Posts Tagged ‘The Expendables’

Weekend Box Office Report — December 5

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Warrior’s Weigh

The first weekend of December has the ignominious tradition of being one of the lowest moviegoing periods of the year. This year is no exception with but a single new wide release and holdover titles generally experiencing declines of more than 50%.

The newcomer arrived from the re-constituted Relativity Media with the martial arts actioner The Warrior’s Way. It barely squeaked into the top 10 with an estimated $3 million. Industry trackers hadn’t expected much for the picture but even their estimates were pegged significantly higher at roughly $5 million.

The frame leader was the animated Tangled with an estimated $21.5 million with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 taking the consolation prize with $16.9 million. The rest of the holdovers were indeed the deathly hallows.

However, there were a couple of spectacular exclusive debuts. The controversial and intense drama Black Swan bowed to $1.4 million, which translated into a jaw dropping per engagement average of $76,670. And the left-for-dead black comedy I Love You Phillip Morris hit the target with $109,000 from six locations and an $18,200 average. Also encouraging was the two-screen bow of the ironically titled All Good Things with $37,500.

The rest of the new niche crowd ranged from fair to poor including several new films on the Indian circuit, the independent Night Catches Us and the documentary Bhutto.

All added up, revenues amounted to about $86 million and a 54% drop from the weekend slice of Thanksgiving. It was also off 15% from the 2009 edition when the top new entry was third-ranked Brothers with $9.5 million. The 2009 leader with $20 million was The Blind Side.

Domestic box office should push past $10 billion next weekend and register a slight gain for the year when the dust settles in 26 days. It also unquestionably marks another year of theatrical admission declines; likely between 5% and 7%.

As to award’s contenders, it remains anyone’s game and last week’s announcement of honors from the National Board of Review provided scant indication of what’s to follow from major critical groups or the Hollywood Foreign Press. Apart from James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know, the anticipated upcoming releases have been seen and left prognosticators fumbling to identify leaders in any of the talent categories.


Weekend Estimates – December 3-5, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Tangled BV 21.5 (5,970) -56% 3603 96.5
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, Part 1* WB 16.9 (4,090) -66% 4125 244.4
Burlesque Sony 6.1 (2,020) -49% 3037 27
Unstoppable Fox 6.1 (1,930) -47% 3152 68.9
Love and Other Drugs Fox 5.7 (2,310) -42% 2458 22.6
Megamind Par 4.9 (1,550) -61% 3173 136.6
Due Date WB 4.2 (1,720) -41% 2450 91
Faster CBS 3.8 (1,550) -55% 2470 18.1
The Warrior’s Way Relativity 3.0 (1,870) NEW 1622 3
The Next Three Days Lionsgate 2.6 (1,150) -45% 2236 18.3
Morning Glory Par 1.7 (760) -56% 2263 29.1
127 Hours Fox Searchlight 1.6 (3,790) -4% 433 6.6
Black Swan Fox Searchlight 1.4 (76,670) NEW 18 1.4
Fair Game Summit 1.0 (2,320) -27% 436 7.3
Red Summit .75 (960) -45% 779 87.2
For Colored Girls … Lionsgate .45 (930) -67% 485 37.3
Lance et compte Seville .43 (4,480) -31% 96 1.3
Skyline Uni/Alliance .42 (730) -63% 578 20.9
The Social Network Sony .41 (1,580) -42% 260 91
The King’s Speech Weinstein Co. .32 (53,000) -10% 6 0.8
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $81.25
% Change (Last Year) -15%
% Change (Last Week) -54%
Also debuting/expanding
I Love You Phillip Morris Roadside .11 (18,200) 6 0.11
Raktacharitra 2 Viva/Happy 94,200 (4,100) 23 0.09
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey Viva 65,300 (960) 68 0.07
Nutcracker 3D FreeStyle 45,700 (1,040) -31% 44 0.14
Made in Dagenham Sony Classics 39,600 (3,600) -37% 11 0.18
All Good Things Magnolia 37,500 (18,750) 2 0.04
Dead Awake New Film 31,400 (570) 55 0.03
Mar Jawan Gur Khake Punjabi 18,800 (6,270) 3 0.02
Night Catches Us Magnolia 12,100 (3,020) 4 0.01
Bhutto First Run 7,800 (3,900) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 2, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (27) 1792.9 18.40%
Paramount (18) 1609.2 16.50%
Fox (18) 1371.7 14.00%
Buena Vista (16) 1252.3 12.80%
Sony (24) 1185.4 12.10%
Universal (18) 797.2 8.20%
Summit (11) 517.9 5.30%
Lionsgate (15) 512.4 5.20%
Fox Searchlight (7) 84.7 0.90%
Overture (7) 81.9 0.80%
Focus (7) 75.2 0.80%
CBS (3) 64.2 0.70%
Weinstein Co. (8) 63.1 0.70%
Sony Classics (22) 58.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.50%
Other * (301) 246.6 2.50%
9763.8 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Global Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Dec. 2, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 1,955,694,414
Toy Story 3 BV 1,065,128,004
Alice in Wonderland BV 1,024,537,295
Inception WB 840,550,911
Shrek Forever After Par 738,351,966
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 699,325,617
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 WB 634,033,738
Iron Man 2 Par 622,718,600
Despicable Me Uni 534,415,944
How to Train Your Dragon Par 495,921,283
Clash of the Titans WB 489,778,913
Sherlock Holmes * WB 367,796,599
The Karate Kid Sony 359,429,551
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time BV 335,816,141
The Last Airbender Par 319,062,129
Robin Hood Uni 312,207,159
Shutter Island Par 301,977,955
Sex and the City 2 WB 301,158,934
Salt Sony 293,955,694
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony/Alliance 292,972,689
The Expendables Lionsgate 272,550,235
Grown Ups Sony 271,417,359
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 264,341,533
Knight and Day Fox 261,206,060
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Fox 226,497,298
* does not include 2009 box office

MW on DVDs: Metropolis, Flipped, Last of the Mohicans, The Bing Crosby Collection … and more

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


Metropolis (Most Complete Version) (Four Stars)

Germany: Fritz Lang, 1927

Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s great, spellbinding science fiction epic about a futuristic city gone mad, has been regarded as a cinematic classic since almost the very hours of its premiere, in Berlin in 1927.

At that first showing, German audiences and critics — most still in the throes of the post war German economic collapse, the Weimar Republic’s woes, and the orgiastic frenzies of the ‘20s — were stunned by the film‘s scope, ambition and brilliance, by its incredibly elaborate visions of the future, and by its clear reflections of those ferocious contemporary conflicts that would eventually lead to Hitler, fascism and World War II.

Metropolis, then and now, was in some ways, naïve and simplistic, a heart-on-sleeve movie ode to the possibilities of universal brotherhood and co-operation. (Its final motto, which Lang later faulted, was “Between the head and the hand, stands the heart.“) But it was also a powerfully wrought, strikingly visualized allegorical fable about the war between Capital and Labor, waged on vast sets that created a towering city of skyscrapers, air cabs and skywalks, a rooftop paradise of playgrounds for the rich, and, deep below those bright streets, a dark cavernous world of underground factories, manned by huge Moloch-like machines and by marching, trudging, all but beaten-down workers who lead a herded, slave-like existence far from the sunlight.

Acting out the fierce social schisms in Lang’s tale were a massively influential industrialist, Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel), his idealistic, progressive young son Freder (Gustave Frohlich), Fredersen’s secretive assistant Josaphat (Theodor Roos), the factory workers’ angelic darling and spokeswoman Maria (Brigitte Helm), the head worker Grot (Heinrich George) and the not-quite-mad scientist, Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), who has created a robot “False Maria” (also Helm), to seduce the workers into self-destructive riot and revolt.

The movement of the film is from regimentation and mechanical entrapment to chaos — or what would actually happen to Germany in the years to come.

Metropolis‘ Berlin premiere was a triumph. Audiences were mesmerized by the overwhelming visions that Lang and his company — including nonpareil cinematographer Karl Freund, art directors Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut and Carl Vollbrecht, and special effects photographer Eugen Schuftan — had summoned up: a breathtaking world of wonders, dreams, extrapolations and nightmares that later science fiction filmmakers, in later epics like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Blade Runner and Avatar, have ever since striven to match or surpass

But that Berlin run was also one of the last times that audiences got to see Metropolis the way Lang and his chief collaborator — the film’s novelist/scenarist (and Lang’s wife) Thea von Harbou — intended it. The Berlin version was about 153 minutes long, not excessive for an epic like Metropolis. But soon, the film was cut for distribution to the rest of Germany, cut further for American release, and cut again and again for its international distribution, eventually down to 87 minutes, for the 1984 disco score version by composer Giorgio (Midnight Express) Moroder.

While Lang’s great canvas of a city and a future in flames was repeatedly shortened and stripped and re-jiggered, World War 2 intervened. Lang, the son of a Jewish mother, hating the Nazis, fled Germany for America and Hollywood. Von Harbou stayed behind and herself became a Nazi Party member. And the shattered couple’s masterpiece was left, it seemed, to the whims and winds of history — and in the dubious hands of fascist tyrants who were, ironically, sometimes (including Goebbels and Hitler himself) among the movie‘s biggest fans. Soon, the original 153-minute version seemed lost forever, replaced by a plethora of alternate “Metropolises” and of true and false Marias. Those snipped-up cities became the Metropolis that most film enthusiasts knew for the rest of the Twentieth Century.

