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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by The Klady King Redux

(apologies for the production error that had the Friday chart up for the last hour…)

Oh, how the box office shifted like quicksand this weekend. Oh my. How could anyone have known what was coming?


Nothing really surprising happened in the Top 3 this weekend. Kids movies are almost always weakest on Fridays, stronger on Saturdays. Movies for adults are almost always better represented by the Friday number.

Meanwhile, if just Killer Elite or ABduction had opened this weekend and not both, that one film would have been a lot closer to the Top 3.

The surprise of the weekend really is Dolphin Tale. Was it a Christian audience showing up in greater-than-normal numbers? Home schoolers? Or was it just a hole in the market? It’s been over a month since Spy Kids 4 and Dolphin is the first new film for kids – as Lion King is a re-release – in that period. The film is part of Alcon’s output deal with WB… much like the (more) surprising The Blind Side.

There’s nothing particularly significant to be read into Taylor Lautner’s debut in ABduction. Lionsgate can conjure up $11m from its core demo of action boys without too much sweat. (ironically, the failure of Warrior to find that opening number was probably about anxiousness about throwing a quality film to the dogs. Talk about the film being about something that kicking ass and advertising that followed, probably kept it from a better opening… neither emotional enough to get women to attend or kick ass enough for the boys. But the lack of a pure MMA sell has probably kept the door open for Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy to make runs at Oscar nominations.) The question of the weekend is… is Lautner a Statham?

Well… the question of what Statham is gets answered overseas more than in the US. The key titles are the Transporter series, which did (according to Mojo) $18.6m, $42.1m, and $77.3m overseas each. He’s also been a key supporting player in a bunch of big international hits, like Snatch, The Italian Job, and The Expendables. The big difference between Lautner and Statham – besides talent & charm – is that Statham worked his way in slowly and built, with small movies as lead and bigger movies in support and then, Transporter pushed him over.

Of course, obviously, this weekend showed that Statham is still not a guaranteed home run. Killer Elite is not a great Statham opening, but it’s not a bad one either. If you look at the films that he has carried up front, aside from Transporter, the high is $11.4m to open The Mechanic and the low is $5.9m for The Bank Job.

What Lautner still has over Statham is potential. I don’t personally believe in it, but as long as you don’t get crazy and start spending big money on movies built around his brand, you never know. And we don’t know yet what ABduction will do overseas, where there is a big Twilight audience and some stars are made even if they never become big grossers at home. The opening here is better than Jon Cena has done. So there is that. Jury is out.

On Moneyball, this is pretty much a normal Brad Pitt opening. Is this a 3x opening movie, like Burn After Reading or a near 5x opening movie like Benjamin Button? No one knows. We do know that they sold Pitt ahead of all things and got the Pitt open. We know that critics like the film. And we know that the audience is older, which bodes well for legs… but that George Clooney is 12 days away in The Ides of March. We’ll see.

Has Disney announced that it’s extending the Lion King run yet? If not, expect it to happen soon. The only downside is that the Blu-ray is coming out on October 4.

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86 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by The Klady King Redux”

  1. Krillian says:

    Weeeknd numbers?

  2. johnbritt says:

    Seems no one went to movies on Sat or Sun. I did though. LOL

  3. spassky says:

    11.2 million for abducted…

    I really hope this spells the end for Lautner’s career. he’s got abs, yes. poor singleton though. i guess i’ve never really been a fan, but his directing career seems to be completely dead.

  4. kbx says:

    per BOM Contagion is now at 57.1 (not 51.2)

  5. David Poland says:

    That was the Friday number, kbx… please see proper chart, now above.

  6. chris says:

    I don’t recall there being anything “Christian” about “Dolphin Tale.”

  7. David Poland says:

    Haven’t seen the film, Chris. All I can tell you is that Alcon apparently went down that road, selling to church groups and home schoolers.

    Turn the other fin?

  8. movieman says:

    Lionsgate can conjure up $11m from its core demo of action boys without too much sweat.

    If exit polls are to be believed (and in this case, I do), the biggest demo buying tickets for “Abduction” this weekend were females under the age of 18.
    Apparently LG’s core action boy demo didn’t take the bait.
    Doesn’t bode well for the (seemingly) mentally challenged werewolf’s future as an “Action Superstar,” does it?
    To which I say, thank g-d.
    Better title for “Dolphin Tale” is “Dull-Fin Tale.” A total snooze-fest for anyone over the age of, say, 10.

