Posts Tagged ‘indiana jones

14
Aug
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part III

When we last left off, Big Willie-style Fourth o’ July was goin’ on, and “Hancock” had one of the largest opening weekends of the summer. Let’s see how other movies have fared…

 

The next weekend released one of the better movies of July: “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” What shocked me were the differing opinions between the critics and the audience on the weekends. The critics hated “Hancock,” but loved “Hellboy 2”; conversely, the public went and saw “Hancock” and didn’t turn out for “Hellboy 2” like I had expected. Another release for that weekend was Brendan Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D,” which I was told you really DID need 3-D glasses for.

 

Eddie Murphy’s comedy “Meet Dave” opened at $5.2 million.

 

“Mamma Mia!” had an impressive opening as it could have hoped: $27,751,240. Why? Because of its competition: “The Dark Knight.” “TDK” kicked “Iron Man” and “Indy 4”’s opening weekends, raking in $158 million. It has since set box office records the least of which was biggest weekend box office opening. Whether it was the fact that it was a sequel to “Batman Begins,” or Heath Ledger’s last movie, or simply people who enjoy the work of Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” has held the number one spot at the box office for the last month.

 

Believe it or not, I really DID want to believe, but the new “X-Files” movie let me down. With an opening of $10 million for the weekend, it was beaten out by the Will Ferrell/ John C. Reilly comedy “Step Brothers.” Whether it was the plot of “X-Files,” the fact that it’s been years since the series has been on the air, or maybe there are that many more fans for Ferrell and company as opposed to “The X-Files.”

 

We got a third “Mummy” movie, which was a slight disappointment at the B.O., only taking in $40 million. Its competition, “Swing Vote,” had one of the lowest openings for the summer as well. Was it the reviews of “Mummy 3” that kept people away, or are we already done with the franchise?

 

Batman continued his grip on the number one spot and if any movie could thwart him, it was “Pineapple Express.” However, Judd Apatow and company couldn’t pull that off, but did take in $23 mil for the weekend. Their competition, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” brought in $10 mil.

 

Will anything break Batman’s stranglehold on the number one spot? This week we have the premiere of “Tropic Thunder.” If “Pineapple Express” couldn’t do it, this is the last chance.

 

Here are the rundown of the numbers for the summer:

 

Biggest Openings of the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $158,411,483

“Indy 4”                                   $126,917,373

“Iron Man”                               $102,118,668

“Wall*E”                                  $63,087,526

“Hancock”                               $62,603,879

“”Kung Fu Panda”                    $60,239,130

“Sex and the City”                    $56,848,056

“The Incredible Hulk”               $55,414,050

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $55,034,805

“Wanted”                                 $50,927,085

 

 

And the Top Ten Cumulative for the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $448,886,084

“Iron Man”                               $316,590,841

“Indy 4”                                   $314,819,219

“Hancock”                               $222,625,918

“Kung Fu Panda”                     $211,507,723

“Wall*E”                                  $211,332,152

“Sex and the City”                    $151,838,609

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $140,117,978

“The Incredible Hulk”               $133,932,430

“Wanted”                                 $132,802,780

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08
Jul
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part II

Part I was a quizzical look at the Studios “search for more money.”

 

Welcome to Part II.

 

Have the Studios lost or gained for the summer of 2008? A lot of this is based on expectation. For example the new-kid-on-the-block Marvel Studios raked in money hand over fist with the release of “Iron Man.” In three days it took in $102 million; not bad.

 

Warner Bros. flooded money into “Speed Racer;” something to the tune of $250 million ($150 mil for the movie, $100 mil for the marketing). Unfortunately “Speed” lost gas quickly. It’s opening weekend it made $18.5 million and has so far accumulated $42.7 million. I don’t think you can blame it on the current fuel prices.

 

Disney packed a punch with its release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.” Opening at Number One with a take of $55 million, “Caspian” held pretty well against its competitors and stayed in the Top Ten for a good month+. So far it’s made $138 million.

 

“Dr. Jones” set the summer’s 3-day box office weekend total. While $126 million is a lotta moolah, the Studio was disappointed it didn’t rake in its “projection” of $150 million. While it had a bigger opening weekend than “Iron Man,” it currently trails Tony Stark and company cumulatively by $5 million.

 

“Sex and the City.” I was really floored that this movie didn’t do better than it did. Opening weekend it made $56 million, beating out “Indy” by $1 million (in its second weekend). I was expecting “SATC” to make at least $100 million; every woman in my office area was planning on seeing it. Maybe it would have made more money if it had gone to Cable and was on Pay-Per-View. HBO would’ve raked in the cash…

 

In a summer that has fuel prices skyrocketing and pools shutting down, what do you do with the kids? The answer: go see “Kung Fu Panda.” This is the “little movie that could.” Studios had no expectations whatsoever on this kids flick and were pleasantly surprised (or dismayed) that its weekend box office was $60 million. That was higher than the opening for “Made of Honor,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “Speed Racer,” “Prince Caspian,” and “Sex and the City.” “Panda” continues to martial the art of box office earning with $193 million.