When Metropolis was restored (and I have that version; I love it) to a carefully reassembled 124 minutes and shown in Berlin in 2001 (the year in which the film is set, as Stanley Kubrick well knew), restoration supervisor Martin Koerber, while also celebrating the beauty of all they‘d found and restored, sadly wrote that “a quarter of the regional premiere version of Metropolis, including the part containing the core of the story as conceived by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang, must be considered to be irretrievably lost.”

But, between the head and the heart, it seems, stands the hand. Of the worker, the librarian, the finder, the keeper…

As archaeologists are there to remind us, cities (and civilizations) can rise from the ashes and the earth. Just as the original, long-lost version of Carl Dreyer’s 1928 masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc was finally found (in a Norwegian asylum), a nearly complete print of the original Metropolis was discovered in 2008, in an archive in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, Argentina, a country itself battered by fascism, was subject to storms of history that may have delayed that discovery — and the print had deteriorated, become worn and scratched, over years of neglect.

Still, it was an epochal find. And it led to the reconstruction and the distribution (by Kino) of a 147-minute version that now contains almost all of the 1927 Metropolis.

Restored are a long-gone crucial subplot involving Josaphat and the Metropolis underworld; a mysterious character called “The Thin Man”; a long sequence set in the “Yoshiwara,” or red light district; and many small bits that amplify and clarify the film’s originally Byzantine narrative. This is not just a longer “Metropolis,” but a brilliantly elaborated one that finally contains all the pieces of the puzzle. Shorn of the confusion of most of the previous cuts, it is, in the end, a well-spun narrative that grips us throughout — besides filling us all over again with admiration for its sheer cinematic reach and fire and genius.

The false god of Metropolis is technology. The true god of the movie is humanity and love. The heroes of Metropolis are Lang and his munificently talented fellow artists. And the hero of the restoration tale is that Buenos Aires archivist, who finally brought to the light the film that had been thought lost forever for more than 80 years.

Lang himself came to reject Metropolis, perhaps because of the turn to Nazism of the woman who wrote the novel and (with him) the screenplay, his ex-love and ex-wife Thea. (The True Thea? The False Thea?) But their movie still amazes us. And the real-life story of loss, destruction and rediscovery behind this release gives us hope for other recoveries.

Maybe someday, somewhere, someone really will uncover the missing sections of Welles‘ The Magnificent Ambersons. And all those many missing reels of Von Stroheim’s Greed. Von Sternberg’s A Woman of the Sea. Murnau’s Four Devils. All those missing silent films by Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. And all the rest of the lost gems of cinema‘s lost history.

Maybe even the last six missing minutes of Metropolis.

In most cases, we probably won’t find and recover them, won’t retrieve the irretrievable. But, like Fritz Lang and the young, pre-Nazi Thea (who still believed in head, hand and heart), we can dream, can’t we? (Silent, with English intertitles and the original score by Gottfried Huppertz.)

Extras: Documentary Voyage to Metropolis; Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, the Argentine museum curator who found the lost print; Re-release trailer.



Flipped (Four Stars)

U. S.; Rob Reiner, 2010

For the past few years, I’ve been looking, yearning even, for some American studio movies that would make me feel the way I sometimes did as a movie-going kid — digging among all the sappy dreck and obvious trash of most so-called family movies today for the kind of warm, smart, family film I used to love: movies that had great characters, that depended for theirs impact on personality, writing “invisible direction” and a strong connection to the culture outside.

I’ve longed, usually in vain, for just a few live action movies that could made me laugh and cry the way It’s a Wonderful Life or The Quiet Man or The Wizard of Oz or Meet Me in St. Louis or the old Disney feature cartoons all did when I was young. Or the way the best Pixar animation often does now.

Rob Reiner just made one. Flipped.

You may be surprised at my high evaluation of Flipped — I’d rank this movie with my favorites of the year — because, even though Reiner‘s puppy love chronicle about a grade school crush in the ’50s and ’60s (told by the smitten girl and reluctant boy in alternate chapters), has received some positive or even ecstatic reviews, and fully deserves them, it’s also received almost as many mixed notices or witty, acid-tongued knocks.

Since Flipped’s nay-sayers tend to be from the more sophisticated media outlets, you may have sensed some consensus of hip brewing. It’s an understandable take. It’s been a long time since I‘ve felt about a Rob Reiner movie the way I feel about this one. But when I walked out of the screening room for Flipped, thoroughly entertained, I was also both elated and weeping. I could feel the tears coursing down for at least twelve blocks on my walk home. (I’ll tell you why later.)

Flipped risks the opposite response, critical contempt, just as its little heart-on-sleeve heroine, Juli Baker, keeps risking rejection by throwing herself on the line repeatedly for her leaden-footed, unadventurous big crush, Bryce Loski.

Yet not only has Reiner completely regained his form here (if he ever lost it), I actually prefer Flipped to Stand By Me. (I like Stand by Me fine, but I think it was a mistake for Wil Wheaton, and not River Phoenix, to have that gun at the end.) I would also rank Flipped with or above the other previous top movies in Reiner‘s canon, This is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Misery, The Princess Bride and even When Harry Met Sally. I’d be surprised if, despite those sophisticated pans, he wasn’t very, very proud of it. And he should be.

Flipped is based on the 2001 teen novel by Wendelin Van Draanen, a longtime school teacher and mother, and someone who obviously understands kids from ground zero, with depth and sympathy. She‘s arranged the novel, ingeniously, as the two-sided story of a longtime schoolgirl crush.

In the beginning, live-wire second grader Juli Baker (played by the adorable Morgan Lily) rushes across her sunny suburban street to meet her new neighbors, the Loskis, and immediately flips for blonde, blue-eyed fellow second grader Bryce Loski (played at seven by the skittish-looking Ryan Ketzner). It’s one of those golden days, where every detail lingers forever afterward in your memory– for Juli, but not for Bryce, who immediately tries to ditch her. He gets his escape hatch when his dad Steven (Anthony Edwards), who understands pesky little girls and how annoying they can be, and tells him to go do some chores.

But before Bryce can run to his mother Patsy (Rebecca De Mornay), and hide behind her skirts, the determined Juli races after him, the two kids get tangled up, and they wind up holding hands in wittily romantic slow motion. It’s magic for her, embarrassing for him, and an image that hangs over the entire movie, until the very last shot.

From then on, we get the saga of Juli and Bryce from two sides — in alternating chapters, one told by the seemingly exasperated Bryce, the next by the seemingly indefatigable Juli. Soon we jump ahead, to the eighth grade, in 1963, where most of the story takes place.

In the movie, the kids are played as eighth graders by two splendid young actors, Callan McAuliffe and Madeline Carroll (Swing Vote). These two are both so good, so wonderfully unaffected and so completely into their roles, that you can pay them the ultimate actor compliment: You never see or feel them as separate from their characters. I think Madeline Carroll will always be thought of, and treasured, as Juli Baker, and that McAuliffe will likewise always be remembered as Bryce Loski. These youthful actors both give us everything we or Reiner could have wanted in these roles, all the subtlety and undercurrents and emotion, as does the rest of his astutely picked and beautifully controlled ensemble.

Carroll and McAuliffe score in their edgy scenes together and apart and also in the confidingly intimate voice-over narrations, where they speak their mind and tell us what they think and feel. That narrative device has also been wittily knocked, though, of course, it comes right out of the novel. Juli and Bryce’s narrations are funny, and kiddishly candid and revealing, and they tell us more about the kids, and about their families than the speakers themselves may fully understand as they speak.

They’re no natural couple. There’s a schism of temperament between them, and a class split as well.

The Bakers are blue collar, the Loskis white collar. Juli is a little dynamo, who wins science contests and is a brain and a crusader. She tends chickens and sells the eggs, hates the snobby little flirts and phonies in her class, like her big-hair nemesis, Sherry Stalls (Ashley Taylor), and adores her hard-working father, Richard (Aidan Quinn), who paints landscapes on the side; her mom Trina (Penelope Ann Miller); and her high-school age brothers Mark and Matt (Michael Bolten and Shane Harper.)

Juli gets to know, only later, the other family member, her Uncle Daniel (Kevin Weisman), whose partial strangling at birth by his umbilical cord left him mentally challenged and institutionalized, and whose health care bill keeps the whole family financially strapped.

Bryce, on the other hand, is something of a little suburban prince, with a more divided family. Smart but nowhere near as active and accomplished as Juli, he rejects her partly because his snobbish, acid-tongued dad, Steven (a role nailed by Anthony Edwards), looks down so snidely and dismissively on the Baker family and their messy yard (a weedy tangle because the Bakers’ landlord never maintains it and Richard lacks the time). Bryce‘s mother Patsy (Rebecca De Mornay) and his sister Lynetta (Cody Horn) are, in a way, princesses, too, but more likable, earthier ones. They’re basically on Juli‘s side — as is her strongest ally, Grandpa Chet (John Mahoney, good as always), who calls Juli “iridescent” and says she reminds him of his late wife, Patsy‘s mother. (Just as strongly, by the way, she reminds me of my own mother, Edna.)

