Not to name drop or whatever, but I just talked with Jay Chandrasekhar for an interview I did for Collider, and I asked about that hot button question that’s been on every geeks’ lips – like so much Dorrito dust. “Having gone through it on Dukes of Hazzard, what can you say about the Watchmen lawsuit?” His response: “It sucks.” The thing about his lawsuit is this: Fox had to wait until the film was in post production, and near release to make it, because if they flagged the issue beforehand, Warner’s might not have made the movie. Is it a form of extortion? Undoubtedly, but I’m of the camp that says that this gets resolved fiscally, and Fox goes away. I’m also of the opinion that it being made public and made a big deal of is not a good thing, cause it gets people all a twitter about it, but it’s all just spinning plates. Warner Brothers has too much invested in the film, so the worst thing that happens is the film gets delayed. But it probably won’t. Probably. That’s my thoughts, at least. And it looks like they’re having talks to settle. So it should be over shortly. Hopefully.

To name drop or whatever, I said to Tom Atkins last night “I’m sure you get this all the time, but I love Halloween III.”



YEAR END WRAP UP

Rank Film Domestic International
1 The Dark Knight $531,018,614 $466,031,321
2 Iron Man $318,313,199 $263,618,427
3 Indiana Jones and the Contempt for the Audience $317,023,851 $469,534,914
4 Hancock $227,946,274 $396,440,472
5 WALL-E $223,808,164 $298,938,977
6 Kung Fu Panda $215,434,591 $416,468,831
7 Twilight $178,606,790 $100,490,178
8 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $177,176,191 $341,158,935
9 Quantum of Solace $167,155,503 $382,065,847
10 Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! $154,529,439 $142,512,335
11 Sex and the City $152,647,258 $262,481,868
12 Mamma Mia! $144,130,063 $428,575,785
13 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian $141,621,490 $278,027,596
14 The Incredible Hulk $134,806,913 $127,926,911
15 Wanted $134,508,551 $207,748,303


Top 15 Counts.
Sequels: 6
Based on pre-existing material: 12

Breaking it Down:
-Originality is never a good way to make money these days. Sad but true. At least not blockbusters. Hancock, Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda also came with brand names, though the closest one comes to an actual audience finder is KFP.  

- At least two of these films are not successful. Disney recently pulled the plug on any Narnia sequels for two good reasons, the first being that the numbers were way off the first film, and the second being that domestically – even with that number – it’s only going to get worse. Sure, the film may have made money through international, but if your domestic is that lacking, then it’s only going to get worse. So why face the shame, even if there is money to be made? While The Incredible Hulk just cost too much to be viewed as anything but a base hit, and when all is said and done, only did $17 Million more than the Universally reviled first film.

- International numbers were weaker than you’d expect for some American smashes. The Dark Knight, while still doing great business, was more of an American phenomenon re: BO. But numbers seem to be down across the board internationally. Where films like Pirates and Spidey 3 got to the Billion mark whilst only doing a little over $300 domestically, none of these international numbers are of the sort that could be counted on a year ago. That’s the best way to argue we’re in a global recession. In that way it’s hard to know if Hancock is doing great or just okay business considering the global wattage of Will Smith.  

- That said, Mamma Mia!, Quantum of Solace, and Sex and the City performed much stronger internationally. I feel like Dreyfuss with some mashed potatoes here.This says and means something, though Bond was always a global phenomenon, and MM! has that Abba soundtrack that transcends any language barrier. But Sex and the City doing the business it did… does that mean that in Finland, Turkey and Egypt there are women who want to be drinking their Cosmos and having tons and tons of sex? This bodes well for my book tour.

- I look at that Indy number, and I still shudder. We are enablers, you and I.

- The most adult film on that list is Sex and the City. Though it may be the worst film of the year – in it’s way it’s also a film that does well because of transgression. The relationships aren’t necessarily “adult” nor – I’m sure – is there anything particularly edifying about seeing it. When all is said and done, it’s possible that Marley and Me and Benjamin Button will make this list, so it’s possible that one of the biggest films of the year is also not entirely geared toward children, and those with inner children, but damn if cinema isn’t catering to people with Peter Pan syndrome. Failure to Launch, and shit.

SHE’S GOT A TV EYE ON PREDICTIONS, SHE’S GOT A TV EYE

Three films are opening this weekend, and Gran Torino is going a wide. Not Easily Broken is only going 700, but it’ll likely play in those theaters, selected for their ethnicity. So it’s basically Bride Wars versus The Unborn. The former should take the weekend because it’s something of a date movie, and though Kate Hudson is on the downward spiral (and is a perfect drug), Anne Hathaway ad her together should be enough to get it open. This, though, may ruin Hathaway’s Oscar chances. Actress this year is interesting, because there’s no stand out performance, so this could be her Achilles Heel. That’s sad in its way. And makes me want to watch her in Brokeback Mountain again, for some reason. And then Havoc.

The Unborn has a slightly cleaner pathway, but the horror genre seems to be on a less ecstatic reception than one could expect a couple years ago. So over ten is about right. But Grumpy gramps should mop the floor with it, so Gran will expand well, though if it finds a home is yet to be determined. Clint Eastwood likely has some Oscar heat for his performance, so we’ll see what’s what. Marley and Me and Button should kick around for a bit.

I’M DIRT, AND I DON’T CARE:
1. Bride Wars - $20.7 Million
2. Gran Torino - $17.5 Million
3. The Unborn - $14.9 Million
4. Marley and Me - $14 Million
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - $13.5 Million

Bedtimes Stories could hold in there, and Marley could take The Unborn if it doesn’t perform, which is also possible. See you Sunday to talk about it more.