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David Poland

By David Poland

Box Office & Stuff

So Klady has Babylon AD and Tropic Thunder dead even for Friday. I have to agree with Steve Mason that TT should be the easy winner by Monday. Zzzzzzzz…
Just wondering why we aren’t having rousing fights about the massive accomplishment by Thunder… after all, it was such a critical proof of Dark Knight as a cultural event, right?
My point is, stats like this are meaningless, much like box office share. They are worse than just being obsessive details… they lie. For instance, WB and Par are fighting for top slot in summer market share, but WB will have a summer return on box office, based on domestic box office only, of about triple what Par will have… And international will make the gap even wider.
Speaking of WB, The Bat will pass $500m domestic by Monday.
Woody Allen is looking at his third highest grosser of the last decade, at least.
Babylon AD, which stiffed in spite of being MK’s cut in France, will stiff here too. While busy raging at Fox, you might want to see if you can find out details of what actually happened on the production from more than one side/source… Just hintin’…
In other stuff, I am pleased that Obama realized that McCain made his campaign a fish in a barrel yesterday and will allow nature to take its course without more prodding. No one needs the spots of Vogue Gov vs Paris Hilton to get this joke.
Also, I had the misfortune of opening the Baltimore Sun this morning and seeing that Zell!!! has already got the 50/50 content to ads split in full force here, with lots of wire service coverage about politics and everything but local sports (50/50 in that section too) in spite of being the biggest city this close to DC. The future of out LA Times is bleak.

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40 Responses to “Box Office & Stuff”

  1. martin says:

    You have to give the media credit for pumping up the marketability of their product leading into the home stretch. This election has been over for the last 6 months, but we’re going to hear about this “tight” race up until election day. Because a tight race means more $$ than a blowout, and it always comes down to the $$.

  2. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Forget about decent box office even with Labor Day. Hurricane Gustav is Category 4 going on 5 — all of coastal Louisiana is being evacuated.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    While I sympathize with the people of Louisiana and Texas, I can’t imagine that evacuations are going to effect nationwide box office that much.

  4. IOIOIOI says:

    Heat: what are you referring to with TDK and Tropic Thunder? Freakin weird man. Freakin weird.

  5. udterp says:

    The Sun does indeed look bizarre, Dave. It’s amazing how more people get their news from newspapers than any other source, by a long shot, but newspapers have lost the PR war. People honestly think differently, but it’s not even close to true.
    How the hell masters of information let that happen is beyond me.
    I weep for my business.

  6. First of all, if you do the math, there is an outside chance that The Dark Knight could repeat at number 01 next weekend if Bancock Dangerous performs more like Next than Ghost Rider. Not likely, but it could happen. After that, we’ve got Righteous Kill* which should open, and Lakeview Terrace, which really looks like a trashy good time.
    I’m pleased as punch that Disaster Movie more or less tanked, but it’s a shame the same fate befell Superhero Movie. I caught it on DVD because it had a couple solid notices that suggested that it was more of a classical ZAZ spoof. It was.
    Like The Comebacks from last year (the unrated director’s cut, that is), Superhero Movie is an honest-to-goodness spoof with real jokes, an actual plot, and a bare minimum of pop-culture references (and, shock of shocks, a couple of those references are actually funny). And yes, David Zucker (the hardcore right winger of the Zucker Abrahams Zucker comedy trope) is involved as a producer.
    The plot basically is the first Spider-Man film, but not in an iron-clad sense. Ironically, while Spider-Man worked best when Willem Dafoe was onscreen, Superhero Movie excels when it’s villain, ‘The Hourglass’ (Christopher McDonald) takes center stage. The teen leads, Drake Bell and Sarah Paxton, are fine, but the supporting cast really shines here (McDonald, Brent Spiner, Leslie Nielsen Jeffrey Tambor).
    The first act is superior to the rest, but the entire film works surprisingly well as an old-fashioned spoof. There are absolutely no scenes where a laugh is attempted based on ‘hey look, he’s in the costume from that other movie!’ It feels far more like The Naked Gun than Meet The Spartans. It’s absolutely worth a rental. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty funny.
    Scott Mendelson
    * Rightious Kill spoilers, only if I’m accurate –
    Will they go with the obvious twist, that Pacino is the killer (since De Niro was the villain last time they teamed), or the twisty twist, that De Niro is the killer? Myself and everyone I know assumes that it’s probably one of them and the ‘Rightious Kill’ of the title will occur at the end when one takes down the other.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Chucky: I will be interested to see if the evacuations are even mentioned by the b.o. reporters. Three years ago, when it looked like Rita was going to hit Houston — just a couple weeks after Katrina hit N.O. — all movie theaters here (along with most other busineses) were closed for two nights, Friday and Saturday. But I didn’t see any b.o. report that took into account that the fourth largest city in the US had been essentially shut down.