Bryce, we eventually realize, really does like Juli, even if he can’t admit it. Maybe he would be her friend without prodding, if he had the guts (grade-school girls and boys of that era almost never mixed) and if he wasn’t so destructively influenced by his mean dad. And Bryce’s scathing papa’s venomous prejudices become more understandable after it’s revealed that Steven was a would be musician in his youth (a rock saxophonist in the movie, a guitarist in the book) who sacrificed his big dreams, hates his job, and wishes ill to anyone who has aspirations like the ones he tossed away. Bryce‘s worst instincts are also enhanced by his wannabe-rich-kid rat of a best friend, Garrett (Israel Broussard), a social bully and back-stabbing opportunist of the slimiest kind.

Now, you’ll see from this description that Flipped definitely has its dark and unsentimental, realistic side, that it’s no sunshiny Leave It To Beaver descendant. (It’s worth remembering though, as we now mostly don’t, that the TV Beaver was initially hailed by critics as a more naturalistic, sophisticated innovation in family TV comedies. And back then, it was.)

So, in Flipped, the incidents that drive the story forward are full of symbolic power, genuine conflict, strong themes and real emotion. This is a funny, charming movie about teen romance, but it’s also about bigotry and blasted dreams, social divisions and family tragedy. It’s about never giving up and about finally, morally growing up and becoming a person.

The characters resonate and so do the big scenes. Young Juli‘s neighborhood haven is a huge, gnarled old sycamore tree, from whose upper branches she dreamily watches the world below. When it’s finally slated for chopping down and removal, she tries to organize a town protest, even tries to enlist Bryce in her tree-in, but the embarrassed Bryce wont join — though that article about Juli’s crusade is what draws Grandpa Chet to her, and finally intrigues Bryce as well.

There’s an achingly real and painful sequence where Juli, who’s been selling eggs from her chickens to neighborhood ladies and giving them free every morning to Bryce, finally catches him sneakily throwing them away. There’s the marvelously strained and falsely convivial two-family Baker-Loski supper that Patsy organizes, where, afterwards, we finally see what a tormented bastard Steven really is.

All these episodes take on heightened significance, as we observe them through Bryce’s eyes, then Julie’s. Far from being hackneyed TV sitcom-style stuff, the whole movie is smartly designed and deftly constructed, full of passion, intelligence and wit. And full of a humanity rare for most movies these days. Flipped only seems like a sitcom if you’re not watching it closely.

That’s why it’s so right, so apropos, so flawlessly judged, that Reiner decided to re-set the story from (roughly) the present day to a span from 1957 to 1963, and to embellish the soundtrack with a Scorsesean medley of early ‘60s rock n‘ roll hits and oldies, starting with Curtis Lee’s bouncy “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” (as a fitting anthem for Juli), and ending, devastatingly, with The Everly Brothers’ (or at least Phil‘s) soulful, heart-breaking “Let It be Me.“ (Flipped, like Stand By Me, has the perfect last image and the perfect song playing over it.)

All these songs, juke box gems from the onset of the rock era, obviously mean something precious to Reiner. (They were, after all, the hits and dance songs of his youth.) And they’ll carry a charge to most of the audience as well, including most of the post-Boomer audience who know them only from revivals. There‘s an added boost from the period setting. Putting crusader/activist Juli and her eventual convert Bryce right on the cusp of the ’60s, means we know they’ll go through the late Civil Rights and Vietnam years together — and we know which side they’ll be on.

That isn’t necessarily true of the book. Author Van Draanen sets her Flipped in the present day. (It was published in 2001.) And one of the few cultural details she uses is to make Grandpa Chet a reader of novelist Tom (Patriot Games) Clancy. I hated that, not only because Clancy, a Cold War mega-thriller specialist and right wing trashmeister, seems to me such an overrated, overbought writer (Clancy’s Red Storm Rising is the worst-written long book I ever read all the way through), but because a taste for Clancy doesn’t jibe with Chet’s more liberal, open personality.

Van Draanen’s book is rich in details and insights into youth behavior, and she’s great at character and narrative. But Reiner and his collaborators and his marvelous cast have made it warmer, more deeply touching. Flipped the book would never have made me cry, though maybe Van Draanen doesn’t want tears.

Now I’ll tell you part of why the movie made my tears flow. (Part of the reason anyway.) It’s because something in it reminded me of my own childhood, though nothing that I‘m proud of.

When I was in the third grade, my mother Edna — the woman of whom Juli reminded me so much — began telling me about a family up the street whom she liked and who had a little girl named Caroline, who was about my age, was very smart and took care of some chickens, ducks and other farm animals that the family owned and kept nearby. Edna eventually brought me to meet the family, the animals, and Caroline, who had big eyes and a wide, blazing smile. She was very active and, as Edna said, very bright.

Caroline was a little older than me, and she was sort of temporarily gangly and, for the moment, very tall, as “little girls“ sometimes are at that age — a gawkiness they can grow out of spectacularly. She seemed delighted to have a friend near her age whom she could talk to and play with and show her animals. But I got worried that my classmates would think she was my girlfriend, and tease and laugh at us, if we were seen together too much. So I blew up one day in our house, and, with Caroline there, began storming childishly about how she looked, how she dressed, how tall she was. “Look at her dress! Look at her clothes!” ” I yelled, like a callous little idiot.

I cannot tell you how much I hate myself when I look back on that day, or when I remember Caroline sitting in a chair in our garage apartment, the big smile suddenly gone from her face. How still she was. How sad she was. I’ve replayed that scene and wished a hundred times I could go back in time and shake that little jerk, me, by the shoulders and yell and slap some humanity into him.

I didn’t even have the excuse of arrogant social class or a bad, snobbish father, like Bryce did. My father was a snob, but my parents were divorced and he wasn’t around. My mother and grandparents were maybe poorer than the Barkers. Somehow, I’d picked up that stupid prejudice and cruelty all by myself or from school-friends — a bigotry about looks and dress and apparent social class endemic in our culture and pop culture, and fed to us relentlessly, both then and now.

Poor Caroline. She’d done absolutely nothing to deserve my meanness, any more than Juli did in Flipped, or than Flipped has done to its acid-tongued critic/bashers. My mother made me apologize of course. Edna was embarrassed and hurt too, because in some way, I think she saw some of herself in Caroline and wanted me to like her. But I’d busted things badly; I didn’t have time to set them right.

Caroline‘s family left town shortly afterwards. I never saw her again. But, incredibly, she left me a present before they left. She gave me her two ducks — whom I named Charles Jonathan Duckworth and Janice Elizabeth Duckworth. For years, I fed those ducks and took care of them and walked with them, both quacking, up the street toward Caroline‘s old house, until one day, much later, Charles flew away.

I remember Caroline’s eyes to this day. And her smile. I remember them far more clearly than I do the sparkling eyes and flirty smiles of all the cute little girls, like Flipped’s Sherry Stalls, that I thought were so pretty at the time. But I remember her sudden sadness and stillness that day too. Over the years, every time I recall the day that I behaved like such a worthless little jerk and lost my friend, I dislike my old young self more, and wish more fervently I could wipe it all out, do something to bring back her smile, even for a second.

But how can you? Children can be very cruel. And cruelty uncorrected can blight your life. I hope Caroline was very, very happy all her life, and didn‘t have any more disappointing friends like me. And I hope she doesn’t have too hurtful a memory of the nasty little boy I was that day.

That’s one of the reasons I think Flipped is a great movie. (“I bless the day I found you; I want to stay around you…”) And it’s why I’d like people to try to ignore the negative comments it’s gotten, however persuasive they may seem, and to give it a chance. Don’t treat it like Rob Reiner’s folly, or like his been-there-done-that Stand By Me knockoff, because it isn’t. It’s really his pride and joy, one of the movies he‘ll be remembered for. Treat this sweet, brave, funny, charming, beautiful little picture like a potential treasure, a potential friend — like the little girl (or boy) who keeps knocking at your door and smiling and saying “Hi!‘” and who may have more to offer than you can possibly imagine.



The Last of the Mohicans (Director‘s definitive cut) (Four Stars)

U.S.: Michael Mann, 1992 (20th Century Fox)

From Michael Mann: A politically correct, but still blazingly exciting, version of James Fennimore Cooper’s most romantic Leatherstocking tale: the bloody, brutal war story (French and Huron against British settlers) and buried love, between lovely Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and woosdsman hero and adopted Mohican Hawkeye a.k.a. Pathfinder, a.k.a. Deerslayer a.k.a. Long Rifle a.k.a. Leatherstocking a.k.a. Natty Bummpo (all played by Daniel Day-Lewis), and unspoken feeling between sturdy Mohican Uncas and ethereal Hetty. (Cooper purists tend to dislike this film, but Mark Twain, who wrote the blisteringly funny Literary Offenses of Fennimore Cooper, might have approved. As a story, Mann makes it work.)

