In a piece of news almost as heartwarming as the film itself, Son of Rambow came in at second place in the UK box office this week, with the British indie nabbing almost £1million in the first four days.
Set on a long, hot summer in 1982, the film revolves around two 11-year old scamps Will and Carter, who — after seeing First Blood for the first time, decide to film their own sequel with nothing more than a camcorder and, natch, some imagination.
The film has been in distribution limbo for the past year after its triumphant debut at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, due to issues surrounding the rights to the real Rambo films. But now it’s finally here and it seems a strong advertising push and good reviews (83% on the Tomatometer, compared to Rambo‘s 32%), has seen it rocket up the charts. Empire’s Dan Jolin summed up the critical consensus by saying: “If you only see one Rambo movie this year, make sure it’s this one.”
In fact, the film would surely have come in at number one had it played on more screens. Instead 27 Dresses, (which played on over 150 more theatres than Rambow), is still grimly hanging onto top spot, despite taking in almost 50% less cash than last week.
Meanwhile sweaty Karate Kid-meets-Fight Club-alike Never Back Downalso made a healthy opening debut this week, coming in at fourth place. Reviewers generally scorned this lightweight effort, with the movie’s laughable homoerotic undertones and checklist of clichés arousing particular critical ire. Greg Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly fame even branded the film as, “yet another product that makes you feel bad about today’s youth culture.” Sadly however ‘Grandad Greg’ and his ilk couldn’t stop the cool kids pouring into cinemas though, and the film made a healthy £840,000 over four days.
Two of the talents who became Hollywood Hot property after the success of Knocked Up last year fell flat on their faces with their latest offerings this week, but apathy at UK box office still ensured the Judd Atapow-produced Drillbit Taylor and the Katherine Heigl-starrer 27 Dresses broke into the top ten.
Last week, the combination of a spate of childrens’ film getting their release and nippers taking a well-earned holiday ensured big takings for The Spiderwick Chronicles, Horton Hears a Who and Step Up 2 the Streets.
However, with the munchkins safely back at school, this Spring’s disappointing box office performance resumed with audiences choosing to avoid most of the fare on offer — giving Fox’s 27 Dresses the chance to nab top spot.
The film casts Hollywood’s Next-Big-Thing Katherine Heigl as Jane, who has been the bridesmaid 27 times, but sadly never the bride. Will she find happiness and the man of her dreams? Most critics decided they couldn’t care less, with only 39% of them giving the film a positive review. Reviewers scorned the frothy, cheesy storylines and lamented gifted comedian Heigl’s decision to star in such routine fare. Cath Clarke of the Guardian summed things up: “What a maddening waste of Katherine Heigl this insipid romantic comedy is.”
Still, it was the only rom-com released this week, and thus thousands of listless, bored couples flocked to cinemas, maybe shared a meal at Pizza Hut beforehand, and sat through one-and-a-half hours of inoffensive fluff before returning home to the suburbs.
Drillbit Taylor received similarly awful notices — with not enough laughs and even mean-spiritedness among the many faults levelled at the film. The premise, which revolved around Owen Wilson‘s low-budget bodyguard – hired by school kids to protect them from the playground bully – appeared ripe in comic potential, but that seemingly evaporated on the way to the big screen.
The film is Atapow’s first critical and commercial failure since he broke throw to the mainstream last year, with the film making only just over £700,000 this week, bringing it in at a lowly 5th place. Paramount wont be pleased.
Four new releases take a gamble debuting in theaters across North America hoping to hit the jackpot with audiences. The blackjack drama 21 and the spoof comedy Superhero Movie lead the way and will try their best to reach the number one spot. Other choices for ticket buyers include the soldier drama Stop-Loss and the marathon comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run in what should be another down weekend for the industry.
Kevin Spacey leads a team of math wizards from M.I.T. to a life of card-counting riches in Las Vegas in the new Sony pic 21. The PG-13 flick stars Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne and is based on a true story. Teens and young adults will be the target audience here as well as card sharks everywhere. The marketing has been slick and even though the film is not all that high on starpower, the subject matter and the look should help it connect with audiences. The studio has given 21 a big push and it should play as something new for young adults to get excited about instead of the same tired old formula. Competition will be a factor though, given that some of the other new flicks will appeal to the same age range. Opening in more than 2,500 locations, 21 could debut with about $15M.
Tyler Perry will see a sizable fall for his latest venture Meet the Browns since his loyal audience shows up in big numbers on the first weekend. Look for Lionsgate to lose half of its sales and bank around $10 for a ten-day total of $35M.
Fellow sophomores Shutter and Drillbit Taylor should fall hard too. The weekend could result in a 55% fall for the Fox thriller to $4.5M and 50% decline for the Paramount comedy to $5M. Totals would rise to about $19M a piece.
