Today, I’ll say City of God though that could change tomorrow. It is so special in its storytelling, a perfectly executed, beautifully shot, wasting nothing, brilliant acting, etc. What’s not to like?
It makes me pee with laughter. Peter Falk and Alan Arkin are a perfect combination and play off each other so well in this ridiculous movie. I watch it at least once a year.
Another film that I saw at an impressionable time in my life that served for me as a beautiful testament to the power of love in the face of absolute injustice and oppression.
Another perfect film showcasing the brilliance of the one and only, never to be seen again talents of Peter Sellers. What a beast. Kubrick actually wanted him to play another character. I can only imagine what he would have done with that. I’m sure he would have crushed it.
It’s a great meditation on how we treat and mistreat ‘the other.’ A magical, thought provoking film that I saw at a time in my life when I was questioning a lot of things about the nature of humanity and how we react when we come up against the unknown and unknowable.
Don Cheadle: I don’t know that I would use the word “important.” I leave that up to the viewer. It caught my interest because it dealt with a complex issue in a way that wasn’t as black and white as other offerings in the genre.
The world is a much more complicated place than it used to be, and film audiences have grown more interested in morally ambiguous heroes. Is that a good thing?
DC: I think it’s good that people are more open to characters that are complicated, in a certain kind of film experience that is. I think people still want clear good guys and bad guys in the tent pole blockbusters but are more amenable to the grey areas. Most of us live there anyway.
You’ve helped to raise the issue of genocide in Darfur. Although there’s been an increase in attention on the region, the violence continues. What needs to be done there?
DC: A lot needs to be done and hopefully with this new administration, more will be. We need to engage in a very robust and committed negotiation process that brings everybody to the table while also protecting the innocent as well as seeking justice. We need to be in support of the ICC [International Criminal Court] and get behind the indictments that the court has requested.
We fondly remember your guest starring role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as Will’s friend, Ice Tray. What role would you name as your funniest performance? What is your favorite early role?
DC: My funniest performance…? That is a question for you. I don’t really like watching my own films too much. I had a very good time working on Rebound [The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault].
This week we’ve got CG spectacles (Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Meryl Streep letting loose (Mamma Mia!), Joss Whedon’s online superhero musical (Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog), and High Def Grinding (Death Proof and Planet Terror on Blu-ray), so dig in!
Sometimes, the third time is not the charm – even when Jet Lit is juggling magic glowing balls in the air. Critics and audiences learned that this summer when the third film in the popular Mummy franchise — adventures that were vibrant, old-fashioned action romps with tongue firmly in cheek — opened to dismal reviews and an underwhelming North American debut. But despite a 14 percent Tomatometer, The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor raked in the dough worldwide and by all accounts can be notched as a success. (At least in dollars.) And hey, it starred two of our favorite Asian movie stars, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, in a fantastical, mythological, action spectacular, which might just be reason enough to give Mummy 3 a shot — at least, maybe as a rental.
Below, watch a DVD-only exclusive clip featuring stars Luke Ford and Michelle Yeoh from The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Next: Meryl lets loose in Mamma Mia!
ABBA fans, you’re in for a treat! (ABBA haters, you might want to skip ahead.) The Broadway hit show featuring the songs of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid came to the big screen this summer and arrives on DVD this week, just in time for the holidays. Meryl Streep, who earned a Golden Globe nomination this week for Mamma Mia, stars as Donna Sheridan, a former pop singer living in Greece with her daughter, Sophie; Sophie, on the eve of her own wedding, issues invitations to three of her mother’s exes in hopes of discovering which man is her father, and hilarity, singing and dancing ensue.
Word of warning: your enjoyment, much like that of the critics, may depend largely on how much you enjoy the music of ABBA (one of my favorites, “Super Trouper,” is performed), how much you enjoy watching erstwhile serious thespian Streep jump on beds and let her hair down, and how horrified you might be at hearing former 007 Pierce Brosnan screech out a tune or two.
The 2-Disc Special Edition includes a digital copy of the film and tons of behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes. Intrigued by newcomer star Amanda Seyfried? Watch an exclusive clip below to hear her in the recording studio and learn how she was cast as Meryl Streep’s daughter.