Day-Lewis, though seemingly odd casting, makes a terrific hero, Stowe a feisty heroine (second of out feisty Madeleines this week) and Wes Studi (as Magua) a smoldering, scary villain. The other Indians are played by Native Americans too, including Wounded Knee activist Rusell Means as Hawkeye’s eternal pal Chingachcook. The movie is well cast (also on hand are Jodhi May, Eric Schweig, Dennis Banks, Cole Meaney and Pete Postlethwaite, as is French actor-director Patrice Chereau as Montcalm), incredibly rich in detail, and beautifully shot in deep forests and high mountains, by Dante Spinotti. An excellent revisionist Western, in the Little Big Man vein. (R.I.P. Arthur Penn). Along with Heat, it’s as good as Mann has done.

(Two other movie versions of Last of the Mohicans, both worth a watch, are the classic 1920 silent film (Three and a Half Stars) directed by Maurice Tourneur and Clarence Brown, with Wallace Beery as Magua, and a fine 1936 George Seitz version (Three Stars) — the one Mann remembered from his boyhood and adapted here — scripted by Philip Dunne, with Randolph Scott as Hawkeye and Bruce Cabot as Magua.)

Extras: Commentary by Mann, Featurettes.



The Bing Crosby Collection (Three Stars)

U.S.: Various directors, 1933-47 (Universal)

“Dear gentle folk of Newport…Or maybe I should say ‘hats and cats’: I want you to lend an ear because, well, I want you to hear some really shimmering sharps and flats. For these cozy virtuosi, just about the greatest in the trade, are fixin’ to show you now, precisely how, jazz music is made!

“Well, you take some skins. Jazz begins. And then you take a bass. Man, now we’re getting’ some place…”

Bing Crosby, singing Cole Porter’s “Now You Has Jazz,” in High Society (1956)

Remember that eloquent baritone voice, soaring with melody, rife with melancholy, rippling with wit? Those icy blue eyes? Those wingy ears? That absolutely unflappable demeanor? Remember Bing’s priceless byplay with his trumpet-playing, scat-singing, virtuoso cohort on their great number quoted above, the nonpareil Louis “Satchmo“ Armstrong? (“Hey Pops, you want to grab a little of what’s left here?” “Yeah, Daddy, yeah!”) Remember “Dial ‘O’ for O’Malley?“

We can’t forget Der Bingle of course. But we tend to let slip what an entertainment industry phenomenon Crosby was, especially since his skinny Clan friend Frank Sinatra and that hillbilly cat upstart Elvis Presley have both tended to overshadow him since his death, as singer-actor movie star legends. But Crosby’s record is still pretty amazing.

Mr. C. was the undisputed top ’30’s-’40s recording star, with music’s all time top disc seller (White Christmas) and over 400 charted records in his career (more, this box’s notes gently remind us, than Elvis and The Beatles combined). One of the top box-office movie stars through the ’40s (often swapping positions with his ski-nosed pal Bob Hope). The top-rated radio star of the same decade (Hope again his main rival). A best actor Oscar-winner (for Father O’Malley in Leo McCarey’s excellent and now underrated “Going My Way.“) And don’t forget, Hope never won a competitive Oscar. (He never let us forget it, even when he got career ones.) Crosby paved the way for Frank, Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, everyone else, and don’t think they didn’t know it.

Crosby was not the usual kind of juke box idol, movie giant or matinee croon-swoon type. He was no schmo. He had a gift of gab, an admirable vocabulary, and he’d roll it out, anytime, anywhere. He‘s the only top 40 singer I can think of who could comfortably use words like “recherché“ and “discombobulate.” (His own writers accompanied him to his sets, which really annoyed Billy Wilder.)

In his early movie career, fresh out of Paul Whiteman’s band, he was sort of a typical singing popular starry-eyed guy, but he had a great sense of humor, was smart as a whip, made one-reel comedies, became a leading man, and also became one of the movies’ all-time great singer-stars and comedy straight men. (He’s usually at his best with partners, whether Hope, or Astaire, or Satchmo, or Frank and Dean — or a leading lady for whom he can lay on the withering schmaltz, and pour out the shimmering honey.

After all that fancy-shmancy intro, I’ve got say this set isn’t the best of Bing. It’s mostly early stuff, a little obscure, a little, dare we say, recherché. (He’s also the only top 40 idol who could get away with “dare we say.”) There’s only one classic here: Mississippi, with W. C. Fields. But it’s all fun to watch. By the way, you can get High Society from Warner. And you should. He does a great duet with Sinatra in the movie too. (“Is that what they’re saying? Well, did you evah!”) And also one with Grace Kelly. And “Now You has Jazz,” is — what can we say — sublime, iridescent, deliciously deliriously, absolutely the pinnacle of musical prestidigitation, a rocker with a bit of the bubbly. just one unsurpassable mellow and magnificent, cool and hot ballad for the ages. Or, as Frank would say, a gasser. (“From the equator, up to the pole: Everybody’s singin’, everybody wingin’ that rock, rock, rock, rock — rock n’ roll!”)

Hey, this intro was fun. I reserve the right to reuse some of it, if they ever put out another, better Crosby set. And they should.

College Humor(U.S.; Wesley Ruggles, 1933). Two Stars. College? Humor? Bing is a singing professor, competing for gals with, and crusading for a football team that includes Jack Oakie and Richard Arlen. and a campus that harbors George Burns and Gracie Allen. Rah!

We’re Not Dressing (U.S.; Norman Taurog, 1933.) Well, you can’t beat that cast or that title. Bing romancing Carole Lombard (who, he says in Call Me Lucky, took the title literally), plus Ethel Merman, more Burns and Allen, and, as a lounge lizard, Ray Milland. Here is My Heart(U. S.; Frank Tuttle, 1934). Two and a Half Stars. Bing, a rich crooner, disguises himself as a waiter to romance threadbare Russian royalty Kitty Carlisle and her retinue of Roland Young and Reginald Owen. Sort of imitation Lubitsch, with the best songs in the bunch: June in January“ and “Love is just Around the Corner.” (“And I couldn’t be forlorner.”)

Mississippi (U.S.; A. Edward Sutherland, 1935). Three and a Half Stars. W. C. Fields is a wily Southern riverboat captain and showman, Joan Bennett is a belle of the ball, and Bing is a reputed Northern coward who gains fame as The Singing Killer. A rib-tickling roundelay of rare and roguish jollity. Sing, You Sinners (U.S.: Ruggles, 1938). Two and a Half Stars. Crooner Bing, horn-tootling Fred MacMurray, and dance-up-a-storm young Donald O’Connor are a musical family who try to go straight, until Bing buys a race horse. They’re off! Songs: “Small Fry” and “Pocketful of Dreams.”

Welcome, Stranger (U.S.; Elliot Nugent, 1947) Three Stars. After “Going My Way,” they certainly weren’t strangers, but Bing and Barry Fitzgerald (“Impetuous! Homeric!”) collide again as grouchy old doctor and effervescent young medico, coping with evil pharmacists, medical conspiracies, small town gossip and Joan Caulfield affairs of the heart.



The Expendables (Also Blu-ray) (Two Stars)

U. S.; Sylvester Stallone, 2010

Sylvester Stallone could have been a contender.

In fact, once upon a time, he was the contender, even almost the champ. Rocky. F.I.S.T.? Rambo? Now comes The Expendables, an action movie for moviegoers who miss the ’80s. (Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to forget them.)

Sly is back, and he’s playing Barney Ross — not the heroin addict boxer of Andre De Toth’s Monkey on my Back, but the deep-voiced, heavily-muscled, mellowed but kick-ass leader of a gang of mercenaries that includes a whole Dirty Dozen or so of once or current upper-echelon action heroes: Lundgren as the scarred hothead Gunner Jensen, Jason Statham as London’s Lock, Stock basher Lee Christmas, martial artist Jet Li as Chinese mauler Ying Yang, wrestler turned actor Stone Cold Steve Austin as Paine, Terry Crews as Hale Caesar, Randy Couture as Toll Road — enough action stars or superstars to start a new country: Actionland, whose national motto is “Mess with the Best, and Die Like the Rest.”

Sending them on their way is a stern C. I. A. schmoozer named Church (played with an admirably straight face by Bruce Willis). Sitting this one out is another Stallone rival, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the smirking Trench. (“He wants to be President,” Barney mutters.) The main villain is Eric Roberts, in another headcase role as James Munroe (not the president). The love interest is Gisele Itie as Sandra, the radicalized daughter of the evil general of a wild and woolly banana republic.

And giving the guys tattoos, as scraggly Tool, is Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts‘ costar in that neglected 1984 NYC street classic “The Pope of Greenwich Village,” a top ’80s movie that a lot of people have forgotten or never knew. Rourke steals the entire movie, and Roberts steals what‘s left.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn‘t sometimes fun to watch all these guys, in their muscle-flexing, exploding fireball of a class reunion. But I’d also be lying if I didn’t say this was a second-tier action movie that doesn’t make much sense. (“But that’s the point!“ hard-core ’80s-lovers will lecture us. “It’s from the ‘80s! It’s not supposed to make sense! It made money!“ ) Oh yeah? If this movie had a lot more humor, more camaraderie and less phony cojones, more Mickey Rourke and Roberts, and even some more non-action Stallone, it could have been a lot better, Charlie. Instead, it’s an occasional hoot, but expendable. Extras: Commentary by Stallone; Featurette; Deleted scene; Gag reel.

