Archive for the ‘Taken’ Category

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Father Scorned; Revenge At The Box Office

January 28, 2010

Alright guys, I’ve already talked a good bit about Edge Of Darkness this week, but I’m going to do it a little bit more.  Since the popular box office game of the week (wouldn’t it be awesome if we actually had one of those?!) has been to see what can take Avatar out of the #1 spot, and since Edge Of Darkness has the best shot of doing so, and since it is Box Office Analysis Thursday, I thought we could take a quick look at three similar movies at the box office and perhaps make an early prediction for Edge Of Darkness.  Take a look inside for this box office quickie:

Taken (2009)

This revenge thriller followed Liam Neeson on a vengeful quest to rescue his kidnapped daughter.  It opened on the same weekend last year that Edge Of Darkness is opening on this year, though it had to compete with The Super Bowl, which hurt its Sunday grosses.  Still, people enjoyed Neeson’s determined drive to take down the evil society that had kidnapped his baby girl, and Taken opened to a solid $24.7 million before grossing $145 million overall.

Man On Fire (2004)
Denzel Washington played Dakota Fanning’s bodyguard in a dangerous Mexico City.  Despite his desire not to get attached, Washington grows to care deeply about the young girl.  When she’s kidnapped, he goes on a rampage, stopping at nothing to get her back, even if it’s at a major cost to himself.  The gritty revenge thriller was a mid level hit, grossing $22.7 million on opening weekend and $77.9 million total.

Payback (1999)

Mel Gibson starred in this thriller back in 1999, and I can’t get over the poster’s uncanny resemblance to the ads for Edge Of Darkness!  In Payback, Gibson played an oily guy who was betrayed by his friend and shot by his own wife.  Remarkably, he recovers and quickly decides to seek revenge on his former loved ones.  The thriller opened to $21.2 million and earned $81.5 million overall.

Edge Of Darkness (2010)

Based on the predictions above, I think we’re going to be looking at yet another debut in the $20 millions.  Mel Gibson may have a tarnished image, but he’s still a star, and he looks like a perfect fit for this angry role.  This mini-genre of individual men seeking revenge has proved to be pretty consistent, and with a good advertising campaign, I think Edge Of Darkness might be looking at a $26 million opening weekend and a $95 million gross.

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Poll: Which 2009 Release Had The Most Surprisngly Awesome Box Office Run?

January 14, 2010

Let’s try something new: a poll!  Thursdays are the day of the week when I usually do a box office analysis article, and this week I’m answering a request from Rohan (sidenote: I’m reading The Two Towers right now, and I have a whole new appreciation for the word “Rohan”) to go take a look at the biggest box office surprises of 2009.  I’ve narrowed the choices down to seven, and believe it or not, Avatar is not included!  I wanted to showcase those films that exceeded expectations in a big way, so movies that everyone knew would be blockbusters aren’t really on the list.  Check below to read my seven cases as to why each movie deserves your vote, and then go ahead and vote in the poll!  If your ideal choice isn’t listed, then let me know what you think in the comments.  Can’t wait to see the results!

The Blind Side ($220 million so far)

Why it deserves your vote: Because the little $29 million feature opened very well against that  behemoth known as New Moon, earning $34 million in its opening weekend. After that, the feel-good movie showed some incredible legs over the holidays, earning a stunning $220 million, over 6.5 times as much as its opening weekend!  The crazy thing is, it’s still not done, either!

Star Trek ($257.7 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Sure, this flick had a big $150 million budget, but the Star Trek franchise was dead in the water when J.J. Abrams rebooted it.  The critical darling introduced this intergalactic adventure to a brand new generation, and earned a whole lot of money on the way!

Paranormal Activity ($107.9 million)
Why it deserves your vote: This independent horror movie was made for $15,000.  Yes, just $15,000.  After sitting on the shelf for years, Paramount decided to release the film in a few theaters.  Then they started an online marketing campaign.  Then the campaign went viral.  Then Paramount added it to a few more theaters.  Then it made a shocking amount of money. Then everyone started talking about it.  Then Paramount put it into wide release.  Then it killed Saw VI.  Then it broke $100 million.  Then it was declared an all-out phenomenon. 

Taken ($145 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because it was a simple, $25 million action film starring Liam Neeson, who was hardly an A-list box office draw.  I’m sure Fox expected it to do some solid enough business, and then make a little bit extra on DVD, but they got way more than they bargained for. The film opened to a solid $24 million, and it connected with audiences in a huge way.  The thriller surprised everyone over the course of the next two months, dropping by tiny amounts on its way to $145 million.

The Hangover ($277.3 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Warner Brothers launched one of the biggest comedies of all time out of nothing.  No A-list stars, no huge budget, no family-friendly premise, no super-anticipatory buzz.  The R-rated comedy opened to a fantastic $44 million over the first weekend in June, and then chugged along all Summer on its way to $277 million.