Next: Joss Whedon + NPH + Writer’s Strike = an Internet musical phenomenon!
It’s the winter of 2007 and the Writer’s Strike has begun; what’s a filmmaker to do? If you’re Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly), you get a few friends together and create an internet-only “supervillain musical” starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion in a superpowered love triangle for the Facebook generation, and call it Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog!
Dr. Horrible (played by NPH) is a mad scientist by profession who makes various kinds of ray guns (Freeze Ray, Death Ray) and aspires to join the ranks of the Evil League of Evil. Terribly shy in public, he’s got a crush on a local gal named Penny — only Penny’s being courted by Horrible’s nemesis, the shallow, ego-centric superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). Angst, romance, musical numbers, video blogs and evil plots abound in this delightful tragicomedy, which debuted on iTunes and Hulu and come to DVD this week with a host of fun extras for fans; special features include “Commentary! The Musical,” a sing along musical commentary track to the sing along musical feature.
Next: Anna Faris goes centerfold in The House Bunny
Despite the best efforts of star Anna Faris, who’s quickly becoming the Lucille Ball of her generation, the femme-driven comedy The House Bunny garnered middling reviews. Much of that critical ennui came thanks to a confused grrrl power plot in which Playboy bunny Shelley (Faris) finds herself kicked out of Hef’s pad once she turns 27, then becomes house mother to a sorority full of nerdy girls who teach her to embrace her inner intelligence while she teaches them push-up bras and make-up strategy. To which this 27-year-old nerdy girl says, pfft! The answers to life’s struggles aren’t underwires and eye shadows and a soundtrack full of The Pussycat Dolls, Ashlee Simpson and Avril Levigne. The answer, obviously, is Botox. (Duh.)
The House Bunny on DVD includes features entitled “House Bunny Style” and “Getting Ready for a Party,” a bit on the film’s “nice guy,” Colin Hanks, deleted scenes, and the music video for co-star and former American Idol Katharine McPhee’s cover of “I Know What Boys Like.”
Next: Is Don Cheadle a Traitor?
The coolest thing about Traitor isn’t that it features Don Cheadle in a well-deserved starring role, that he plays a sort of Bourne-ish action hero, or that his character, a Sudanese-American Muslim accused of terrorism named Samir, may not, in fact, be a bad guy; the coolest part is that this timely tale of political spy intrigue and post-9/11 paranoia came from the wild and crazy Steve Martin. Yup, that Steve Martin.
Featurettes, behind-the-scenes video, and a commentary track by Cheadle and writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff accompany the film.
Next: The latest from Master Shake, Meatwad and Frylock
If you get delighted at the sight of giant food products living the suburban life in New Jersey, then you probably already watch Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force and own volumes 1-5 on DVD. Get ready to add another set to your ATHF collection with Volume 6, which hits shelves this week.
In Volume 6 (which contains nine episodes from Season 5), Meatwad, Shake and Frylock battle with their landlord, join the Marines, and explore MySpace with the help of special guests like Neko Case, David Cross, T-Pain, and John Kruk; special features include Carl’s sports-related blog rants, a 15-minute “Terrorphone” short, and more.
Next: Embed yourself with HBO’s Generation Kill
If HBO knows one thing, it’s how to craft a great mini-series; pick up the seven-part Generation Kill, which first aired this summer and should find a wider audience on home video. Based on Rolling Stone writer Evan Wright’s own experience as an embedded journalist in the Iraq War, Generation Kill follows Wright (played by Lee Terguson) as he joins the Marines of the First Recon Battalion’s Bravo Company at the start of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, bearing witness to the daily lives of US soldiers whose days waver from actual engagement to Jarhead-like monotony.
The three-disc set includes cast and crew commentaries on six of the episodes, video diaries, making-of featurettes, a guide to military slang, and a video in which the real Evan Wright catches up with some of the actual soldiers portrayed in Generation Kill.
Next: Whose-its and whats-its galore!
