No awards season would be complete without the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA The Razzies), awarded each year to the very worst movies to hit Hollywood. This year’s winners will be announced on Oscar weekend; could multiple-nominee The Love Guru take home top honors? See the full list of nominees below.

This year, a few standout films and filmmakers nabbed multiple nominations, making for really good odds come February 21, when the Golden Raspberry winners will be announced. Leading the pack is Disaster Movie (2 percent on the Tomatometer), which managed to earn six nominations; The Hottie & the Nottie (5 percent), up for honors in five categories; and Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also earned the Teutonic Terror a Worst Career Achievement Razzie.

The complete list of nominees:

Worst Picture Nominations

Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans (double nominee from the same writer-directors)

The Happening

The Hottie & The Nottie

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

The Love Guru

Worst Actor Nominations

Larry the Cable Guy, Witless Protection

Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave

Mike Myers, The Love Guru

Al Pacino, 88 Minutes & Righteous Kill

Mark Wahlberg, The Happening & Max Payne

Worst Actress Nominations

Jessica Alba, The Eye & The Love Guru

The cast of The Women (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Meg Ryan)

Cameron Diaz, What Happens in Vegas

Paris Hilton, The Hottie & The Nottie

Kate Hudson, Fool’s Gold & My Best Friend’s Girl

Worst Supporting Actor Nominations

Uwe Boll (as himself), Uwe Boll’s Postal

Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!

Ben Kingsley, The Love Guru & War, Inc. & The Wackness

Burt Reynolds, Deal & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Verne Troyer, The Love Guru & Uwe Boll’s Postal

Worst Supporting Actress Nominations

Carmen Electra, Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans

Paris Hilton, Repo! The Genetic Opera

Kim Kardashian, Disaster Movie

Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection

Leelee Sobieski, 88 Minutes & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Worst Screen Couple Nominations

Uwe Boll and any Actor, Camera, or Screenplay

Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas

Paris Hilton and either Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore, The Hottie and the Nottie

Larry the Cable Guy and Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection

Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel Nominations

The Day the Earth Blowed Up Real Good

Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Speed Racer

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Worst Director Nominations

Uwe Boll, 1968: Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Uwe Boll’s Postal

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

Tom Putnam, The Hottie & the Nottie

Marco Schnabel, The Love Guru

M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening

Worst Screenplay Nominations

Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

The Happening

The Hottie and the Nottie

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

The Love Guru

Worst Career Achievement

Uwe Boll


The summer movie season of 2008 ended last weekend, and boy, was it a good one. Led by box office smashes like Iron Man, Wall-E, and The Dark Knight, Hollywood raked in the dough week after week — and, surprisingly, scored major Freshness on the Tomatometer in the process. Rotten Tomatoes takes a look at the Summer in Review to revisit the critical and commercial hits and misses of the summer.

Inside find out which movies fared the best and the worst with critics, which films made box office magic and which earned less than enchanting returns, and how each of the major studios measured up over the course of the season. Also, see which films Rotten Tomatoes’ own editors picked as their favorites of the summer! Chime in below with your thoughts on Hollywood’s summer of ’08.


The Top 10 Tomatometers of the Summer




more info…

10.
Wanted

Tomatometer: 73%

Summer comic book movies are usually based on established heroes — as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Batman can attest — but Universal wanted something out of the ordinary. Their first step? Hire upstart Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch), who infused the film, about a new inductee into a super-powered ring of assassins, with his signature visual flair. Combined with a script loosely adapted from the comic of the same name, uber geek elements like “bullet bending,” physics-defying set pieces, and Angelina Jolie as a sultry killer, Wanted turned out to be one of the more unabashedly entertaining — and simultaneously critically approved — popcorn flicks of the summer.




more info…

9.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Tomatometer: 77%

Say what you will about the long-awaited return of Indiana Jones, but even almost two decades after his last crusade, critics decided that the fedora still fit. Director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas seemed to revisit a lot of familiar ground in the fourth big-screen franchise outing, but their 1950s Area 51-esque plotline — and the sheer coolness of seeing Harrison Ford reprise his trademark role — provided enough thrills to delight longtime fans. Could Indy’s newly introduced son (Shia La Beouf) don the fedora in further sequels? $780 million in worldwide returns point to “yes.”




more info…

8.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Tomatometer: 80%

Woody Allen’s latest effort opened quietly in limited release before expanding into theaters nationwide, allowing the ebullient enthusiasm of critics to spread. Considering the mixed results of Allen’s work of late (going from the Oscar-nominated Match Point to the uneven Melinda & Melinda, to the disappointing Scoop, to the middling Cassandra’s Dream), critics discovered that watching the Spanish-set Vicky Cristina Barcelona was like unearthing a gem. At 80 percent, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Allen’s best reviewed film since 1997’s Everyone Says I Love You (83 percent).




more info…

7.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Tomatometer: 80%

Critics (and parents) often groan inwardly when they sit down to watch a family film, but Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery proved a surprisingly good watch for all ages. Credit for much of the film’s success goes to Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin, but we can also thank director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park) and scribe Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) for infusing the kid mystery with wholesome smarts.




more info…

6.
Tropic Thunder

Tomatometer: 83%

Ben Stiller’s Vietnam-set Hollywood satire brought up the rear of this summer’s line up, opening mid-August as (arguably) the last event movie of the season. And it surely did pay off. Audiences loved Tropic Thunder; critics made it Certified Fresh. Even protests over its controversial “Simple Jack” and blackface plot devices couldn’t get this war comedy down. Tropic Thunder also notably became the best-reviewed summer film to open since The Dark Knight debuted a month prior, and the first film to topple The Bat’s stronghold on the box office.




