dave (The Stars Fell on Henrietta). It was Dennehy’s second collaboration with Stallone that put him on the national stage: First Blood, playing relentless Sheriff Will Teasle, who torments John Rambo to the breaking point.

And he would memorably play another sheriff in the western Silverado. Dennehy would frequently be on the side of the law, with police roles in Gorky Park, F/X, and the Assault on Precinct 13 remake. But Dennehy’s enormous range and distinct everyman quality kept him from being typecast, along with strong theater work to rely on and hone his craft. (He won two Tony awards, including one for his Broadway performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman in the late ’90s.) You can see his lighter side in Ron Howard’s sci-fi dramedy Cocoon, and when playing Chris Farley’s dad in Tommy Boy.

More career highlights include playing the shifty DA opposite Harrison Ford in Presumed Innocent, performing live in the network broadcast of Fail Safe with George Clooney and a whole slew of other caliber actors, and voicing Remy’s father in Pixar’s Ratatouille. In his final decade of work, Dennehy collaborated with Terence Malick on Knight of Cups, appeared in the pleasing Chekhov adaptation The Seagull, and bridged the generation gap in Andrew Ahn’s second feature, the tender Driveways.

#1

Never Cry Wolf (1983)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 101801%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Research scientist Tyler (Charles Martin Smith) is sent to the desolate Canadian tundra to find out whether the local wolf... [More]
Directed By: Carroll Ballard

#2

Driveways (2019)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102786%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet powerful, Driveways is a character study anchored in fundamental decency -- and a poignant farewell to Brian Dennehy.
Synopsis: A lonely boy goes with his mother to help clean out his late aunt's house.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Ahn

#3

Fail Safe (2000)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 22155%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the 1960s, a computer error in Nebraska unwittingly sets off a perilous chain of events leading to a Cold... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#4

Ratatouille (2007)
96%

#4
Adjusted Score: 106016%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced and stunningly animated, Ratatouille adds another delightfully entertaining entry -- and a rather unlikely hero -- to the Pixar canon.
Synopsis: Remy (Patton Oswalt), a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#5

Semi-Tough (1977)
82%

#5
Adjusted Score: 81227%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Billy Clyde Puckett (Burt Reynolds) and Marvin "Shake" Tiller (Kris Kristofferson) are professional football players who share a lush Miami... [More]
Directed By: Michael Ritchie

#6

F/X (1986)
88%

#6
Adjusted Score: 89832%
Critics Consensus: Smart, twisty, and perfectly cast, the effects-assisted neo-noir F/X reminds viewers that a well-told story is the most special effect of all.
Synopsis: Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) is a special-effects expert for low-budget Hollywood movies. As gangster Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach) prepares to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Mandel

#7

First Blood (1982)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 87664%
Critics Consensus: Much darker and more sensitive than the sequels it spawned, First Blood is a thrilling survival adventure that takes full advantage of Sylvester Stallone's acting skills.
Synopsis: Vietnam veteran and drifter John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanders into a small Washington town in search of an old... [More]
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 90112%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to an outstanding script, focused direction by Alan Pakula, and a riveting performance from Harrison Ford, Presumed Innocent is the kind of effective courtroom thriller most others aspire to be.
Synopsis: Prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns his chief deputy, the taciturn Rusty Sabitch (Harrison Ford), to investigate the rape... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 48656%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unhappily married steelworker (Gene Hackman) turns 50 and sees a chance for a whole new life with a barmaid... [More]
Directed By: Bud Yorkin

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 84249%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Stourley Kracklite (Brian Dennehy), a driven, detail-obsessed architect, travels from America to Rome with his much younger wife, Louisa (Chloe... [More]
Directed By: Peter Greenaway

#11

Cocoon (1985)
74%

#11
Adjusted Score: 76022%
Critics Consensus: Though it may be too sentimental for some, Ron Howard's supernatural tale of eternal youth is gentle and heartwarming, touching on poignant issues of age in the process.
Synopsis: Oscar-winning fantasy in which the residents of a Florida rest home get a new lease of life when they stumble... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#12