Audiences of a certain age may remember Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid as one of the more memorable Disney fairytale flicks of the past few decades; now they can share Ariel’s story (and sequel and prequel) with their kids with The Little Mermaid Trilogy box set!
To catch you up: in The Little Mermaid, rebellious teen mermaid Ariel trades her voice to an evil sea witch in return for a pair of human legs, which help her walk, dance, and nab the man of her dreams…but at what cost? In the 2000 sequel, The Little Mermaid II, Ariel’s human daughter Melody finds herself banned from the sea — cruel irony! — yet gets lured into a trap by another evil witch. Finally, in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, we find out where she got her lifelong love for whosits and whatsits and that she first met her shellfish buddy Sebastian when he was singing at an underground (underwater?) music club…which actually explains a lot.
Next: Grindhouse comes to Blu-ray!
At long last, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s cinematic one-two punch, Grindhouse (or as they’re individually known and sold, Death Proof and Planet Terror), comes to Blu-ray — which means two things: Vanessa Ferlito’s entire lap dance AND Zoe Bell’s high speed game of Ship’s Mast in glorious HD!
Unfortunately, these twin releases are virtually identical to the Uncut and Unrated standard disc issues that previously debuted. We guess the Death Proof and Planet Terror Uber Editions are in production purgatory along with Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (which, in fairness to QT, is supposedly in the works.)
Next: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”
Tired of Billy Blanks yelling at you with that drill sergeant smile on his face? Can’t follow N*SYNC choreographer-turned-Stomp the Yarder Darrin Henson’s Dance Grooves? Just grab a partner, turn up The Contours, and pretend your name is Baby and that nobody puts you in a corner.
Until next week, happy renting!
A four-pack of fall films from specialty distributors fueled a resurgence at the North American box office led by the caper comedy Burn After Reading from the Coen brothers which made off with the number one spot. Solid bows also greeted Tyler Perry’s newest story The Family That Preys and the Robert De Niro-Al Pacino cop thriller Righteous Kill which landed in second and third, respectively. The female-empowerment pic The Women opened in fourth with lukewarm numbers. The four new titles accounted for a whopping 77% of all money spent on the top ten films. It was also the first time that four September films ever opened to double-digit millions on the same weekend.
Just six months after winning the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture, Joel and Ethan Coen scored the largest debut of their career and first-ever number one opening with the crime caper Burn After Reading. The R-rated comedy grossed an estimated $19.4M giving Focus Features the biggest debut in company history and its first top spot bow as well. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and recent Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, the ensemble film averaged a terrific $7,320 from 2,651 sites. The previous bests for the Coens came from 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty and 2004’s The Ladykillers which bowed to $12.5M and $12.6M, respectively. Reviews were generally good for Burn which benefitted from starpower, cross-gender appeal, and good will created by their triumphs with No Country For Old Men. The performance also comes as good news for Focus which has struggled since 2005’s Brokeback Mountain.
Tyler Perry scored yet another hit with his latest film The Family That Preys which opened close behind in second with an estimated $18M from 2,070 locations. The Lionsgate release played in the fewest locations of any new pic and its solid $8,705 average was tops among all wide releases. The filmmaker’s loyal fan following came out once again giving Perry his third impressive debut in under a year. Last March, Meet the Browns opened in second place with $20.1M and a $10,011 average while last October saw Why Did I Get Married? premiere to $21.4M and a $10,618 average. Both were Lionsgate titles released in just over 2,000 theaters. The audience was dominated by African American adult women just as with the Atlanta-based director’s previous films. According to studio research, 82% of the crowd was black, 82% was over 25, and 79% was female. Perry returns once again on February 20 with his next comedy, Madea Goes to Jail.
The pairing of screen legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino led the new action thriller Righteous Kill to a third place debut with an estimated $16.5M in ticket sales. The Overture Films release averaged a solid $5,235 from 3,152 theaters and played to an audience that was not as male-oriented as was expected. In fact, the serial killer drama’s audience was slightly more female (51%) while mature adults led the way as 69% of the crowd was 25 or older. Reviews were not good, but starpower drove the sales as moviegoers wanted to see the first pairing of the two men since Heat which opened to $8.4M in 1995 on its way to $67.4M. Kill differed in that the Oscar-winning actors played partners and actually had numerous scenes together for the first time. Pacino nailed his best opening in a lead role since 2002’s Insomnia ($20.9M) while for De Niro it was his highest since 2005’s Hide and Seek ($22M).