more info…

5.
Kung Fu Panda

Tomatometer: 88%

Let it not be said that Pixar has a stronghold on doing animation well; DreamWorks SKG proved otherwise with Kung Fu Panda, starring Jack Black as a rotund bear destined for martial arts greatness. Prior to release, DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg hinted at the possibility of five or six Kung Fu Panda films, a la Shrek; one 88 percent Tomatometer and $577 million later, we’d say a Kung Fu Panda franchise looks very likely, indeed.




more info…

4.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Tomatometer: 88%

While previous summers saw sequelized blockbusters rake in the dough but fall far below Fresh on the Tomatometer (see last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), this summer boasted sequels aplenty that were also critically loved. Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army was one such movie, not only returning its beloved cigar-chomping hero to the screen, but improving on the first film in the process (Hellboy, 80 percent).




more info…

3.
Iron Man

Tomatometer: 93%

While the summer of 2008 will be remembered for the domination of The Dark Knight, let’s not forget another comic book superhero that made his mark on critics and audiences: Iron Man. The Marvel character sprang to life in May, thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s witty star turn and Jon Favreau’s glossy direction. Just one point and about 40 reviews shy of The Dark Knight, Iron Man could even potentially catch up and surpass Batman on the Tomatometer…




more info…

2.
The Dark Knight

Tomatometer: 94%

When Christopher Nolan rescued the oft-silly Batman franchise from campy irrelevance in 2005, critics took note: Batman Begins introduced a gloomier dark knight and went Certified Fresh at 85 percent on the Tomatometer. This summer’s eagerly anticipated The Dark Knight followed suit, and then some; it scored an impressive 94 percent on the Tomatometer and dominated the summer box office for weeks, breaking records — and expectations — left and right. Not bad for a comic book movie!




more info…

1.
Wall-E

Tomatometer: 97%

In grand Pixar tradition, Wall-E not only charmed the pants off of critics and audiences alike, it blasted its way to the top of the Tomatometer to become the best-reviewed film of the year so far. (Recent Pixar movies Ratatouille and The Incredibles also opened to critical acclaim and went on to become the best-reviewed wide releases of their respective years.) The tale of a lonely little robot is well positioned to win this year’s Golden Tomato Award…and if the Academy follows suit, Pixar might just have a few more of those gold statuettes to put on their mantle.

Next: The 10 Worst Tomatometers of the Summer


The 10 Worst Tomatometers of the Summer




more info…

10.
Meet Dave

Tomatometer: 20%

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Critics and audiences alike have been mourning the apparent passing of classic Eddie Murphy for several years now, citing the likes of The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Norbit as examples of the dismal turns his career has taken. Unfortunately, Meet Dave isn’t the movie that’s going to change that trend. Settling in at 20 percent on the Tomatometer, it sadly doesn’t qualify as the lowest-rated film in Murphy’s career, but most assert that the clever premise (devised by a Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumnus, Bill Corbett) gets bogged down by stale writing and sitcom-level humor. Meet Dave has its handful of moments, but they just weren’t enough to propel the movie out of our worst-reviewed list.




more info…

9.
Clone Wars

Tomatometer: 20%

Intended to be an introduction to the TV series of the same name that will debut later this year, The Clone Wars might just have been the least anticipated “Star Wars film” ever released. After disappointing many a fan with the prequel trilogy, George Lucas came right back with this animated feature and failed to rally anyone but his most faithful of followers. To be fair, the movie does suffer from the fact that it was originally supposed to air as the first three episodes of the TV show, and as far as animation goes, The Clone Wars looks great for television but subpar for the big screen. Many critics seem to agree that it will do much better when it transitions to its half-hour episodes, but for now, the feature film debut sits at 20 percent on the Tomatometer, making it #7 in our list.




more info…

8.
The Happening

Tomatometer: 19%

We were already becoming a little skeptical of M. Night Shyamalan after The Village underperformed and Lady in the Water downright flopped, but even as audiences grew disillusioned about the suspense director, few could have expected the depths to which he would fall with his latest, The Happening. The trailers were intriguing, especially considering this was Shyamalan’s first R-rated feature, but the overall premise of the film was kept secret fairly effectively, and with a couple of hits under Shyamalan’s belt, the hope was that this would be a return to form. Unfortunately, while it offered some of his trademark chills, Happening mostly fell flat, due to a poorly crafted script, some wooden acting, and what some ultimately deemed to be a silly premise. If this downward trend continues, Shyamalan may earn himself the title of “one-trick pony.”




more info…

7.
Mirrors

Tomatometer: 16%

Asian horror remakes are a dime a dozen in Hollywood these days, but that doesn’t stop enterprising directors and studios from consistently making them happen. Mirrors, originally a Korean film, is the latest of the appropriated imports, but with a respectable cast (Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton) and an experienced horror director (Alexandre Aja — High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) at the helm, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect a halfway decent frightfest. Unfortunately, the movie was dull, with few scares and an overly convoluted plot, thus earning it a 16 percent on the Tomatometer and a #6 spot on our Worst Reviewed list.




more info…

6.
The Love Guru

Tomatometer: 14%

After doing mostly voice work as Shrek and appearing in a few film cameos, Mike Myers came back in The Love Guru with his first starring vehicle since The Cat in the Hat in ’03. Unfortunately, critics weren’t feeling the Love in his latest feature, complaining that the character didn’t work, that the writing was lazy, and that the jokes were juvenile and, even worse, simply not funny. All things considered, The Love Guru still performed better overall than the aforementioned Cat in the Hat, earning a 14 percent Tomatometer score to Cat‘s 12 percent, but it was enough to place it as the fifth worst-reviewed film of the summer.




