I feel like the professor who begins his semester by showing up late to class reeking of whiskey, but inauspicious debuts are my specialty, and those were always the best classes anyway…
Hello, I’m Andre Dellamorte, and I’m doing to a twice weekly now for CHUD. There’s going to be one on Thursday/Friday, and another on Sunday, and I’m going to talk about box office. The Friday column is where I play guru/shaman/divining rod for that weekend’s numbers, and Sunday is where I point out where I was wrong and right. My promise to you is that I will be mostly wrong, but with a right-ish aftertaste. So let’s get to the predictions, shall we?
THE MOST INTERESTING FILM OF THE WEEK
The grand experiment of Grindhouse emerges this weekend. A three hour ode to the exploitation films of yore (not Yor, The Hunter from the Future, though that would qualify as such), this is the sort of thing that should be a slam dunk if you’re a film nerd, but after that, it gets complicated. Rodriguez is coming off his career high of both Sin City and Rose McGowan, but he strikes me as a name people don’t turn out for as much as Quentin Tarantino. QT is still a name, and even something like Hostel got to 20 million with his helpful presentation. But the duo made a three-hour double-feature paying homage to films like Nightmare City and Vanishing Point, and those are some of the better known tributes.
Most people under thirty never really got to experience grindhouses, and many of the people who did are now parents or dead. And will those people care? It wouldn’t surprise me if people walk out after the first film, and early responses to Tarantino’s escapade prove that a lot of people never saw these films – whether they like it or not is a separate issue – and just won’t see his schema for what it is. This, however, will mostly hurt the second weekend, which I suspect will be lacking. But with a three-hour running time, I can’t imagine this getting much higher than 23 million for the weekend, and likely a 70 mil total (basically, Kill Bill business). With the completely different European release plan, it will surely be profitable – as will the DVD – but this is not an out-of-the-park success. We’re a month away from the summer season, and though there’s going to be people who love it (including me, I mean, I’ve already seen it twice, including last night at the New Beverly), and I think Tarantino still stokes that fire in some people, this isn’t going to be as good for those who don’t know the sources as Kill Bill was. By May people will have moved on, and my feeling is a lot of people won’t get it, or won’t enjoy Tarantino’s half. Thankfully RR’s leads the way, and that seems to be the bigger crowd pleaser.
Check it out, Paul Verhoven’s Black Book hits New York and LA this weekend, and Jake Kasdan’s The TV Set goes out on eight screens on Los Angeles. The former appears to be Verhoven’s The Pianist, while the latter is a comedy that is said to be a slightly fictionalized take on the undoing of Freaks and Geeks. Sounds interesting, but most people won’t be able to see it until it hits Netflix. The Hoax also goes to 235 screens. I feel sorry for Lasse Halstrom working without the Weinsteins (it is a Miramax title, though), who at least could sell his shit a couple of times successfully as good arthouse pabulum. This, this is quickly going to be lost.
Ice Cube has become a star in a series of kid’s films. The man who brought you such lyrics as…
I know she’s a minor and it is illegal,
But the bitch is worse than Vanessa Del Rio.
And if you decide to call rape,
We got the little hooker on tape.
Now tell the fuckin’ slut to please hurry up,
And wear that dress that’s tight on her butt,
So I can finger-fuck on the way to the bed,
Been in so many rooms,
She got a dot on her forehead.
Face turnin’ red from grabbin’ them ankles.
Fuck and get up is how I do them stank-hoes.
You should hear how she sounds with a cock in her,
Boots get knocked from here to Czechoslovakia.
…is now making family entertainment. I love America! Parents who grew up listening to these songs are probably taking their kids to see this film this weekend, which is, when you think about it, kind of awesome.
So if Are We Done Yet? takes the #1 slot from Grindhouse, you know, enjoy that. Done is a sequel to Are We There Yet?, which was hella profitable and opened to 18 million in January of 05. This weekend, it will likely get to 25 (if not more), even with a market saturated with kids’ films. It opened Wednesday, and only did 2 mil and change, but the family factor on this Easter weekend seems strong. With kids films, it’s hard to be sure how they will perform, so I could be off base on this one.
The Reaping opened yesterday. You’d have to go back to Luise Rainer for a two time Oscar winner audiences could give less of a shit about than Hilary Swank. She didn’t sell tickets with Freedom Writers, and audiences have proven that when it comes to horror movies, stars are not needed if the jolts are there. But it’s not as if Swank isn’t going to bring the audience that loved her in Million Dollar Baby. And so the fourteen mil this gets to won’t help her track record much, but she’s still got two Oscars, so I’m sure she won’t cry too hard.
Firehouse Dog also came out. Expect it to crack the top ten, likely the lower half, maybe just before or after 300.
MY TOP FIVE GUESSES
1) Are We Done Yet? – 25
2) Grindhouse – 23
3) Blades of Glory – 18
4) The Reaping – 14
5) Meet the Robinsons – 14
And Sunday we’ll see how wrong I was.