Posting the weakest debut among the frame’s new titles was the remake The Women starring Meg Ryan which bowed to an estimated $10.1M from 2,962 theaters for a mild $3,406 average. Co-starring a long list of actresses such as Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen, the PG-13 film attracted harsh reviews from critics. Women is the final film from Picturehouse and only really had strong appeal to one quadrant – females over 25. With the weekend’s other new releases also generating interest with adult women and boasting more male appeal to help bring in couples, the Diane English-directed pic faced intense competition during a time that traditionally sees only so many dollars circulating in the marketplace.
Leading all the holdover pics was Sony’s hit sorority comedy The House Bunny with an estimated $4.3M, off just 22%, for a $42.2M cume. Tropic Thunder followed close behind dropping 42% to an estimated $4.2M raising its total to $103M for Paramount and DreamWorks. It is the 15th summer film to join the century club and was joined by Will Ferrell’s Step Brothers which reached $100.1M on Sunday to become the season’s 16th blockbuster. Journey to the Center of the Earth should become the final film to join the list as it sits at $98M to date.
Dipping only 27%, The Dark Knight continued to draw in audiences in its ninth weekend. The Warner Bros. megahit took in an estimated $4M and pushed its domestic cume to a towering $517.7M. Getting closer to the billion dollar club, the Caped Crusader pulled in an estimated $6.7M overseas this weekend to raise its international tally to $448.9M and its worldwide gross to a stunning $966.6M. The Dark Knight climbed up to number five among all-time worldwide blockbusters in between 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($970M) and last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961M).
Three star-driven action thrillers rounded out the top ten. Nicolas Cage’s Bangkok Dangerous collapsed in its second weekend tumbling 69% to an estimated $2.4M falling from first to eighth. The Lionsgate release has collected a meager $12.5M in ten days and should finish with only $18M making it one of the actor’s worst-performing action movies ever. The Don Cheadle pic Traitor fell 50% to an estimated $2.1M while Jason Statham’s Death Race fell 46% to an estimated $2M. Totals are $20.7M and $33.2M for Overture and Universal, respectively.
Four films fell out of the top ten over the weekend. Fox’s Vin Diesel actioner Babylon A.D. dropped 58% to an estimated $1.8M for a weak $20.3M total to date. The sci-fi flop should limp to a $24M finish. The runaway hit Mamma Mia! took in an estimated $1.7M, off just 39% in its ninth session, and boosted its North American tally to $139.3M. A final of about $145M seems likely. Universal’s highest-grossing film of the year also shattered the $300M overseas mark with an estimated $17.5M this weekend. That put the amazing international sum at $307M and the global gross at a stellar $446.3M. Produced for $65M, Mamma Mia! will easily take in over $500M at the worldwide box office by the end of its run.
The spoof comedy Disaster Movie dropped 47% to an estimated $1.6M giving Lionsgate just $12.7M thus far. Look for a pitiful $16M by the end of its run. Sony’s stoner hit Pineapple Express took in an estimated $1.1M, off 52%, for a $86M cume. The $27M production should end with a robust $88M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $83.1M which was up 39% from last year when The Brave One opened in the top spot with $13.5M; and up 47% from 2006 when Gridiron Gang debuted at number one with $14.4M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya,
Moviegoers found almost nothing worth paying money for at North American multiplexes as the top ten films at the box office slumped to their lowest gross in five years giving the new fall movie season a disastrous start. Nicolas Cage’s latest thriller Bangkok Dangerous suffered one of the worst action openings ever for the Oscar-winning actor, but thanks to a sluggish marketplace it was good enough to claim first place. Summer holdovers performed relatively well with five pics in the top ten dropping by less than 40%, but most wide releases crawled to averages of less than $2,300 as theaters struggled to find ticket buyers.