more info…

5.
College

Tomatometer: 14%

Last summer’s Superbad was such a breakout hit, MGM decided to remake it for this summer season…only by “remake” we mean cop a poor imitation of that flick and just about every other college-set comedy ever made. Teen idol Drake Bell (of Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh fame), whose attempt at crossing over into “mature” roles began with this year’s inane Superhero Movie, dug himself even deeper into Rotten territory in College, which opened last week, the dumping ground of the summer season. Gross-out humor in the vein of Porky’s failed to impress critics, who found the teen buddy comedy to be overly vulgar, homophobic, and sexist — all of which might have been more acceptable if it were only funny.




more info…

4.
Made of Honor

Tomatometer: 12%

After achieving big-screen success with 2007’s widely acclaimed Enchanted, Patrick Dempsey tried again to bank on his “McDreamy” persona in Made of Honor. Unfortunately, the movie felt just a little too familiar (My Best Friend’s Wedding, anyone?) to most of its viewers, and with nothing particularly unique or interesting to set it apart from its recycled plot, stale humor, and romantic comedy clichés, Made of Honor found its way to our worst-reviewed list for the summer. Scoring a dismal 12 percent on the Tomatometer and prompting such criticisms as “cookie-cutter” and “stew of mediocrity,” the movie is notable for, if nothing else, being the final film appearance of the late Sydney Pollack.




more info…

3.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Tomatometer: 11%

Seven years after its first sequel was released, the Mummy franchise returned this year with its third installment. While neither of the first two movies could be considered critical darlings themselves, Dragon Emperor brought the series to a new low, earning a paltry 11 percent on the Tomatometer, compared to 54 percent and 47 percent for its predecessors. Many cited the formulaic, poorly written script and the heavy use of CGI as reasons why Dragon Emperor ultimately fell flat. It’s difficult to go wrong when you’ve got Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, dragons, and abominable snowmen, but Tomb of the Dragon Emperor somehow managed to secure one of the lowest Tomatometers of any movie this summer.




more info…

2.
Babylon A.D.

Tomatometer: 4%

You know you’re in for a bumpy ride when a director publicly denounces his own film, as Babylon A.D. helmer Mathieu Kassovitz did a week before its release. Once the world took a gander at the sci-fi actioner, it seemed to agree wholeheartedly. With unintentionally cheesy dialogue, poorly staged set pieces, and a silly, muddled plot, the Vin Diesel vehicle played exactly as many people expected — which might be good enough for Diesel fans, but certainly not for critics. Just how bad is Babylon A.D.? Were it not for two lone positive reviews — U.K. critics James Christopher of The Times and Xan Brooks of The Guardian — the flick would be looking at double zeroes on the Tomatometer.




more info…

1.
Disaster Movie

Tomatometer: 0%

Speaking of zero percent Tomatometers…we’ve got Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, quite possibly the most reviled cinematic duo since Hitler and Riefenstahl. (Though Triumph of the Will would probably be Certified Fresh given enough reviews.) Friedberg’s and Seltzer’s long-standing assault on spoof comedy (and cinema, in general) appears to be hitting its stride with Disaster Movie, a film so hastily thrown together that it spoofs trailers, which currently holds a zero percent Tomatometer. This year has been rife with the goose eggs (Witless Protection, Deal, Strange Wilderness, One Missed Call), but this Tomatometer is especially important for Friedberg and Seltzer: after getting single-digit percentages on their previous movies, they’ve finally hit the coveted rock-bottom. Enjoy, guys, you’ve earned it.

Next: The Best and Worst Box Office Earners of the Summer

The Best and Worst Box Office Earners of the Summer

While capturing both critical and commercial success seems to be as difficult an achievement as capturing lightning in a bottle (moreso for a summer blockbuster), the summer of 2008 saw an unusually high number of well-reviewed hit movies. Christopher Nolan’s grown-up superhero movie The Dark Knight struck that rare confluence of art and commerce, driving Bat-fans the world over into a ticket-buying Bat-frenzy, but it also earned raves and Oscar-buzz, and could end up one of the best-reviewed films of the year. Furthermore, The Dark Knight was in good company with its fellow top money-makers, as only two Top Ten films — the femme-driven event flick, Sex and the City: The Movie and Will Smith’s Hancock — earned a rotten Tomatometer rating.

Top 10 Box Office Earners (Gross)

1. The Dark Knight $493,671,047
2. Iron Man $317,570,520
3.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the


Crystal Skull

$315,337,154
4. Hancock $226,547,044
5. Wall-E $216,798,080
6. Kung Fu Panda $212,958,340
7. Sex and the City $152,440,062
8.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

$141,550,527
9. The Incredible Hulk $134,426,930
10. Wanted $133,822,865

Bottom 10 Box Office Earners (Gross)

*Films released prior to the week of August 29, 2008

1. The Rocker $4,664,559
2. Fly Me to the Moon $4,733,063
3. The Longshots $5,149,624
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona $9,783,911
5. Meet Dave $11,662,184
6. Swing Vote $15,555,204
7. Death Race $16,849,530
8. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl $17,408,308
9. The House Bunny $19,551,243
10. The X-Files: I Want to Believe $20,750,074

Next: Which Studio Came Out on Top?

Which Studio Came Out on Top?