  8. It’s a good thing Dave doesn’t have many international readers, that’s for sure.

  9. berg says:

    When Houston theatres opened on Sept 25 I went to the Edwards Grand Palace 24 and saw A History of Violence and The Exorcism of Emily Rose – not a bad double feature. Joe I understand you were the only person at a screening of Disaster Movie the other night at that same theater and at the 30-minute mark a carpet pisser came in and micturated on the theater floor?

  10. tfresca says:

    I’m curious as to how Nicholas Cage’s career has fallen so low so quickly, he was a big star up until recently. It seems studios don’t even bother to promote his movies as being big deals. Also this AD movie came out of nowhere for me, no buzz or talk about it.

  11. RoyBatty says:

    Cage has done one too many paycheck movies. They used to be tempered (he has always made bad choices there – FIRE BIRDS, anyone?) with interesting smaller pictures. I think now that he is closing in on 50, he is just grabbing whatever money he can. He also isn’t aging well lately, looking more like an over-the-hill concert promoter than a film star.
    **** ***** ***** *****
    BABYLON AD has looked like a rental ever since the first trailers went up. Nothing new, casting that leaves you cold and visuals that look like a YouTube clip reel for someone who just got out of their CGI school.
    Casting Vin Diesel might have been the Hobson’s choice Kassovitz was forced to accept to get a pricey sci-fi action film greenlite, but then again a strong, interesting UNIQUE script could have helped attract A-list people who all want to star in a franchise starter. Problem is Kassovitz is not the director to bring material that needs work to. Forget GOTHIKA, even his most successful French film, CRIMSON RIVERS, shows that LA HAINE was a fluke. An enjoyable B-movie thriller, RIVERS is still too full of convenient coincidences and other movie clich staples to be taken seriously.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Surprisingly, according to Boxofficemojo, the weekend box office was only slightly dented by Katrina evacuations in 2005 relative to the previous and following years:
    Top 12 movies:
    Aug. 27-29, 2004: $84.9 million
    Aug. 26-28, 2005: $83.1 million
    Aug. 25-27, 2006: $84.1 million

  13. martin says:

    Are you seriously that lame that you’re thinking about box office when people are leaving their homes, possibly for good? Get your head out of your ass.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: As a New Orleans native who grew up in the Ninth Ward, and who has many friends still living in the area, I can assure you — I did not intend to make light of a very serious situation. In fact, all I meant to note is that when Houston, the fourth largest metro area in the USA, virtually shut down for two days in September 2005, as a pro-active Hurricane Rita (not Katrina) precaution, none of the b.o. reports that I read make note of this factor. That struck me, then as now, as sloppy reporting.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, I was just pointing out that Chucky was wrong, and this is allegedly a movie website.
    Obviously, though, bad news for the gulf.

  16. SaveFarris says:

    Just as a friendly reminder, the Katrina evacuation didn’t even START until Sunday morning that weekend. That’s part of the reason why so many people were left behind. And that missing only Sunday from the 45(?)th or so market would have had a negligible impact on the box office numbers.
    This storm though, people are taking seriously. The governor has been holding press conferences like clockwork since Tuesday and Mayor Nagin has learned his lesson and ordered the mandatory evacuation 72 hours out instead of 18. Though the actual storm looks to be even more severe than Katrina, it looks like (crosses fingers) we shouldn’t see as great a loss of life.

  17. RoyBatty says:

    Martin, are you seriously so lame that you would go on a movie site which tends to analyze box office numbers and then get your panties in a bunch because some are taking note of the weather?
    I’ve gone through several in my life, but I didn’t expect the world to stop because of it.
    Seriously, grow the fuck up.
    Hey, jeffmcm – another ex Wells poster. Got kicked off for the forth time today myself. He’s actually calling today’s events a “purge.”

  18. jeffmcm says:

    4th? What made you want to go back three more times?
    It must be great to have so much traffic that he can afford to pick and choose his readership – and yet, he still allows D.Z. there, right?

  19. marychan says:

    David, Mathieu Kassovitz said that he wasn’t allowed to do one scene the way it was written or the way he wanted it to be (during the filming of BABYLON AD)…. So it is clear that he hates all versions of BABYLON AD (even his own cut)….. In fact, Mathieu Kassovitz didn’t do promotion of this film in France.
    Anyway, based on what I heard/read about BABYLON AD, I think most players involved in the project (including Fox and Mathieu Kassovitz) have their faults in this matter.

  20. Jerry Colvin says:

    The final Ebert & Roeper is playing this weekend. Even though it is mostly a repeat of the show from two weeks ago, it has a different ending that briefly talks about Siskel and Ebert and Disney.

