(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!
Never bet against Jamie Foxx, who plays a Las Vegas cop on a search-and-destroy mission to save his kidnapped son in new thriller Sleepless. Beware criminal crooks, or you’ll craps your pants! Yep, it’s just another day in the wild ways of Vegas, inspiring this week’s 24 Frames gallery: an all-you-can-watch buffet of best and worst movies (with at least 20 reviews) set mostly to wholly in Sin City!
If you’ve been itching for a good rental, you’re in luck — even the gambles this week are near Fresh on the Tomatometer! Quentin Tarantino fans already know to look for his Death Proof on shelves today; you’re also in store for a wide variety of new discs, from a director-approved epic (Troy) to a critically-lauded Hong Kong gangster pic (Triad Election), with a British horror-comedy (Severance) and a landmark documentary box set (The Up Series ) to boot.
The day has come! Quentin Tarantino‘s diesel-fueled half of Grindhouse is the first of the two to be released in extended versions (look for Robert Rodriguez‘s zombie outbreak film Planet Terror in October), making this our most anticipated DVD release of the week. Watch 25 additional minutes of the scarred and psychotic Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) stalking two set of lovely ladies in his “death proof” muscle car; this extended version screened in competition at Cannes and includes more of QT’s signature snappy dialogue, plus Arlene’s (Vanessa Ferlito) full lapdance scene set to the smoky sounds of the Coasters’ “Down in Mexico.” Although we’ll have to wait for an inevitable super-duper Grindhouse DVD edition to peep all those awesome fake trailers, this one’s got a second disc full of behind-the-scenes featurettes (Stunts on Wheels, Finding Quentin’s Girls, Introducing Zoe Bell, and more).
Wolfgang Peterson‘s $180 million epic aimed to bring Homer’s battle tome The Iliad to the big screen in grand measure, and it certainly did so with sweeping combat scenes and plenty of good old fashioned Trojan intrigue. But critics wanted more heart to go with the beautiful beefcake landscape of Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, and Eric Bana; accordingly, emotional resonance is one improvement that Peterson claims to have added to his unrated director’s cut. In a brief introduction to the new edition, the director also promises over 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage and hints at more sex and violence. While this does extend the original runtime of two hours and 43 minutes to a whopping 201-minute marathon, sword-and-sandal enthusiasts should appreciate the TLC Peterson’s shoved into the version of Troy that he’d “always envisioned.”
A corporate team-building getaway turns into a deliciously funny nightmare when the Palisades Defense sales team starts getting killed one by one; critics call the Brit horror-comedy a mix between The Office and Hostel!
Hong Kong director Johnnie To serves up Godfather-esque gangster drama with his continuation of 2005’s Election. This time, new Triad boss Lok is plotting his own sly re-election, but a new rival wants to set the family towards legit business; bloody double-crossings ensue. While many critics thoroughly enjoyed the film’s prequel, most praise Triad Election as an equal, if not better, film.
Fans of Michael Apted‘s Up series should salivate at the chance to own all seven installments of the remarkable documentary series in one box set. What started in 1964 to track the socio-economic paths of young Britons (checking in on the same set of kids every seven years) has now taken viewers into the middle ages of its subjects. Special features include a 42 Up commentary track and an exclusive interview by Roger Ebert of Apted (who has continued to film the series between directing Hollywood flicks like Gorillas in the Mist, Nell, and the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader).
Other Safe Bets This Week
Controversial Danish director Lars Von Trier (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) gets considerably more accessible with this comedy about a company owner who hires an actor to play his firm’s nonexistent boss. Also interesting is von Trier’s pioneering use of the “Automavision” system to film, in which he set only the camera position and then let a computer select framing settings (“tilt, pan, and zoom”) at random. Oh, that Lars!
The 1972 cautionary camping classic is given the deluxe treatment with this new edition, rife with newly filmed cast and crew interviews, a “vintage” 1972 behind-the-scenes featurette titled The Dangerous World of Deliverance, and a new commentary by director John Boorman.