Eat Pray Love (Also Blu-ray) (Two and a Half Stars)

U. S.; Ryan Murphy, 2010

This movie — taken from Elizabeth Gilbert’s international bestseller about a year spent recuperating from a failed marriage and love affair, reaching nirvana through travel, romance, epicurean feasting and spiritual questing, communing with various great souls (who mix visionary searching with snappy patter) — is so well shot, on such gorgeous locations (Rome, India, Bali), with such a fine cast (Julia Roberts, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, James Franco, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup), that for a while, it seems better than it really is. But it isn’t. In the end, I felt gypped, manipulated, chivvied, jived. Ain’t no way to the Truth.

You have to go to the book to find out that Gilbert got an (apparently very big) advance from her publisher specifically to write this tome, with four months allotted for each country: four months for Rome and food, four months for India and prayer, four months for Bali and whoopee. It’s all on the itinerary except perhaps for the climactic fling with Bardem as Felipe the boatman, without his Coen Brothers haircut.

Better than this movie, I think would have been a romantic comedy in which writer Liz sets up the whole spiritual-epicurean world cruise with her publisher, and then everything goes wrong, except at the end. But I guess life intervened, love intervened, the Great Soul flew down and blew smoke in our eyes. Close your eyes. Breathe. Follow the light. Eat. Pray. Love. Pray. Advance. Bank transfer. Pray. Advance. Bank transfer. We should all have such a publisher! Then we wouldn’t need a spiritual guide. Or Julia Roberts. No, strike that. We‘ll always need Julia Roberts. Love. Pray. Eat.

Extras: Featurette.

I’m Still Here (Also Blu-ray) (Two Stars)

U. S.; Casey Affleck, 2010

This movie — director Casey Affleck‘s seemingly unsparing look at the weird and infamous career-change crisis (from Oscar-nominated actor to slovenly, talentless rapper) of Affleck’s brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix — divided critics and media writers between those who thought it was a real documentary (or at least part of one), a non-fiction show full of bone-chilling glimpses of the dark side of Hollywood and the creepy side of success; those who thought it was a flat out mockumentary (or at least part of one) artfully concocted by Phoenix and Affleck, whose con game gulled David Letterman (perhaps) and much of the country; and those who don’t know and don’t care but think, in either case, it’s a crockumentary (or at least part of one) and were grossed out by producer-star Phoenix’s seemingly unsparing revelations, or skits, about what a complete asshole, deranged blowhard and ego-tripping nincompoop Joaquin or “Joaquin” can be.

It was a fake, of course and we should have known. (After all, the name of Joaquin’s and Casey’s production company was “They’re Going to Kill Us.”)

Pretty good acting job though. (By Sean Combs as well as Phoenix.) And an interesting acting challenge: Try to fool the whole country for a movie project, for a year. It even has a rich, juicy theme: the longing of a successful movie star to be an up-from-the-streets “outlaw” artist, the destructive hedonism of the Hollywood rich elite, and the ways that big money and big celebrity can curdle your brains.

Summer and Smoke (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Peter Glenville, 1961 (Olive)

Tennessee Williams’ play Summer and Smoke, set in 1916 in a small Deep South town, is about an idealistic preacher‘s daughter named Alma, who believes in the spirit, and a libertine doctor‘s son named Johnny, who believes in the flesh, and how she loves him all her life, and how he‘s drawn to her for at least one night (and maybe more), and how they just miss erotic connections, and wind up on opposite sides of the spirit-flesh debate. It’s one of his most personal and poetic works.

Williams even returned to Summer and Smoke later, as he did to his early play Battle of Angels — which became Orpheus Descending, and then the Brando-Magnani-Woodward film The Fugitive Kind — refashioning Summer years later as The Eccentricities of a Nightingale. But by then he had seemingly lost his commercial touch, if not his lyrical-dramatic one.

The movie — which has its ups and downs, but always has the benefit of Williams’ singing words and impassioned characterizations — also has a famous and first-rate performance: Geraldine Page’s Oscar-nominated turn as too-sensitive, heart-stricken, utterly trapped Alma, a woman whom she infuses with a bruised idealism and unrequited passion that almost hurt to watch, and whom she carries on a believable transition to Blanche DuBois-land and the kindness of one last stranger. (Earl Holliman, as it turns out, as a traveling salesman.)

Malcolm Atterbury and Una Merkel are also fine as Alma’s parents, the stern preacher and his demented spouse. So is McIntire, gruff and lovable again as Johnny’s doctor dad. And Rita Moreno, in the year she won an Oscar for Anita in “West Side Story,“ has another combustible role here, as Johnny‘s fiery temptress Rosa. (Too much fire this time, maybe and not enough scolding and dancing.)

But the movie, which got Oscar nominations for Page, Merkel and for composer Elmer Bernstein (who contributes an excellent, seething, bent-romantic score), seems sometimes florid and phony, in the way incautious, over-pretentious adaptations of Williams can often seem. Perhaps that’s partly due to director Peter Glenville, a theatrical whiz who knows good material (Becket) and gets fine actors, but sometimes cranks up the stage lust and dramatic pyrotechnics too much. Too summery, too smoky.

“Thomas Gomez turns up again, sweating and shouting,” Glenville-basher Pauline Kael said of Summer supporting actor Gomez, in one of her memorably witty knocks. And so he does, as Rosa’s gun-waving gangster- dad, the owner of Johnny’s favorite depraved den of sin and cockfights Moon Lake Casino — and a man who brings Bacchanal wherever he goes. (I’ll forgive Gomez anything though, because of “Force of Evil.“) As Johnny, Laurence Harvey, as so often during his early ‘60s big star career, seems to have a grudge against the world. It‘s a relief when Harvey, who was a fine Romeo in Renato Castellani’s 1954 Romeo and Juliet, gets to read some of Williams’ gentler lines, and to give Alma some of his softer looks.

I hate to say too many bad things about Summer and Smoke, because it’s the kind of material I’d like to see done more often today, with this level of production and cast. Tennessee Williams may have had his flaws, and his sins, but he could write beautifully and honestly, with feeling. Geraldine Page, a real pro, makes us recognize what strong theatrical stuff Summer and Smoke really is.

A Thunder of Drums (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Joseph M. Newman, 1961 (Warner Archive)

This adult Cavalry Western, about a blunt, prickly commander (Richard Boone), a brash lieutenant (George Hamilton, who’s part of a love triangle here with Home from the Hill” castmate Luana Patten), an insubordinate bully of a soldier (Charles Bronson), and the rest f the fort’s motley populace (including Richard Chamberlain and Slim Pickens), was written by James Warner Bellah, who also wrote Sergeant Rutledge and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance for John Ford, as well as the stories from which Ford made the Cavalry Trilogy.

And if Ford had directed this film — which received unusually good reviews and was then forgotten — it might be considered one of his classics. Newman doesn’t do a bad job though, and Boone (who played the wry gunslinger Paladin in the offbeat TV western “Have Gun, Will Travel”) is, here as elsewhere, an excellent, underrated actor. (This movie is made on demand. Browse or

Weekend Box Office Report – October 24

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Back to Paranormal

Paranormal Activity 2 exceeded pundit expectation (though not necessarily fans) with an estimated $41.6 million to lead weekend movie ticket sales. The session’s only other national bow was Hereafter, which shot up to $11.9 million following last weekend’s limited opener.

Niche and regional bows included a solid $212,000 (in Hindi and Telegu versions) bow for the Indian crime saga Rakhtcharitra. Fans won’t have to wait long for its second part conclusion that’s scheduled for late November. Meanwhile up in Canada the Toronto fest curtain raiser Score: A Hockey Musical failed to live up to its name with a discordant $143,000 from 127 rinks.

Exclusives included good though unsensational debuts that included non-fiction Boxing Gym with a $6,100 TKO in its solo bout and Taqwacores — the tale of an Islamic rock band — grossing $5,500 also in a single outing.

Though there was a marginal dip from last weekend’s box office, the frame saw its first uptick from 2009 in a month with industry mavens already predicting expanded revenues through the end of the year.

Critical response to sleeper sensation Paranormal Activity 2 was at best tepid with the more negative reviews viewing it as a cynical rehash of its inspiration. Nonetheless avids were cueing up to provide Thursday midnight shows a record preview for an R-rated film. It lost traction as the weekend proceeded but the fast start was sufficient to speed past tracking that suggested an opening salvo of not much more than $30 million.

Exit polls for both Paranormal Activity 2 and Hereafter were disappointing. The latter film pretty much brought in the anticipated older crowd and filmmaker Clint Eastwood’s films have a history of hanging in for longer than typical runs and much higher multiples than is the industry norm. Still, this yarn could well stray from that trend.