Silverado (1985)
76%

#12
Adjusted Score: 78314%
Critics Consensus: Boasting rich detail and well-told story, Silverado is a rare example of an '80s Hollywood Western done right.
Synopsis: Rambling man Emmett (Scott Glenn) assembles a group of misfit cowboys (Kevin Costner), (Kevin Kline, Danny Glover). After helping a... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#13

Gorky Park (1983)
78%

#13
Adjusted Score: 78826%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Soviet detective Arkady Renko (William Hurt) uncovers a vast network of deceit and intrigue when he investigates a triple murder... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#14

F.I.S.T. (1978)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 72273%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) works in a warehouse and grows tired of the unfair policies in place, leading him to... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#15

Foul Play (1978)
74%

#15
Adjusted Score: 76123%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Librarian Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) leads a relatively uneventful life. When she looks to shake things up, she somehow winds... [More]
Directed By: Colin Higgins

#16

Best Seller (1987)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 73440%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Police detective and successful author Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) has not been able to write since his wife's death and... [More]
Directed By: John Flynn

#17
Adjusted Score: 76797%
Critics Consensus: Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.
Synopsis: Baz Luhrmann helped adapt this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a post-modern city named... [More]
Directed By: Baz Luhrmann

#18

The Seagull (2018)
67%

#18
Adjusted Score: 74095%
Critics Consensus: The latest iteration of The Seagull does little to distinguish itself from other Chekhov adaptations but provides a pleasing showcase for its sterling cast.
Synopsis: At a picturesque lakeside estate, a love triangle unfolds between the diva Irina, her lover Boris, and the ingenue Nina.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mayer

#19

10 (1979)
68%

#19
Adjusted Score: 69545%
Critics Consensus: Blake Edwards' bawdy comedy may not score a perfect 10, but Dudley Moore's self-deprecating performance makes this midlife crisis persistently funny.
Synopsis: A successful, middle-aged Hollywood songwriter falls hopelessly in love with the woman of his dreams, and even follows the girl... [More]
Directed By: Blake Edwards

#20

3 Days With Dad (2019)
64%

#20
Adjusted Score: 58787%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of a Roman Catholic family prepare for the death of their father.... [More]
Directed By: Larry Clarke

#21

Miles From Home (1988)
60%

#21
Adjusted Score: 26853%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After creditors make it clear they intend to foreclose on the family farm of Frank (Richard Gere) and Terry Roberts... [More]
Directed By: Gary Sinise

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 65419%
Critics Consensus: This remake has been praised by some as an expertly made B-movie, and dismissed by others as formulaic.
Synopsis: While en route to prison, a bus carrying criminals Marion (Laurence Fishburne), Beck (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Anna (Aisha Hinds)... [More]
Directed By: Jean Richet

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 56174%
Critics Consensus: Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks give it their all, but their solid performances aren't quite enough to compensate for The Next Three Days' uneven pace and implausible plot.
Synopsis: Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#24
Adjusted Score: 22756%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During the Great Depression, Mr. Cox (Robert Duvall) is a talented oil prospector who's yet to strike it rich. During... [More]
Directed By: James Keach

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 48249%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An awkward teen (Dustin Ingram) makes a road trip to see his favorite porn star (Kim Cattrall) in person and... [More]
Directed By: Keith Bearden

#26

Knight of Cups (2015)
47%

#26
Adjusted Score: 57170%
Critics Consensus: Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#27

Legal Eagles (1986)
44%

#27
Adjusted Score: 43735%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah) is arrested for stealing artwork painted by her deceased father, and sympathetic attorney Laura Kelly (Debra... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman

#28

Tommy Boy (1995)
42%

#28
Adjusted Score: 43340%
Critics Consensus: Though it benefits from the comic charms of its two leads, Tommy Boy too often feels like a familiar sketch stretched thin.
Synopsis: After his beloved father (Brian Dennehy) dies, dimwitted Tommy Callahan (Chris Farley) inherits a near-bankrupt automobile parts factory in Sandusky,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Segal