LAST YEAR: Two new comedies posted strong debuts to end the first quarter with a bang. Will Ferrell‘s figure skating pic Blades of Glory opened at number one with a solid $33M for Paramount. After spending two weeks on top, the sports comedy went on to score $118.6M domestically. Disney’s animated film Meet the Robinsons snagged second place with $25.1M on its way to $97.8M. The stylish actioner 300 placed third with $11.4M for Warner Bros. and was followed by the studio’s kidpic TMNT with $9.2M and Disney’s biker comedy Wild Hogs with $8.7M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The film, a comedy about a group of Star Wars fans who drive cross-country in 1998 to break into George Lucas‘ Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see The Phantom Menace, has been something of a legend in Star Wars circles for years — and with a cast that includes Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, and Dan Fogler, a person could be forgiven for assuming The Weinstein Company would want to get it into theaters as soon as possible.
But no. As popular legend has it, Harvey Weinstein was troubled by…well, the film’s basic storyline, really. Let’s let The Hollywood Reporter lay it all out:
Insiders said the root of the problem was Weinstein’s issue with the underlying story in “Fanboys.” The cross-country adventure is put in motion because one of the characters is facing cancer. Late last year, the company decided it would do reshoots, hiring Judd Apatow‘s producing partner Shauna Robertson to oversee a $2 million reshoot of four scenes done by director Steve Brill (“Drillbit Taylor“). That, combined with re-editing, created a version that excised the cancer subplot.
One “insider” goes on to tell the Reporter that “Harvey feels it’s hard to market, especially with this cast,” which totally makes perfect sense; everyone in Hollywood knows that the last thing you want when marketing a film is a bunch of young, up-and-coming stars. Whatever the reasons, and whatever happened behind the scenes, one thing’s for certain: Fanboys‘ original August 2007 release date came and went — and so did its new January 2008 release.
Yesterday, The Weinstein Company put an end to all the speculation, sort of, by announcing that both versions of the film will be released on DVD. Someday. Maybe after one or both versions are released to theaters. In their own words:
The Weinstein Company announced today that it plans to jointly release two versions of its highly anticipated film, “Fanboys,” on home video, with the Company exploring options for its theatrical release. In recent weeks, Star War fans nationwide have built a multi-tiered grassroots effort to voice their strong support for one of the earlier versions of the film, including a campaign which generated over 300,000 emails in support for the film. Based on the tremendous feedback and interest from the fans, today’s announcement will ensure both versions will be equally available within the marketplace.
At least one group of fans, the Weinstein-boycotting fanboy battalion that calls itself the 501st, was not impressed:
This is clearly a vain attempt by the Weinstein Co. to avert ‘Star Wars’ fans’ impending boycott of all of their films. It’s not going to work, Darth Weinstein. There was never any doubt that you would release both versions of the movie on DVD, probably months apart, so as to leech as much money from ‘Star Wars’ fans as possible. Our boycott will continue until the Weinstein Co. announces that they are returning control of ‘Fanboys’ to the ‘Star Wars’ fans who made it, releasing the original version in theaters and doing away with their anti-fan version of the film altogether.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.
Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.
Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.
10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.
LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies, we’ve got a wacky bodyguard (Drillbit Taylor, starring Owen Wilson and Leslie Mann), a wild family reunion (Meet the Browns, starring Angela Basset and Rick Fox), and paranormal Polaroids (Shutter, starring Joshua Jackson). What do the critics have to say?
Everybody has their off days, even Judd Apatow, whose critical winning streak comes to an end (temporarily, at least) with Drillbit Taylor. This Apatow-produced comedy stars Owen Wilson as the title character, a man who has been hired as a bodyguard for three oft-bullied teens; it turns out Taylor is wilder and crazier than he first appears. Pundits say the problem with Drillbit is that it just isn’t very funny: it doesn’t build on its premise, and offers mediocre gags, despite some decent performances. At 17 percent on the Tomatometer, Drillbit is a little dull. And it’s the worst-reviewed movie Apaptow has ever been involved with. (Apatow discussed his favorite movies with RT; click here to check it out.)
The other two wide openers this week, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns and Shutter, were either embargoed or not screened for critics. Meet the Browns is the story of a single mom who goes to the funeral of her father (who she never knew) and finds her extend family is pretty wild. In Shutter, a pair of newlyweds find spectral images in their photos. You know what time it is: guess those Tomatometers! (And check out this week’s Total Recall.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, props to dethburger for coming the closest to guessing Doomsday‘s 34 percent Tomatometer. Just think: if we could eradicate mad cow disease, he could change his name to lfeburger.