Beside being the first writing credit of Heroes co-exec producer Jeph Loeb, 1985’s Commando starred California governator Arnold Schwarzenegger the first of many gun-toting brawn-fests. As the improbably-named John Matrix, Ahnuld smells bad guys coming, wields circular saws like Frisbees, and delivers so-bad-its-good puns left and right. A thirteen-year-old Alyssa Milano stars as his feisty kidnapped daughter. Theme song by Power Station.
Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones (This Boy’s Life, Basic Instinct 2) shot on location to film this fictionalized account of an English teacher (Hugh Dancy) and a priest (John Hurt) trying to protect refugees during the Rwandan genocide.
Besides giving you another look at Michael Douglas‘s Oscar-winning performance as the venomous, utterly quotable corporate raider Gordon Gekko, this 20th anniversary edition boasts a new commentary (and deleted scene commentaries) by director Oliver Stone and two featurettes (Greed is Good and Money Never Sleeps – The Making of Wall Street).
If you don’t already know what this experimental doc is about (or haven’t heard of the infamous real-life incident on which it is based), suffice to say this film gives a whole new meaning to being an animal lover…
This feel-bad, then feel-good Matthew McConaughey football pic is fine, but can a little pigskin drama make the grief of tragedy go away?
Until next week, happy renting!
Peter Parker suffered a massive sophomore slide, but "Spider-Man 3" still dominated the box office around the globe spending a second weekend at number one with no other film coming anywhere near its stellar numbers.
Among the frame’s four new releases, the zombie thriller "28 Weeks Later" fared best with a decent bow in the runnerup spot while the Jane Fonda–Lindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" was mostly ignored and opened with disastrous results. Two other new comedies "Delta Farce" and "The Ex" barely registered a blip on the radar.
Sony was still crushing its competitors this weekend with "Spider-Man 3" which tumbled 60% to an estimated $60M in its second try in theaters. After ten days, the PG-13 hit has amassed a stunning $242.1M from North America and is still running ahead of its two predecessors. Ten-day cumes for 2002’s "Spider-Man" and 2004’s "Spider-Man 2" were $223M and $225M, respectively. However the new Venom installment is eroding faster as is often the case with the third part of a franchise. After the first three days, "Spider-Man 3" was an impressive 32% ahead of the first webslinger pic which opened on the exact same weekend in 2002. After seven days the lead was cut to 20% and now after ten days the gap has been reduced to 9%.
For the weekend, "Spider-Man 3" accounted for a stellar 64% of the box office for the top ten and grossed $17.1M on Friday (down 72% from its record-shattering opening day last week), $25M on Saturday (down 51% from last Saturday), and is projected to gross $18M on Sunday (down 55% from a week ago). The 60% second weekend drop is not uncommon for high-profile tentpole sequels with mammoth debuts. Some other sophomore drops include 53% for "X2: X-Men United," 54% for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," 63% for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and 67% for "X-Men: The Last Stand."
Where is part 3 headed in the long run? It would make sense to look at other action films that kicked off the summer movie season on the first weekend of May. The shares of the total cume collected in the first ten days were 64% for last year’s "Mission: Impossible III," 69% for 2003’s "X2," and 71% for 2004’s "Van Helsing." Based on its trajectory and the competitive road ahead, "Spider-Man 3" could be headed for a finish of about $340-360M domestically. That would make it the lowest-grossing Spidey film in North America, however the overseas markets are a different story.
"Spider-Man 3" grossed an estimated $85.4M internationally this weekend to boost its overseas haul up to a mammoth $379.6M for a colossal global gross of $622M. Next weekend, the Sandman entry will surpass the international takes of $418M and $410M for the first two Spider-Man flicks to become the top performer of the franchise outside of North America. With the "Spider-Man" fan base already maxed out domestically, Sony made a strategic move to grow the brand around the world by hosting several star-studded international red carpet premieres and opening the film in most countries days ahead of the United States leading to a substantial increase in moviegoer excitement in all markets. "Spider-Man 3" still stands a very good chance of becoming the biggest grossing film of the trilogy on a global scale with the North American shortfall being overshadowed by gains overseas. With a reported production budget of $258M, the super hero film should surpass the $900M mark worldwide this summer.