1. Paramount
Average Tomatometer: 71%
Box office: $966 million

Summer’s winner! Paramount is the only major studio to achieve more than one
$200 million hit leading to the highest box office total, and it did so with
the highest Tomatometer average (four of its five movies hit Certified Fresh
status). The critics’ influence may be diminished during opening weekend, but
here we see good
reviews are indicating what summer movies will have positive
word-of-mouth and staying power.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

Iron Man

$318m


93%

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

$316m


77%

Kung Fu Panda

$213m


88%

Tropic Thunder

$87m


83%

The Love Guru

$32m


14%





2. Disney
Average Tomatometer: 67%
Box office: $376 million

Disney has the least amount of movies, with two of them vastly underperforming
(Swing Vote was a blip and Prince Caspian‘s gross is only half of The Lion,
The Witch, and the Wardrobe
‘s). The silver lining: Wall-E is this year’s
best-reviewed movie and has a strong chance of remaining so if Pixar’s past
performance record is any indication.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

Wall-E

$218m


97%

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

$142m

66%

Swing Vote

$16m


40%





3. Warner Bros.
Average Tomatometer: 56%
Box office: $1.02 billion

The fact that Warner Bros. put out the summer’s most notorious bomb (Speed
Racer)
is easily offset by the enormous success of The Dark Knight. It’s
become second-highest grossing movie off all time (and Certified Fresh to
boot!), pushing WB over the $1 billion mark for the summer.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

The Dark Knight

$504m


94%

Sex and the City

$153m


51%

Get Smart

$129m


52%

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (New Line)

$96m


61%

Speed Racer

$43m


36%

The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants 2

$41m


63%

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (Picturehouse)

$32m


80%

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

$30m


18%





4. Universal
Average Tomatometer: 53%
Box office: $655 million

Wanted gave Universal a surprise critical and commercial hit and Mamma Mia!
has quietly become the highest grossing musical ever. Surprisingly, it was the
superheroes that let the studio down, with both The Incredible Hulk and
Hellboy falling shy of recovering their reported costs.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

Wanted

$134m


73%

The Incredible Hulk

$134m


67%

Mamma Mia!

$133m


54%

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

$98m


11%

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

$76m


88%

The Strangers

$52m


42%

Death Race

$25m


40%

Hamlet 2

$3m


61%





5. Sony
Average Tomatometer: 40%
Box office: $581 million

Sony was in classic Hollywood mode this summer, relying on the stars like Will
Smith, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell to draw crowds in. Behind the scenes, Judd Apatow proved
reliable once more, producing the studio’s sole fresh movie.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

Hancock

$227m


38%

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

$100m


34%

Step Brothers

$98m


51%

Pineapple Express

$80m


68%

Made of Honor

$47m


12%

The House Bunny

$29m


40%





6. Fox
Average Tomatometer: 26%
Box office: $250 million

It was a brutal summer for Fox, which lacked a single fresh movie or $100
million success. If Paramount is keeping its audience around with fresh movies,
Fox proves the vice versa: resoundingly rotten ones can repel audiences.

Movie

B.O.

Tomatometer

What Happens in Vegas

$80m


27%

The Happening

$65m


19%

Space Chimps

$29m


33%

Mirrors

$25m


21%

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

$21m


33%


Babylon A.D.

$12m


04%

Meet Dave

$12m


20%

The Rocker

$6m


36%

Next: RT’s Editors Pick Their Favorite Films of the Summer


RT Editors’ Favorite Films of the Summer

Here in the RT office we all had our favorite films this summer. And we didn’t always agree with the Tomatometer. But hey, that’s what favorite means — rhyme or reason aside, these movies spoke to us. Below, our editors share their picks!

Join in below and let us know what you think were the best and worst films of the summer season.

The Dark Knight, picked by Editor in Chief Matt Atchity

My pick for best movie of the summer? I’m going to have to go with The Dark Knight. It’s not perfect; Bale’s Bat-voice is a bit much after a while, and it runs perilously close to overstaying its welcome, but those (very minor) complaints aside, it’s a fantastic film. As with Batman Begins, this film is as much a psychological crime drama as it is a comic book movie, and continues to take a sort of realistic look at the idea of a costumed vigilante. And if Batman Begins showed us a plausible scenario that could result in the creation of the Batman, then The Dark Knight shows us how the world would respond; the citizens of Gotham both embrace and condemn him. But if the Batman represents the extreme avatar of order amidst chaos, then it’s inevitable that someone will rise to Batman’s challenge. Which brings me of course to the Joker. Heath Ledger‘s Joker is simply the best comic book villain ever to menace the screen. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Ledger’s Joker is going to stick with us as an iconic villain, along the lines of Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, and Norman Bates. It’s truly a tragedy that Ledger isn’t with us anymore, if for no other reason than that he’ll never experience the acclaim he so richly deserves.

Iron Man, picked by RT Australia Editor Joanna Cohen

I first loved Robert Downey Jr. in Less than Zero as a spoiled new romantic with deep, glassy eyes and a pastel blazer. Since 1987 I have remained devoted through every dive of his cardiac-like celebrity Tomatometer graph. Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr. and vice versa. The flawed genius, the troubled vulnerability…I adored every misogynistic, world-dominating, politically incorrect moment. He shone. And someone should give Gwyneth an award for best acting of a pencil skirt.

Gonzo, picked by Editor Sara Schieron

Telling you it inspired my summer reading list will make Alex Gibney‘s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sound a lot less hot than it is. A doc about Hunter S. Thompson, the miserable genius, self-titled “Dr.” and inventor of Gonzo Journalism, Gonzo paints a crystal portrait of an era and a man that in some light looks golden and in others looks leaden. Thompson and his stories teeter between snark and melancholy, fascinating always, by page or by screen.