Bowing to only $7.8M, according to estimates, Bangkok Dangerous enjoyed a less-than-spectacular number one debut with a lackluster $2,943 average from 2,650 locations. The R-rated hitman pic gave Cage his second worst opening for an action film since becoming a major player in that genre with 1996’s The Rock. Over that twelve-year span, only last year’s Next posted a weaker debut for an action film with just $7.1M and a $2,618 average. Reviews were poor and Lionsgate’s marketing push was moderate at best.
The weekend after Labor Day is typically one of the slowest frames of the year. With students back in school and a new football season starting, studios generally avoid opening any strong films at this time which in turns helps the box office slow down. But this year with a major tropical storm hitting the east coast and election hoopla getting bigger after the political conventions, moviegoing just was not a priority for people. The top ten films grossed a dismal $47.6M making it the worst showing since this very same weekend in 2003 when the top ten stumbled to $46.2M. The Top 20 grossed $59.7M that year and is estimated to reach $61M this weekend. Factor in ticket price increases and less stubs were definitely sold this time around. Final grosses to be reported on Monday will show if this entire frame will come in lower than that sluggish session from five years ago when David Spade’s Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star led the chart with only $6.7M in its debut weekend. Bangkok also delivered the smallest gross for a number one film since Dickie.
Following its three-week rule of the box office, the war comedy Tropic Thunder retreated back to a close second place finish with an estimated $7.5M dipping only 35%. After its fourth weekend, the Paramount release has collected a solid $96.8M and should cross the century mark next weekend. Sony’s comedy The House Bunny climbed up one notch to third with an estimated $5.9M in its third session dipping only 29%. Total stands at $37M.
The Dark Knight dropped only 34% to an estimated $5.7M and raised its amazing North American cume to $512.2M. Overseas, the Warner Bros. sensation raked in an estimated $11.8M boosting the international tally to $437.2M which allowed the worldwide gross to soar to a staggering $949.4M. The Christian Bale-Heath Ledger showdown now sits at number six among all-time global blockbusters sandwiched right between last summer’s megahits Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961M) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($938M).
Don Cheadle’s political thriller Traitor held up well in its second weekend dropping 41% to an estimated $4.7M to push the 12-day tally to $17.7M. The Overture Films release should finish off in the vicinity of $30M. The Vin Diesel actioner Babylon A.D. fell 58% to an estimated $4M for Fox putting the ten-day total at $17.2M. A $25M final should result.
Another macho action pic Death Race followed with an estimated $3.6M, off 43%, giving Universal $29.8M to date. The spoof comedy Disaster Movie slipped 44% in its sophomore session to an estimated $3.3M. Lionsgate has seen just $10.9M in sales and should conclude its run with a mere $19M or so.
Two successful summer comedy leftovers rounded out the top ten. Mamma Mia! eased 36% to an estimated $2.7M boosting the stellar domestic cume to $136.3M allowing it to enter the top ten list of summer blockbusters. Universal’s singing sensation smashed through the $400M worldwide mark this weekend thanks to a stellar international frame that saw an estimated $15M. That was enough to push the overseas sum to $280.1M and the global gross to an eye-popping $416M. Mamma is now Universal’s top-grossing film of the year both domestically and worldwide beating out the studio’s many action offerings like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, and The Incredible Hulk which all cost more to produce.
Sony’s stoner comedy Pineapple Express took in an estimated $2.4M, down 32%, and has grossed $84.2M thus far.
The top ten films grossed a pathetic estimate of $47.6M over the weekend which was down 23% from last year when 3:10 to Yuma opened in the top spot with $14M; and off 3% from 2006 when The Covenant debuted at number one with $9M in its opening frame.
Studios dumped out their usual trash over Labor Day weekend and moviegoers responded by avoiding most of them. That allowed Robert Downey Jr. to rock both the opening and closing ceremonies of the summer movie season as Tropic Thunder retained the number one spot for the third consecutive weekend. Five films opened or expanded nationally and were scattered all across the Top 20, most with weak results. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight moved up a notch in its seventh session and broke through the $500M mark over the long holiday weekend putting an end to what turned out to be a better-than-expected summer box office.