  9. Aj says:

    Like I said, Moneyball will do at least 60 million (I’m going with 80).
    I think your projection of less than 50 million is dead. It’s impossible for a movie with that kind of critical (94% positive in RT) and public (“A” cinemascore) approval to make less than 2,5xfirst weekend total.

  10. Eric says:

    I had no idea that anybody on the planet thought Lautner was on his way to being an action star. He started as cheesecake for the teen girl set– why would anyone think the audience for action movies would ever see him as a badass?

    It’s just not going to happen. I give him two flops after Twilight is done, then teen girls will lose interest and he’s done.

  11. David Poland says:

    I think you’re protesting too much, Aj.

  12. matthew says:

    I’ll wait until Nikki’s post-mortems are up before deciding how I feel about any of this. When she throws up a post about her interrupting her vacation to write them, you know there must be some kind of blinding insight on the way.

  13. jesse says:

    Another problem with people seeing Lautner as a badass: he does almost nothing badass at all in Abduction. Also, I don’t know if this constitutes a spoiler alert or if anyone will care, but THERE IS NO ABDUCTION IN THE MOVIE. I guess the title comes from his character finding himself on a missing person’s website… but that angle turns out to be something of a red herring. Even before that, the idea of “ABDUCTION” is never really raised even by the characters. I get that it’s a catchy thriller title, but I don’t know, maybe a movie where Lautner (who, don’t get me wrong, is limited as an actor, as a movie star, as pretty much anything beyond a jorts model) is actually being abducted, or saving someone from an abduction, or SOMETHING, might’ve seemed more thrilling and badass than the wan running-around-sorta-chase-scenes of the movie itself (I snuck in after Moneyball. I thought it might be hilarious. It was only occasionally funny). That’s the weird thing: the movie doesn’t even really make a great effort to sell Lautner as an action star. His most memorable/extended fight scene is good-natured sparring with his father. Statham kicks more ass in his most annoyingly serious, boilerplate movies than Lautner does in this bona fide star vehicle.

    Although: it’s worth pointing out that he opened a generic-looking barely-action movie to $11 million. Pattinson couldn’t manage anything like that on his own, or hasn’t so far anyway.

  14. JKill says:

    Jesse, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (in addition to the more important aspect of being a good, well-made movie) was a financial winner, and I think Pattinson was, if not the sole focus, a substantial part of how the movie was sold. I know it was based on a best selling novel but I think a period drama is a harder sell than a very straight-forward, teen oriented action movie.

  15. yancyskancy says:

    While Nolte indeed has a shot at the Best-Supporting-Actor-Oscar-as-Lifetime-Achievement-Award for his fine work in WARRIOR, I’ll eat my hat if Tom Hardy gets a nod. He’s good enough, but his character is seriously unlikable (even if we understand why), and I thought his perf was kinda one-note next to Edgerton’s. I though the movie was pretty good, but don’t really get the love some have for it.

    I was kind of excited for KILLER ELITE until I saw the reviews. Love Statham, but maybe that one’s a rental. Still have to see THE MECHANIC.

    Gonna try to catch CONTAGION today.

  16. The Big Perm says:

    I don’t think it would really happen, but I can see the building blocks for Lautner becoming an action star. I was shocked when I saw him doing martial arts, he’s fucking great. On the downside are his girlish voice and general lack of charisma. Maybe he could be a Ray Park guy and not talk too much.

  17. Dberg49 says:

    I don’t think WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was a big financial success… Budget listed Was 38 mil include let’s say 25 mil for US marketing…. That puts it at 63 in costs and it grossed 116 ww…. I am not sure they broke even on ww theatrical … But with DVD numbers the way they are, this is a single or maybe a double…

  18. chris says:

    There’s certainly nothing to offend anyone in “Dolphin,” DP, but I’m pretty sure religion never even comes up, not even to the extent of a random “God bless you” when someone sneezes. But I guess it makes sense to sell to their base.

  19. MeekayD says:

    Where does Lion King fit in the ongoing discussion about 3D? Disney seems to be vacuuming up free money… and I don’t recall the 2002 IMAX rerelease being nearly this successful.