Recent Judd Apatow-Produced Movies:
74% — Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
87% — Superbad (2007)
90% — Knocked Up (2007)
64% — The TV Set (2007)
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Filmmaker Judd Apatow has been very busy. He’s produced four films that are being released this year (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, and Drillbit Taylor, which opens this Friday), and he’s also one of the writers of You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. But he was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about which movies have really influenced him as a filmmaker.
There are certain movies that I always go back to, but before I make a movie, I always find myself watching The Last Detail, the Hal Ashby movie. There’s something about it that’s so alive. It’s one of the first movies to really have frank language. I think it was somewhat shocking at the time. It was the first movie where everyone aggressively cursed, but it was about people in the armed services. It’s also a small story that’s very intimate and you just fall in love with all these characters that are in this terrible situation.
I always watch it because Hal Ashby shot it in such a way that it just feels real. It’s almost like a documentary. I like how he paces the scenes, the coverage, and I always go back to it because it reminds me that the most important thing I can do as a filmmaker is convince the audience that what they’re watching is really happening. I don’t want them to be aware of me. So that’s one movie. It’s both heartbreaking and hilarious, which is always my favorite combination.
Terms of Endearment is always a touchstone movie for me. That’s one of the best acted comedy-dramas that has ever been made.
I can never get enough of Terms of Endearment. I find myself watching it over and over again. It does everything that I want a movie to do. I fall in love with the characters. I care about their journeys. It never does anything easy to make me like the characters. It doesn’t sell out the characters for likeability. They all do things that are awful to each other. The relationships are very complicated. Yet, you root for all of them when you watch the movie.
A large portion of the movie is also about cancer. It’s treated realistically and it is also hilarious in some of those moments. It’s not a maudlin movie. There are moments in that movie that I think about all the time that haunt me. The moment when Shirley MacLaine is yelling at the nurse to give her daughter more medicine… As you get older, you find yourself in those situations. It may be my favorite film of all time.
Being There is one of my favorite movies. It’s much more precise than a movie like The Last Detail. It’s a type of movie I hope one day to be able to attempt to make. It’s brilliant on every level. It is one of movies that I watch and go, “I probably will never be able to get close to this, but I should try.”
The use of television in the movie is spectacular – how what’s happening on the television in the rooms that they’re in reflects or comments on the action. Nobody has ever done that better and people have tried since and always failed. Any time I see something on a TV in a TV show, I know that they’re thinking about how great they did it in Being There. It’s another movie with some of the best performances in comedy history – Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas, and Shirley MacLaine, so I go back to that a lot.
I’ve always been fascinated by the film Welcome to the Dollhouse, the Todd Solondz film. It’s a really dark comedy. It might be because I grew up in Long Island and it feels like where I grew up. A lot of the strangeness of it feels familiar to me. I love the look of it. I love the tone of it.
When we started working on Freaks and Geeks, I thought a lot about Welcome to the Dollhouse, in terms of how it was lit, the production design, the strange cadences of its comedy, and these kids who feel like they’re in hell, their families and how their parents treat them. She (Heather Matarazzo) and that character (Dawn Wiener) is one of the greatest outcast nerd characters ever created in film or television. So it’s for someone who always loves a great underdog story. That’s one of my favorites and not a movie that makes it a triumphant fantasy for the nerdy girl either. That is never the Todd Solondz way.
I thought about it when we did Freaks and Geeks because we often thought, “This movie is about how you handle failure. It’s not about succeeding. It’s not a show about wish fulfillment.” You see that in a lot of Todd Solondz work. I don’t think we had half the balls that he has.
Tootsie is a perfect movie. I watch that all the time. You know there used to be a commentary track on it. They put it out on laserdisc, and there was a commentary, [but] they keep doing “anniversary editions” and they don’t have the Sydney Pollack commentary track. As a comedy nerd, I’m up in arms.
After a burst of production activity that saw Judd Apatow taking a producer’s credit on Drillbit Taylor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Pineapple Express, he’s making plans to return to the director’s chair.
Variety reports that Apatow has committed to direct and write an untitled comedy for Universal and Sony, and though he’s “keeping the plot under wraps,” he’s already acquired the acting services of Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann.
The project continues an Apatow tradition of working with familiar faces — both Sandler and Rogen are longtime associates, and Mann is his wife. Sandler’s involvement comes on the heels of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, which he co-wrote with Apatow and Robert “For Me to Poop On” Smigel. The cast is all busy outside the Apatow umbrella, however; as Variety notes, Sandler is currently shooting Adam Shankman‘s Bedtime Stories, while Mann is starring opposite Zac Efron in 17 Again and Rogen will soon be heard in Horton Hears a Who.