Still ahead of the pack for a third time, Tropic Thunder grossed an estimated $14.3M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend and lifted its impressive total to $86.6M after 18 days of release. The Ben Stiller-directed war comedy saw its three-day take of $11.5M drop only 29% from last weekend and joined the Batman juggernaut as this year’s only films to rank number one for three or more weekends. The $90M DreamWorks production is on course to end its run in the vicinity of $110M for Paramount which coincidentally also kicked off the summer blockbuster season at the top in May with Iron Man.
Leading all new releases, but lacking muscle, was Vin Diesel’s return to the action genre with Babylon A.D. which bowed to an estimated $12M over the long holiday weekend. Fox’s latest clunker enjoyed the widest launch by far among debuting titles but generated a lackluster $3,540 average over four days from 3,390 theaters. During the Friday-to-Sunday portion, the R-rated thriller grossed $9.6M for a weak $2,822 average. Babylon A.D. capped off a summer that the studio would like to forget following such misfires as Meet Dave, The Rocker, and The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Some were not costly films and others Fox just distributed for a fee, but the studio still failed to score a $100M+ summer grosser for the first time in eleven years.
The comic book overachiever The Dark Knight smashed through the $500M mark and placed third in its seventh weekend with an estimated $11M. Warner Bros. bumped its stunning cume up to $504.7M and surpassed the quintuple century barrier on Sunday in its 45th day of release. The new Batman epic has now sold approximately 70 million tickets beating out Spider-Man which snapped up roughly 69 million stubs in 2002. Knight is on a trajectory to end its North American run with about $525M translating to around 74 million admissions. Overseas, The Joker’s antics attracted an estimated $19.2M boosting the international total to $417M and the global gross to an eye-popping $921.7M. That was enough for The Dark Knight to break into the all-time top ten list of worldwide blockbusters. Shattering the $1 billion mark is a virtual guarantee.
Sony’s sorority comedy The House Bunny ranked fourth for the weekend with an estimated $10.2M over four days in its second term. The Anna Faris starrer has grossed a solid $29.8M in 11 days and could finish in the neighborhood of $45M. The budget was only $25M.
Overture Films saw a respectable debut for its Don Cheadle political thriller Traitor which bowed to an estimated $10M over the long weekend and $11.5M in the six days since opening on Wednesday. The PG-13 pic landed in 2,054 theaters and averaged a good $4,869 over four days representing the second best average among films in wide release. Reviews were somewhat positive.
Jason Statham’s latest action offering Death Race fell to sixth grossing an estimated $8.2M over the long weekend pushing the 11-day total to $25M. The $45M Universal release should end up with $35-40M.
Moviegoers finally said no to spoof kings Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg as their newest comedy Disaster Movie flopped taking in an estimated $6.9M over four days. Opening in 2,642 locations, the PG-13 pic averaged a weak $2,604 for Lionsgate. Disaster‘s three-day bow of $5.8M was less than one-third of what the filmmakers saw on opening weekend for their most recent hits Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie which both debuted at number one with respective takes of $18.5M and $18.6M.
Two hit comedies followed. Universal’s musical sensation Mamma Mia! sang to the tune of $5.8M, according to estimates, and raised its cume to $132.9M. The studio released a new sing-along version in selected theaters on Friday which helped give sales a boost over the holiday weekend. A final domestic tally of $140-145M could result for the $65M songfest. Sony’s stoner hit Pineapple Express collected an estimated $4.5M and took its sum to $80.9M. The final gross for the $27M production should reach $85-90M.
Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona popped back into the top ten with an estimated $3.5M over four days. The MGM release has now taken in $13.3M which is an impressive number for the veteran filmmaker. The Javier Bardem tale also generated the best average among all movies in wide release. Look for a final take at or slightly north of $20M.