Mongol, picked by
Community Manager Ryan Fujitani

This summer brought us several wildly entertaining blockbusters, but the one movie that got me hitting up Wikipedia and updating my “countries to visit” list was Mongol, a moderately successful indie biopic chronicling the life and times of Genghis Khan. It may have had something to do with my fascination for ancient cultures and fallen empires, but Mongol grabbed me from the start and wrapped me up in its epic story until the credits rolled. While the movie isn’t without its problems (questionable editing choices, a somewhat abrupt ending), the cinematography was appropriately gorgeous, the action was visceral and cathartic, and Mr. Khan himself was fascinating to watch. Oh, and it inspired me to grow a beard and move every three months.

Pineapple Express, picked by Editor Alex Vo

The Dark Knight‘s better-crafted, and WALL-E got me a little teary, but I haven’t had as much plain ol’ movie fun all year than watching Pineapple Express the first two times. (Yeah, here’s that rare movie that’s beckoned me back to the theater multiple times.) The movie’s alternately breezy and intense, while director David Gordon Green‘s loving care towards fringe characters makes Pineapple Express feel earthy and organic, a rarity for so-called stoner flicks.

Wall-E, picked by Senior Editor Tim Ryan

Is WALL-E more poignant than City Lights? Is it a more potent allegory than Metropolis? Is it as powerful a reflection on what it is to be a cognizant being than 2001? Time will tell if Pixar’s latest marvel is mentioned alongside those classics in the cinematic canon, but let the debate begin here. Achingly romantic, darkly funny, and blessed with some of the most remarkable visuals ever committed to celluloid, WALL-E is one for the ages — and great summer fun to boot.

Speed Racer, picked by Senior Editor Jen Yamato

This particular pick is bound to stir some controversy (bring it on, haters!), but so be it: Speed Racer was my favorite summer flick of 2008. Inventive, innovative, intriguing, spectacular — the Wachowski brothers’ live-action, anime-based adventure is everything I hoped it would be, and more. It’s a “kid flick” I’d have enjoyed as much as a tyke as I do today, a film that transcends the medium as we’ve known it, bursting through traditional boundaries of moviemaking to create an entirely absorbing, eye-popping, immersive alternate reality. It is the movie equivalent of mixing Coca Cola and Pop Rocks. Or like BeDazzling your cerebral cortex. Which would be awesome, were it only possible…

Want to browse more features? We’ve got tons archived right here!

A week before The Joker unleashes chaos, moviegoers passed the time by driving the comic book sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army to a number one debut while also showing up in solid numbers for the 3D adventure Journey to the Center of the Earth. On the other hand, Eddie Murphy‘s new comedy Meet Dave was totally ignored and suffered a dismal debut becoming the summer’s biggest flop. Holdover pictures in the top ten performed well with each dropping by less than 50%.

One superhero with an attitude problem replaced another in the top spot as Universal’s actioner Hellboy II debuted ahead of the pack with an estimated $35.9M in its first weekend of release. Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), the PG-13 film opened 55% better than the $23.2M bow of its 2004 predecessor which Sony released. It went on to gross a mediocre $59M but grew its audience on DVD and cable. Golden Army averaged a sturdy $11,200 from 3,204 theaters. Budgeted at $85M, the new Hellboy took advantage of a built-in audience of fans and the starpower that its director has generated after winning three Oscars for Labyrinth. Reviews were very favorable and the studio is keeping the door open for a sequel, even though del Toro will spend the next three years in New Zealand making back-to-back Hobbit films.



Close behind in second place was Will Smith‘s latest blockbuster Hancock which dropped 47% to an estimated $33M to boost its cume to a robust $165M after twelve and a half days. That’s an exact match to the total that 2005’s sci-fi action offering from Independence Day weekend War of the Worlds took in after its second session. The Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise collaboration suffered a bigger drop of 53% and a smaller sophomore take of $30.5M, but did not have the extra revenue from night-before-opening previews like Hancock.

It was a strong hold for Smith especially with the solid debuts of two new action films. Hancock also gave the superstar actor his fifth consecutive $150M+ blockbuster further cementing his status as the most bankable star in Hollywood. The road ahead could be a rough one though given Friday’s eagerly-awaited launch of the competing superhero juggernaut The Dark Knight, but a final domestic tally in the neighborhood of $250M could result. Overseas, the badass crimefighter soared to $180.2M in sales catapulting the worldwide cume to an eye-popping $345M in less than two weeks. The $150M production could fly to $500-600M globally.



Opening well in third place was the 3D adventure tale Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser with an estimated $20.6M. The New Line/Warner Bros. film launched in 2,811 theaters and averaged a solid $7,321 per site. However, the grosses from 3D and traditional 2D theaters were like night and day. A whopping 70% of the total venues did not have equipment to offer the film in 3D and those theaters averaged only about $2,000 each. But the 854 sites that did screen the PG-rated film in 3D averaged close to $20,000 per playdate and accounted for more than 80% of the weekend business. Most of those charged higher ticket prices too which helped to boost the grosses. Reviews were generally good for the $60M-budgeted project. Journey also had a limited international premiere grossing $4.2M from five markets led by $2.1M in the United Kingdom and $1.5M in Brazil.



Disney and Pixar followed in fourth with WALL•E which grossed an estimated $18.5M in its third frame dropping 43%. The decline was bigger than Ratatouille‘s 38% dip during its third session a year ago this same weekend. The robot pic opened $16M better than the rodent comedy, but now their third weekend tallies are nearly identical as WALL•E‘s legs have not been as sturdy. Still, look for this latest animation gem to roll its way to roughly $220M domestically.



