Archive for the ‘Drag me to Hell’ Category

DVD Sales: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen Transforms The Home Market

November 3, 2009

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for the DVD Sales Chart, complete with my DVD Sales Notes.  It was a very exciting week on the chart, as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen debuted to some very big numbers.  Just how big were they?  Well, come on inside to find out!

DVD Sales Notes:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen utterly dominated the competition this week.  Not that there was much… all that was willing to open against this juggernaut was The L Word: The Final Season and two direct-to-DVD horror films.  I don’t blame the other studios for being scared away, because this was a big debut.  Revenge of the Fallen sold an amazing 5.3 million copies in its first week, good for $122.5 million in sales!  This is easily the biggest home market debut of the year, and Michael Bay’s robot action film is already in third place among all 2009 DVDs for total sales, sitting behind just Twilight (9.2 million) and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (7.1 million).  While this is a great debut, it pales in comparison to the original Transformers‘ first week in October 2007.  Transformers sold 8.3 million copies in its first week, with 4.5 million of those copies flying off the shelves in just one day!  Revenge of the Fallen had a couple things working against it.  First off, people did not like it as much, and they were therefore not as likely to pick up the DVD.  Second, it’s not the fresh, new commodity on the market.  The franchise has been around for a few years, so it doesn’t have that sort of super-buzz around it.  Third, the home video market has taken a downturn in the last two years, and fewer DVDs are sold these days.  Still, Paramount should be happy with the $122.5 million in first week sales.  That’s still quite strong, and with Christmas right around the corner, expect sales to be solid until then.

-With it’s sequel hitting the charts, the first Transformers, which is pretty much a geezer in terms of DVD sales, marched back all the way to third place, adding 257,337 copies to its massive 15.6 million total.  With the additional $2.6 million in revenue from this week, Transformers has now earned a cuh-razy $286.1 million!

-In a second place robot sandwich, Sandra Bullock’s romantic comedy, The Proposal, drops 74% in its second weekend, selling 613,239 copies and grossing $10.5 million.  With two extremely likable leads (in Bullock and Ryan Reynolds) and a good theatrical run ($163.9 million) helping it, The Proposal has performed very well on DVD thus far, and it has earned $49.4 million in total.

-Since this week’s chart is for the week ending October 25th, you can see the Halloween sales bump quite clearly among related movies.  Next week’s chart should show this one last time, and then things will be back to normal, unless there’s some sort of Thanksgiving sales bump I’ve never noticed before… Anyway, movies that were helped out by Halloween this week: Drag Me To Hell (hey, it could have dropped by even more…), Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, Hocus Pocus, Edward Scissorhands, The Corpse Bride, Spookley The Square Pumpkin, Coraline, Saw V (also benefitting from Saw VI‘s theatrical debut), Matilda (I’m smiling), and Blood: The Last Vampire.

-The TV-on-DVD performer of the week is The L Word: The Final Season, though it’s nothing to write home about.  The show about lesbians sold 58,074 copies, for $2.1 million in sales.  Let’s see if it can pass Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season‘s $3 million total by next week… Read on for the full chart.