#29

Everyone's Hero (2006)
42%

#29
Adjusted Score: 44287%
Critics Consensus: Everyone's Hero is such a predictable and bland tale that it'll appeal mostly to little kids; others seeking something in Pixar's league are looking in the wrong ballpark.
Synopsis: A boy (Jake T. Austin) comes to a turning point in his life when he faces a critical decision: Should... [More]

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 43120%
Critics Consensus: The Song of Sway Lake benefits from alluring, evocative atmosphere, although it isn't always enough to compensate for a shaggy narrative and overall lack of focus.
Synopsis: After his father's suicide, a young record collector and his friend go to his family's lake house to claim a... [More]
Directed By: Ari Gold

#31

The Big Year (2011)
42%

#31
Adjusted Score: 44437%
Critics Consensus: Though made with care and affection for its characters, The Big Year plods along, rarely reaching any comedic heights.
Synopsis: Three men find that they have come to a turning point. Stu (Steve Martin) faces a late-life crisis, Kenny (Owen... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#32
Adjusted Score: 20155%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Prequel to the 1969 western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in which a gang of bank robbers arrive in... [More]
Directed By: Richard Lester

#33

FX2 (1991)
41%

#33
Adjusted Score: 41522%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Former movie special effects expert Rollie Tyler (Bryan Brown) has now become a maker of elaborate toys. When a police... [More]
Directed By: Richard Franklin

#34

Stolen Summer (2002)
36%

#34
Adjusted Score: 37201%
Critics Consensus: Stolen Summer feels like a sugary after-school special stretched out to feature length.
Synopsis: "Stolen Summer" chronicles the friendship of Pete O'Malley (Adi Stein) and Danny Jacobsen (Michael Weinberg). Most third graders spend their... [More]
Directed By: Pete Jones

#35

Every Day (2010)
34%

#35
Adjusted Score: 34377%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A TV writer (Liev Schreiber) grapples with a wave of personal and professional crises, including his wife's meltdown and a... [More]
Directed By: Richard Levine

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 33074%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Five years after the first "Cocoon," the friendly aliens from the planet Anterea return to Earth to rescue some incubation... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Petrie

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 34877%
Critics Consensus: Though The Ultimate Gift avoids religious speechifying like other Fox Faith films, it's dramatically inert with flat direction.
Synopsis: Jason Stevens (Drew Fuller) lives a life of wealth and privilege. When his grandfather (James Garner) dies, Jason expects to... [More]
Directed By: Michael O. Sajbel

#38

Gladiator (1992)
31%

#38
Adjusted Score: 17281%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After whipping a rival in a brawl, Chicago teen Tommy Riley (James Marshall) is asked to box in the illegal... [More]
Directed By: Rowdy Herrington

#39

She Hate Me (2004)
19%

#39
Adjusted Score: 22256%
Critics Consensus: She Hate Me can't decide if it wants to be a commentary on corporate greed or a sex farce.
Synopsis: Fired from his corporate job, a man (Anthony Mackie) agrees to impregnate his ex-fiancee (Kerry Washington) and a slew of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#40

10th and Wolf (2006)
19%

#40
Adjusted Score: 18286%
Critics Consensus: A scattered mob movie that employs every mafia cliche and fails to establish an identity of its own.
Synopsis: While serving in the military, a Marine sergeant (James Marsden) believes his family's ties to organized crime are a thing... [More]
Directed By: Bobby Moresco

#41

Righteous Kill (2008)
18%

#41
Adjusted Score: 23591%
Critics Consensus: Al Pacino and Robert De Niro do their best to elevate this dowdy genre exercise, but even these two greats can't resuscitate the film's hackneyed script.
Synopsis: Detectives Thomas Cowan (Robert De Niro) and David Fisk (Al Pacino), 30-year veterans of the NYPD, investigate the murder of... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet

#42

Summer Catch (2001)
8%

#42
Adjusted Score: 10082%
Critics Consensus: A cliched and predictable sports comedy that's mostly devoid of excitement or laughs, Summer Catch is strictly bush-league.
Synopsis: A coming-of-age romantic comedy set against the backdrop of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Local boy Ryan Dunne (Freddie Prinze... [More]
Directed By: Michael Tollin

It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means. New DVD releases! This week we have 2007’s Best Foreign Oscar winner The Lives of Others, a Serenity Collector’s Edition, and other good bets. Read on to see what’s hot (and what’s not) this week in stores.


