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Is "Clobbering Time" like "Smoke-Thirty?" Obviously, it means that it is time to clobber. But The Thing never says "It’s Cry like an Eight-Year-Old Girl Time" or "It’s Gazpacho Time!" Perhaps the only emotion he’s ready to admit to is stark raving violence. Maybe when he gets mad at his wife, Mrs. Thing, it’s like
The Hooneymooners. "Alice, it’s Clobbering Time!" "Don’t you get at me ’cause you don’t want to take out the garbage. Motherfucker."

This sort of thing leads to the Kevin Smith-ian thought process of "Does he says it right before he has sex?" Then again, the dude is made out of boulders and shit, and besides the obvious "rock hard" commentary, It doesn’t take a geologist to know that’s going to chafe. Imagine getting a rock stuck in your shoes and it rubbing your foot raw. Now times that by a million. There’s not enough astroglide in the world to make that comfortable, I’m guessin’.

THE MOST INTERESTING FILM OF THE WEEK

There is a powerhouse of a community in the film-going world. One that the studio system never knows when it’s going to tap right. It made Titanic the most success film of our time, and likely to be the most successful film of my lifetime.

That audience: Teenage and tweener girls.

As much as the geek community wants to pat itself on the back for a lot of things, it’d be impossible for The Lord of the Rings films to have made the money they did if young women didn’t sexually fantasize about Legolas. And, again, what gave Titanic the legs to make a billion dollars had everything to do with young women going back and back and back and back and… well, you get the point.

But these girls generally don’t respond to films targeted to them. The Olsen twins can’t turn a theatrical profit to save your life, and Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore can’t do better than a very small return on investment (often thirty million or so seems the capper). Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan’s biggest hit had everything to do with crossing over to an audience that wasn’t just teenagers. It was a good date-night film, and was well received (I’m not counting Freaky Friday, which is a different beast altogether). But other attempts at giving her the spotlight floundered. And Dave Davis only has so much money and spare time.

Such points out that the studio is all too geared towards exploiting the same age bracket in males. Then again, men of my age, even older, can still get excited about Star Wars, Spider-Man, and this weekend’s Fantastic Four film. The two facets of this are that most men of my generation are emotionally stunted, and that Hollywood is still a deeply sexist organization. Even the great romantic comedies of our time are geared towards men. Notting Hill is about an average Joe fucking Julia Roberts. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is told from the (nearly exclusive) perspective of the male. I hear more stories about dudes getting all weepy over maudlin bits of business these days than women. Then again, old school Chud hombre Innocent X and I have often batted back and forth about the modern pussification of men. It generally boils down to the Fight Club line about a generation of men raised by women, with fathers absent (in the literal or figurative sense) and not providing a role model.

Which brings us, in a perfectly roundabout fashion, to Nancy Drew. The film will be viewed as a huge success if it gets above $15 Million for the weekend. If they get to $70 all in, genius was at work. I have been informed that the film is not particularly good on top of it being a lame duck. Hollywood does such a shoddy job courting this audience (or as lame as not being marketing well to can be), and yet they get boys and men-children. But they don’t get young girls, and at this point they’re fine with that, and every once in a while they offer these paeans because they know that the DVD will eventually make them profitable (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is getting a sequel, if that tells you anything). Ironically, what kept the studio system going in the 30’s and 40’s were films geared towards women. The world has changed.

And perhaps, as is often the case with entertainment geared towards youth (I mean under fifteen – teen dramas are different), the target audience has less interest in watching themselves on the big screen, likely because it usually feels like an act of pandering. In some ways adults would rather watch films like that, if they’re good, for the sake of nostalgia. It’s too bad that Nancy Drew is fucked, because the subject matter seems ripe. But it’s likely that the core audience might prefer seeing Chris Evans. Or perhaps it’s something along the lines of what H.L. Mencken once wrote in that a misogynist is "a man who hates women as much as women hate each other." Hard to say.

THE MOST INTERESTING INDEPENDENT OF THE WEEK

There’s a movie called Fido about a zombie and a movie called Eagle Vs. Shark that’s a relationship comedy. I don’t get it.

THE PREDICTION SCREEN IS THE RETINA OF THE MIND’S EYE

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has had some great Trailers, some okay TV spots, and very few advance screenings. It’s also got a listed running time of somewhere between 89 and 95 minutes. Which means the movie proper could be as short as 77 minutes. That ain’t a good sign. Nevertheless, it is good for an opening weekend, which will be somewhere between the mid fifties and low sixties. A lot of people actively didn’t mind the first film, and… that trailer.

DOA: Dead or Alive was on-line (maybe still is), and hits 500 screens. It being called DOA will be the easiest jokes punsters will make all weekend long.

Nancy Drew should get to, what, Eleven-ish, maybe? Ocean’s Thirteen should hold a little better than many of its fellow summer brethren, but mostly cause it didn’t open as big. Also WOM was mostly good on it. But Knocked Up will finally outperform Pirates this weekend, mostly because Pirates will be leaking screens like nobody’s business.

Top Five:
1. Fantastic Four: ROTSS – $61 Million
2. Ocean’s Thirteen - $20 Million
3. Knocked Up - $14 Million
4. Nancy Drew - $ 12 Million
5. Pirates: At Box Office End - $11 Million

And then Sunday, I’ll tell you a story about how a baby otter made its way across the country on a pink scooter!