Archive for the ‘3D’ Category

The 3D Conspiracy: More Reasons I Hate 3D, And Why You Should Too!

January 14, 2010

In my time as a movie blogger, I’ve never shied away from my dislike of 3D.  (You may remember this post that I did a while ago.)  Well, a lot of people ask me what my big problem with 3D is, and I wanted to more fully explain myself.  Thus, I’ve spent the last week putting together the above video, and I hope you enjoy “The 3D Conspiracy!”  It’s full of lots of reasons I don’t like 3D, so just consider it the equivalent of a Wednesday List!

Are We Supposed To Be Excited For A Christmas Carol? Well I Say, "Bah-Humbug!"

November 5, 2009

This weekend Disney is releasing A Christmas Carol, the much-buzzed-about Robert Zemeckis adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous tale.  Thanks to Disney’s marketing machine, awareness of the holiday feature is absolutely huge, and more and more, it’s looking like A Christmas Carol could be a major blockbuster.  Jim Carrey, who turned How The Grinch Stole Christmas into a $260 million hit in 2000, has been promoting the film nonstop, and Disney has gone so far as to send a train all over the US for months just to promote the picture. Despite all the hype, though, I’m not whipping out my jingle bells just yet. (That sounds dirtier than I intended…)  In my book, there are a few things working against A Christmas Carol which may negatively affect its box office performance.

It’s Too Early

It’s been frustrating enough that since mid-September, every time I walk into a Wal-Mart, I’ve had to look at inflatable Santa Clauses and holly wreaths, but come on, Hollywood!  Can’t we please save the Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving?  The typical American consumer side of me is just annoyed that the media seems to be trying to turn the holiday season into a three month affair.  But the box office analyst side of me questions whether this release date is a good business decision on Disney’s part.  To explain, allow me to take you on a little visit to the ghost of Christmas movies past…

On November 10, 2004, Warner Brothers released The Polar Express, another Robert Zemeckis creation.  Based on the popular book by Chris Van Alsburg, expectations were riding high for the film.  Indeed, The Polar Express looked like a box office freight train.  However, upon opening, the film was only able to gross $30.6 million in its first five days, which was well below expectations.  The Polar Express completed its original domestic box office run with a relatively disappointing $162 million.  Fortunately for Warner Brothers, yearly re-releases, international grosses, IMAX receipts, DVD sales, and TV rights have since made up for its initially poor showing, but I’ve always wondered: If The Polar Express had come out two weeks later, would it have earned more at the box office?

Now, some of you probably think that I’m crazy.  Clearly, the longer the film is in theaters before Christmas, the more time it will have to make money, and therefore the more money it will earn, right?  I’m not so sure.  Timing is important at the box office.  Timing helped The Omen earn $12.6 million on a Tuesday that happened to be dated 06/06/06.  Timing helped Independence Day open to $50 million on the July 4th weekend of 1996.  And timing, I believe, is what negatively affected The Polar Express‘ box office in 2004.  What if Warner Brothers had waited one or two more weeks to release their tentpole production?  Sure, that’s one or two fewer weeks of box office revenue before Christmas day, but imagine how much higher the opening weekend could have been had audiences actually been in the Christmas spirit!  The combination of a huge opening weekend, good word-of-mouth, parents off of work, and kids out of school is more than enough to carry a film to enormous grosses in five or six weeks, and I think with a stronger start, The Polar Express could have easily outpaced its $162 million run.  Need another example?  Look at the heavily promoted Fred Claus, which debuted on November 9, 2007, to $18 million on its way to a $72 million total.  Again, with the amount of excitement that originally surrounded this movie, this was a disappointing result.  If Warner Brothers had held off just a little while longer, I think Vince Vaughn’s Christmas comedy could have been much bigger.  I worry that A Christmas Carol is falling into a similar trap.

It’s Too Expensive

If the aforementioned trend of underwhelming grosses takes place with A Christmas Carol, Disney is not going to be too happy, especially because they reportedly shelled out $175 million to produce this film, a figure that does not include the massive amounts they’ve clearly spent on marketing.  The Polar Express‘ biggest flaw was its huge negative cost.  It took The Polar Express a long time to make back its $170 million production budget and $60 million marketing budget, and that is a hurdle that A Christmas Carol will have to clear as well.  Add in the fact that Christmas movies aren’t necessarily an easy international sell outside of Europe, and it will certainly prove difficult for Disney to quickly earn back all it has spent on this.  The bottom line is that Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture animated movies are very, very expensive to make.