With seven other comedies ahead of them on the charts, two new R-rated laughers stumbled in wide release this weekend grossing less than $3M each over four days. MGM’s teen pic College failed miserably with an estimated $2.6M from 2,123 locations for a dismal $1,241 four-day average. Focus expanded its expensive Sundance acquisition Hamlet 2 from 103 to 1,597 theaters in the second weekend and walked away with just $2.1M, according to estimates, for a pitiful four-day average of just $1,330. Cume for the Steve Coogan pic is an embarrassing $3.1M which will not help the distributor recoup the $10M it paid for the indie comedy. Hamlet 2 is shaping up to be this year’s Happy, Texas which Miramax bought for around $10M at 1999’s Sundance but grossed a measly $1.9M from 146 theaters in commercial release that fall.
A better-than-expected summer box office comes to a close over the four-day Labor Day holiday frame with the release of four new films plus the national expansion of a fifth title. Pushing and shoving their way into the multiplexes are Vin Diesel‘s action entry Babylon A.D., the spoof comedy Disaster Movie, Don Cheadle‘s spy thriller Traitor, and the raunchy comedy College. Going nationwide after a mediocre limited bow last week is the indie comedy Hamlet 2. The final weekend of summer usually finds moviegoers playing catch-up and flocking to big hits they just haven’t had time to see yet. Some of the more popular holdover pics should continue to see solid numbers including heavyweight champ The Dark Knight which will crash through the $500M barrier this weekend.
It seems like every four years we get the Summer Olympics, a presidential election, and … a Vin Diesel action movie? It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. The rugged hero’s last action vehicle let loose on the American public was The Chronicles of Riddick which attacked theaters in June 2004 before the Athens Games and John Kerry’s Boston convention. The star of The Pacifier returns to familiar territory with the sci-fi flick Babylon A.D. which will target Diesel’s usual core audience of young males. The commercially-friendly PG-13 rating will allow the pic to reach young teen boys at a time when the main action offerings Death Race and Tropic Thunder carry R ratings.
By no means is Babylon a strong option though. Even its director Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika) wants nothing to do with the final product. The marketing push has been ramped up in the last week so awareness is increasing and television spots are highlighting the special effects which are not all too impressive, but good enough for this time of year when standards are at a 52-week low. The combination of a brand name star returning to his bread and butter genre with a rating that will allow all of the target audience in should make for what could be a number one debut. Although Fox has had by far the worst summer of any major studio, it can at least end the season breathing a sigh of relief salvaging its first and only summer weekend at number one. Babylon A.D. launches very wide in over 3,200 theaters on Friday and could generate around $17M over the four-day weekend.
With more comedies hitting the multiplexes, a substantial decline for The House Bunny is likely to occur. Following its strong debut, the Sony release’s four-day figure could fall 30% to about $10M and push the 11-day cume to $30M. Universal’s Jason Statham actioner Death Race will also fall sharply in its second round thanks to the arrival of Vin Diesel. Look for a 40% drop to $7.5M pushing the total to $25M after 11 days.
The Dark Knight may actually see its grosses rise this weekend. People who never got around to seeing it, plus those just aching to see it again, will line up in strong numbers over the final summer weekend. Late summer’s top blockbusters often see their four-day Labor Day weekend grosses inch up over the previous frame. Last year, The Bourne Ultimatum increased by 7% while the previous year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest climbed 24%. The Caped Crusader could rise by 15% and capture around $12M across the Friday-to-Monday span for its seventh session in the top five. That would allow The Dark Knight to shatter the $500M mark on Sunday after just 45 days of release and finish the holiday frame at $505M.
LAST YEAR: Rob Zombie‘s new take on the horror classic Halloween set a new Labor Day opening weekend record by scaring up a sturdy $30.6M over four days leading the overall marketplace to its highest gross ever for the summer-ending holiday frame. The MGM release went on to finish with an impressive $58.3M. The teen comedy Superbad dropped to second with $15.9M in its third lap. Focus bowed the ping pong comedy Balls of Fury in third with $14.1M and $17.1M across its five-day opening frame. A $32.9M final would result. Rounding out the top five were The Bourne Ultimatum and Rush Hour 3 with $13.4M and $10.8M, respectively. Fox’s action entry Death Sentence bowed in eighth with just $5.3M on its way to a weak $9.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com