Angelina Jolie had an eventful weekend welcoming in two new babies and also having twin films in the top ten. Her action thriller Wanted placed fifth with an estimated $11.6M, down 42%, boosting Universal’s cume to $112M. The actress also voiced Tigress in Kung Fu Panda further down on the chart. Jolie has now upped her counts for both children and $100M career blockbusters to six each.

Get Smart came in sixth with an estimated $7.1M, down only 36%, and reached $111.5M after 24 days for Warner Bros.

Stealing the ‘Flop of the Summer’ title from Speed Racer, Eddie Murphy stumbled into seventh place with a disastrous opening for his new comedy Meet Dave which grossed just $5.3M, according to estimates. The PG-rated film landed in 3,011 theaters and averaged a puny $1,760. It was the third worst opening in box office history for a film released in more than 3,000 theaters and certainly the poorest for a pricey star vehicle. The only films to open worse were last year’s The Seeker: The Dark is Rising ($3.7M from 3,141 sites) and 2006’s Hoot ($3.4M from 3,018 playdates).

Carrying a budget of roughly $60M, buzz was always bad for Meet Dave and the concept of Murphy playing a human-looking spaceship operated by a mini crew inside of him, with a captain also played by the funnyman, did not fly with audiences. Competition also played a part as every film that ranked higher also offered action, comedy, or both. Dave‘s opening was a far cry from the solid $34.2M debut that Murphy’s comedy Norbit scored last year and joins the Oscar-nominated comedian’s hall of box office shame along with The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Holy Man, and Best Defense.



Kung Fu Panda dropped 41% to eighth place with an estimated $4.3M sending the martial arts toon across the $200M mark with a total to date of $202M. The Paramount/DreamWorks pic is running 8% behind the pace of Disney/Pixar’s Cars from 2006 and will probably finish with roughly $215M. The Abigail Breslin pic Kit Kittredge: An American Girl held up well in its second weekend of wide release slipping just 29% to an estimated $2.4M. Though it enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten, it still has only collected $11M to date and seems headed for a $18-20M finish.

Rounding out the top ten was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with an estimated $2.3M in its eighth weekend, down 40%, raising the overall tally to $310.5M. The Harrison Ford adventure sequel is now within striking distance of fellow Paramount release Iron Man‘s $313.4M and could become the new top grosser of 2008. Warner Bros. fully intends to make it a three-picture race with The Dark Knight which could very well reach the same stratosphere by month’s end.

Three films fell from the top ten this weekend. Universal’s The Incredible Hulk took in an estimated $2.2M, off 55%, for a $129.8M sum. That puts the new green guy a scant 1% ahead of Ang Lee’s Hulk at the same point in its 2003 run. Factor in higher ticket prices and the new Hulk has actually attracted fewer fans than the old one did, and cost a bit more. Budgeted at $150M, The Incredible Hulk should end up with about $135M edging out the $132.2M gross of Hulk, but will sell 13% fewer tickets. Overseas, the Edward Norton pic smashed the $100M mark boosting the international cume to $101.3M and the global tally to $231M.



The much more profitable Sex and the City banked an estimated $1.7M, down only 28%, and raised its total to a stellar $148.2M. A final domestic haul of $155M seems likely for the New Line film distributed by Warner Bros. The overseas performance for the $60M production has been sensational with $220.5M taken in to date accounting for 60% of the global haul of $369M. Astounding industry observers, Sex has become the fourth biggest global blockbuster of 2008 after the Paramount triumvirate of Indiana Jones, Iron Man, and Kung Fu Panda.

The summer’s other fashion-related comedy You Don’t Mess With the Zohan fell 46% to an estimated $1.1M giving the Adam Sandler vehicle $96.9M so far. The Sony release should inch its way to the $100M mark making it the comedian’s lowest gross for a broad comedy since 2000’s Little Nicky.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $140.9M which was down 17% from last year when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opened in the top spot with $77.1M; and off 5% from 2006 when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest spent a second weekend at number one with $62.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

There are three movies opening in wide release this week, but who are we kidding? Hellboy II: The Golden Army is riding the biggest wave of buzz. Watch this week’s Review Revue as we discuss how Guillermo del Toro‘s fantastical superhero sequel is faring with the critics, and if there’s any hope for the competing flicks of Brendan Fraser (Journey to the Center of the Earth) and Eddie Murphy (Meet Dave).

Guillermo del Toro returns to his beloved Hellboy franchise with a second adventure of epic proportions, forgoing the real-world evils of the first Hellboy for decidedly more fantastic fare. But challenging the horned comic-book hero for this weekend’s ticket sales are new films from fellow A-listers who’ve built up considerable box office cache. Journey to the Center of the Earth stars the hammy Brendan Fraser in a 3-dimensional family adventure filled with dinosaurs and various projectiles; Meet Dave reunites the hammy Eddie Murphy with his Norbit director in a star vehicle about tiny aliens on Earth who live in a spaceship shaped like Eddie Murphy.

Without further ado, watch the Review Revue!

For further Hellboy II reading, check out our interview and Five Favorite Films with Doug Jones and our hour-long video chat with Guillermo del Toro!

And you won’t want to miss the Review Revue next week, as we discuss the critical response to Mamma Mia, Space Chimps, and Batman’s highly anticipated return to the screen, The Dark Knight!

