Archive for the ‘Imagine That’ Category

The Hangover That Just Won’t End

June 16, 2009


Many people are calling The Hangover the surprise hit of the summer, and last weekend showed why, staying number and bringing in 33 million in its second weekend, only twelve million less than its first. In ten days it’s already brought in 105 million dollars, surpassing comparable films such as Wedding Crashers and Knocked Up.

Up held onto the second place spot, making 31 million more dollars to tack onto its already impressive revenue stream. It’s losing viewers, only very slowly.

Then we take a slight dip to The Taking of Pelham 123, which finished in third on its opening weekend to 23.4 million dollars. Denzel Washington and John Travolta didn’t quite have that magnetic pull, and the film has mixed reviews, sitting at 51% at Rotten Tomatoes.

What else came out last weekend? Oh right, the Eddie Murphy family film Imagine That. I saw a site that predicted it would pull in 65 million for it’s opening. They were close, missing only by about 60 million. Coming in sixth place, the film made only 5.5 million dollars, only one tenth of its 55 million dollar budget. It hasn’t received just terrible reviews either, almost half of the people who saw it liked it at least a little (better than a lot of Eddie Murphy’s recent films). But apparently Up is still the family film to go to, and it seems people would rather see it twice than Imagine That once. How can one of the funniest men in our generation keep coming out with movies like this and Meet Dave?

On a different but related note, overall movie-going business was down 24 percent from the same weekend last year, and we hit the lowest attendance mark that we’ve seen since before 1999. The film industry has been relatively recession-proof, so I don’t necessarily blame that. I think it’s more the quality of films for this period. This summer is also the one that will be most strongly affected by the writer’s strike last winter, so that might explain the rather bland dry-spell the industry might be hitting.

Anyway, that’s a look at the number crunching for this past weekend. We’ll see what this weekend does, with two new comedies and a nazi-zombie slasher film coming out, which is impossible to ruin.

This Week In Blockbusters: The Dry Spell Continues

June 9, 2009


We’re moving into the next week of the smaller blockbuster movies. You know, those that only make 45 million in their opening weekend.
Last weekend, despite early predictions, The Hangover edged out Up by just a few hundred thousand dollars. It made some 45 million to Up‘s 44.1. A close race to be sure. The Hangover is an hysterical movie, so I’m glad it’s performing well. They’re already talking about a sequel. Seriously.

But it will be interesting to see if this weekend will top last, or if we will have our lowest opening so far this summer. When it comes to bankable movies, there’s only two worthy of mention. Imagine That brings Eddie Murphy to another family comedy, hopefully one that performs better than his previous forays in this territory. It doesn’t have too many early reviews, which often isn’t a great designator in a company’s faith in a movie. But of the four that it has so far, three of them are positive, putting it at a cool 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. That beats Pluto Nash by a landslide.

Imagine That tells the story of a financial executive (Murphy) who finds himself in a business rut. His daughter (Yara Shahidi) has quite the active imagination, and dreams up a fantasy world with countries and monarchs all named after huge American corporations. When her drawing shows two of these characters getting married, it soon follows that the companies with the respective names decide to merge with one another. Realizing his daughter’s strange prophecy, the businessman will use her and whatever fairy she’s getting her information from to help him get ahead. And it’s likely he and his daughter will become close. Just throwing that out.

Family films have the strange power to make crap-loads of cash. I say this week-end might be a slump, but I’ve seen predictions for this movie upwards of 65 million. It certainly could happen, I just feel like I’ve heard very little about it. I’m not sure it’s been marketed well, unless it’s only been previewed on Nickelodeon. Or perhaps I’m just missing it. But it seems to be one of those movies that tries to appeal to adults, so I feel like I should be seeing it everywhere for it to rack in that much cash. Well, only time will tell. Come Monday we’ll see just how much another family friendly Eddie Murphy comedy can pull in.

Excitement Buzz: 5/10 


Also coming out this week is the action/suspense film The Taking of Pelham 123. It stars Denzel Washington as Walter Garber, as a lowly dispatcher of the New York City subway system. The described ‘mastermind thief’ of a villain is portrayed by John Travolta, who I happen to love in bad-guy rolls. Swordfish, Broken Arrow, hot damn he can take cartoony villains and make them menacing. In this movie, he even sports a goatee, which means he’ll be willing to kill even more people than usual. Sweet.

Ryder (Travolta) along with three lackies hijack Pelham 123 in New York City’s subway and demands a large amount of money to be delivered within th hour, or people start to die. A plot elegant in its simplicity, no? Ten years ago, this would be pitched as ‘Die Hard’ on a subway train, if only this weren’t a remake of a 1974 movie. Anyway, he will only speak to Walter, who has extensive knowledge of the subway system. Walter has one question that nags him the entire film: even if they get the money, how do they plan to escape? I don’t know what it’ll be, but it’s going to be sweet. I imagine extensive use of dynamite, a wrecking ball, a helicopter, gold fish crackers, a catapult, the monster from Lost, and Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s a standard action film, but it’s got big names in the leads, which will certainly draw viewers in (especially since Denzel is sooooo dreamy). Most predictions for this film are in the 30 million range, so Eddie Murphy might beat Denzel after all.

Excitement Buzz: 7/10

And finally, a movie I expect will make much less than it deserves, the new cerebral science fiction movie Moon comes out this Friday. Starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey, the films tells the story of astronaut Sam Bell (Rockwell), who has lived on the moon alone for three long years, extracting the rare gas Helium-3 for a company called Lunar, which says it holds the key to solving Earth’s energy crisis. When he’s only two weeks away from the end of his tenure on the moon, when he plans to retire wealthy and make up for lost time with his wife and daughter, he begins to feel odd and has aural and visual hallucinations. The mystery unfolds as Sam discovers Lunar has been less than honest about their intentions and that the life he has created might not be what he had perceived. It’s at a 100% at Rotten Tomatoes after 19 reviews, so if that trend continues we could have an excellent, insightful science fiction film, more akin to 2001 than to Star Trek.
Excitement Buzz: Me: 8/10, Females: 1/10. 
Angry comment of the hour: In searching for pictures of Moon, I searched “Moon film,” aware that searching for ‘Moon’ would give me, well, pictures of the moon. I didn’t get at all what I wanted. Instead, I got poster after poster of New Moon, the Twilight sequel that makes self castration seem like an attraction at Disneyland.