 

“The Happening” was released against “The Incredible Hulk.” This is a prime example of either not having enough faith in a movie (releasing it against something you KNOW will make money) or having too much faith in a movie (releasing against a movie that you think you can top). Either way, “The Happening’s” box office wasn’t happening; it made $30.5 million (but that was better than “Speed Racer’s” opening) The “Hulk” smashed the abomination of “The Happening,” taking in $55 million. Its current take is $124 million.

 

Another TV show-to-movie, “Get Smart,” was a disappointment; $38 million the first weekend. While it has climbed up to $100 million, it’ll probably make its profit from DVD sales and going to Cable. Meanwhile, “The Love Guru,” has crawled under the carpet making less than “Made of Honor’s” first weekend with $13 million. Ouch.

 

A kids movie versus a graphic novel-based movie. I was thinking that “Wall*E” would’ve kicked the box office for $100 million, but I was off. Taking in $3 million more than the opening for “Panda,” at $63 million the Earth’s last remaining robot did pretty well. “Wanted,” directed by the guy who did “Night Watch,” and “Day Watch,” held its own, taking in nearly $51 million. Going up against a kids movie, that’s impressive.

 

Which leads me to our stopping point: the July 4th weekend. With fuel and food rising and rising in cost, an unstoppable war, unemployment increasing and a nation standing on the edge of Depression, what can you count on? A blockbuster Will Smith Fourth of July movie. That movie: “Hancock.” Critics panning this movie didn’t stop everyone from seeing it; $66 million in three days. I was disappointed in the fact that I saw a commercial claiming that “Hancock” made $107 million. That took 5 DAYS to do. “Iron Man” made $102 million in 3 days…

 

Watch for Part III, where we’ll look back at July and Part IV where we gage summer’s final results. Until then, here are your Top Ten Lists:

 

Top Ten 3-Day Weekend Openings for Summer 2008

 

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $126,917,373

2. Iron Man                                                                             $102,118,668

3. Wall*E                                                                                $63,087,526

4. Hancock                                                                              $62,603,879

5. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $60,239,130

6. Sex and the City                                                                   $56,848,056

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $55,414,050

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $55,034,805

9. Wanted                                                                                $50,927,085

10. Get Smart                                                                           $38,683,480

 

 

Top Ten Cumulative Box Office Totals for Summer 2008

 

1. Iron Man                                                                             $311,758,000

2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull              $306,428,521

3. Kung Fu Panda                                                                    $193,221,867

4. Sex and the City                                                                   $144,891,325

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian                              $138,780,000

6. Wall*E                                                                                 $127,196,028

7. The Incredible Hulk                                                              $124,841,395

8. Hancock                                                                              $103,877,446

9. Get Smart                                                                             $98,100,652

10. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan                                         $94,773,156

 

 

 

Will “The Dark Knight” strike a blow to “Iron Man?” Will “Hellboy 2” raise any hell? Is there any truth out there for “The X-Files?” And hey, how about “Tropic Thunder?”

 

Stay tuned for Predicting the Box Office III !

 

To be continued…

22
May
08

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

 

 

“Indiana” Jones gets an “X-File.”

 

Starring Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

 

Good, not great. Worth watching, but not the wait.

 

It’s been 19 years since “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and I’m thinking… that may have been a little too long of a wait. The year is 1957, and the story kicks off with a convoy heading into the infamous Area 51. The convoy is Russian headed by Stalin-loving psychic Dr. Irina Spalko (Blanchett). She is holding “Indy” and his friend “Mack” (Winstone) hostage in order for Indy to guide her to a box taken from the Roswell crash site. Following a double-cross by Mack and a derring-do escape from the military warehouse, he goes from the frying pan into the fire as he winds up in the small town about to be “nuked.” He escapes inside a refrigerator and is later questioned by the FBI as to his “possible” Communist ties, nevermind the fact that he served in the War (and is now “Colonel” Jones).

 

Back at the college Indy is teaching when Dean Sanforth (Broadbent) asks him to take a reprieve due to the FBI looking through Indy’s office. Little does he know that Indy is being followed by the Feds as well as the Russians. Added to that is a visit by ‘Mutt’ Williams (LeBeouf), a stereotypical 50’s “greaser” (looking like Brando) who tells Indy that an old acquaintance, Professor Oxley (Hurt), has been kidnapped when he was looking for a mythical “lost” city and a “crystal skull.” Williams’ mother Marion apparently knows Indy and had Mutt give him this information.