  20. movieman says:

    While I’m hardly a Robert Pattinson defender, at least the dude isn’t a complete thesping laughing stock like Lautner. (I don’t, however, think Pattinson or Daniel Radcliffe is the second coming of Christian Bale as their agents/managers apparently do.)
    And truth be told, “Remember Me” had an almost identical opening weekend as “Abducted” ($8-million on 2200 screens versus $11-million on 3100 screens).
    Whatever that’s worth.
    On the other hand, I really like Jason Statham, even though he continues to evince wretched taste in material. For every “Bank Job” or “Italian Job,” there’s a “Crank 2,” “Transporter 3” or “Killer Elite.” He’s beginning to resemble Chuck Norris and (at least in his non Andrew Davis flicks) Steven Seagal in his (almost) consistently rotten choice of scripts.
    No wonder Statham’s starring vehicles never bust out of their Tyler Perry-like ceilings.
    The sad thing is that he’s a (vastly) better actor than Seagal or Norris ever were, with more charisma in one dirty throwaway smirk than both of them combined.

  21. sanj says:

    Steve Austin the dude from the WWE is better actor
    than Lautner

    he’s made a lot of action films – since he’s older and bald he doesn’t get the fan base Lautner does …

    Austin’s movie go to dvd but they actually have plots that are somewhat realistic unlike the Segal movies

  22. movieman says:

    ….and the vacuous pretty boy who plays the lead kid’s soldier cousin in “Dull-Fin Tale” is Taylor Lautner 2.0.
    As though the film wasn’t dreary enough already.
    Too bad. It’s actually got a pretty decent cast (Freeman, Judd, Kristofferson, Connick) for an utterly generic boy-and-his-dolphin movie.

  23. JKill says:

    I haven’t seen KILLER ELITE yet (I still want to and will, even though the unkind respone I’ve been seeing has weakened my excitement), but I would agree movieman, in that I think Statham is in line with Bruce Willis or Wesley Snipes, guys that were action stars and fine actors at the same time. I’m defintely a fan, and hope for the best when it comes to his stuff. I didn’t like TRANSPORTER 3 at all, but I have to say that I thought THE MECHANIC was quite good, and that Statham was quite good in it.

  24. film fanatic says:

    “The big difference between Lautner and Statham – besides talent & charm – is that Statham worked his way in slowly and built, with small movies as lead and bigger movies in support and then, Transporter pushed him over.”

    There’s another big difference you forgot, particularly important for an action lead: testosterone.

  25. yancyskancy says:

    Anyone seen Statham’s BLITZ, which apparently went straight to DVD, and is currently streaming on Netflix Instant? It’s a British film with a pretty solid supporting cast (Paddy Considine, Aidan Gillen, David Morrissey, etc.).

  26. movieman says:

    Agree on “The Mechanic,” Jkill. It was definitely one of Statham’s best outings to date (and appreciably better than the mediocre Bronson original, too).
    Speaking of Bronson, he was another Norris/Seagal in the way he seemed to consistently choose terrible projects/directors (J. Lee Thompson; Michael Winner). And while his loyalty to Jill Ireland was commendable, she was sort of the Taylor Lautner of British actresses in the 1970s.
    I think you’ll probably be as disappointed as I was in “Killer Elite.” Better action movies (including Statham’s recent “Blitz”) have gone straight to dvd.
    Aside from the promise of DeNiro, Statham and Owen walking the red carpet, could someone please explain to me why TIFF programmed it? …as one of their big deal “Gala” presentations, no less.

  27. jesse says:

    I have to say, while Killer Elite definitely fell into the gap between “awesome silly action movie” (with ALL THREE Transporters, man, T3 isn’t as good as the other two but it does have a bad guy saying, “his beloved car will be his grave,” COME ON that is exactly what I want from a Transporter movie) and legit spy drama, I was pretty surprised with how OK it was as a thriller (if not really an action movie). And how British it was. Sure, I kinda would’ve loved Crank vs. Shoot Em Up, but this middle ground was enjoyable enough (but yeah, it’s kinda sad that a Statham/Owen/De Niro movie isn’t as much fun as Transporter 2).