The Lives of Others (Sony)


Tomatometer: 95%

If you’re in the mood for a smart, tense drama, you could do much worse than 2007’s best Foreign Oscar winner, The Lives of Others. Yeah, it’s in German, but reading subtitles is a small price to pay for good entertainment these days. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s tale of an East German surveillance operator and the playwright he’s charged to monitor earned an impressive 95 percent on the Tomatometer, making it this week’s best-reviewed new release.


R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet Chapters 13-22 (Jive)


Tomatometer: N/A

Have you been anxiously awaiting the latest installment of R. Kelly‘s infamous hip-hopera as much as we have? Well, wait no longer — Chapters 13 to 22 of the genre-defying Trapped in the Closet serial are now yours for the taking. Kelly’s bizarre music video saga defies description, so suffice to say that Chapters 1 through 12 involved a host of interconnected characters (many of which are played by Kelly himself), lots of extramarital intrigue, guns, cherry pies, and a midget (“…midget…midget…”), all produced and co-directed by (guess who?) Kelly. Did I mention he was Grammy-nominated for the first five chapters? We can’t wait to see what melodramatic delights are in store for us next.


House of Games (Criterion)


Tomatometer: 96%

Fans of writer David Mamet‘s critically-acclaimed directing debut, rejoice! House of Games is getting the Criterion treatment. The 1987 psychological thriller stars Lindsay Crouse as an ice-cold shrink and Joe Mantegna as a devious con man, between whom a dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds. The folks over at Criterion have a host of special features, including interviews with Crouse and Mantegna, audio commentary with Mamet and co-star (and card magician extraordinaire) Ricky Jay, and a behind the scenes doc filmed during the original production.


Robocop 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (MGM)

Tomatometer: 85%

Add this one to the Must-Have list. This version of what’s arguably one of director Paul Verhoeven‘s best efforts boasts two discs full of extended cuts and special features, all in an impenetrable steel case. Well, maybe it’s not impenetrable, but it’ll look awesome on your DVD shelf! Bonus features include a commentary track by Verhoeven, writer Ed Neumeier and exec producer Jon Davison; four deleted scenes; cast, crew, behind-the-scenes, and design photo galleries; storyboard commentary by special effects whiz Phil Tippett; the extended widescreen cut of the film; and loads more featurettes. Grab this unrated collector’s edition and have yourself a RoboParty.


Serenity Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios)


Tomatometer: 81%

Firefly fans waited with bated breath for the feature-length Serenity to come out in 2005, and bought the first DVD edition in droves. So why give this new Collector’s Edition a look, when many of the special features were available on the first? Two discs, new bonus features, and gorgeous layered packaging, that’s why! Hardcore browncoats and sci-fi fantasy enthusiasts should enjoy features like the “Take A Walk on Serenity” set tour, the “Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity” retrospective, and Joss Whedon‘s account of adapting Firefly from TV-to-film in “A Filmmaker’s Journey,” but they’ll really love the “Session 416” internet episodes and an all-new commentary track by Whedon, and his stars Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass.


Other Safe Bets This Week

Broken English

Tomatometer: 63%

Parker Posey stars as a thirtysomething woman looking desperately for love in this serio-romantic comedy, directed by Zoe Cassavetes.

South Park — The Complete Tenth Season

Tomatometer: N/A

The foul-mouthed little boys of South Park invade home theaters with Season 10, taking cracks at the Nintendo Wii, World of Warcraft, and Family Guy.


Ugly Betty — The Complete First Season

Tomatometer: N/A

ABC’s award-winning serio-comedy about the world’s mousiest personal assistant (America Ferrera) and the cutthroat “beautiful” people at the fashion magazine she works at is now out on DVD.


Rob Zombie 3-Disc Collector’s Set

Tomatometer: N/A

It’s a three-fer for you horror hounds — Rob Zombie‘s House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and 30 Days in Hell – The Making of the Devil’s Rejects.