  21. scooterzz says:

    i’m afraid wells went ’round the bend today…i have a vision of him slumpped over his keyboard, rattling a couple of ball-bearings in his hand and muttering ‘they did steal those strawberries…they DID…and i’ll prove it’….

  22. ployp says:

    Scott Mendelson – as a Thai and a former Bangkokian, I’d appreciate it if you spell the name of my capital city correctly. Maybe you meant your spelling to be a joke, but still… It’s *Bangkok*, by the way. Thanks. I liked the original Bangkok Dangerous. However, I don’t think I’ll see this one.
    Kam, Mr. Poland does have an int’l reader. Me.

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble…

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Not much between despair and ecstasy.

  25. LYT says:

    “Just wondering why we aren’t having rousing fights about the massive accomplishment by Thunder… after all, it was such a critical proof of Dark Knight as a cultural event, right?”
    Well, if I recall, David, you disliked both…

  26. I think what Dave’s getting at (and I, of course, may be wrong) is that three weeks at #1 for Tropic Thunder has seemingly gone unreported yet The Dark Knight was on top for four and it was apparently the biggest feat known to mankind and evidence that it is the greatest movie in the known universe of all time completely obliterating every single movie that came before it after only being in release for one week. And you can’t say Thunder had less competition because it’s not like The Dark Knight was competing against Indiana Jones or a Pixar title.

  27. anghus says:

    You can tell it’s a slow week.
    People are actually trying to conconct a scandal between the release of Disaster Movie and the 3rd Anniversary of Katrina.
    Guess what? If no one would have said anything, i wouldn’t have known about the anniversary of Katrina or the release of Disaster Movie.
    I mean, seriously? The third anniversary of a hurricane and subsequent failure of a federal response mandates that a movie with ‘disaster’ in the title shouldn’t be released.
    Jesus Christ we have become a bunch of fucking namby pamby a-holes. It was a hurricane. Bad shit happened. More will come. And that’s probably true of these awful “Movie” movies.
    But to hear people freaking out about a movie with “disaster” in the title being released on the third anniversary of the katrina disaster. That’s just people looking for something to bitch about. This pissy little complaint culture we live in. I’m more offended by the existence of Disaster Movie than the corrolation to a useless anniversary.
    This town needs an enema.

  28. SJRubinstein says:

    No, it needs a new, wacky fall scandal for people to chatter about while people wait to see if anything’s going to pick up between TIFF and Thanksgiving or if the summer studio malaise will only be cured by Oscar-handicapping.
    Better yet, it needs “Crossing Over” to be some kind of surprise hit that gets people talking Harrison Ford for Best Actor.
    ‘Course, I’d settle for a great “Transporter 3.” “Death Race” = Second Best Statham Film of 2008…so far!

  29. EthanG says:

    1. Tropic Thunder is a non-story because three weeks at number 1 certainly isn’t 4.
    2. It may not pass Step Brothers as the biggest R-rated summer comedy and has a much higher production budget. It’ll turn a profit though….eventually. I am glad Stiller will likely get another directing hire after a virtual box office explosion from Zoolander, which I thought was a superior film…

  30. RoyBatty says:

    Jeff – It’s a tie between bear-baiting such a thin-skinned blusterer (twice for alluding to the 3:10 TO YUMA nudie actress email, once for his age) and never backing down from a bully. Plus, been there since the days and I have deluded myself that it might return to being about film one day.
    Yes, the ADD/OCD afflicted D.Z. continues to post pretty much anything that happens to pop into his head, whether it relates to the post or not.
    Think this might be the last of HE, because once the campaign is over and all the election year junkies lose interest, the regulars left will be the usual assortment of AICN type fan boys who will just stick around to fight with Wells over his latest anti-Jackson or Lucas screed.

  31. Oh dear. In all honesty, I meant to google the correct spelling but my kid woke up, so I got distracted and hit send, not giving it another thought. My sincerest apologies.
    I certainly didn’t realize the crude nature of my misspelling, just that it was probably wrong and that I should look it up before sending. Thanks for making a note of it as it frankly made me look like an ignorant butthead.

  32. I’m sure no matter what weekend Disaster Movie was chosen to be released on, someone would have found a disaster of some kind in the history books. “How dare they release it on the 25 year anniversary of a deadly mudslide in Uzbekistan!!!” etc.
    Ethan, but that’s exactly the point. People are so ho-hum about it (rightfully so) when it’s just as pointless as The Dark Knight staying on top for four weeks with no competition.

  33. Frankly, at the risk of sounding preachy, the fact that so few people knew the day of Katrina is unfortunate. Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, it is a day that damn well ought to live in infamy.
    If this is true, then it’s even more unforgivable then most of us assumed. I’m pretty sure the charges leveled here rise to some form of criminal homicide, be it neglect or second-degree depraved indifference.