Top Selling DVDs for the Week Ending October 25, 2009
Rank Title Units this Week % Chg Total Units Sales this Week Total Sales Wks
1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 5,327,878 -.-% 5,327,878 $122,487,915 $122,487,915 1
2 The Proposal 613,239 -74.4% 3,005,561 $10,488,779 $49,409,944 2
3 Transformers 257,337 -.-% 15,630,268 $2,586,700 $286,099,392 106
4 Monsters vs. Aliens 229,632 -39.1% 3,552,904 $3,940,921 $61,957,606 4
5 Land of the Lost 155,041 -66.1% 611,974 $2,612,441 $9,918,800 2
6 Drag Me to Hell 120,943 -64.2% 459,217 $2,236,236 $7,983,511 2
7 Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead 106,558 -.-% 106,558 $1,810,420 $1,810,420 1
8 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 91,640 -48.0% 3,787,264 $1,419,788 $64,265,543 6
9 Year One 62,869 -57.3% 553,138 $1,068,144 $8,907,546 3
10 Hannah Montana The Movie 61,271 -42.4% 2,692,364 $918,452 $46,336,099 10
11 Hocus Pocus 60,738 -4.9% $363,821 386
12 Katt Williams: Pimpadelic 60,205 -37.7% 156,855 $1,022,883 $2,664,966 2
13 The L Word: The Final Season 58,074 -.-% 58,074 $2,148,157 $2,148,157 1
14 The Wizard of Oz 57,541 -26.9% $1,063,933 657
15 Edward Scissorhands 51,680 -32.3% $555,989 477
16 Corpse Bride, The 49,549 -31.9% $272,024 195
17 Dark Knight, The 45,553 -.-% 12,888,745 $626,354 $223,316,424 46
18 Spookley the Square Pumpkin 45,287 -33.3% $413,783 216
19 Coraline 45,287 -14.0% 2,132,928 $703,760 $38,840,691 14
20 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past 42,090 -42.3% 955,355 $799,289 $16,891,250 5
21 Saw V 41,557 -.-% 1,386,887 $498,268 $25,401,555 40
22 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 41,025 -.-% 7,060,997 $420,096 $102,791,511 38
23 Barbie and the Three Musketeers 38,440 -8.7% 768,225 $576,216 $11,172,192 6
24 Matilda 36,823 -.-% $275,804 640
25 Bones: The Complete Fourth Season 36,762 -40.7% 310,844 $1,378,207 $11,547,481 3
26 The Last House on the Left 35,741 -.-% 813,088 $535,758 $15,805,376 10
27 Bring It On: Fight to the Finish 35,697 -24.6% 660,193 $535,098 $11,432,375 8
28 Disney Nature Earth 35,043 -.-% 504,869 $700,510 $9,262,655 8
29 Blood: The Last Vampire 34,631 -.-% 34,631 $612,969 $612,969 1
30 Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season 34,098 -43.2% 94,145 $1,107,844 $3,028,748 2


DVD Sales: The Proposal Wins, Land Of The Lost Loses

October 28, 2009

Another week, another DVD Sales Chart!  Hot on the heels of the huge debuts of Wolverine and Monsters Vs. Aliens, we had yet another blockbuster debut this week, but this time it was females who drove this one to the top.  Click on inside to keep reading my DVD Sales Notes…

DVD Sales Notes:

-Sandra Bullock flexes her star power once again as The Proposal sells a huge 2.4 million DVDs in its first week for a $39.3 million total! For an already successful movie that grossed $163.9 million, this is a fantastic result, and it shows that romantic comedies, if they’re good enough and have the right stars, are still a hot commodity.

-Just as Land Of The Lost was ignored in theaters, its DVD debut is equally inauspicious with a $7.4 million sales week.  The Will Ferrell movie that never took off only made $49.4 million in theaters, though it carried a huge $100 million budget.

Trick ‘r Treat‘s release is confusing to me.  According to reviews, it’s good.  But it’s available almost nowhere, and it received no promotion, so I’m not sure what Warner Brothers is doing with it.  All I know is that it should probably be earning more than the $2 million its earned after two weeks…

-On the TV front, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 4 and Bones: The Complete Fourth Season are both doing pretty well on DVD, as each show passed the $10 million mark in sales this week.

-Once again, the Halloween effect is in full force this week.  (Except with the debut of Drag Me To Hell! Why won’t people watch this movie- it’s great!)  If you need proof, look no further that Hocus Pocus‘ #14 re-entry onto the chart!