Michael Haneke Collection

Tomatometer: N/A

This collection gathers four films from the Austrian director’s career — The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, and Funny Games — for an alternative to the usual Hollywood offerings.


Toho Triple Feature

Tomatometer: N/A

It’s a 1960s science fiction spectacular! Japan’s Toho Studios bring you not one, not two, but three creature features from the golden age of monster movies and the land of Godzilla: Varan the Unbelievable, The Mysterians, and Matango: The Curse of the Mushroom People!

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…


Redline

Tomatometer: 0%

This independently financed actioner cost a reported $26 million to make, smashed countless priceless sports cars during production (including the Enzo Ferrari crashed by star Eddie Griffin during a promotional event) and bombed at the box office. Of the 23 critics who reviewed it, guess how many recommend Redline? That’s right. Zero.


Perfect Stranger

Tomatometer: 10%

Faring ever so slightly better than Redline, this Bruce WillisHalle Berry stinker was too chock full of inane twists and turns for most critics. If the allure of watching the “Virtual Lives: The Making of Perfect Stranger” special feature appeals to you, then good; it’s pretty much the only bonus feature on the disc.


The Ex

Tomatometer: 20%

Separately, Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, and Jason Bateman are all arguably funny performers; thrown together in this third-wheel rom-com, critics found them not only unfunny but largely unlikeable. But hey, that’s why we have the term “wait until DVD.”


The Ultimate Gift

Tomatometer: 34%

This most recent offering from Christian shingle Fox Faith follows a spoiled young man (Drew Fuller) who has to perform a series of spiritual character-building tests in order to receive his inheritance. Cute little pipsqueak Abigail Breslin co-stars. This might be a bit saccharine, but it’s family friendly.

Until next week, happy renting!

The mighty Spartans won a glorious victory at North American theaters as the bloody war epic "300" exploded with a record-breaking opening and powered the overall marketplace to the biggest March weekend in box office history.

Selling more tickets than all its enemies in the top ten combined, the ancient battle film exceeded even the loftiest of industry expectations conquering every multiplex it invaded. Despite the colossal strength of "300," holdovers performed well with most witnessing relatively small declines of 35% or less.

Capitalizing on intense pre-release anticipation, the Warner Bros. actioner "300" rallied to a staggering $70M opening weekend, according to estimates, ruling the box office with the greatest of ease. The violent and stylish R-rated tale played in only 3,103 theaters and averaged a sensational $22,567 per theater. The tally included a potent $3.4M from 62 higher-priced Imax venues ($54,839 average) marking a new opening weekend record for the large-screen format. Rival studios were scared away from the frame as no other major film dared to go head-to-head in wide release. The lack of competition helped to keep the focus of moviegoers on just one entertaining feature.

If the estimate holds, "300" will set a new March opening weekend record beating the $68M bow of "Ice Age: The Meltdown" from last year. That PG-rated toon played to a wider family audience and averaged a weaker $17,163 from nearly 4,000 theaters. The saga of King Leonidas and his battalion of brave Spartan warriors grossed a stunning $27.7M on Friday (including midnight shows from Thursday night), dropped an understandable 11% to $24.5M on Saturday, and is projected to slide only 27% to $17.8M on Sunday. Final weekend grosses will be reported on Monday.

"300" also generated the third largest opening ever for an R-rated film trailing just "The Matrix Reloaded" ($91.8M) and "The Passion of the Christ" ($83.8M). And among non-sequels, it was the seventh biggest debut in history following "Spider-Man" ($114.8M), "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" ($90.3M), "Passion," "The Da Vinci Code" ($77.1M), "The Incredibles" ($70.5M), and "Finding Nemo" ($70.3M). 300 also posted the sixth largest bow in studio history for Warner Bros. after the four "Potter" pics and the first "Matrix" sequel.