  34. movieman says:

    It was nice to see that Guy Pearce finally washed his hair.
    That was just about the only pleasant–and certainly surprising–thing about the very mediocre, exceptionally tedious “Traitor.” A prety unspectacular opening, but it actually did a lot better than I predicted.
    What makes “College” so excruciating to sit through, and why it’s worse than the usual T&C college hijinks flick, is its bordering-on-“Saw”-like cruelty.
    Delighted to see that it tanked.
    Words fail me in commenting on the sheer, utter and uber-pretentious nonsense that is “Babylon, A.D.” Wow; and I used to think that Kassovitz was a pretty decent director (“Cafe Au Lait,” “La Haine”). How did he ever convince Charlotte Rampling, Gerard Depardieu and Lambert Wilson to sign up?
    Not a single laugh, giggle or even smile is produced by the grim excresence that is “Disaster Movie.” It’s the longest 88 minutes of the year by far.
    By comparison with those dogs of summer, “Hamlet 2” is a minor treasure (despite being an eyesore). Naturally it was the lowest grossing of all the (new) wide releases this weekend.
    Pretty ironic that “Tropic Thunder” was #1 for three weekends straight since it probably won’t hit $100-milllion by the end of its run.

  35. yancyskancy says:

    tfresca: Yeah, I feel sorry for Nic Cage. He hasn’t had a hit since National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released way back in Dec. of 2007. And you have to go way back to Feb. of that year to find another one (Ghost Rider). Stick a fork in him; he’s done. 🙂
    Not saying he’s been making great creative choices, of course. That’s a separate issue. He can still act when he gets a great part though (Adaptation; World Trade Center).

  36. While I’m not a fan of Cage’s outside of movies like Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation for an actor to have National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Ghost Rider gross as much as they did in the same year (and as recent a year as 2007) shows that he is hardly on the skids. And to say “He hasn’t had a hit since National Treasure: Book of Secrets was released way back in Dec. of 2007” is incredibly silly for two reasons: 1) He hasn’t had a film in cinemas since National Treasure: Book of Secrets so it’s hard to have a hit or flop, and 2) December 2007 was 8months ago. EIGHT MONTHS. Brad Pitt hasn’t had a hit since Ocean’s 13 in JUNE 2007 omgcareerover!! Cage still got a while to go before he’s John Travolta circa 1990.
    I even surprised myself how much I just defended him there, but it really was silly.
    Tropic Thunder will surely get to $100mil. it’s already at $84mil and still made over $10mil this weekend. Surely for a movie that is still at #1 it can’t fall so much as to not make another $16mil before being dropped from cinemas.
    Nobody’s mentioned the fact that Mamma Mia! increased it’s weekend take! I didn’t particularly care for the movie, but I could see why it was a hit, yet it’s relentless staying power is still quite amazing. I guess that singalong thing actually worked for a change.

  37. Nicolas Cage makes plenty of quirky challenging films. But when critics complain that movies like Lord Of War and The Weather Man are too character-driven and brooding for a major studio, they have no right criticizing him when he does big budget tent polers like National Treasure and Ghost Rider. And when said artful pictures flop at the box office while the big dumb movies make money, we somehow act like Nic Cage has sold his soul, despite the fact that he is really doing the ‘one for them, one for me’ that most actors in his position try to do. Just because we ignore the good stuff he does doesn’t mean it’s not there.

  38. yancyskancy says:

    Kaz: Gee, I thought it was pretty clear that I was being snarky, not “incredibly silly,” with my remarks about Cage’s 2007 hits. OF COURSE it’s silly — that was my point to tfresca. Didn’t my little smiley face tip you off? 🙂
    My fault though. I should know by now that snark doesn’t always come across on the page.

  39. LexG says:

    No one but maybe movieman (who I’m responding to) is likely to care, but Babylon AD wasn’t THAT bad; Actually some of the setpieces and cinematography were quite breathtaking; There’s a nice long stretch in the middle to 3/4 mark, running roughly from them hitching a ride on the sub to the Manhattan gun battle that is actually kind of awesome and beautifully composed and fascinating. At that point, I was totally with the movie.
    Then the last act became slapdash beyond reason, with a car chase out of nowhere, Rampling disappearing, and a faux-happy ending that leaves more unanswered questions than I can even count. So Kassovitz has his point… but long stretches of it worked, and I was fairly entertained. It was obviously an interesting project and Diesel was in good form and that chick WAS BEAUTIFUL OH MY GOD SHE OWNEEEED WHO THE HELL WAS THAT???????????
    Even if the director wants to chase viewers away, I think there was still plenty of good stuff in there and certainly an interesting and ambitious movie.
    Plus it had METAL in that cage fight. SEPULTURA OWNS YOU.

  40. Yancy, i didn’t get that. sorry.
    Movieman, Charlotte Rampling has been in a lot of bad movies – Basic Instinct 2, anyone?

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