Top DVD Sales for the Week Ending October 18, 2009
# Title Units this Week % Chg Total Units Sales this Week Total Sales Wks
1 The Proposal 2,413,215 -.-% 2,413,215 $39,261,077 $39,261,077 1
2 Land of the Lost 460,924 -.-% 460,924 $7,370,175 $7,370,175 1
3 Monsters vs. Aliens 380,564 -46.4% 3,326,567 $6,744,774 $58,075,082 3
4 Drag Me to Hell 341,229 -.-% 341,229 $5,797,481 $5,797,481 1
5 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 177,854 -3.1% 3,697,164 $2,748,076 $62,869,550 5
6 Year One 148,654 -56.6% 491,556 $2,376,977 $7,859,980 2
7 Hannah Montana The Movie 107,388 13.7% 2,632,023 $1,624,780 $45,431,718 9
8 Katt Williams: Pimpadelic 97,494 -.-% 97,494 $1,656,423 $1,656,423 1
9 The Wizard of Oz 79,395 -34.9% $1,468,014 656
10 Edward Scissorhands 76,982 -14.0% $805,586 476
11 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past 73,603 -27.7% 913,902 $1,397,721 $16,104,058 4
12 Corpse Bride, The 73,362 -28.8% $402,757 194
13 Spookley the Square Pumpkin 68,535 -14.8% $641,261 215
14 Hocus Pocus 64,433 -.-% $385,954 385
15 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 4 62,985 -.-% 411,649 $1,573,995 $10,644,577 5
16 Bones: The Complete Fourth Season 62,502 -70.5% 274,623 $2,343,200 $10,189,556 2
17 Dr. Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites 62,261 -25.5% $404,074 315
18 Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season 60,572 -.-% 60,572 $1,937,698 $1,937,698 1
19 Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford’s Big Halloween 60,330 -22.8% 199,057 $512,202 $1,689,994 162
20 My Life in Ruins 58,882 -55.4% 190,871 $1,177,051 $3,815,511 2
21 Break-Up, The 57,435 -23.6% 3,120,825 $466,085 $51,548,518 157
22 Coraline 53,091 -4.4% 2,088,101 $825,103 $38,144,080 13
23 Race to Witch Mountain 50,678 -21.4% 1,586,609 $828,347 $28,766,644 11
24 Bring It On: Fight to the Finish 47,782 -21.1% 624,910 $716,252 $10,903,483 7
25 Observe and Report 45,610 -37.5% 438,837 $911,744 $8,110,879 4
26 Trick ‘r Treat 43,438 -53.3% 136,356 $651,136 $2,043,976 2
27 Barbie and the Three Musketeers 42,473 -26.5% 730,153 $636,670 $10,601,492 5
28 The Sandlot 38,989 -42.2% $279,575 403
29 Management 35,681 -.-% 118,931 $713,263 $2,377,431 3
30 Crank 2: High Voltage 35,474 -24.5% 624,346 $667,110 $11,336,000 6

Alternate Endings: Drag Me To Hell

June 10, 2009

I sang my praises for Drag Me to Hell a few days ago, so I won’t spend too much time discussing that here. What I am presenting here are what I think would be adequately bizarre alternate endings to the movie, which was pretty great to begin with. From here on out we’re in spoiler territory, so don’t blame me if this ruins the ending for you. It’s your own damn fault.

The Original Ending:
Recall, if you will, the original ending. Christine just spent all night digging up the gypsy’s grave, in order to re-gift the curse that had been bestowed upon her. Opening the coffin, she crams what she believes to be the envelope of her cursed button into the gypsy’s mouth. Why she wouldn’t open the damn thing is beyond me. She meets her boyfriend at the train station, where he hands her the button she thought she had given away. He reveals to her that his rare coin was kept in a similar envelope, and asks if she has it. Well, she did. It’s not stuck in the gummy jowls of a corpse, but you’re about to have bigger problems. In 3…2….1…. Yup, a hole has opened beneath her feet and demonic hands pull her into the underworld.

Bummer. But I had some ideas as well.

Alternate Ending 1: Pawn It Off To Some Poor Stranger
I thought this would end up being darkly humorous. So Clay holds out the button, and Christine starts to panic. The night before, she wasn’t even willing to give the button to her asshole of a coworker, but now it’s crunch time, and the devils come to collect. So what does she do, when the only way she’ll be saved is to give the button to someone else?