The sheer size of the audience was eye-popping for the stylish film which chronicles the Battle of Thermopylae between the warriors of Sparta and the mighty Persian army led by its ruler Xerxes in 480 B.C. Historical war epics like "The Last Samurai" and "Troy" made tons of money worldwide ($450-500M each) but after flops like "Alexander" and "The Alamo," Hollywood ran the genre into the ground. Warner Bros. developed a new look that audiences would crave with "300" which is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller. With digital effects, a stylized look, and brilliant marketing materials, the film began generating excitement last fall when the first trailers debuted. The studio should send a case of Cristal to the team that cut the trailers as they certainly ignited the spark leading to the fever-pitched anticipation.

With a reported budget of only $65M, "300" will easily become a major moneymaker for the studio especially since international theatrical and worldwide video revenue look to be explosive. The film had no pricey stars and featured epic battle scenes created by computers thereby eliminating the need to shoot on location with thousands of extras. In fact, only one scene in the enite film was shot outdoors. "300" debuted in only a handful of overseas markets this weekend but box office was impressive there as well. The film opened at number one in Greece, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines with a combined gross of $6.2M from just 337 prints for a $18,398 per-print average which is phenomenal given the average ticket prices in those countries. The bloody actioner invades Korea later this week and attacks France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and the U.K. on the following weekend.

For those in a less violent mood this weekend, Buena Vista’s middle-aged motorcycle movie "Wild Hogs" was the ticket. The Tim AllenJohn Travolta biker comedy dropped only 29% in its second weekend to an estimated $28M giving the studio a fantastic $77.4M in only ten days of release. Moviegoers are paying no attention to the universally poor reviews for "Hogs" which has now generated the second highest ten-day start of any film this year after "Ghost Rider"’s $79M. The star-driven comedy could be on course to reach $150M or more domestically giving Disney a lucrative hit.

Ticket buyers were fixated on either "300" or "Wild Hogs" this weekend as the dynamic duo combined for a towering $98M in grosses accounting for a whopping 72% of all cash spent on the top ten films. Overall, the top ten posted its second best performance of 2007 with $136.1M narrowly trailing the $138.1M three-day tally from Presidents’ Day weekend when "Ghost Rider" attacked. The North American box office is clearly alive and well.

The rest of the top five saw three films in a narrow range with estimates that were separated by less than $100,000. Final data to be released on Monday could see the rankings change. Third place, for now, went to Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" which grossed an estimated $6.9M, down only 23%, for a $67M cume. Also in its fourth weekend, Sony’s "Ghost Rider" fell 41% to an estimated $6.8M raising the total to $104.1M making the Nicolas Cage actioner the first film of 2007 to break the $100M mark. 300 and "Wild Hogs" could also join the century club as early as next weekend.

Fifth place went to the well-reviewed serial killer pic "Zodiac" which took in an estimated $6.8M, down a disturbing 49%, for a ten-day tally of $23.7M. Paramount’s $65M production hoped to benefit from word-of-mouth, but instead suffered the worst drop by far of any film in the top ten thanks in part to competition from its R-rated foe 300. A disappointing final take of $34-37M seems likely making it director David Fincher‘s lowest grossing film ever.

A pair of funnymen followed with estimated weekend grosses of $4.3M a piece. Jim Carrey‘s psychological thriller "The Number 23" dipped 33% and upped its cume to $30.5M for New Line. The Eddie Murphy comedy "Norbit" also shed one third of its audience but lifted its total to a more impressive $88.3M for Paramount.

"Music and Lyrics," the romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, followed with an estimated $3.8M. Off only 22%, the Warner Bros. title has taken in $43.8M to date. Universal’s thriller "Breach" collected an estimated $2.6M, down 28%, for a $29.1M sum. The slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.5M. Distributors Samuel Goldwyn and Roadside Attractions added over 200 theaters and enjoyed the smallest dip in the top ten sliding just 11%. Cume to date stands at $11.4M.

Fox Searchlight generated the biggest opening weekend average of the year with the launch of Mira Nair‘s "The Namesake" which bowed to an estimated $251,000 from only six locations for a muscular per-theater average of $41,794. Starring Kal Penn, the PG-13 film about an Indian family and their American-born children platformed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto and will expand on Friday into additional markets. Reviews were mostly good.

Also opening in limited release was the Korean monster movie "The Host" with an estimated $320,000 from 71 theaters for a mild $4,507 average. The Magnolia release about a family that fights a mutated sea creature made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year and has already played in most of Asia. Critics were overwhelmingly giving praise.