    Statham is great, he’s seriously my favorite action-movie dude of the past ten years or more, but I don’t think it’s such a waste that he’s doing a lot of goofy/grindhousey action movies. If anything, the stuff he needs to cut out are the chintzy cop movies with pretensions of seriousness. More ensemble stuff like Italian Job or Snatch would work, too. I guess Bruce Willis isn’t a bad model, but I think Willis is a legitimately excellent actor when he actually tries, and as much as I love Stath, I’m not sure if I could see him giving the Willis performances in Sixth Sense or Nobody’s Fool or 12 Monkeys…

    Also, RE: Water for the Elephants, sure, that can go in a “plus” column for Pattinson, but are we really going to ignore Reese Witherspoon and a bestselling/beloved book and say that all $60 million-domestic-or-so of that belongs to Pattinson? I’m sure he contributed, but picture each of these changes: Swapping out Witherspoon for a less famous actress, or swapping out Pattinson for another young handsome guy. Which do you think would have an adverse affect on the box office? I tend to think it would’ve been the former. Maybe someone besides Pattinson would’ve even helped by having a more credible romantic lead opposite Witherspoon.

  28. film fanatic says:

    re: LION KING

    For all the talk of the oversaturation and death of 3D (at least domestically), 3D will continue to be a draw for animated or computer animated films. This is a function of technology. Even in conversion after the fact, an animated movie will still look great in 3D, because it’s much less complicated from a technical standpoint to render a “second eye” POV from a “static source” like the original LION KING negative (or an all-rendered-in-computer CGI animated source like a Pixar or Dreamworks movie) than from a source with live action elements and real camera optics, movement and light. It’s a matter of the right computer algorithm and you have more freedom to pump the brightness levels without compromising the film’s “look” and also don’t have the nasty parallax and motion blur issues that, for just about every “live action” 3-D movie that wasn’t called AVATAR, gave the audience headaches, etc (so-called “Native” live-action 3D has this problem, too — it’s still a series of technical approximations and imperfect compromises. Of course, apart from Cameron’s unmatched level of quality control and perfectionism, keep in mind that AVATAR was, for all intents and purposes, basically a CGI animated movie for about 80% of its running time, which helped considerably in terms of how good its 3-D looked, too, though it’s little noted). Since the overall 3-D experience is more satisfying for an audience because of this technical fact, animated movies in 3-D are much less likely to be viewed as a ripoff by audiences, and I think that’s why the 3-D numbers for them (or the 3-D component as percentage of their gross totals) are generally higher.

  29. movieman says:

    Pleased to see “CSL” hanging in there (as I predicted it would). Too bad it’s chances of hitting $100-million are toast.
    Looks like “C&A” WILL cross that threshold after all, though.
    All it needs is a few weeks in second-run/bargain houses.
    (That was officially a “bone to Joe.”)
    Am I the only one who’s genuinely shocked at just how dismally “Straw Dogs,” “I Don’t Know….” and, yes–gulp–“Warrior” have performed? While only the latter is a genuinely good (albeit somewhat overrated) movie, “yikes!” nonetheless.
    As disappointed as I am that “Drive” hasn’t performed like the champ it is, it’s precisely the sort of film that will pick up a fervent cult following (e.g., “True Romance”) once it hits dvd. So all is not lost.
    Never having heard of Kevin Hart, the surprisingly solid showing for his concert pic surprised me. Does he have breakout (say, Chris Tucker/Mike Epps) potential?

  30. JKill says:

    Jesse, I don’t argue with anything you say there. That all seems entirely reasonable. I think the main point I was going for was that RP has headlined a respectable movie that did well (to whatever degree). He was also good and credible in the movie, playing against and holding his own with the formidable Witherspoon and Waltz. I have no problem with Lautner, but I find the blind faith in him strange. I also take the fact that Cronenberg cast Pattinson is his next movie as a positive sign in regards to his potential.

    Hart is a pretty talented and funny stand-up. Movieman, you may remember him as the customer who gets into a heated argument with Romany Malco in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN.

    I was one of those people who just flipped for WARRIOR, and I’m bummed it’s not doing well. Obviously bo has nothing to do with quality, but I think it’s too bad that the movie is not being seen by the type of audience it deserves. I think it’s a great film, and that when people get around to seeing it, they’ll know how special it is too.

  31. JKill says:

    That should’ve been…”obviously ITS bo has nothing do with ITS quality…”

    Also, is Fox not going to follow-up ROTPOTA? I think it’s a great movie, and it stands on its own fine but I’m surprised, in such a sequel hungry age, they wouldn’t go ahead when its such a well-liked movie and there’s actual, interesting places the story could go.