She does that. She gives the button to someone else. She runs around frantically, trying to pawn the button off to someone, before some sap is stupid enough to take it. Oops, Whoosh! A pillar of fire comes up and sucks the poor bastard under. Everybody looks on in amazement. Perhaps they start to applaud the stunning magic trick. Even better, she gives it to some unsuspecting kid who would actually be excited about receiving a button from a stranger. Too dark?

This would certainly paint Christine in a negative light, after she’d been pretty admirable for the entire movie. But it would also strike home the old adage: desperate times call for desperate measures, even if those measures involve sending an innocent and unsuspecting soul to hell for all eternity. This is why I don’t take candy from strangers.

Alternate Ending 2: Let Your Boyfriend Do It For You
I’ll be honest, I was actually convinced this was going to happen. My first instinct was that, since Clay still had the button, he would get the short end of the fiery stick and get sucked down once Christine realized what would happen. But then I realized that wasn’t fair, because the button was never actually his. She had never given it to him. So what does she do?

She gives it to him! The man who has been kind and supportive of her, even as she unwound in what had to appear like absolute lunacy, gets betrayed in the end. Damn, what downer. He hands out the button for her, she freaks out and says, “Keep it. As a souvenir.” He looks confused, but as soon as he pockets it Whoosh! Pillar of fire. Can’t you just here the Halo multi-player announcer now? “Betrayal.” I thought this was going to happen, because Justin Long stayed outside of the central plot for the entire movie, and I thought there would be some dark humor in bringing him in for only the very end. And then for the rest of his eternity. That sucks.

Alternate Ending 3: The One That’s Actually Happy
To prove I’m not totally heartless and didn’t want to see Christine screw over the man she loves or some unwary six-year-old, I also thought it was possible the movie would end on a happy note. It would be a deus-ex-machina moment, but it already was anyway, so it might have worked. In this version, Christine was spared because she didn’t give the button away.

In other words, it could be written in some ancient gypsy curse book that if the accursed is told that giving away the object will spare her soul, but does not, she is saved because she she has shown selflessness. So Christine, despite her best efforts, did not gift away her button, and therefore would have been saved because she had been lead to believe it would have saved her. Hooray happy endings! I actually prefer the original. That’s just me though.

Quickie Reviews: Drag Me To Hell, Angels and Demons

June 6, 2009

I’ve falling behind on the reviews part of the site, so I’m going to go ahead and knock two in one post here. I’ll make them short and leave out the nitty gritty details. Well, at least I plan to. We’ll see once I start writing them.

Drag Me To Hell
If you’ll look back at that list I posted two days ago, you’ll see that one of the cliches I’ve seen too many times was ‘Horror films: Their Entirety.’ I then list a few of the gimmicks used in horror films today. I then saw Drag Me To Hell, which utilized some of those gimmicks, plus three thousand others common to horror films, including eerie gypsies, fortune tellers, and talking goats (okay, that last one is pretty new). The point is, the night after I wrote an article critiquing a lot of movie cliches, I saw one that was ridden with them. And I loved it.

Let me explain. I once had a language teacher who, in describing a certain grammatical phenomena, listed out the absurd abundance of rules specific to this very particular structure. I can’t recall if it had something to do with noun/verb agreement, tense, declension, etc., but I just remember her listing ten-thousand rules on this rather isolated incident. After she finished she told us she would be looking for those mistakes on tests. She told us, however, that if someone were to manage to break every single grammatical rule for that specific portion, that person would automatically get a perfect score. Her explanation was simple: the only way you could possibly accomplish this was if you knew every rule backwards and forwards. And nobody ever dared take the challenge.