Flesh-eating zombies took control of second place this weekend as the horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" opened with an estimated $10M representing a solid, but somewhat weaker-than-expected debut. The R-rated gorefest averaged a decent $4,342 from 2,303 playdates and delivered a gross almost equal to the $10.1M that "28 Days Later" achieved in its opening frame in June 2003. That sleeper hit bowed in a thousand fewer locations with 1,260 theaters and scored a more potent $7,986 average. Adjust for four years of ticket price increases and "Weeks" generated an opening weekend average half that of "Days." The new chapter earned very high praise from most critics, but being the fourteenth horror film of 2007 probably hurt its cause as many genre fans have overdosed on frightfests. If the estimate holds (Fox estimated a rather slim 26% Saturday-to-Sunday drop), "Weeks" will become the first non-Spidey film to reach double digits on opening weekend since "Fracture" from mid-April.
The star-driven chick flick "Georgia Rule" was dead on arrival at the box office debuting to an estimated $5.9M from 2,523 theaters for a flimsy $2,330 average. The R-rated film stars Lindsay Lohan as a rebellious teen left with her no-nonsense grandmother (Jane Fonda) for the summer. Felicity Huffman plays the alcoholic middle mom in the family. "Georgia" played more to the Fonda crowd than to the Lohan audience. Studio research from Universal showed that a whopping 81% of the turnout was female, 79% was white, and 70% was over the age of 30.
"Georgia Rule" imploded at the box office since it repelled its two main consumer groups. Older women pay attention to reviews and critics were brutal in reviewing the dramedy. And younger teen girls who track Lohan obsessively couldn’t get in thanks to the harsh R rating. The opening was less than half the amount that the studio saw earlier this year when it targeted the same audience with the same number of theaters with the Diane Keaton–Mandy Moore pic "Becasue I Said So" which bowed to $13.1M over Super Bowl weekend. The Fonda flick was released over the Mother’s Day frame, but most daughters chose to give their moms the gift of not seeing "Georgia Rule."
Paramount’s hit teen thriller "Disturbia" enjoyed the best legs in the top ten dipping only 18% to an estimated $4.8M. Although in its fifth weekend, the Shia LaBeouf hit has the second largest theater count of any film and is playing in 3,106 locations that are still holding onto the durable thriller. Cume to date is $66.3M.
The military comedy "Delta Farce" bombed in its opening weekend grossing only $3.5M, according to estimates, landing in fifth place. The PG-13 pic averaged a dismal $1,813 from 1,931 locations for Lionsgate. Reviews were understandably pitiful.
New Line’s Anthony Hopkins–Ryan Gosling drama "Fracture" dipped only 22% to an estimated $2.9M in its fourth frame and upped its cume to $31M. The horror flick "The Invisible" dropped to seventh with an estimated $2.2M, down 33%, for a $15.5M total.
Sliding only 25% in its third round was the action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" with an estimated $1.7M for Focus putting the sum at $18.9M. Nicolas Cage followed with his sci-fi flop "Next" which took in an estimated $1.6M, down 45%, for a total of $14.6M. Rounding out the top ten with an estimated $1.6M as well was the Disney animated hit "Meet the Robinsons" which fell 39% for a sturdy $94.1M cume. The 3D comedy will enjoy its status as the year’s top-grossing toon for just one more week since "Shrek the Third," which opens on Friday, could march past it after only one weekend in theaters.