Weekend revenues amassed roughly $130 million in torn ducats. It represented a slight 2% dip from seven days back but the unexpected Paranormal Activity 2 and overall strong holdovers translated into a 13% box office boost from 2009. A year ago the first Paranormal Activity (in its initial wide weekend) led with $21.1 million followed by Saw VI and Where the Wild Things Are with respective tallies of $14.1 million and $14 million.

With the exception of Waiting for “Superman” it’s been a brutal season for Oscar hopefuls trying to set an early footprint on the awards landscape. Granted, very few have received a wholehearted critical embrace, but even by niche standards the likes of Nowhere Boy, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Jack Goes Boating among others have been comparative under-performers when measured against past films that have employed this tactic.


Weekend Estimates – October 22-24, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
Paranormal Activity 2 Par 41.6 (12,930) New 3216 41.6
Jackass 3D Par 21.5 (6,920) -57% 3111 87.1
Red Summit 15.1 (4,620) -31% 3273 43.6
Hereafter WB 11.9 (5,450) 2175 12.2
The Social Network Sony 7.2 (2,450) -31% 2921 72.8
Secretariat BV 6.9 (2,210) -26% 3108 37.3
Life As We Know It WB 6.1 (2,010) -32% 3019 37.5
Legend of the Guardians WB 3.1 (1,390) -26% 2236 50.1
The Town WB 2.7 (1,390) -33% 1918 84.6
Easy A Sony 1.7 (1,050) -35% 1632 54.7
Wal Street: Money Never Sleeps Fox 1.2 (960) -49% 1255 50
My Soul to Take Uni/Alliance 1.0 (600) -68% 1689 13.9
Waiting for “Superman” Par Vantage .76 (2,620) 2% 290 3.7
Alpha and Omega Lionsgate .71 (980) -14% 727 23.5
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Focus .66 (1,180) -46% 560 5.1
Devil Uni .63 (980) -35% 642 32.4
You Again BV .61 (680) -50% 901 24
N Secure FreeStyle .53 (1,190) -55% 445 1.9
Toy Story 3 BV .42 (1,211) -21% 350 413.4
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Sony Classics .40 (1,060) 46% 381 1.8
Case 39 Par Vantage .38 (530) -69% 721 12.7
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $123.90
% Change (Last Year) 13%
% Change (Last Week) -2%
Also debuting/expanding
Stone Overture .34 (3,030) 49% 113 0.76
Conviction Fox Searchlight .30 (5,420) 192% 55 0.34
Rakhtcharitra Viva/Happy .21 (6,230) 34 0.21
Nowhere Boy Weinstein Co. .21 (870) -39% 215 0.76
Score: A Hockey Musical Mongrel .14 (1,130) 127 0.14
Jhootha Hi Sahi Viva 64,700 (1,350) 48 0.06
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Fiftyfilms 10,300 (5,150) 2 0.01
Boxing Gym Zipporah 6,100 (6,100) 1 0.01
Taqwacores Rumanni 5,500 (5,500) 1 0.01
Inhale IFC 5,600 (2,800) 2 0.01

Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Oct. 21, 2010)

Distributor (releases) Gross Market Share
Warner Bros. (25) 1403.9 16.30%
Paramount (15) 1310.6 15.30%
Fox (16) 1287.9 15.00%
Buena Vista (15) 1144.7 13.30%
Sony (23) 1129.9 13.20%
Universal (17) 771.4 9.00%
Summit (10) 453.6 5.30%
Lionsgate (12) 411.5 4.80%
Overture (7) 79.7 0.90%
Focus (7) 73.2 0.90%
Fox Searchlight (6) 72.7 0.80%
Weinstein Co. (7) 61.6 0.70%
Sony Classics (21) 53.7 0.60%
MGM (1) 50.4 0.60%
CBS (2) 50 0.60%
Other * (271) 226.9 2.70%
8581.7 100.00%
* none greater than .04%

Top Domestic Grossers * (Jan. 1 – Oct. 21, 2010)

Title Distributor Gross
Avatar * Fox 476,726,209
Toy Story 3 BV 413,013,123
Alice in Wonderland BV 334,191,110
Iron Man 2 Par 312,445,596
Twilight: Eclipse Summit 300,531,751
Inception WB 289,881,124
Despicable Me Uni 247,148,995
Shrek Forever After Par 238,667,087
How to Train Your Dragon Par 218,685,707
The Karate Kid Sony 176,797,997
Clash of the Titans WB 163,214,888
Grown Ups Sony 161,942,598
The Last Airbender Par 131,733,601
Shutter Island Par 128,051,522
The Other Guy Sony 118,236,912
Salt Sony 118,229,865
Valentine’s Day WB 110,509,442
Sherlock Holmes * WB 106,967,985
Robin Hood Uni 105,425,146
The Expendables Lions Gate 103,068,524
* does not include 2009 box office

The Weekend Box Office Report

Monday, September 13th, 2010


Weekend Estimates – September 10-12, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) change Theaters Cume
Resident Evil: Afterlife Sony 26.9 (8,390) New 3203 26.9
Takers Sony 5.9 (2,710) -45% 2191 47.9
The American Focus 5.7 (2,020) -57% 2833 28.2
Machete Fox 4.1 (1,520) -64% 2678 20.7
Going the Distance WB 3.8 (1,260) -45% 3030 14
The Other Guys Sony 3.4 (1,530) -35% 2246 112.5
The Last Exorcism Lions Gate 3.4 (1,230) -54% 2731 38.1
The Expendables Lions Gate 3.2 (1,050) -51% 3058 98.5
Inception WB 3.0 (1,870) -35% 1583 282.4
Eat Pray Love Sony 2.9 (1,230) -40% 2339 74.6
Nanny McPhee Returns Uni 2.0 (850) -43% 2364 26.2
The Switch BV 1.9 (1,210) -38% 1595 24.9
Despicable Me Uni 1.5 (1,120) -48% 1375 243.4
Vampires Suck Fox 1.4 (830) -57% 1670 24
Lottery Ticket WB 1.3 (1,390) -41% 905 22.7
Get Low Sony Classics .85 (1,690) -29% 504 6.9
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Uni .79 (1,280) -49% 619 30.4
Twilight: Eclipse Summit .73 (610) 68% 1187 299.6
Avatar (reissue) Fox .69 (1,580) -69% 436 759.5
Toy Story 3 BV .67 (940) -66% 712 409.9
Piranha 3D Weinstein Co. .63 (760) -74% 825 24.3
Salt Sony .62 (1,370) -51% 451 116.4
Debangg Eros .61 (9,100) New 67 0.61
Dinner for Schmucks Par .51 (950) -51% 536 71.9
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films)   $76.50      
% Change (Last Year) -12%
% Change (Last Week) -23%
Also debuting/expanding
L’Arnacouer/Heartbreaker Alliance/IFC .17 (3,690)   47 0.17
Legendary IDP .12 (690)   178 0.12
I’m Still Here Magnolia 93,600 (4,930)   19 0.09
The Romantics Par 43,700 (21,850)   2 0.04
De Mai Tinh (Fool for Love) Wave 40,400 (5,050)   8 0.04
Expecting Mary Rocky Mtn 32,500 (580)   56 0.03
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop Sony Classics 28,300 (2,360) 3% 12 0.06
Bran Nue Dae FreeStyle 23,600 (1,470)   16 0.02
Ahead of Time  Vitagrapaph 11,100 (11,100)   1 0.01
Le Refuge Strand 10,700 (2,680)   4 0.01
Who is Harry Nilsson Lorber 6,200 (6,200)   1 0.01

Weekend Estimates – September 6

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Four Day Estimates| | |
The American| 16.5| New| 19.6
Machete| 14.1| New| 14.1
Takers| 13.6| -47%| 40.1
The Last Exorcism| 8.7| -64%| 33.5
Going the Distance| 8.6| New| 8.6
The Expendables| 8.3| -46%| 93.9
The Other Guys| 6.6| -16%| 108
Eat Pray Love| 6.1| -29%| 70.2
Inception| 5.8| -6%| 278.4
Nanny McPhee Returns| 4.6| -24%| 23.4

The Weekend Box Office Report — Four Day and Summer Charts

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Summer of Our Discontent

Domestic box office for the summer season dropped 3% from 2009 on an estimated gross of $4.05 billion. On an even graver note admissions sank at least 10% and possibly as high as 12%.  Following a fast start in early May, movie going appeared to lose steam mid-stream and though the final Labor Day holiday frame contributed a slight 5% weekend boost it was insufficient to close the gap.

Heading into the weekend, Paramount led in market share but were out-gunned at the final shoot out by Sony with the latter closing the season with a 16.5% slice of the big pie to the former’s 15.9%. The summer’s top grossing film was Toy Story 3 with a $408.8 million tally. Five of the top 10 top seasonal grossers were in the 3D format and two others — Inception and Iron Man 2 — had a significant number of large format engagements. The surge of premium price movies proved to be a ferocious audience magnet. Collectively the seven films contributed $1.82 billion to the box office, or 45% of all summer ticket sales.