Such is the way with Drag Me To Hell. They knew they were making a movie riddled with some of the most common conventions of old horror stories, and therefore did it in a witty, tongue-in-cheek sort of manner. In a nutshell, a bank loan officer denies an oldy gypsy woman a third extension on her mortgage, so the gypsy puts a curse on her that sends an evil spirit to torment and frighten her for three days before literally dragging her to hell. Are you serious? How could this movie not be cliched? But it knows it is, and it does it in a manner that somehow makes the hackneyed seem, well, original.

It’s not a movie that will haunt you when you’re done, really it’s not all that frightening. It’s what I would say is the equivalent to a roller-coaster ride. There will be some scary thrills and surprises, you’ll jump every now and then, but once you’re back on ground you wont be affected. I’d much prefer this from horror movies, rather than those that keep me up all night and double checking to make sure there’s nobody at the foot of my bed.

But you will jump. There’s a lot of the sudden, loud noise to make you scream. It’s also pretty damn funny, and a great gross out film. Not gross out like Saw or Hostel, which make you cringe and want to vomit. There’s really not all that much blood or violence. But there is a point where the gypsy lady’s rotten dentures fall out, and she gums the chin of the main character. And another part where she vomits maggots all over her. And another where an anvil crushes the gypsy’s head, which sends her eyes flying into the protagonist’s mouth. Gross? Yes. Scary? Kind of. Funny? As hell. In fact, a lot of the gross outs come from horrible things going into star Allison Lohman’s mouth. You’ll laugh and pull back into your seat, moaning “Oh my God, that’s gross,” as you watch, but you’ll probably enjoy yourself immensely.

MASSIVE SPOILER. The ending was pretty great. It used another cliche, “That minor plot point that you didn’t think mattered? Yeah, it just got real important.” But once again, it uses it well. If I hadn’t known there was a twist ending, I wouldn’t have been looking out for it, and probably would have been surprised shitless. Unfortunately I saw it coming, so I knew something like ‘that’ would happen. Soon I think I’ll post some of the alternate ideas I had during the movie, once I realized what was going on. Some of them, I think, would have worked just as well.END MAJOR SPOILER

All in all, this is a movie that you’ll thoroughly enjoy seeing. It’s a well acted, well directed, well written 80s B-movie horror film in the style on Sam Raimi can do. Lorna Raver plays crazy gypsy woman perfectly, and the more I see Justin Long, the more I like him. He doesn’t have a lot to do in this movie, but his presence was appreciated. There was a part where they zoom in on his iPhone ringing as he sits in the background. Pretty good product placement, and rather hilarious to have Mac’s figurehead in the shot with it. I can only assume this was intentional.

Take a friend, or better, take a date. It’s a fun popcorn film that will make you jump, laugh, cringe, scream, laugh again, and leave smiling.


Angels and Demons
I didn’t hate The Da Vinci Code as much as so many did. Yeah, Tom Hanks hair looked like a dead ferret, but I thought it was pretty entertaining and a decent adaption of the story. Angels and Demons, however, was the superior movie, just as its book the superior novel.

Robert Langdon (Hanks) finds himself once more swept up in Catholic lore. This time, the Illuminati, an ancient, scientific secret organization with a vendetta on the Catholic church, seems to resurface after centuries of dormancy. After the pope passes, they seem to have kidnapped the four most likely successors, and threaten to murder each one of them for four hours, until midnight. Once midnight strikes, they have a more dastardly plan. They’ve stolen a substance called anti-matter from CERN, which is held up by electromagnetism. Once midnight strikes, the battery will run out, the anti-matter will touch regular matter, which would result in a cataclysmic explosion that would level the Vatican City. So the Vatican Police call Robert Langdon, due to his knowledge of the society, and he, scientist Vittoria Vetra, all the pope’s horses and all the pope’s men set out on the Path of Illumination, hoping to save the cardinals and find the bomb before it’s too late.

It’s a movie that delivers exactly what you expect it to. There are plot twists and daring saves, an exciting movie that has some absurdities you just have to accept. Tom Hanks does a fine job as Langdon (thank God for the haircut), the rest of the cast is relatively stale, with the exception of Ewan McGregor as the camarlengo, the assistant to the pope (I think. I don’t know Cathloic…) But McGregor is a real scene stealer here, with so much compassion and religious zeal it makes your heart start to bleed.