 

CUT to the plane dissolved with a map, tracking their movement to South America. From there it’s the quest to find the crystal skull (which looks like H.R. Giger designed it) and for return. Indy meets with Marion Ravenwood-Williams (Allen) and finds that Oxley is alive as well as insane. The Russians seem to meet them at every turn as well, with Spalko wanting the crystal so she can harness all the knowledge in the known universe. And last but not least is Mack, who can never decide whose side he’s really on.

 

I’ve been trying to figure out what is missing from this movie and the answer is… danger. Whatever event happens to Indy isn’t IMPERATIVE; everyone chugs along from scene to scene, basically acting out the story. There’s no real tension or DANGER, just scrapes and skirmishes. But enough of that.

 

What I did enjoy the movie is solid Spielbergian filmmaking. Sure, it’s not the greatest story ever told but whatever he tells, he tells it well. There were long and medium shots as opposed to close-up vs. close-up. The actors had to ACT, which worked well for the most part.

 

Another thing missing: a rousing John Williams score. The initial “Raiders” theme is present but is unheard until maybe the 30 minute point. In fact, most of the music is subdued.

 

The writing works for most of the movie, but “Indy 4” gives more than a nod to “Temple of Doom.” If “Indy 2” is really disliked as much as Spielberg lets on, he didn’t show it. Also the ending is reminiscent of “X-Files: Fight the Future.” Hope that doesn’t ruin it for you…

 

Finally, mention is made for Marcus Brody and Henry Jones, Sr. as their characters have “passed on.” No kudos for Sallah, though.

 

Why to see this movie: well it’s enjoyable, watchable, you can take your kids (or parents) to see it, and nostalgic. In regards to nostalgia, when I was leaving the theatre a guy exclaimed, “You know what? Russians are no substitute for Nazis.” True enough.

 

My grade: B

29
Apr
08

May 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

 

 

“Iron Man” – Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark. Based on the comic book superhero. Opens May 1, 2008

 

“Made of Honor” – Patrick Dempsey’s best friend is Michelle Monaghan and upon returning from a business trip to Scotland, she’s engaged! And she wants Dempsey to be her maid of honor! But Dempsey is in love with her! Will I make it to the trash can in time before I puke? Opens May 2, 2008

 

“Son of Rambow” – British indie flick about a pre-teen kid in the 1980’s who is filming his own action movie, despite the fact that his stuntman/camera guy is of a different faith. And as usual, everyone wants to be in the movie. Opens May 5, 2008

 

“The Babysitters” – Katherine Waterston is a high school senior that picks up a few bucks by babysitting then goes for the gold with the children’s parent, John Leguizamo. She soon enters a spiral of hooking up her girlfriends with “upstanding” family men. Will there be an Unrated version of this? Opens May 9, 2008

 

“Redbelt” – Chiwetel Ejiofor is a martial arts instructor who saves the life of a Hollywood star and is propelled into a big time martial arts fight that he doesn’t want to do anything with. Was Van Damm-age asking for too much money? Directed by David Mamet. Opens August 21, 2008

“Speed Racer” – Here he comes… here comes Emile Hirsch . Yes, Emile Hirsch is Speed, Christina Ricci is Trixie, Matthew Fox is Racer X, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman are Speed’s parents… I’m gonna watch it for the visuals. Opens May 9, 2008

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” – It’s been 1 year for the kids, and about 1300 years for Narnia. Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund return (the actors playing them as well) to a different Narnia. Check out the trailer! Opening May 16, 2008

“What Happens in Vegas” – Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher wake up to find that they’re married to each other. Not based on a Britney Spears stunt… Opens May 16, 2008

 

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – I don’t care what it’s about; I’m camping out for tickets! Star Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LeBeouf, John Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Jim Broadbent. Opens May 22, 2008

 

“How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” – Three generations of Mexican women struggling with romance. Stars Elizabeth Pena and America Ferrera. Nothing witty here. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“War, Inc.” – John Cusack is a hitman hired by Dan Akyroyd to kill a Middle-Eastern oil minister. Think “modern ‘Grosse Pointe Blank.’” Also stars Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff. Opens May 23, 2008

 

“The Foot Fist Way” – A martial arts instructor catches his wife cheating and goes on a downward spiral until he finds redemption. Supposedly, this movie was left for Adam McKay and Will Ferrell to watch and they watched it 10 times in a row before buying it. Opening May 30, 2008

 

“Meet Dave” – Formerly “Starship Dave,” Eddie Murphy is a giant spaceship inhabited by miniature aliens, the commander of which is Eddie Murphy. Uh, yeah. Opening May 30, 2008

“Sex and the City” – If you know anything about the HBO show, you’re doing better than me. Opens May 30, 2008

“The Strangers” – Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple who move into a new house, only to be told that they are going to die. Supposedly inspired by real events. And I thought MY neighborhood was bad… Opens May 30, 2008