Debuting with miserable results outside of the top ten was the Zach Braff–Amanda Peet comedy "The Ex" which opened to an estimated $1.3M from 1,009 locations for a pathetic $1,288 average. The PG-13 date flick was released by MGM and earned poor reviews. With "The Ex," Hollywood has now seen a disturbing twelve wide releases over the last eight weeks fail to open to at least $5M. Numerous movies with little to offer paying moviegoers are being slaughtered in an overcrowded marketplace.
Three star-driven vehicles dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Will Ferrell’s blockbuster comedy "Blades of Glory" grossed an estimated $1.4M in its seventh lap and boosted its cume to $113.8M. Off 41%, the $60M-plus DreamWorks/Paramount pic looks to skate to a $116-118M finish. Ice Cube’s comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" fell 46% to an estimated $950,000 giving Sony $47.4M to date. The family film looks to end with just under $50M putting it 40% behind its predecessor "Are We There Yet?" which pulled in $82.3M two years ago. Warner Bros. has collected a measly $5M in ten days for its Eric Bana–Drew Barrymore poker pic "Lucky You" and will probably fold with an embarrassing $7M.
Arthouse darling "Waitress" starring Keri Russell expanded successfully in its second weekend serving up an estimated $636,000 from 65 sites for a solid $9,788 average. Fox Searchlight widened the acclaimed film from just four locations last weekend and pushed its cume to $788,000. A special Mother’s Day gift bag promotion across the country is expected to strengthen Sunday sales. This Friday, the comedy expands in its existing markets adding 57 theaters and on May 25 it will widen to 400-500 total theaters nationwide for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.1M which was up 16% from last year when "Mission: Impossible III" stayed at number one with $25M; and up a scant 3% from 2005 when "Monster-in-Law" debuted on top with just $23.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
In the most lopsided box office victory in history, the hugely anticipated super sequel "Spider-Man 3" swung into theaters and monopolized the marketplace breaking the all-time records for both opening day and opening weekend in the process.
Sony unleashed its summer behemoth worldwide and also shattered the record for the biggest global debut ever as it conquered the box office in over 100 countries. The summer movie season could not have asked for a better way to begin.
Following a tidal wave of hype, "Spider-Man 3" exploded on the scene and grossed an eye-popping $148M during its opening weekend in North America, according to estimates, breaking the previous record of $135.6M set last summer by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest." The super hero flick opened in 4,252 theaters (also a record) and averaged a staggering $34,807 for Sony. The smash hit also set a new Imax record with $4.8M from those large-format engagements beating 300’s old mark set two months ago by 33%. Imax presentations, despite their higher ticket prices, were reportedly sold out from coast to coast.
Overseas, "Spider-Man 3" began its global assault on Tuesday May 1 in several key nations in Asia and Europe and has since grossed a mammoth $227M from 105 international territories putting its worldwide cume at a gargantuan $375M in a mere six days. In less than one week around the world, "SM3" has already reached nearly half of the total global gross of "Spider-Man 2" which hauled in $784M in 2004.
Domestically, the new webslinger adventure kicked things off on Friday with a record $59.3M in its first day beating the former record "Chest" set with $55.8M. Both figures included shows beginning at midnight on Thursday night. "Spidey" dropped 14% on Saturday to $51M and the studio estimated that Sunday sales will fall by only 26% to $37.7M. Final figures will be released on Monday after Sunday sales are tabulated. According to Sony research, the opening weekend audience skewed towards young men as expected. Males made up 54% of the crowd while 63% were under the age of 25.
"Spider-Man 3" reunited director Sam Raimi with his key actors Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco. Joining the cast were Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, and Bryce Dallas Howard. Critics had mixed feelings with many calling it the worst of the series. Part "3" scored a 62% Fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com compared to 90% for the first "Spidey" flick and 93% for the second installment. Moviegoers, however, did not care as they showed up anyway in unprecedented numbers proving that "SM3" was indeed a critic-proof blockbuster. The film’s long-term success will rely more on word-of-mouth from fans, rather than a thumbs up or down from reviewers. Users of Yahoo! Movies have given it a mild B grade from over 17,000 votes which could mean that fans are not exactly ecstatic.