Creepy Animation

But are they really worth the investment?  Critics and audiences alike complained that, despite their incredibly lifelike movements, the characters in The Polar Express had somewhat eerie dispositions, due to the limitations of the motion capture technology, which rendered the actors with porcelain faces and dead eyes.  While early reviews suggest that Zemeckis has come a long way with his groundbreaking visual style, the problem apparently still persists in A Christmas Carol, and according to MSNBC’s Alonso Duralde, “…most of the film’s cast look like they just sauntered out of Madame Tussauds.”  Considering the vivid facial expressions we all know Jim Carrey is capable of producing, it seems like a shame that the technology is limiting them.  The beauty of animation is that it can create a visually exaggerated world that cameras simply couldn’t capture, and I’m not sure why Zemeckis is so insistent on portraying animated humans realistically on the screen. I mean, if you’re going to make an animated movie, wouldn’t you want you characters to look, I don’t know, animated?!  While this film will certainly score points for its bold visual style, I’m willing to bet that the traditional animation methods in Disney’s The Princess And The Frog, which comes out a month later, will generate more emotion from audiences, and emotional response is key.  The recession has taken its toll on Americans, and the weather outside is chilly enough, so if the characters in A Christmas Carol feel at all cold to audiences, it could spell trouble for its box office.

3D? Again?!

Alright, I’ll be honest: the 3D factor is only going to help A Christmas Carol at the box office, especially in conjunction with the IMAX release.  But seriously, am I the only one tired of the 3D gimmick?  I know I harp on it a lot, but it’s just not worth the extra $3 to me to wear sunglasses while watching a movie.

In conclusion, let me say this: A Christmas Carol does have a lot going for it.  Jim Carrey is a proven box office draw.  Disney certainly knows how to market a film.  People are genuinely drawn into theaters to see 3D movies.  Charles Dickens’ book is one of the most well known titles in all of literature.  All these things are major positives, and the film will not fail in any sort of devastating way.  Still, with a massive production budget and one of the most expensive advertising campaigns I’ve ever seen (I would guess it cost about $75-100 million), A Christmas Carol needs to perform brilliantly at the box office to make up for Disney’s huge expenditures.  My final prediction: A Christmas Carol will not recoup its costs at the domestic box office, and it will take quite a while for Disney to see positive returns on its investment.  I’m sure Disney will re-release A Christmas Carol in theaters each year and slowly rack up annual profits.  They will play it on ABC during the holiday season, sell tons of DVDs, prematurely claim that its a Christmas classic, and a few years from now, they’ll be happy to have it in their catalog.

Image Credit: BoxOfficeMojo

Weekend Preview: Couples Retreat? Couples, Retreat!

October 9, 2009

My computer just got fixed!  Blogging can now resume as regularly scheduled.  First on the docket?  A Weekend Preview video of course!  There’s only one new release this weekend, and that’s Universal’s Couples Retreat, and it should do pretty well at the box office.  Considering its only competition is a an animated kids movie (Cloudy) and a zombie flick (Zombieland), I’m thinking Couples Retreat can find a pretty solid $23 million weekend.  Go ahead and watch the video, and then click inside to see my full box office predictions.

By the way, that good article about Paranormal Activity I was talking about is here.

Box Office Predictions for October 9-11, 2009
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Couples Retreat 3,000 $23 million
2 Zombieland 3,038 $15 million
3 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2,992 $11 million
4 Toy Story / Toy Story (3D) 1,752 $7 million
5 Surrogates 2,992 $4.1 million
6 The Invention Of Lying 1,743 $4.1 million
7 Capitalism: A Love Story 995 $3.5 million
8 Whip It 1,738 $3.3 million
9 Fame 3,110 $2.3 million
10 The Informant! 2,202 $2.2 million
11 Love Happens 1,895 $1.9 million
12 Paranormal Activity 159 $1.8 million

5 Reasons I Hate 3-D Movies

September 23, 2009

It’s List Wednesday, which means that it’s time for a countdown!  This week, I decided to do make a video for List Wednesday… I’ve been doing that a lot lately, haven’t I?  Well, I hope you enjoy them!  Still, this post isn’t just a placeholder for one of my videos- it’s useful too!  Inside, you’ll find a list of all of 2009’s 3-D releases, as well as how much money they earned at the box office.