Fox Faith, the new division of Fox dedicated to uplifting religious-themed pictures, opened its new film "The Ultimate Gift" over the weekend to an estimated $1.2M from 816 sites for a poor $1,471 average. The PG-rated film stars James Garner and Abigail Breslin and did not earn many positive reviews.

A pair of struggling films tumbled out of the top ten over the weekend suffering large declines. The Samuel L. JacksonChristina Ricci pic "Black Snake Moan" fell 55% in its second weekend to an estimated $1.9M. The Paramount Vantage release has collected only $7.3M in its first ten days and should end with around $10M. Fox’s comedy "Reno 911!: Miami" collapsed in its third weekend dropping 65% to an estimated $1.4M. With $19.1M in 17 days, look for a finish just north of $20M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $136.1M (a new March record) which was up a stunning 53% from last year when "Failure to Launch" opened at number one with $24.4M; and up a solid 35% from 2005 when "Robots" debuted on top with $36M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

For the first time in nearly a month, North America’s most popular movie won’t be about motorcycles. Warner Bros. goes back in time 2,500 years for the epic war saga "300" which aims to conquer the box office with ease.

Other studios have conceded the frame to the effects-driven actioner as the only other film opening wide is the family drama "The Ultimate Gift" which will cater to a non-violent crowd that prefers to keep decapitations to a minimum in their weekend entertainment.

Two and a half years after running the historical epic genre into the ground with "Alexander," Warner Bros. is back to breathe new life into the industry with "300." The R-rated war film stars Gerard Butler as the Greek king who in 480 B.C. led his small battalion of brave soldiers in battle against the mighty Persian army. Directed by Zack Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead"), "300" is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and features stylized action sequences and a visual look unlike the endless line of epics that hit multiplexes a few years ago.

Warner Bros. got the ball rolling early last fall with exciting trailers that really energized the target audience of male action fans who now will be very satisfied by the amount of blood, gore, and female nudity in the picture. Momentum has been building ever since and today, "300" is an event film for many. The film lacks a marquee star but that should not matter much. The unique look and feel should compensate for that as moviegoers will find the film to be worth paying top dollar for to see on the big screen. This is not one to wait for on DVD. And unlike other epics, this one keeps it just under two hours which will allow theaters to offer enough showtimes per day. The marketplace is ready for "300." Aside from "Ghost Rider" which is going into its fourth lap, there will be little direct competition for "300" to face so King Leonidas and his men should prevail in this battle.

Other effects-driven R-rated action films have found success recently in the spring months. In 2005, Keanu Reeves‘ "Constantine" bowed to $29.8M and "Sin City" opened to $29.1M while last March "V for Vendetta" debuted with $25.6M. All three films ended in the $70-76M range. "300" looks like it has the strength to go higher. The marketing has been brilliant, competition is weak, and excitement is high. Warner Bros. will score its first number one opener of the year with "300" which invades 3,103 theaters, including Imax venues which will add a few extra bucks. A Friday-to-Sunday gross of about $38M could result.


"300," finally in theaters.

Fox Faith, the new wing of Twentieth Century Fox dedicated to films with uplifting religious themes, rolls out its family drama "The Ultimate Gift" starring James Garner, Brian Dennehy, and Abigail Breslin who comes straight from her high profile Oscar nomination for "Little Miss Sunshine." Based on the best-selling book, the PG-rated film tells the story of a young man who instead of getting his expected inheritance after the death of his wealthy grandfather, is given a series of challenges to help him build character and learn what is truly important in life. Grassroots marketing is being used to court the faith-based audience and a dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to one of a number of different charities. Still, the film is not being given a marketing blitz so large numbers are not expected. Opening in over 800 theaters, "The Ultimate Gift" may gross about $3M this weekend.


"The Ultimate Gift," with Abigail Breslin.