Despite the potency of such conventionally formatted films as The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and unexpected results for the likes of Grown Ups and The Expendables, box office events are increasingly tilted toward pictures with higher entry fees.  And whereas the historic trend of successful films increasing attendance, the present situation appears to have limited the general publics frequency at the multiplex in what may be a factor of the slowly recovering American economy.  Gloom and doom aside, major gains were made in the independent sector.

The likes of Summit and Lions Gate chose to compete against the majors for a change and the former was a hair’s breath away from nudging Fox out of the top six. Niche titles ranging from the first two portions of the Millennium trilogy, festival favorites such as Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right and critical favorite I Am Love were a significant factor in summer sales.  In all 13 films of this type grossed in excess of $4 million each — a seasonal record that indicates a growing audience for alternative fare.

Though the industry has long contended that there is an insufficient market for mid-range pictures, the absence of a breakout title on the order of The Hangover may have finally sealed that verdict. Summer 2010 certainly underlines that the multiplex comes in just two sizes — big and small.

Weekend (estimates) September 3 – 6, 2010

Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The American Focus 16.5 (6,060) New 2721 19.6
Machete Fox 14.1 (5,290) New 2670 14.1
Takers Sony 13.6 (6,170) -47% 2206 40.1
The Last Exorcism Lions Gate 8.7 (3,030) -64% 2874 33.5
Going the Distance WB 8.6 (2,840) New 3030 8.6
The Expendables Lions Gate 8.3 (2.440) -46% 3398 93.9
The Other Guys Sony 6.6 (2,520) -16% 2607 108
Eat Drink Pray Sony 6.1 (2,300) -29% 2663 70.2
Inception WB 5.8 (3,410) -6% 1704 278.4
Nanny McPhee Returns Uni 4.6 (1,690) -24% 2708 23.4
Despicable Me Uni 3.8 (2,400) -2% 1600 241.3
The Switch BV 3.8 (2.030) -32% 1885 22.2
Vampires Suck Fox 3.7 (1,520) -43% 2434 33
Toy Story 3 BV 2.6 (1,730) 89% 1520 408.8
Piranha 3D Weinstein Co. 2.9 (1,640) -46% 1789 23
Avatar (reissue) Fox 2.8 (3,480) -43% 811 758.1
Lottery Ticket WB 2.6 (1,990) -41% 1310 21
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Uni 1.9 (2,390) -38% 807 29.2
Salt Sony 1.6 (2,230) -34% 705 115.5
Get Low Sony Classics 1.5 (2,910) -26% 526 5.7
Dinner for Schmucks Par 1.2 (1,540) -45% 804 71.1
Step Up 3D BV .89 (2,050) -44% 434 41.2
Grown Ups Sony .65 (1,950) 88% 333 160.1
Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore WB .64 (1,410) -30% 455 42.2
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice BV .57 (1,600) 63% 357 61.7
Twilight: Eclipse Summit .54 (1,360) -18% 396 298.8
The Kids Are All Right Focus .51 (2,130) -22% 239 19.9

* percentage changes are 3-day to 3-day

Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $125.10
% Change (Last Year) 5%
% Change (Last Week) -11%

Also debuting/expanding

We Are Family UTV .32 (4,730) 67 0.32
Cairo Time IFC .22 (3,960) -11% 55 0.9
Mesrine: Killer Instinct Alliance/Music Box .16 (3,110) -38% 52 0.88
Mesrine: Public Enemy no. 1 Alliance/Music Box .15 (3,020) 143% 51 0.23
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop Sony Classics 33,800 (6,760) 5 0.03
My Dog Tulip New Yorker 14,100 (14,100) 1 0.01
Prince of Broadway Elephant 12,300 (12,300) 1 0.01
White Wedding Mitropoulos 6,700 (1,670) 4 0.01
The Winning Season Roadside At. 6,100 (2,030) 3 0.01
16 to Life Water Dog 3,500 (1,750) 2 0.01

Domestic Summer Market Share (May 7 – September 6, 2010)

Rank Distributor Gross Mkt Share % Change Rank
(in millions) 2009 2009
1 Sony 669.2 16.50% 27% 5
2 Paramount 643.6 15.90% -18% 2
3 BV 611.6 15.10% -12% 3
4 Warner Bros. 514 12.70% -49% 1
5 Universal 499.9 12.40% 54% 6
6 Fox 362.3 8.90% -24% 4
7 Summit 360.6 8.90% 1148% 9
8 Lions Gate 178.5 4.40% 1273% 12
9 Focus 47.3 1.20% 172% 11
10 Weinstein Co. 23.9 0.60% -80% 7
Miramax 22.2 0.50% 158% 13
Sony Classics 18.8 0.50% 6% 10
Other 96.3 2.40% N/A
4048.2 100.00% -3%
% Change 2010 (Other Distributors)
Fox Searchlight -83%

Friday Estimates – August 27

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

The Last Exorcism|9|2874|NEW|9
The Expendables|2.7|3398|-46%|75.2
Eat, Pray, Love|2.1|3108|-43%|55.8
The Other Guys|1.9|3181|-37%|94.6
Vampires Suck|1.7|3233|-63%|23.6
The Switch|1.4|2017|-47%|12.6
Piranha 3D|1.3|2491|-63%|15.3
Nanny McPhee Returns|1.3|2798|-50%|13.6
Also Debuting (in thousands)
Avatar (reissue)|1.2|811||1.2
Y’en aura pas de facile|56,600|57||56,600
Nick Saban: Gamechanger|44,400|22||44,400
Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1|17,700|22||17,700
Change of Plans|4,900|2||4,900

Box Office Hell – August 27

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
The Last Exorcism|17.4|n/a|14.0|13|17
The Expendables|8.5|n/a|9|10|10.2
Eat Pray Love|6.6|n/a|7|6|7.8
The Other Guys|6|n/a|11|5|6.5
Vampires Suck|n/a|n/a|5.5|n/a|5.3

MW on Movies: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and The Expendables

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Three Stars)
U.S.; Edgar Wright, 2010

Oh, to be a kid again. To feel the juices running madly, to get wildly excited about comic books and top ten hit-lists and about the last good new teen movie you saw (the canon from A Hard Day’s Night to Superbad) and maybe even a (No! Whoa!) video game or two. To fall in love every ten minutes or so, to wake up in a new bed now and then (now, now, pray God),  to feel possibilities churning out of every flashy half-cynical gizmo that contempo-pop culture spews out at you, to anticipate sort of breathlessly every new load of possible super-stuff you can’t afford, blazing like neon from the record shelves or bookshelves, or the video/DVD rows, offering possible (non-cannabis) highs or potential mind-blasts waiting it seems around every street corner.

It isn’t great? It isn‘t good? Well, wait another day. Something may happen. Something always happens. If not a “Hey Jude,” then maybe a “Happy Together.”  If not a Tokyo Story, then maybe a Chinese Connection. If not a Nosferatu, then maybe a Shaun of the Dead. Zow! Bam! Zonk! R-I-I-I-ng!

Maybe I’m just getting a little, uh, jaded and old. But Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World — which is definitely the most inventive and entertaining new movie out this week (okay, maybe even this month) — pleased me, but didn’t really fill me with joy and chuckles, as it probably will some (maybe a lot of) audiences. Liked, not loved. Dug, not devastated. Good, not great. Pow, not Wow! But that may be good enough. It’s only this week’s top movie, after all. That’s all it has to be. At least, it made me appreciate Michael Cera again, and, truth to tell, I was getting a little sick of him.

You see, Michael Cera — with his elongated elfin looks, and dirty little smile, his sweetly dragged-out shnook-moves and sneaky-quick reactions, his Peter Pan hipsterism and trembling-on-falsetto nasal geek-squeak of a voice — had begun to seem like his generation’s prime example of “Who is that guy?!?”

You remember. Whatever sex or sexual preference you are. (Change gender or adjust fantasy in the following, if you prefer.) You’re walking down the street, and you see some girl you’ve had a crush on for a while — the one with the great smile and the great walk and the swing-loose-and-steal-your-heart hair — the one you fantasize about, and you look at the guy she’s walking with, laughing with, maybe even just woke up with, and you say to yourself, “Who is that guy?!?”

To yourself, stricken, you sotto-voce: “Where the almighty hell did he come from?” “Hey, why does he rate?” “Why does he have that smile on his face, dammit?“ And it spoils your day, for ten minutes or so. (If you stop and talk to them, maybe the smile goes off his face, but just for a second.)

That’s Michael Cera. Who is that guy? He plays the role to perfection, because Cera can always kid himself. He doesn’t have the usual kind of actor’s vanity, and, before we can get sarcastic, he beats us to the punch. He isn’t ashamed to act like a dork, because, hey, he’s walking down the street, behind the camera, and he’s the one with that great-looking girl beside him. Eat your hearts out, you jealous assholes.