Box Office Performance of 2009 3-D Movies

Release Date Movie Total Gross
Jan 16, 2009 My Bloody Valentine 3-D $51.5 million
Feb 06, 2009 Coraline $75.3 million
Feb 27, 2009 Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience $19.1 million
Mar 27, 2009 Monsters Vs. Aliens $198.4 million
May 1, 2009 Battle For Terra 3D $1.9 million
May 29, 2009 Up $291.9 million
Jul 01, 2009 Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs $195.1 million
Jul 24, 2009 G-Force $117.2 million
Aug 21, 2009 X-Games 3D: The Movie $1.4 million
Aug 28, 2009 The Final Destination $62.9 million (so far)
Sep 18, 2009 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs $33.0 million (so far)
Oct 02, 2009
Toy Story ???
Oct 30, 2009 Horrorween 3D ???
Nov 06, 2009 A Christmas Carol ???
Nov 20, 2009 Planet 51 ???
Dec 18, 2009
Avatar ???
Dec 18, 2009 Frankenweenie ???
Dec 25, 2009 The Princess And The Frog ???

Grading The Super Bowl Movie Trailers

February 2, 2009

Hannah Montana Vs. The Jonas Brothers: Disney Channel’s Box Office Battle Royale!

January 13, 2009

Last week, The Walt Disney Company released trailers for two of their highly anticipated spring features. Highly anticipated, that is, if you are a 8-14 year-old girl. Disney has long been in the business of grooming (programming?) an army of massively marketable pop star sensations, but their two biggest success stories come from Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers. For the last year, it seems like everything that these kids touch turns into gold, and Disney is wisely striking while the iron is hot, before the tweens move onto the next pop star on the production line.

After the incredible success of 2008’s Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour 3-D, which grossed an amazing $65 million, Disney is giving the Jonas Brothers pretty much the exact same treatment, and on February 27, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience will debut. It’s fascinating how quickly The Jonas Brothers have taken over the tween set, considering just one year ago they were the opening act of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus…Tour 3-D. I’d be willing to bet that Disney plans on giving Demi Lovato (who opens for The Jonas Brothers in this film) her own 3D movie in the near future. Here’s the trailer:

Then in April, Miley Cyrus will return to the big screen, but this time, it’s not exactly a concert movie. Giving the wildly popular television show the film treatment, Disney will open Hannah Montana The Movie on April 1o, 2009. Disney successfully did this once before in 2003 with the Hilary Duff vehicle, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which earned a solid $42 million, but served mostly as a merchandising platform and star-showcase for Miss Duff, who went on to sell millions of records and start a girls fashion line. Hannah Montana The Movie will tell the deep story of the fictional pop star having to move from Hollywood back to her home in Tennessee. The trailer for the film is below. (Watch for the hilarious moment at the end of the trailer, when some random, deep-voiced cowboy encourages you to see the film! )

Here’s what I want to know: Which of these films will earn more? I’m going to give the edge to Hannah Montana The Movie, mostly because Miley Cyrus has established herself as a family fixture for longer than the JoBros, and parents will be more willing to sit through an actual scripted movie, rather than just a concert film. But will either of them be able to outgross Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour 3-D? Hmm. This is tough, but I actually don’t think so. Best Of Both Worlds benefited from hefty $15 tickets across the country, and unless Disney pulls a similar stunt this time around, I think the $65 million total will be tough to match. Plus, I think Miley may have already hit her peak last year. I want to hear from you all though! Which film do you think will earn the most? Comment away!

Also, Tyra Banks managed to capture a role, and Taylor Swift is pimping herself out to Disney! You see her in both trailers! She’s trying to play both sides of the fence here, but Taylor, you’ve got to choose: Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus- you can’t have it both ways! And why has Disney decided to drop the hyphen in 3D?