For the first time in eleven weeks, Hollywood releases more than two wide openers on the same weekend as a trio of male-driven pictures will invade multiplexes across North America on Friday. Leading the way is the comic book sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army which looks to become the latest superhero film to bow at number one. Brendan Fraser counters with his own action offering Journey to the Center of the Earth while Eddie Murphy tries to deliver some laughs with the comedy Meet Dave.

The second badass-superhero-with-an-attitude flick in as many weeks hits the multiplexes with Hellboy II which marks the return of Ron Perlman as the devilish crimefighter and Guillermo del Toro behind the camera showing off his inventive imagination with visual effects that leap ahead of those from the last installment. Sony bowed the first Hellboy to $23.2M in April 2004 on its way to a $59M final. It was hardly the type of number that warrants a sequel, but the director’s stock has risen since then and so Universal is the distributor this time around and has included Golden Army in its summer four-pack of action titles designed to boost its marketshare after a slow start to the year.

Reviews have been exceptional and the marketing push has been strong too. Fans of both science fiction and fantasy are likely to be interested here given the starpower of del Toro, plus there is already a cult audience that loved the first film and will be out on the opening weekend for the new tale. In addition, there is intense hunger for The Dark Knight which is still a week away and many comic book fans will try to curb their desires just a bit by taking a ride with Hellboy as they wait. With Wanted, Universal saw how sales can sizzle with a stylish action picture chock full of impressive visual effects. Hellboy II should play to many of the same folks and can skew younger thanks to its PG-13 rating. Genuine excitement should lead to the demon dethroning Hancock after just one week on top. Hellboy II marches into 3,203 theaters on Friday and could debut to around $37M.

Three weeks before he steps back into his comfortable Rick O’Connell role, Brendan Fraser stars in Journey to the Center of the Earth, the first live-action narrative film to be shot in digital 3D. The PG-rated New Line pic, inherited by Warner Bros., should score with young boys and could play to audiences of all ages in search of something new and different when leaving home for big screen entertainment. The pair of H boys will take away much of the action crowd so the competitive environment right now will limit Journey‘s potential. Last November’s animated 3D pic Beowulf bowed to $27.5M partly on the stylish look, and partly on Angelina Jolie‘s starpower. Outside of The Mummy flicks, Fraser doesn’t pull in too much in sales, although in this case he’s in the type of action hero role he can sell best. Reviews have been pretty good which can’t hurt. Descending into 2,811 theaters, Journey to the Center of the Earth might come up with about $17M this weekend.

Not being shown to the press is Eddie Murphy’s latest comedy Meet Dave where the popular comedian plays an alien spaceship as well as the micro-sized captain inside controlling it. The PG-rated film is aiming for a broad audience with its silly and non-offensive humor, but in the end may reach nobody. Early buzz has been negative and although there is awareness out there, overall excitement is low. The studio is putting most of its hopes into its advertising blitz, and of course a giant Eddie head that traveled across the country hoping to generate publicity in lieu of a human actor who could do talk shows and interview appearances. Comedies starring the media-shy Murphy sell based on how funny they look and Meet Dave is more The Adventures of Pluto Nash ($2.2M opening) than Norbit ($34.2M bow). Plus stiff competition from an assortment of better films will have an impact too. Landing in 3,011 theaters, Meet Dave might meet with about $13M.

Hancock flew right to the top spot at the box office all around the world last weekend and now has to face fierce competition from three new wide releases that will each eat away at a portion of Will Smith‘s audience. Add in word-of-mouth that is far from strong and a big drop is guaranteed. Midweek numbers have been solid though with $8.5M on Monday and $7.4M on Tuesday pushing the opening week tally to $119.7M in seven days plus previews.

Smith has enjoyed numerous blockbusters in July and Hancock has generated the best first-week gross of any of them. But that doesn’t mean it’s the most popular. Ticket prices have climbed significantly since 1996 when Independence Day rocked the multiplexes, but the alien smash still attracted more moviegoers than any of his other action offerings from this month.

This weekend, look for Hancock to witness a post-Fourth of July weekend drop similar to those seen by past holiday chart-toppers like Terminator 3 (56%), MIB2 (53%), and War of the Worlds (53%). A 55% stumble for the drunken superhero would result in a weekend take of about $28M which would push Sony’s cume to $161M. That would give the former rapper a stunning fifth consecutive $150M+ blockbuster.

WALL-E has been chugging along collecting cash and rolling its way towards the $200M mark. Two new PG-rated films open on Friday aimed at kids and families so there will be some level of competition. Luckily for Disney and Pixar, neither Journey nor Dave is expected to be a megasmash. A 35% decline for WALL-E could result giving the animated hit about $21M and a cume of $166M.


Universal will see some of the Wanted audience flee to stablemate Hellboy so another big fall is likely. The assassin actioner might fall by 45% to around $11M giving the Jolie joint $111M to date. Get Smart could drop by 40% to $6.5M for a $111M total for Warner Bros. as well.

LAST YEAR: For the third straight frame a franchise action pic debuted midweek ahead of a solid weekend opening. This time it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which landed at number one with $77.1M over three days and a stunning $139.7M across five days. The Warner Bros. blockbuster went on to gross $292M domestically and a towering $938M globally edging out the numbers of the previous installment in the series. Transformers dropped to second but held up well with $37M and a $224M cume. Disney placed third with Ratatouille with $18M, Live Free or Die Hard followed with $11.3M for Fox, and License to Wed rounded out the top five with $7.3M for Warner Bros.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Will Smith took home yet another gold medal at the box office with his superhero-with-an-attitude actioner Hancock which opened at number one over the Fourth of July holiday weekend nearly doubling the gross of the frame’s silver medalist. Sony’s critically-panned title collected an estimated $66M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and a solid $107.3M since its launch on Tuesday night with previews beginning at 7pm. The three-day average was a strong $16,646 from 3,965 locations.