  32. Proman says:

    “Where does Lion King fit in the ongoing discussion about 3D? Disney seems to be vacuuming up free money… and I don’t recall the 2002 IMAX rerelease being nearly this successful.”

    Very good point, IMO.

  33. movieman says:

    I don’t remember that scene from “40 Year Old Virgin,” JKill. But then I only saw the film once (despite loving it), and that was six (wow; how time flies!) years ago.
    The success of Hart’s concert pic made me think he must have a pretty devoted fanbase. Wonder how long before he’s headlining a (non-concert) movie or network sitcom.
    I’d be shocked if Fox doesn’t eventually greenlight a “ROTPOTA” sequel. Yet considering how mediocre the ’68 “Apes” sequels were, I’m not sure whether that’s really such a great idea. Artistically-speaking that is.
    Always loved “The Lion King,” so I won’t begrudge it its current success. I’m just worried that it may set a dangerous precedent, and that Disney will soon be retrofitting their entire catalogue in 3-D.
    What’s next? “The Fox and the Hound”? “Oliver and Company”?

  34. mary says:

    Anyway, Open Road will make profit on KILLER ELITE, because Open Road paid no money to acquire KILLER ELITE (they spend P&A, though).

  35. movieman says:

    I read the same thing, Mary.
    How is it that a fledgling distrib obtains theatrical rights to a film without paying anything upfront?
    Was the production company so desperate to unload it that they were (essentially) willing to give it away?
    What kind of business is that??

  36. film fanatic says:

    Movieman: One thing to keep in mind with KILLER ELITE and Open Road is the fact that the “fledgling distrib” is owned by two major exhibition chains, which means, if the film catches on in any way, they are more likely to let it hang around and build a decent multiple, instead of just booting it from the multiplex after a week, like what happens to most films, since they have a vested interest in its success. It’s also quite possible that they might have given less onerous terms re distribution fees and percentage of film rentals, since, again, the “middleman” of your typical studio is cut out of the equation and doesn’t need to garner its vig (and the onerous accounting tricks that go along with it).

  37. David Poland says:

    Lion King’s IMAX release was on 66 screens. Nothing about it is comparable.

    The only really interesting thing about this 3D release is that Disney offered very few 2D opportunities, in comparison to most releases, for which screenings are over 60% 2D.

    This made the 3D seem more like an event – a recurring issue with the format – and also didn’t give people as much chance to buy cheaper tickets.

    They also offered it as a 2 week event.

    It was really well marketed. But what does it mean re: 3D. Not very much.

  38. mary says:

    good says, film fanatic .

    Furthermore, more and more indie films were sold to US distributors for $0. For example, Fox Searchlight paid no money to acquire “The Tree of Life”, and Columbia Pictures paid $0 to acquire Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled Osama bin Laden film. (Those US distributors would still need to share the films’ revenue with the films’ financers, though.)

  39. movieman says:

    Curiously, in my hometown which has a Regal 10-plex and a Cinemark 7 (?) plex, “Elite” opened at the Cinemark house.
    Go figure.

  40. As far as the Jason Statham ‘problem’, I think it’s just a matter of him becoming a B-movie action star in an age where A-movie action pictures more or less don’t get made anymore. In the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger could move from B-movies like Running Man, Raw Deal, Red Heat, and Commando to more A-level features like Predator and finally Total Recall in 1990. Steven Seagal could go from Hard to Kill or Marked For Death to something like Under Siege. But big-budget, R-rated, non-fantasy action pictures are more-or-less extinct in the post-Columbine era. So there really isn’t a bigger, more ‘mainstream’ action vehicle for Statham to graduate to. Today the ‘stars of tomorrow’ get their sci-fi/fantasy/comic book franchise, which is something that Statham is arguably not suited for and/or already too old to do (since the studios generally want a younger guy who can do 2-3 sequels before he’s 40). Unfortunately, the kind of action films Statham is ‘stuck’ doing, due to their general B-movie vibe, practically scream ‘rent me’ for all except the most hardcore action junkies (I say this as someone who saw The Mechanic in a theater). Short version, Statham is stuck forever doing Out For Justice because studios no longer make Under Siege.

    As for Lautner, it’s actually a decent opening under the idea that every single penny that Abduction grossed is arguably attributed to Taylor Lautner’s ‘star power’. Since the reviews were terrible and pure action fans had The Killer Elite, there was really no reason for anyone too see the film EXCEPT for Lautner. It doesn’t mean he’s a super star, but it does mean that he may yet prove useful for a film that has something, anything really, to offer aside from him.

