Well, it’s Mojito Thursday here at Casa Dellamorte, and as you might know I’m a fiend for Mojitos. Or I just watched Miami Vice again, and it seems to be a perfect summer drink. Senorita, I feel for you.
IT’S THE END OF THE SUMMER, SO LET’S GO LAST CALLING FOR THE LOSERS:
Biggest Moneymaker That’s Still a Loser: Prince Caspian. It used to be that sequels were supposed to fall off the original, but when Lord of the Rings, and other franchises have shown that there can be a near record profit (if not more) with follow-ups, when a film fails to recoup its budget or do half the box office of its predecessor, then it’s a major fail (unless it’s a spin-off like Electra). Had Iron Man made $140 it would have been conisdered a good start, if a bit disappointing, but Caspian’s $141 Million after The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’s $291 suggests that the follow up is just not going to happen. This may because moore people read the first Narnia book than the whole thing. And I think also, with films like Indiana Jones and Iron Man versus future entry Speed Racer and this, they’re all essentially kids movies. So for films that target solely the youth audience, it’s ignoring the parents who might enjoy watching these films but would rather take their kids to something like an Iron Man.
Reboot Rebuffed: The Incredible Hulk. It’s often said that the gross of a sequel is often a response to the audience’s feelings for the first film. And so TIH was working at the disadvantage of following a film only people like myself (people with awesome taste and good dance moves) loved or even liked. The follow up was way more mainstream, and streamlined, and did $2 Million more in business than one of the most reviled superhero films to date (moreso than even Ghost Rider, and that’s a certified piece of shit). Universal may do more business on DVD, and if word of mouth is good it could eventuually outpace the Ang Lee film in terms of revenue. But Hulk, like Superman, may not be a cinematic character at his core, and no matter what is done with him, it’ll likely always be a disappointment. For all the production drama it did okay, but I doubt we’ll be seeing a follow-up.
You’d Think Being Last Called was a Mistake, but This Two AM Hook-Up May Have Been All That Was Hoped For: Hellboy II. With a near $35 Million dollar opening weekend, and a final tally of $75, making Hellboy II – which has a reported $85 Million dollar budget – may look like a poorly spent dollars, and it’ll take some time for the books to even out on this one. But, that said, people want to be in the Del Toro business, and after he finishes The Hobbit (if that happens), dude’s going to be able to call his own shots. HBII will likely generate some revenue eventually for Universal, and the DVD and Blu-Ray should sell well enough to the people who made the original profitable. the bottom line is that it was a sequel to a film that made $60 domestically, and starred Ron Perlman. The opening weekend was going to be as good as it got. And so it was. Perhaps Universal did not expect The Dark Knight to have the Vacuum effect it did, but Hellboy II was going to be a hard sell regardless, so perhaps being the stop-gap before TDK was enough to open, and enough to make the film look like a win.
Your Reputation was not Redeemed, Sirs: Speed Racer. Arguably the most painful misfire of the summer, was also the rudest. The film was actually intellectually interesting, but proved oftputting for a number of parents who just skipped the film, and it floundered to a $43 Million dollar domestic total (international is – to date – on the same page). Post-Revolutions, I thought the Wachowskis would be persona non grata in Hollywood, but this is even more of a nail in the coffin. The gross is pathetic, and though Warner Brothers may have sacrificed this one to the Gods, the film surely deserved a bit better than it got.
Mis-Market: Kit Kitredge, Son of Rambow and Swing Vote. Selling kids films should be this hard, and there’s surely an audience for the former, which was nothing if not well recieved. The latter starred Kevin Costner, and people like the man. The iddle is an actual classic of its kind. But it seems none were not given the pushes they deserved and so they floundered. I have no idea if Kit or Swing are any good, but better marketing should have gotten all of these titles over the $20 Million dollar hurdle. Likely all were products of transitioning studios that had no problem letting money just go. What a rude and strange business this is.
Studio Loser: 20th Century Fox. They had What Happens in Vegas, which was decidedly profitable, if spiritually bankrupt, and they had one of the funniest movies of the year in The Happening, which – with international – proved a smart if modest investment, but then there’s X-Files 2, Space Chimps, Mirrors, The Rocker and Meet Dave to answer for. Most were cheapish, but it was a strange summer for Fox, and one without a tentpole to speak of. And I don’t think Babylon A.D. is going to change that.
Next week I’ll talk about the winners. Guess who’s #1?
EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES (PREDICTIONS! PREDICTIONS!)
Well, summer’s over and a bunch of shit has come out (this is low ballin’ the 4 day):
1. Disaster Movie – $14.5 Million
2, Babylon A.D. – $13 Million
3. Tropic Thunder – $ 11 Million
4. House Bunny – $7.3 Million
5. Batman! – $6.5 Million
And expect the winged freak to cross the Half Billion mark by Monday. I know this… much is… true. I should be back Mondayish