"Spider-Man 3" carries a reported production cost of $258M, although many industry watchers believe it to be much higher. Despite its sky high budget, the PG-13 film has enjoyed such a strong start that it has a good chance of surging past the $822M worldwide gross of the first "Spider-Man" and could even approach the $1 billion mark. Buzz from fans will of course be a major factor in helping the Venom pic spread.
Competition, or a lack of it, was a key contributor to the record opening. There were absolutely no other films that energized audiences as every wide release failed to reach an average of even $2,000. That allowed the newest "Spider-Man" pic to account for a jaw-dropping 80% of the entire box office pie and dominate the marketplace with ease. Led almost exclusively by Peter Parker and friends, the top ten powered its way to an incredible $174M — its highest level since the "Pirates" sequel bowed last summer. It was an astonishing reversal from the previous weekend when the box office slumped to a seven-month low.
With nothing else worthy to program, multiplexes had no problem opening up screens. Sony did not report its official screen count but industry insiders note that it was over 10,000. By comparison, screen counts for previous blockbuster openers were 9,400 for "Star Wars Episode III," 8,500 for "Dead Man’s Chest," and 7,500 for the first "Spider-Man" which opened five years ago this same weekend and also broke the all-time opening weekend record. The extra screens for the new film allowed Sony to absorb all demand right away and leave almost nothing on the table.
Next weekend, "Spider-Man 3" will have little to worry about as nothing huge is opening, but the week after that is when "Shrek the Third" launches, followed seven days later by "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" over the lucrative Memorial Day holiday frame. Peter Parker will grasp tightly onto his records for now since Captain Jack Sparrow would like nothing more than to swipe them once again.
A few moviegoers did in fact choose to see other films this weekend in auditoriums which offered plenty of space. Three-time chart-topper "Disturbia" was bumped to the number two spot, but held up well considering the new competition. The Paramount thriller dropped by only 37% to an estimated $5.7M and boosted its 24-day cume to $59.9M, or about what Spidey did in its first day. New Line’s courthouse thriller "Fracture" followed with an estimated $3.4M in its third weekend, down 50%, and lifted its sum to $26.5M.
The teen horror flick "The Invisible" ranked fourth and tumbled 60% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $3.1M. Buena Vista has scared up $12.3M in ten days and looks headed for a $16-18M finish. Nicolas Cage suffered the worst drop in the top ten as his latest action film "Next" crashed 61% and took in an estimated $2.8M this weekend. With a poor ten-day tally of $11.8M, Paramount will sputter to a horrendous $14-16M for the pricey star vehicle.
The much-delayed poker drama "Lucky You" had the unlucky fortune of opening against "Spider-Man 3" and suffered an embarrassing debut as it failed to average even $1,000. The Curtis Hanson-directed pic bowed to an estimated $2.5M from 2,525 locations for a dismal $996 average. The Warner Bros. release starring Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore met with bad marks from critics and total apathy from ticket buyers.
3D toon "Meet the Robinsons" fell 49% to seventh with an estimated $2.5M in its sixth frame for an impressive cume of $91.8M. Also in its sixth weekend, fellow spring hit "Blades of Glory" collected an estimated $2.3M, down 55%, giving Paramount $111.6M to date.
The action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" tumbled 58% in its third weekend to an estimated $2.1M. Focus has grossed $16.1M thus far. Rounding out the top ten was Sony’s "Are We Done Yet?" which dropped 51% to an estimated $1.7M leading to a total of $46.1M.
A pair of well-reviewed arthouse films aimed at adult women debuted to solid results in limited release as alternatives to the Spidey action. Fox Searchlight opened its Sundance acquisition "Waitress" to an estimated $91,000 from only four theaters in New York and Los Angeles averaging a potent $22,868 per location. The Keri Russell starrer directed by the late Adrienne Shelly will expand to 21 cities on Friday for a total of 62 theaters. Cume since the Wednesday launch is $111,000. The Alzheimer’s drama "Away From Her" from actress-turned-director Sarah Polley bowed to an estimated $56,000 from four locations for a sturdy $14,000 average for Lionsgate.