Here, in this ad-campaign-certified “epic of epicness,” based on a graphic novel by CanadianBryan Lee O’Malley, and smartly helmed by Wright ( the guy who made the mother of all zombie comedies), Cera is playing, to kind-of-perfection, a goony-but-cute 22-year-old garage band bass player named Scott Pilgrim (Billy Pilgrim’s grand-nephew?), who plays with a band called Sex-Bob-Omb, and lives (and shares an apparently half-chaste mattress) with a cool gay roommate named Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin) and W.W.‘s various steadies. Scott’s other Sex-Bob bandmates are Kim the gal drummer (Alison Pill, the epitome of cute-snide), Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) and Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) — and though they’re sure noBuffalo Springfield, I say “Love the One You’re With.”

Scott also has a cutie of a high-school girlfriend named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong, a living doll). But he nevertheless falls hard for a lavender-haired (sometimes), poker-faced punk charmer named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who can really stab you with her eyes). I would have stuck with Knives, but those deadpan dolls really mess up your mind when you’re teen or twenty-something. (You figure they know something you don’t, and maybe they do.)

But guess what? To win Ramona’s heart (such as it is) and her bod (admittedly a killer) and her soul (who knows?), Scott has to vanquish the dread Seven Exes — a snarling or smirking septet of former Ramona boyfriends (and one ex-girlfriend, and two twins), who show up, every ten minutes or so, and preoccupy her mind and this movie.

Who are these guys? Over and over, Scott gets challenged by the Mag Seven. So he gets this determined Michael Cera look on his kisser, gets down to some kick-ass Jackie Chanaction, and, if he kicks their asses (they range from Jason Schwartzman as the smiling smug boss-man of your nightmares to Chris Evans as a blond Brit action star with an Eastwood growl), those defeated studs dissolve into coins, ready for the next video game match.

That’s all there is.  There ain’t no more. Oh wait, there’s also a rock band showdown/contest (There always is), with Sex-Bob-Omb taking on all comers.  You’ve seen it all before, except maybe for that over-occupied mattress. (Can‘t these roomies find a thrift store somewhere?) But not quite like this.

Director Edgar Wright (who made the killer Shaun of the Dead, and the okay Hot Fuzz) has a new idea every ten seconds or so, sometimes faster. Some of the gags are the old TVBatman this-is-a-comic-book ‘60s shtick, cranked up ten notches or so. Some of them are would be sub-Stan Lee smart-assery. But a lot of them work. When lovers kiss, hearts spray at you. When a video-store vixen cusses, she’s bleeped. The movie splits up into comic panels. When Scott hits a guitar note, the screen goes “D-D-D.”  Edgar Wright has his tongue so far and so constantly into his cheek, you sometimes worry that he’ll strangle on his own nonstop whimsy. Every ten minutes or so.

But the movie makes you laugh. It made me laugh. I bet even you guys out there who didn’t like it much, or got nervous because of Wallace on the mattress, half-snickered every now and then. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World fulfills its mission, at least if you’ve ever played a video game (I haven‘t),  read a comic book or “graphic novel” (guilty) or lusted for a deadpan doll (God, guilty, guilty). It’s a sharp movie that gets sweet at the climax. There are worse ways to spend your time and stupider ways to drop your coins.

Michael Cera, you lucky dog you, enjoy it while it lasts. And I have just one thing to say aboutEdgar (Zombie Man) Wright.

Who is that guy?

The Expendables (Two-and-a-Half Stars)
U.S.; Sylvester Stallone, 2010

Sylvester Stallone could have been a contender.

In fact, once upon a time, he was the contender, even almost the champ. Stallone‘s 1976  sleeper hit movie Rocky — from his original script, starring Stallone himself as Rocky Balboa, the seemingly washed-up but tender-hearted Philly boxer who gets a shot at the heavyweight title from the Muhammad Ali-like champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) — won the 1976 Best Movie Oscar, as well as Best Director honors for John Avildsen.

Sly’s Rocky was in some ways a formula heart-tugger, but it was inspired by the best. The part was probably heavily influenced by Brando‘s washed-up pug Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, considered by many the finest male performance in any American movie.

As for Stallone, he got beaten out that year for best original screenplay, by Paddy Chayefsky, for his scalding TV-behind-the-scenes classic “Network — but that’s no disgrace. Stallone was also bested as 1976’s best actor by the late Peter Finch, playing the plum part of Howard Beale, the psycho TV news anchor who was the first man to say on the air, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!” (Other Psychos, including real-life ones, followed Beale and stole his catch-phrase.) And that’s no disgrace either.

Stallone was young, he was on top, and, at the Oscar show, Muhammad Ali came on stage to fool around and joke with him. Stallone could do, it seemed, anything he wanted. Surely, someday, he would win the Oscar that he missed that time out.

So he acted in a hit Ted Kotcheff movie, First Blood, that introduced the long-haired one man killing machine Vietnam vet Frank Rambo. And he started out multi-tasking again by writing, starring in and directing another movie, of some Coppolesque, Scorsesean ambition, calledParadise Alley. It didn’t work.

So Stallone went for different stakes at a bigger, more expensive table. He started making movies, often sequels to his big smashes Rocky and First Blood,  that were calculated to make a lot of money, and not to take too many chances on art. Rocky the series began to look like a string of hits afflicted with progressive elephantiasis. Each new Rocky movie was like a weird inflated dream taking place in the head of the Rocky from the movie before.

The Rock re-fought for the title with Apollo, and this time he beat him. Then he fought another contender, who was like a much, much nastier version of Apollo (Mr. T) and he beat him, with Creed‘s help. Then, Rocky beat the entire country of Russia…excuse me, he thrashed Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the Crusher from the Kremlin, in Rocky IV, the Cash-Cow from Moscow.

Something similar hampered to Rambo. First Blood was halfway-plausible, a good drama as well as a thriller, and it introduced a terrific cop-actor antagonist, in Brian DennehyRambo: First Blood 2 and Rambo 3 were wilder, crazier, and more gaseously inflated. Then times changed. Stallone tamped down Rocky, eventually scaled down Rambo,” played punchy, tried to grab at our heart-strings again. Charlie, Charlie, you don’t understand…

Now comes The Expendables, an action movie for moviegoers who miss the ’80s. (Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to forget them.) Sly is back, and he’s playing Barney Ross — not the heroin addict boxer portrayed in Andre De Toth’s Monkey on my Back, but the deep-voiced, heavily-muscled,  mellowed but kick-ass leader of a gang of mercenaries that includes a whole Dirty Dozen or so of once or current upper-echelon action heroes: Lundgren as the scarred hothead Gunner Jensen, Jason Statham as London’s “Lock, Stock”  basher Lee Christmas, martial artist Jet Li as Chinese mauler Ying Yang, wrestler turned actor Stone Cold Steve Austin as Paine, Terry Crews as Hale Caesar, Randy Couture as Toll Road — enough action stars or superstars it seems to start a new country, Actionland, whose national motto is “Mess with the Best, and Die Like the Rest.”

Sending them on their way is a stern C. I. A. schmoozer named Church (played with an admirably straight face by Stallone action rival Bruce Willis). Sitting this one out is another Stallone rival, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the smirking Trench. (“He wants to be President,” Barney mutters.) The main villain is Eric Roberts, in another headcase role as James Munroe (not the president). The love interest is Gisele Itie as Sandra, the radicalized daughter of the evil general of a wild and woolly banana republic. Peddling bananas, and Uzis, is Jose Carioca, of the Three Amigos. (Just kidding.) And giving the guys tattoos, as Tool, is Mickey Rourke, Roberts‘ costar in that neglected 1984 NYC street classic The Pope of Greenwich Village, a great ’80s movie that a lot of people have forgotten or never knew. Co-writer Stallone gives Rourke an aria, and he steals the entire movie.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn‘t sometimes enjoyable to watch these guys, in their muscle-flexing, exploding fireball of a class reunion, or mega-basher’s convention. But I’d also be lying if I didn’t say it was a second-tier action movie that doesn’t make much sense. (“But that’s the point!“ hard-core ’80s-lovers will lecture us “dumb-ass critics.“ “It’s from the ‘80s! It’s not supposed to make sense. It made money!“ ) Oh yeah? If this movie had a lot more humor, more camaraderie and less phony cojones, more Mickey Rourke and Roberts, and even some more non-action Stallone, it could have been a lot better. Instead, it’s an occasional hoot, but expendable.

Michael Wilmington
August 12, 2010

Is The Expendables Really Like Sex And The City? And Is Sly Really Samantha?

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Is The Expendables Really Like Sex And The City? And Is Sly Really Samantha?

The Expendables: A Julia Roberts Throwdown

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Back now, with the MPAA-offending green band removed. So put on your big boy pants and get to a theatre before Julia Roberts takes over.

60 Seconds with The Expendables

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The only life they’ve known is war. The only loyalty they have is to each other.
They are the Expendables.

Knight & Day: The International Trailer

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Trailer: Expendables

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Snapshots of The Expendables

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A team of the world’s most dangerous and highly-trained mercenaries go on a mission to South America to overthrow and assassinate a powerful, evil dictator and his army. A who’s who of action stars … Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Trailer: The Expendables

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A team of the world’s most dangerous and highly-trained mercenaries go on a mission to South America to overthrow and assassinate a powerful, evil dictator and his army, who have been causing devastation, chaos and torture for the last twenty years.  A who’s who of action stars … Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren and Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.