Archive for the ‘In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale’ Category

Friday Estimates: Not Kickin’ The Bucket Just Yet

January 12, 2008

     Friday Numbers are in, and it looks like I underestimated the power of two old-school box office heavyweights.  The Bucket List had a great Friday with $6.4 million, which should give the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson comedy a very respectable $19 million weekend, which is good for #1.  

     As for the rest of the openers, after a $6.2 million Friday, First Sunday looks headed for my prediction with $17 million through Sunday.  The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything had a poor start, earning just $1.1 million on its first day.  The swashbuckling vegetable film (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use…) should finish up with just about $4 million.  And in news that totally delights me, Uwe Boll’s latest film, In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, is flopping!  It earned just under $1 million on Friday, which should give it a horrible $2.8 million weekend and a spot outside the Top 12.  Moviegoers, I salute you.
Friday Estimates for January 11
1. The Bucket List – $6.4 million
2. First Sunday – $6.2 million
3. Juno – $4.6 million
4. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $3.3 million
5. I Am Legend – $2.6 million
6. One Missed Call – $2.2 million
7. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $2 million
8. P.S. I Love You – $1.6 million
9. Charlie Wilson’s War – $1.4 million
10. Atonement – $1.3 million
11. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything – $1.1 million
12. Sweeney Todd – $1 million

Weekend Preview: Will First Sunday Steal Box Office Crown?

January 11, 2008

Traditionally thought of as a dumping ground for Hollywood’s poorest titles, January is typically home to movies that studios have very little hope for. In terms of box office revenue, only September can rival the bad receipts that movies see in January, and this year, things won’t be too much different. Even with four openers, the box office will continue to rely on strong holdovers to keep 2008 ahead of last year.

I’m going to go slightly against the grain of most box office analysts this week, and predict that First Sunday will take the box office crown. Starring Ice Cube, Katt Williams, and SNL alum Tracy Morgan, First Sunday is a black church comedy (I say “black” both because of the African American cast, and its crime theme) that follows two men as they attempt to rob their church. It will have playability among black and (to a lesser extent) churchgoing audiences, which have proven to be very lucrative with the success of Tyler Perry. January has proven to be a very good time to release movies aimed at black audiences: In 2006, Big Momma’s House 2 opened with $27.7 million, and on this very weekend in 2007, Stomp The Yard earned a smashing $21.8 million. Not surprisingly, reviews are terrible, but they’re kind of a non-factor for a film like this. ScreenGems’ First Sunday launches into 2,213 theaters on Friday, and it might steal about $17 million over the weekend.

The Bucket List is not technically a new opener, but since it was only playing in 16 theaters last weekend, I’m going to count it as one. The story of two old men trying fulfill their life’s wishes before they die, The Bucket List stars screen legends Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. Movies with two A-list, male actors usually do very well at the box office (see The Prestige, American Gangster, 3:10 To Yuma), but The Bucket List lacks an exciting punch, so its success will be more limited. This will play to a much older audience, who definitely read reviews, and the lackluster critical reception will hurt its chances at success. Still, the Warner Brothers feature with very likable leads is playing in a huge 2,895 theaters, and its sheer visibility will help it earn about $11.5 million over the weekend.

If you’re not an Evangelical Christian, you may not have heard of VeggieTales, a popular Christian-themed franchise that feature animated vegetables like Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato. This weekend, VeggieTales presents The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, the second feature film after 2002’s Jonah, which was a modest success ($25.5 million) for such a small movie. Five years later, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything looks to match Jonah‘s success at best. Outside of its target audience, there has been literally no advertising for this film, which is strange to me, because with a family friendly story, it does have some crossover appeal. Also, it has the best reviews of the weekend, though that’s not saying much. Out in 1,336 theaters, the Universal kiddie-flick should just about match its predecessor’s numbers with a $6.5 million weekend.

The final new film of the weekend is In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. First off, does every film have to have a colon in the title these days? Between Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, I don’t know how many more punctuated titles I can take! Second, if you read my previous post about Uwe Boll, you know how unexcited I am for this video game adaptation starring the normally enjoyable Jason Statham. In The Name Of The King was originally supposed to debut in 2,500 theaters this weekend, but at some point during the week, 900 theater owners bailed out and decided not to play the film, which is a bad sign, and the Freestyle Releasing film was not screened for critics, which also does not bode well for it. Out in 1,605 theaters, Uwe Boll’s latest assault on the film industry might earn a truly terrible $3.5 million, giving it a spot outside the Top 12.