    Having said that, I kinda see him falling into the Patrick Swayze trap. If you recall, Swayze became an icon as a romantic lead in Dirty Dancing and Ghost, both romantic dramas. Yet before and after Ghost, Swayze attempted to boost his stardom but doing a series of low-rent action films (Steel Dawn, Next Of Kin, Road House, although I like it a lot, Point Break, etc) that his fan-base had no interest in before shifting to equally uninteresting family fare (City Of Joy was the anomaly… a genuinely good drama that deserved more attention). Point being, Lautner’s star persona is arguably that of a lover, not a fighter.

  41. film fanatic says:

    “Low rent” though they may be, “Next Of Kin” and “Roadhouse” are both guilty pleasures and classics of their particular genre and aesthetic and have aged considerably better and are probably watched much more today than other less “low rent” films that came out at the same time. Time will out, always.

    Also, in re comparisons between Taylor Lautner and Patrick Swayze, I’ll say it again: testosterone.

  42. movielocke says:

    ““Where does Lion King fit in the ongoing discussion about 3D? Disney seems to be vacuuming up free money… and I don’t recall the 2002 IMAX rerelease being nearly this successful.””

    It’s a matter of generations:

    in 2011 the generation that is 22-32 was 5-15 in 1994. with a median age of 27. You’re talking about the biggest family movie of an entire generation, the biggest family movie in between ET and Finding Nemo.

    Only 30% of the population attends college (so 70% of 22 year olds have been out of high school for four-five years, long enough to start families). If you’re 27 in 2011, there’s a better than 50% chance you’re married and have a kid. If you’re one of the generation that is currently 22-32 you’re basically old enough to want to go revisit your childhood on screen or old enough to want to take your own kids to see it.

    The Disney brand survives because of quality. Families are buying the brand when they lay down $50 to take the family to see the movies, the brand is a guarantee they’re not wasting their money on crap. Why was Shrek 2 so much bigger than the first? because families bought in on the Shrek brand after they saw the first movie on home video. The Lion King is the ULTIMATE safe bet in family movies.

  43. LYT says:

    “Today the ‘stars of tomorrow’ get their sci-fi/fantasy/comic book franchise, which is something that Statham is arguably not suited for and/or already too old to do (since the studios generally want a younger guy who can do 2-3 sequels before he’s 40).”

    If he had a more adaptable accent, he’d probably be in the running for Lex Luthor.

  44. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Even if Killer Elite was acquired at no cost other than a P&A commitment, Open Road must have spent a pretty penny on worldwide P&A costs for a Statham/Owen/De Niro action movie. A domestic gross of $30 million or less has to be less than the P&A costs, and is not very good.

    Unlike most here, Statham does nothing for me. He has extremely limited range and plays the same damn character in every movie. I think the last time I really enjoyed a performance of his was Snatch. Blitz does have a great supporting cast but the reviews I’ve read make it sound pretty bad, and I have little desire to see Statham play Statham again.

  45. JKill says:

    I forgot Statham has Taylor Hackford’s PARKER coming up next year, which seems like a good fit and good change of pace.

    I watched BLITZ last night, and it’s a fairly entertaining, kinda off-beat action movie/police procedural. The cast is, as mentioned, very strong, it has some interesting off-kilter moments/characters/lines (courtesy of MOON’s screenwrtier), and it’s well-shot and handsome looking. I’m not surprised it went direct to video since it’s small in scope and more indie/British than big action, but it’s pleasurable for what it is.

  46. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Description of character Statham plays in Parker: “Parker is a thief, but one who follows a strict moral code he’ll kill to uphold.” Doesn’t exactly sound like a major stretch for the actor. A good fit, maybe, but not anything he hasn’t done before.

  47. hcat says:

    I can’t imagine that Fox won’t capitalize on Apes. Though I would imagine since the sequals would require more Ape action than this one, the budget would of course grow, but with 400 million worldwide for this one Fox can certainly throw some more coin their way. And with the good will indicating that the video release will bring in more fans, this is one of those properties that could explode with the second film. Besides the whole world ruled by Apes thing is simply too good to be left alone, this is a property that will be sequalized and remade for the rest of our lives.