A pair of underachievers fell out of the top ten this weekend. Sony’s motel terrorfest "Vacancy" dropped a steep 65% to an estimated $1.5M upping its cume to only $16.4M. The Lionsgate action pic "The Condemned" crumbled even further collapsing 72% in its second weekend to an estimated $1.1M for a weak ten-day sum of $6M. Final grosses should end up with disappointing totals of $19M and $7M, respectively.
The top ten films soared to an estimated $174.1M which was up an astounding 85% from last year when "Mission: Impossible III" opened at number one with $47.7M; and up a staggering 129% from 2005 when "Kingdom of Heaven" debuted on top with just $19.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Will the friendly neighborhood webslinger reclaim the holy grail of the movie biz – the opening weekend box office record?
After attacking most major markets around the world throughout this week, Sony’s global assault hits North America on Friday with "Spider-Man 3," the much-anticipated super hero sequel which ushers in a new summer movie season with a bang. And it could indeed be a record bang.
Director Sam Raimi returns with his illustrious cast including Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the new mega-budgeted tentpole film following up on a pair of Spidey films that together grossed an eye-popping $1.6 billion worldwide earlier this decade. In the new PG-13 adventure, Peter Parker tries to take his relationship with his galpal Mary Jane to the next level just as three new villains enter the scene looking for some love and affection of their own from Spider-Man. James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, and everyone’s favorite lady in the water Bryce Dallas Howard co-star. The new saga features the super foes Sandman, Venom, and the New Goblin.
With an official production cost of $258M (and some speculate that it is actually higher), Spider-Man 3 stands as the most expensive movie yet to hit theaters. But despite the enormous pricetag, and not to mention the extravagant marketing tab, the super sequel stands a chance of approaching $1 billion in global box office this summer with tons more cash coming from video, television, and merchandising. So the eye-popping budget almost seems justified.
Sony staked its claim to the first weekend of May over a year ago and competing studios took the warning by making sure they did not program anything worthy against it, or even on the weeks before and after its opening. That puts "Spider-Man 3" in the enviable position of having the entire marketplace all to itself for a full two weeks before the next summer sensation, "Shrek the Third," hits the marketplace. Spidey should easily have over $250M in the bank before the ogre pic opens giving the super hero a mammoth headstart in the annual race for the summer crown.
The lack of competition will be key this weekend in "Spider-Man 3"’s attempt to break the all-time opening weekend record set last summer by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" which exploded to $135.6M over a regular Friday-to-Sunday period. As big as that bow was, there was still a potent $60M spent on the rest of the top five films that weekend. This frame, look for the films in the two through five slots to collect only a third of that amount. The advantage the Venom flick has over the last "Pirates" is that the current marketplace is so dead that multiplexes will be handing over every possible screen. Whereas a July film might only get three or four screens at a venue, a tentpole release in early May can spread like black alien goo to a fifth, sixth, or seventh screen at the same multiplex since there’s absolutely nothing else of value to waste auditoriums on. This increases the grossing potential significantly.
Running time will not be an issue as "Spider-Man 3" actually runs about 10 minutes shorter than "Dead Man’s Chest." Thanks to the weak marketplace (last weekend was the worst frame in seven months), Sony has booked a record 4,253 locations for its bow this weekend breaking the previous high of 4,163 theaters for the launch of 2004’s "Shrek 2." The studio is not reporting its total print count, but based on other megablockbusters of its type, it can be safely estimated that over 8,000 total screens will offer up this new super hero flick. Possibly over 9,000. By comparison, the second "Pirates" hit set sail in 4,133 theaters with over 8,500 prints while "Star Wars Episode III" took off with over 9,400 prints in North America in mid-May 2005.