After opening almost everywhere else in the world, the hit Korean horror film "The Host" makes its ways to American shores through Magnolia Pictures this weekend. The R-rated creature feature debuts in about 70 theaters and has been garnering impressive reviews since its premiere last May at the Cannes Film Festival. Fox Searchlight platforms its family saga "The Namesake" from director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding," "Vanity Fair") in six theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto. Starring Kal Penn, the PG-13 film about the struggles of an Indian-American family will expand weekly throughout the rest of the month.


"The Namesake"

After three weeks of motorcycle flicks ruling the box office, a stylized trip back in time with "300" will come as a welcome change of pace. "Wild Hogs," which powered its way to a surprisingly potent $39.7M bow last weekend, will drop out of pole position. With little direct competition, look for a reasonable dip in sales. The Buena Vista release has been a crowdpleaser and will remain the top choice for moviegoers in the mood for a laugh or anything with big Hollywood stars. A 35% decline could result giving "Hogs" a weekend tally of around $26M and a ten-day cume of $74M.

Paramount’s serial killer pic "Zodiac" got off to a moderate start last weekend and will have another R-rated film aimed at adults to deal with. A drop of 40% may occur putting the murder mystery at $8M for a total of only $25M after ten days. Sony’s "Ghost Rider" will become the first member of the 2007 century club and should fall 45% to $6M for a $103M cume. The Nicolas Cage pic is set to take a serious hit thanks to 300.

LAST YEAR: The Matthew McConaugheySarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy "Failure to Launch" debuted at number one leading a new crop of films with $24.4M. The Paramount release found its way to $88.7M. Opening in second place was the Tim Allen kidpic "The Shaggy Dog" with $16.3M followed closely by the new horror flick "The Hills Have Eyes" with $15.7M. Final grosses reached $61.1M and $41.8M, respectively. The Bruce Willis actioner "16 Blocks" dropped to fourth with $7.4M. After two weeks at the top of the charts, the Tyler Perry comedy "Madea’s Family Reunion" tumbled from first to fifth with $5.7M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got 300 mighty Spartans ("300," starring Gerard Butler) and a reluctant do-gooder ("The Ultimate Gift," starring Abigail Breslin). What do the critics have to say?

Fangirls and fanboys, the wait is over. "300," Zack Snyder’s CG adaptation of Frank Miller‘s cult graphic novel sensation is here. And while critics say it’s a feast for the eyes, many note it’s slightly less a delight for the brain. "300" tells the tale of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartans fought a star-crossed battle against the heavily fortified Persian army. Subtlety is not the order of the day here, nor is slavish attention to historical detail, but the pundits say the movie is visually sumptuous, a spectacle of ultraviolence and visceral thrills. However, others say "300" takes itself seriously to the point of self parody, and lacks compelling characters and cohesive plotting. "300" is currently at 60 percent on the Tomatometer.


Because "Anticipate Defeat!" was less rousing.

"The Ultimate Gift" is a movie about learning the true meaning of wealth, and stepping outside one’s self centered existence. These are good lessons to learn, but critics say the movie, while likeable, is too sappy to fully register. "The Ultimate Gift" tells the story of a trust fund kid who stands to inherit the fortune of his recently deceased grandfather — but only after he completes a series of tasks, which include living on the streets, doing manual labor, and being nice to people. Critics say "The Ultimate Gift" is sweet, heartfelt, and well-meaning — but also schmaltzy and dramatically inert. At 35 percent on the Tomatometer, this may not be the "Ultimate" viewing experience.


"’Silverado’ was 20 years ago. You can change clothes now."

Also opening this week in limited release: the South Korean import "The Host," a monster movie/satire/family drama, is at 94 percent; "Maxed Out," a doc that takes on the credit card industry, is at 85 percent; "Beyond the Gates," a drama about a teacher caught up in the Rwandan genocide starring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy, is at 71 percent; "The Namesake," a drama about a family caught between two cultural worlds starring Kal Penn and Jacinda Barrett, is at 70 percent; and "Exterminating Angels," a French drama about voyeurism and taboos, is at 52 pecent.


"KBBL’s going to give me something stupid!"

Recent Historical Epics:
——————————
65% — Apocalypto (2006)
39% — Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
16% — Alexander (2004)
55% — Troy (2004)
78% — Gladiator (2000)

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