The movie takes some enormous liberties on the book. It keeps a lot in, for sure, the plot isn’t changed all that much, but there are still quite a few differences. (I tread a fine line here, I don’t want to spoil it for anybody). Characters names are changed, some from the novel are combined into one head for the movie, some characters take on the roll of their novel’s counterparts… If I had been aware of this, I probably would have been overwhelmed. Fortunately I read the book two or three years ago, and only remembered the big generics. A friend of mine, however, leaned over during the movie and (at my behest) pointed out a lot of the differences. For one, the assassin the movie (the hassassin in the book) is no longer middle eastern, but a white guy with some indiscernible accent. It could have been a mix of French, German, Austrian, and Puerto Rican, but I just can’t be sure. Apparently, having a middle easterner brand and murder Catholic bishops just isn’t P.C. anymore. I can understand the alteration: they were already going to get flack from Christian religious groups, no need to piss off Muslims as well. Also, in the novel the camarlengo is Italian, in this he’s Scots-Irish (I believe). But if that means Ewan McGregor gets to play him, it’s another change I’m willing to accept.

There were some changes I actually liked a lot more than the book. One of them is, in fact, the camarlengo’s story line. It is much more believable here, and the movie alters the ending in way that makes it much more satisfying and believable. There’s also a particular incidence with a helicopter from the novel that is altered strongly from the book, and for the film’s benefit. I also thought that, due to some of the movies alterations, the big finish isn’t as predictable as I thought it was in the novel. They do it quite well, so I think a lot of people will be genuinely surprised.

It’s true, the movie is ridiculously lax on the scientific aspect, but I can’t smite them too strongly. Also, any hint of romance between Langdon and Vetra is completely removed, and Vetra’s roll is generally toned down. I didn’t really miss it that much, to be honest. Though we do miss out on a killer line about sex with a yoga instructor that graced the last page of the book.

The much-lamented CGI does detract from the film at times. They weren’t allowed to film on location (apparently stories about pope-icide aren’t popular at the Vatican), so they decide to use computers for a lot of those scenes. And it doesn’t always work right. But Ron Howard still directed a relatively good looking movie, and I appreciated what he tried to do.

Don’t expect to be moved to tears or to come out questioning your inner beliefs. If you want a good, suspenseful thrill ride, Angels and Demons delivers pretty strongly.

A note on movie scores: you cannot always cross compare my scores to denote what I find a better movie. Movies are judged on their own merit, not compared with others to see where they fit in.

Expectations Matched And Butchered

May 25, 2009

Currently, and not surprisingly, Pixar’s Up has a 100% Rotten Tomato ranking from 25 reviewers who were lucky enough to see the movie early. Naturally I’m not surprised. Besides Cars which was a 75%er, Pixar’s movies have all been higher than 90%. The Toy Story movies have yet to receive a negative review, and I can’t help but hate the three people who brought Finding Nemo down to 98. But you understand, Pixar has released great movie after great movie, and it seems Up isn’t about to kill that tradition. Pixar could have its next film be about amoeba and I’d have high expectations, so I always thought Up would perform well.

But what HAS surprised me over at Rotten Tomatoes are the early reviews for another release this weekend, Drag Me To Hell. I’ve seen quite a few previews for this movie and did not think much of it. It looks like B movie horror film with a typical, evil Ouija board storyline and a girl who sees ghosts. But I made the critical mistake of forgetting Sam Raimi defined the B-movie horror genre with the Evil Dead series. Along with Up, we have a second 100% on the Tomatoscale. The movie is 15 for 15 so far, with positive reviews that call it a, “fun horror flick that’s a little gross, a bit silly, and entirely entertaining.” So far the Top Critics have yet to drag that down, but I hope this is a surprise hit in the making.