Its five-and-a-half-day tally was the fourth biggest opening for the extended Independence Day holiday frame trailing 2004’s Spider-Man 2 ($180.1M in six days), last year’s Transformers ($155.4M in six-and-a-half days), and 2005’s War of the Worlds ($112.7M in six days). Since the holiday falls on a different day each year prompting studios to bow their films in various ways, comparisons are not always fair. But in all three cases, the extended openings accounted for 48-49% of the eventual final domestic gross.

Smith once again proved that he’s Hollywood’s most bankable box office draw. Hancock was the actor’s eighth consecutive number one opener, eighth consecutive film to break the $100M mark, and gave the actor his seventh consecutive year of having a film reach the nine-digit mark. Co-starring Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron, Hancock offers up a new take on the superhero story with a central character that drinks, curses, and roughs up children. The PG-13 film cost a reported $150M and Smith served as producer as well as star. Reviews were overwhelmingly negative but audiences came out anyway generating sales that were far from a record, but still very healthy nonetheless. Bad buzz could make the weeks ahead rocky though.


Hancock‘s journey began on Tuesday night with $6.8M, Wednesday’s official opening day delivered $17.4M, and Thursday added in $17.1M more. The Fourth of July holiday fell on a Friday this year and saw Hancock take in $18.8M. Saturday climbed 39% to $26.1M while Sunday was estimated to dip by 19% to $21.2M. Sony launched the tentpole pic around the world this weekend and hauled in an additional $78M overseas bringing the global opening to a stellar $185.3M over the past week.

Following its top spot debut last week, Disney/Pixar’s animated hit WALL•E fell 47% to second with an estimated $33.4M giving the G-rated toon a sturdy $128.1M in ten days. It was a larger than usual decline for a Pixar pic but the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Friday contributed to the slide. The robot adventure opened 34% higher than last summer’s Ratatouille which debuted at the same time, but after ten days the lead was cut in half to 17%. Both periods include the Independence Day holiday.


But thanks to strong midweek sales at a time when kids are out of school, WALL•E‘s ten-day cume is 10% ahead of Cars and 9% ahead of Kung Fu Panda. Both of those animated hits opened in early June. The road ahead will not be an easy one as two more PG-rated family films open this Friday – the Brendan Fraser adventure film Journey to the Center of the Earth and the Eddie Murphy comedy Meet Dave. At its current pace, WALL•E could find its way to $235-245M domestically.

Universal’s effects-driven actioner Wanted fell a steep 60% in its second weekend to an estimated $20.6M and boosted its ten-day total to $90.8M. The $75M Angelina Jolie assassin pic should find its way to $130-140M from North America making it the second biggest R-rated film of the year after Sex and the City. Overseas, Wanted grossed an estimated $18.8M from 23 markets pushing the international total to $64.2M and the global gross to $155M so far.

Steve Carell‘s Get Smart landed in fourth in its third frame with an estimated $11.1M. Off 45%, the Warner Bros.release has collected $98.1M in 17 days. Paramount’s animated hit Kung Fu Panda followed in fifth with an estimated $7.5M, off 36%, lifting the total to $193.4M. Currently the third largest film of 2008, the DreamWorks production looks to end up with about $220M and could have its toon crown swiped by WALL•E later this summer.


Universal’s comic reboot The Incredible Hulk fell 48% to an estimated $5M and brought its sum to $124.9M which was almost identical to the $124.7M that 2003’s Hulk took in at the same point in its run. The new pic opened lower but has enjoyed somewhat better legs. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull followed with an estimated $3.9M, down only 24%, for a new cume of $306.6M. That puts the Steven Spielberg sequel at number 26 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of the $306.2M of 1996’s Independence Day. Of course, ticket prices were much higher a dozen years ago when Will Smith scored his first of five number one openers over this holiday and its tally today would be roughly $490M.

Abigail Breslin landed in eighth place with her Depression-era pic Kit Kittredge: An American Girl which disappointed in wide release grossing only $3.6M, according to estimates, in its first weekend of national play. Expanding from five to 1,843 locations, the G-rated pic aimed at young girls averaged a poor $1,954 per theater. Given the popularity of the books and toys that the film is based on and the sizzling numbers posted in limited release, a much stronger turnout was expected. Total sits at just $6.1M for Picturehouse.

Comedies rounded out the top ten with Sex and the City grossing an estimated $2.3M and You Don’t Mess With the Zohan taking in an estimated $2M. Totals stand at $144.9M and $94.8M, respectively.


Two critically-panned films fell from the top ten this weekend. The Mike Myers comedy The Love Guru tumbled 68% to an estimated $1.7M for a weak cume of $29.3M. Budgeted at $60M, the Paramount release should finish with only $31-33M. Fox’s M. Night Shyamalan thriller The Happening declined by 63% to an estimated $1.5M for a $62.1M total. Produced for about $55M, the R-rated pic should end up with around $65M which is a nice bounce back after the director’s Lady in the Water which grossed $42.3M in 2006. But The Happening stills ranks as the second lowest performer for Shyamalan since he became a household name in 1999 with The Sixth Sense.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $155.5M which was off 3% from last year when Transformers opened in the top spot with $70.5M over three days; but up 12% from 2006’s holiday frame when Superman Returns debuted at number one with $52.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya,
www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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