Tis the season to play catch up with movies. Everyone Else, Tiny Furniture, Rabbit Hole… you’re on the list.
THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF NARNIA
What’s fascinating this week is that Walden Media finally got their third Narnia movie released. But though the first two films were done with Disney, for the third film it’s being released by Fox and is in the (still sorta gimmicky) 3-D. I remember when Prince Caspian came out on home video and I got to do a tour of KNB studios, Howard Berger had some designs for the third film, but it seemed like wishful thinking. And yet here we are, even with the second film doing less than half of the original’s domestic take. Fox seems to be giving this the light push, though I’m not really the target demographic.
There are a number of additional Narnia books to be made, but this seems a regime change, with Michael Apted brought in for this picture, versus Andrew Adamson, who – to be fair – seems to want to move on. Apted is no Alfonso Cuaron, though – perhaps best known as a documentarian, and as a feature filmmaker, something of a jack of all trades.
The weight of this film falls (likely) more on Walden Media, who are using this as much for theatrical revenues as selling the ancillaries… the books, the toys, the ephemera. Though the second film was not the cash windfall of the first ($745 worldwide), the second wasn’t a total loss ($420 Million against a $225 budget). The question is if this reinvigorates the masses for the series. Likely no, but supposedly the second book was awkward and this gets better.
The most interesting thing about The Tourist is that Sony seems to be giving it the light sell. This was not a cheap movie, and it does star two of the biggest actors in the world. Critics may complain that Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is not living up to the promise of his Oscar winning The Lives of Others, but it seems that both pictures this week suggest that domestic box office is starting to become less important to the majors. Ultimately, with the country such as it is, the box office may point to (what’s in some ways readily apparent) the end of American domination of pop culture. We may still be the main manufactures of it, but we may also no longer be the most prized endgame. With the launch of Tron: Legacy next week, its fate will also be decided by its performance in the global market, and most of the tent-pole titles wouldn’t be successful without international. Box office numbers are kind of a bullshit sport in the grand scheme of things, but as we move more and more to international day and date releases, how the industry looks in two or three years is hard to say, but it’s definitely moving toward a global village.
EVIL MINDS THAT PLOT PREDICTIONS, SORCERERS OF DEATH’S CONSTRUCTION
Let’s have sex with lemurs! Narnia has a clear shot of taking the weekend. Basically because everything’s old. The Tourist should perform respectably, or at least not disaster for a non-tentpole title. When you get into a film that seems to have a softer push than Salt, it feels like a let go. I can’t imagine $50 Million is a profitable finish, but it might not be a loss if international is strong.
Bounce, bounce, clap, clap:
1. Dawn Treader - $40.5 Million
2. The Tourist – $16.5 Million
3. Tangled – $14.3 Million
4. Harry Potter 7.1 – $8 Million
5. Unstoppable - $4.5 Million
And then Sunday, I may be late to the game, as I’m locked into something all day. We shall see how and when I’ll be able to get my report up. It may be late Sunday. I’m part of a “Reel Grit Endurance Challenge” which will involve watching a day’s worth of terrible movies. It’s supposed to be the response to Butt-Numb-A-Thon on a very small scale. If it’s worth writing about, I will.