    As for Drive not performing up to expectations, I would think the 30plus million its going to make is pretty impressive. Given how many distributors have started up and shut down in the last few years (does CBS films still exist?) FilmDistrict getting their first three releases to 54, 23, and say 34 seems to bode well for their future.

  48. yancyskancy says:

    Sure Statham gets typecast, like most actors who get hired primarily for one genre. But I’d hardly say he’s playing the same character in CRANK, THE BANK JOB and LONDON, to pick three. It’s easier said than done for an actor to break out of his/her “range,” whether because they lack the ability or the industry lacks the imagination/cojones to cast against type.

  49. JKill says:

    What I meant by “change of pace” was mainly that Hackford is a well-known director known for making movies pretty tonally different than, say, most Statham flicks.

  50. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Sure technically he isn’t playing the exact same character in those three movies, but I still feel like he has extremely limited range and covers familiar territory in almost all of his movies (and London is a wretched, worthless movie). I just don’t really like him or his movies very much.

  51. LexG says:

    It’s because he’s bald.

    Bald actors are always boring, and they can’t attain that chameleon-like persona that hair actors have. They always seem like the same douche from movie to movie.

    The oddest element of (the seriously BORING) “Killer Elite” is that it takes place in 1980 and 1981, despite absolutely ZERO, like WOLVERINE LEVEL, “period detail.” Other than Dominic Purcell having sideburns, there’s nothing in the movie itself that screams 1981.

  52. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I am somewhat anti-bald. Glad you’re back Lex. Hope you’re hanging in there.

  53. al says:

    Mark Strong- bald -one of the most versatile/chamelonlike actors out there

  54. LexG says:

    I don’t know… When I first took note of Mark Strong (in Revolver), I was like, “Whoa, who is this AWESOME dude?” And that carried on through Body of Lies and a couple other things around that time.

    But, man, now when he shows up, I just know he’s going to be boring and humorless and unsurprising. I can’t think of too many actors who’ve run the gamut from “awesome” to “exhaustion” in a mere four years. Any long, widescreen crime or espionage or medieval warrior movie, if you see “Mark Strong” in the credits, you can pretty well predict what he’s going to do. And usually that he’ll be wearing a REALLY terrible wig.

  55. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Always exceptions to the rule. Big fan of Strong, though he isn’t given enough juicy roles for my liking. He’s an infinitely better actor than Statham, but yeah, in recent roles he hasn’t been given much to do.

  56. JKill says:

    Am I the only one who feels like Mark Strong is in everything? I love him and think he’s awesome but every once in a while I’ll watch something like THE EAGLE and be flabbergasted that he’s somehow in it too. I’m not complaining. Dude’s got work ethic, in addition to being a terrific actor.

    WOLVERINE was the least period, period movie I’ve ever seen. There is almost no attempt at historical detail.

    Lex, what did you think of DRIVE and STRAW DOGS? They seemed, to me, very much in your wheelhouse. Also, welcome back.

  57. storymark says:

    Im still trying to figure out why the hell Strong was in like 3 scenes of The Eagle.

  58. I didn’t even catch Mark Strong in The Eagle. And, of course, welcome back.

  59. hcat says:

    Its very possible that Strong’s part in The Eagle was originally larger, but edited down because they couldn’t make the story flow. On paper it might have seemed like a good role with one or two decent speeches, it could have easily been the third largest part in the film. But for as mildly enjoyable as the film was, I just got the feeling that they lost ahold of it somewhere and couldn’t figure out what they wanted as far as themes or even how to cobble it together into a finished piece.

  60. movieman says:

    Those afore-mentioned sideburns and a prodigious amount of (near “Mad Men” level) smoking were the only things that signified “period” to me in “Killer Elite.”

  61. LexG says:

    It’s also the rare chance to see Robert De Niro and Clive Owen get out-acted by Dominic Purcell, who must’ve officially joined the Stephen Lang On Getting a New Agent Society, what with landing TWO major release movies in two weeks.

    After his hot performance as Steve Carell, Town Retard in ‘Straw Dogs.’

  62. al says:

    Yeah I know what you guys mean about Strong being in everything. Oddly enough the actor he makes me think of the most in spite of the fact that they’re completely different from each other in almost every regard is Jude Law. In the beginning they were both critically acclaimed before a similar sort of backlash happened. Nevertheless I think Strong (Law too for that matter)(I’m getting a kick out of those two last names btw) is extremely effective.

    As for the bad wigs, I don’t know. I like the variety in looks.