The marketing campaign has been running on overdrive with numerous red carpet premieres around the world over the last two weeks. The push seems to be helping as "Spider-Man 3" has surpassed the opening day marks of its two older brothers in every market. The event film grossed a stunning $29.2M on its first day in 16 territories on Tuesday breaking the all-time opening day record in ten of them including France, Italy, Hong Kong, Egypt, Belgium, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The tally was more than the first-day grosses in the same countries of the first two "Spidey" films combined. By Sunday the juggernaut will be playing in a stunning 107 markets across the globe. North American audiences may follow suit and push "3" ahead of the then-record $114.8M opening of the first Peter Parker pic from five years ago this very weekend. That same size audience turning out this weekend at today’s ticket prices would unload about $130M domestically.
Although the new tale has little competition on its second weekend, its spider legs may not be as strong as those of the previous webslinger films. The first two were very big crowdpleasers with many calling the second installment the better film. Expectations are sky high for the new one. Yes, the threequel is a fun thrill ride worthy of kicking off the summer popcorn season and boasts impressive action sequences and effects. But its weak script and cram-a-ton-of-stories-into-one-film feel will not make many fans think of it as the best "Spidey" yet. It becomes so much of a super hero soap opera by its midpoint that it won’t have the same word-of-mouth as the previous ones. While that will have no effect on the opening weekend gross, it could eat into repeat business down the road. Last summer’s "X-Men: The Last Stand" opened powerfully to $122.9M over the four-day Memorial Day frame but tumbled down to $16.1M by its third weekend.
When franchises hit the third installment, pressure mounts to offer something new to the table so casual fans don’t lose interest. What "Spider-Man 3" has going for it is the buzz that has circulated (naturally or artificially – you decide) about how this could be the final "Spider-Man" film for Raimi, Maguire, and Dunst together. That succeeds in giving the film a sense of urgency in that fans feel that this might be the last party for the beloved trio. Add in the magazine covers, talk show appearances, and globe-trotting premieres and Spider-Man has truly conquered pop culture this week which will make movie fans not want to be the only goofballs on Monday who didn’t see the can’t-miss blockbuster.
Advance ticketing has been running at a record pace. Movietickets.com has reported that sales are ahead of "Dead Man’s Chest" at the same point in the advance sales cycle and three times better when compared to "Spider-Man 2." Add in Thursday night midnight shows, and the higher-priced Imax venues where tickets run as much as $15 in New York City, and the grossing potential climbs even higher.
"Spider-Man 3" stands an excellent chance of setting a new industry record for the biggest opening in history. The marketing assault has been amazing, audience anticipation is sky high, competition is zero, and every screen out there is dumping its spring trash in favor of the Sandman flick. Towering over its foes, "Spider-Man 3" might swing into the friendly neighborhood of $140M over the Friday-to-Sunday span this weekend.
Who would dare go head-to-head against Spider-Man this weekend? The Hulk of course! Eric Bana joins forces with Drew Barrymore in the poker drama "Lucky You" which Warner Bros. is quietly dropping into the marketplace. Offered as a counter-programming option for adult women, the much-delayed film from director Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential," "8 Mile") tells of a hardcore card shark who juggles rocky relationships with his need to win a tournament. The PG-13 film could not have asked for a more unlucky frame. Although countering super hero films with chick flicks can be a good move ("My Best Friend’s Wedding" vs. "Batman & Robin," "The Devil Wears Prada" vs. "Superman Returns"), this time this film just doesn’t have the goods. Buzz is low, reviews are bad, and Drew just isn’t the draw she used to be. Plus "Spider-Man 3" boasts plenty of female appeal so the choice will be simple for most women. Not likely to find full houses in its 2,525 theaters, "Lucky You" looks to settle for a distant second place showing with about $7M this weekend.
Elsewhere in the land of single-digit millions, "Disturbia" will end its three-week reign atop the charts. The Paramount thriller has been enjoying good legs with second and third weekend declines of 42% and 31%, respectively. This time the fall should be harder since "Spidey" will appeal to the exact same audience. A 45% drop would give "Disturbia" about $5M for the session and a solid 24-day cume of $59M.