First Sunday‘s primary competition for the top spot comes from Juno. The indie comedy has enjoyed the #1 position for the entire week, and it expands even further this weekend into 2,448 theaters. It’s per theater average will dip a bit from last week’s phenomenal $8,239, but it should still be very strong. A $15 million weekend would give Juno a sensational $71 million overall.

The big three holiday films should continue to perform solidly. National Treasure: Book of Secrets might pull in $11 million over the next three days, for a $187 million total. I Am Legend and Alvin and the Chipmunks should each pull in about $9 million, for totals of $240 million and $189 million, respectively. Behaving oppositely, One Missed Call should crumble down to about $5.5 million, for a $20 million total.

Finally, this weekend Atonement boosts its theater count to 950, and a $6 million weekend might result, which would give the period piece just over $26 million overall. The Kite Runner and the Spanish film The Orphanage each expand into about 700 theaters, and while they won’t make the Top 12 this weekend, each could end up with some solid business in the weeks to come if they can win some awards.
Predicted Top Twelve for January 11-13
1. First Sunday – $17 million
2. Juno – $15 million
3. The Bucket List – $11.5 million
4. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $11 million
5. I Am Legend – $9 million
6. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $9 million
7. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything – $6.5 million
8. Atonement – $6 million
9. P.S. I Love You – $5.8 million
10. Charlie Wilson’s War – $5.5 million
11. The Water Horse – $4 million
12. Sweeney Todd – $3.7 million

The Strange, Notorious Career of Uwe Boll (UPDATED)

January 9, 2008

     Famous for all the wrong reasons, German director Uwe Boll is one of the most recognized, least respected people in the film industry.  Boll specializes in making terrible video game movies that bomb at the box office, and the mere mention of his name is enough to make many people’s blood boil.  Mind you, I’ve only had to sit through one of his films, but I can assure you, it was the absolute worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life.  I wanted to leave the theater.  I wanted to tear the screen.  I wanted to strangle every crew member involved in its production.  There was literally not one redeeming quality about the film.  And no, I’m not engaging in hyperbole.
     What astounds me most about Uwe Boll’s career is the fact that studio heads keep throwing money at the man, allowing him to make these lame video game adaptations!  Why would they do this?!  Every movie Boll has directed has been unanimously trashed by critics (check out the boxing match Boll staged in order to confront his biggest critic!), and has performed wretchedly at the box office.  Take a look at the disturbing trend between his films’ budgets and their box office receipts:

House of the Dead (2003)
Production Budget: $12 million
Final Gross: $10.2 million
Reviews: 10% fresh

With a net $2 million loss, this is Uwe Boll’s most successful film to date….
Alone In The Dark (2005)
Production Budget: $20 million
Final Gross: $5.2 million
Reviews: 1% fresh

This is the one I had to watch.  It’s truly indescribable how bad it really is.  I mean, Tara Reid plays a paleontologist!  That should say enough.

BloodRayne (2006)
Production Budget: $25 million
Final Gross: $2.4 million
Reviews: 4% fresh

There are two direct-to-DVD sequels in the works…. I’m not kidding.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)
Production Budget: $60 million(!)
Final Gross: ???
Reviews: none yet…
This will not make back its $60 million budget.  Never.
     There you have it.  If you’re confused, so am I.  Why Uwe Boll, who is widely considered the worst living film maker, keeps getting directing gigs with bigger budgets is completely beyond me.  Every one of his ventures has made less money that its predecessor, and if a studio is foolish enough to let him make one of their movies, then that studio deserves to to lose a hefty sum. 
UPDATE: Thanks to an influx of economics-wise readers from Marginal Revolution, it has come to my attention that Uwe Boll funds his films through private German investors, and he uses a tax shelter to help finance his projects.  Says Boll, “Maybe you know it, but it’s not so easy to finance movies in total.  And the reason I am able to do these kinds of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest a movie in Germany you get basically fifty percent back from the government.”  Thanks for the correction, guys- I guess I got carried away bashing him… This doesn’t change the fact that Boll’s movies are getting more expensive to make, but less profitable.  Also, American studios still must pay distribution and advertising fees, which are hefty costs for such box office bombs.  Furthermore, don’t German investors have something better to do with their money?!