  63. torpid bunny says:

    “As far as the Jason Statham ‘problem’, I think it’s just a matter of him becoming a B-movie action star in an age where A-movie action pictures more or less don’t get made anymore.

    But big-budget, R-rated, non-fantasy action pictures are more-or-less extinct in the post-Columbine era.”

    I’m not sure what golden era of action filmmaking you’re talking about. Plenty of action movies are getting made with plenty big budgets.

  64. chris says:

    Jude just needed a year or two out of the gossip rags.

  65. storymark says:

    “Plenty of action movies are getting made with plenty big budgets.”

    That are not comic-book/sci-fi/fantasy? Not that many these days.

  66. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, they wouldn’t make Commando these days. If it’s R rated, most likely it’s going to be a smaller movie. Shit, they don’t even want horror movies to be rated R.

  67. bulldog68 says:

    I’ve just emailed Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Patrick Stewart, Michael Clark Duncan, Vin Diesel, Sean Connery and the bald chick from the original Star Trek movie. As a Ving Rhames doppleganger, them and I are coming over to kick Lexg’s ass.

  68. yancyskancy says:

    bulldog: Don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply from Persis Khambatta. She died in 1998.

  69. berg says:

    Killer Elite is a solid movie, best thing Statham has done since Bank Job, return to form for De Niro and Owens ….
    “Who are you?”
    “I the guy that arrives in an unmarked helicopter and carries a gun, call me MFWIC.”
    “What’s that?”
    “Mother Fucker What’s In Charge.”

  70. Ray Pride says:

    “MFWIC” is a fine left-field moment.

  71. Joe Straatmann says:

    “Don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply from Persis Khambatta. She died in 1998.”

    That, and her hair actually grew back.

  72. cadavra says:

    Lex is apparently also unaware of Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas.

    JKill: Hands-down winner for no-period-detail has gotta be X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.

  73. LexG says:

    Yul Brenner and Telly are certifiably, all-time no-doubt-about-it AWESOME.

    But all the current guys who BUZZ IT instead of doing an ED HARRIS are kind of lame. A Peter Boyle makes more sense than a SHAVED DOME. I don’t remember GOD AMONG MEN Burt Young ever rolling into a movie with a pussy-ass shaved head.

  74. Triple Option says:

    Ben Kingsley mixing it up bald.

  75. yancyskancy says:

    Daniel Benzali seemed to make the chrome dome cool again for a hot minute in MURDER ONE, circa ’95-96.

  76. Storymark says:

    “JKill: Hands-down winner for no-period-detail has gotta be X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.”

    Uhm, What?? No.

    There was plenty of period detail in that. ALL the clothes, the news broadcasts, even the architecture.

    Everyone else is correct – the “winner” in that race is still Wolverine.

  77. JKill says:

    Yeah, FIRST CLASS embraced its period detail quite often, and in fact used current events of the time as its backdrop.

    In WOLVERINE, other than not having cell phones, I can’t remember a single reminder.

  78. yancyskancy says:

    JKill: He’s quoting cadavra’s comment to you.

  79. JKill says:

    Ha. Yes. I got that afterwards, and then re-edited by response. Thanks.

  80. Storymark says:

    Sorry, I should have omitted your name for clarity.

  81. JKill says:

    Oh no worries, Storymark.

    To add to FIRST CLASS’s period detail there was also all of the era-appropriate hair cuts…

  82. cadavra says:

    Leaving aside the all-wrong hairstyles, costumes, make-up (or lack of), body types (breast implants), behavior (a teen-age girl lifting weights), dialogue (“badass,” “whatever”), lack of smoking, etc., there’s also the matter of all those government maps labeled “Russia.” Uh-uh. Would’ve been “USSR” or maybe “Soviet Union.” Again, watch MATINEE to see 1962 done correctly. (Remember: I was there.)

  83. JKill says:

    Ha, I don’t remember a map labled Russia but that’s pretty funny.

    But I mean they made an attempt, however stylized or wrong. WOLVERINE looks kind of like everyone just kind of gave up and hoped no one would care.

  84. chris says:

    Sounds like Disney is not extending “Lion King” (and maybe can’t, since it debuts on Blu-Ray Tuesday). Probably leaving as much as $20 million theatrical on the table there, huh?

  85. David Poland says:

    Last I heard, they were extending to this weekend, at least.

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