The supernatural thriller "The Invisible" probably burned through much of its audience on opening weekend so a 50% drop to around $4M could result. That would give Buena Vista $13M after ten days. Fellow sophomore "Next" starring Nicolas Cage should collapse as well as moviegoers showed no interest last weekend. A 50% decline should lead to a $3.5M frame and a dismal ten-day total of only $13M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
"Lucky You," a dramedy set in the high-stakes world of professional poker (starring Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore), is one of this week’s two new wide releases. But when the other one features Tobey Maguire in red spandex ("Spider-Man 3," also starring Kirsten Dunst), what more do you really need? And how do the critics feel about it?
After a three year wait, a budget approaching $300 million, and about that many Internet rumors and news postings, the wait is over: "Spider-Man 3" is here. The third installment finds Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) wrestling with a bevy of problems: an angry best friend (James Franco), a man made of sand (Thomas Haden Church), a slimy nemesis (Topher Grace), and an unhappy fiancée (Kirsten Dunst). Though critics are still wowed by Sam Raimi’s action sequences and clever mix of comedy and melodrama, some say it’s overstuffed and lacks the emotional punch of the first two Spidey flicks. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer (and a rotten 45 percent among Cream of the Crop critics), this "Spider-Man" isn’t totally amazing.
America is currently obsessed with Texas Hold ‘Em, so, with that in mind, Curtis Hanson has anted up the poker drama "Lucky You." Eric Bana stars as professional gambler Huck Cheever, a commitment-challenged goof who’s good at bluffing but terrible at the game of lurve. The pundits say "Lucky" is dramatically inert, lacking insight into neither the world of cards nor relationships, and they’re not sure what to make of Drew Barrymore, who doesn’t have much to do with her role. At 41 percent Tomatometer, "Lucky" is cursed.
Also opening in limited release: "Waitress," the final dramedy from the late Adrienne Shelley, is at 91 percent on the Tomatometer; "Away From Her," a love story about Alzheimer’s from actress-cum-director Sarah Polley, is at 89 percent ; "Paris, Je T’aime," an anthology of short films about the City of Lights featuring at least one director you like, is at 73 percent; "Civic Duty," a thriller dealing with timely issues of paranoia and terrorism, is at 77 percent (check out RT’s interview with star Peter Krause); "The Treatment," a rom-com starring Chris Eigeman and Famke Janssen, has 71 percent; and "The Flying Scotsman," a biopic about Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, is at 38 percent.
And before we forget any further, props must be given to ManofStee1 and returning member -eternity- for coming closest to guessing "Kickin’ It Old Skool"’s percentage in last week’s Guess That Tomatometer game. And for "The Invisible," mizzoucritic came closest to guessing its 23 percent Tomatometer.
I was wondering when we’d start getting smacked with all the poker movies … and here comes one! Curtis Hanson‘s "Lucky You" stars Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall. It looks pretty cool to me, and it opens on September 8th. Check out the trailer right here.
"Huck Cheever is a blaster—a player who goes all out, all the time. But in his personal relationships, Huck plays it tight, expertly avoiding emotional commitments and long-term expectations. When Huck sets out to win the main event of the 2003 World Series of Poker—and the affections of Billie Offer, a young singer from Bakersfield—there is one significant obstacle in his path: his father, L.C. Cheever, the poker legend who abandoned Huck’s mother years ago."
Co-starring Debra Messing, Jean Smart, and Charles Martin Smith, "Lucky You" also has a pretty impressive screenwriters’ pedigree. It was written by Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") and Eric Roth ("Munich").
Debra Messing will join Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana in "Lucky You" for Warner Bros., according to Variety. "Lucky" takes place the world of high-stakes professional poker and tells the story of a professional poker player who learns life lessons from a Vegas lounge singer. Curtis Hanson will be directing from a script by Eric Roth.