Inglorious Basterds ($120.5 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because it made a rather unsavory WWII story accessible to audiences, and actually gave The Weinstein Company a hit!

Paul Blart: Mall Cop ($146.3 million)
Why it deserves your vote: Because, against all odds, the wretchedly reviewed comedy somehow caught on with audiences, launching the Era Of Easy Entertainment in the process.  Who’d of thunk that this $26 million January release would become a box office star?

Go ahead and place your vote in the poll below:

Which 2009 Release Had The Most Surprisingly Great Box Office Run?(polls)

A Summary Of Some Spectacularly Bad Ideas

June 23, 2009

1. A Sequel to “Taken”
Taken was a good film. It wasn’t a great film, but it was a thoroughly entertaining action flick, bolstered to a slightly higher level by having Liam Neeson star, one of the few actors who could ever bring The Phantom Menace any sort of respect. But it was a one-shot movie. Simple plot, relatively uncomplicated characters, and Liam Neeson killing a lot of people. Awesome, I’ll see it.

But Gordonandthewhale.com has posted that they have greenlit a sequel to the film. I’m sure it could still be good, meaning I’m sure Liam Neeson will still kick a lot of ass, but we’ve already seen it once, and I’m not just dying to find out what happens to these characters next.

Plus, what will it be called? Taken Again, or if we’re going with the Final Destination series here, “The Taken.”


“Where’s Waldo” in Hollywood?
Funny thing is, that’s actually the title to one of the “Waldo” books. But I finally found him, and he’s starring in his very own movie. What the hell could this be? Is it actually going to be people looking for Waldo? Will the audiences get to look for him in a gigantic crowd? Will there be funny events going on in the background, like cavemen hitting each other with rocks? HA! What a great movie.


Full House: The Movie
“Full House” was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. The sappy sentiment, the squeeky clean humor, watching Bob Saget act like a saint, all made for great early television. I loved the little musical three note bridge that would play, indicating the sad part was coming on and that professions of love were soon to follow.

But really, it was an absurdly cheesy show. Now John Stamos (Uncle Jesse himself) has said he’s been working to get a Full House movie under works. Have mercy. It’s not going to star the same cast, which is a shame. Maybe Michelle followed the same troubled path her actresses did, filled with eating disorders and God knows what else? Did Stephanie fall to drugs like Jodi Sweetin did? (How rude. Jodi Sweetin actually kicked the habit, an admirable feet, no doubt). Whatever happened to Nicki and Alex, the youngsters who were supposed to take the role of ‘cute baby’ once the Olsen twins grew up, but never attained popularity?

Enough, point made. But the show worked because of the cast, who obviously cared about each other. Pretty much everybody helped Jodi Sweetin as she went through rehab for her addiciton to meth, and all of the male leads speak with protective words when people objectify the Olsen twins (hell, they practically grew up under those three as surrogate fathers). And “Full House” was good for it’s time. If they made it today with the same tone, it would fail miserably (I cringe at the thought of a modern ‘you’ve got it, dude’), but if they change the tone, it’s no longer “Full House.” Perhaps it’s best we leave that in the early nineties where it belongs. If you don’t, well I’m afraid you’re in big trouble, mister.

Also, he’s talking of having Tracey Morgan play the role of Joey Gladstone. Okay, okay, I’m fine with him being black, but I really don’t see that working out. Steve Carell as Danny, I kind of see that.

Fast And Furious Proves It Yet Again: The Era Of Easy Entertainment!

April 6, 2009

Okay, so by now, we’ve all let it process that Fast And Furious earned $70.9 million over its opening weekend! In April! The biggest April weekend of all time by $30 million dollars! Not since April 2003, when Anger Management had a $40 million weekend, has a film opened this big during the rainiest month of the year. It’s seriously amazing that Universal managed to get the third sequel of a “dying” franchise on the top of the charts. Take a look at what people were predicting:

Box Office Guru: $43 million
Slashfilm: $48 million
Box Office Prophets: $41 million
Box Office Report: $52 million
Entertainment Weekly: $41 million
The Box Office Junkie: $38 million

The closest prediction was a full $20 million off! Now, am I simply justifying my own ineptitude, as my prediction was the worst of any of those? Well, sort of. But more importantly, I’m using Fast And Furious‘ crazy $72.5 million weekend to justify my theory of 2009: The Era Of Easy Entertainment. I made this theory back in January, but with the success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Taken, Knowing, and now Fast And Furious, the EEE has held true throughout the first part of the year. In the sour times of this recession, Americans clearly want to go the movies for the escapism they offer, and furthermore, when they attend the theater, the last thing people want to do is think too hard. Therefore, the titles that features gag humor, obvious plots, and lots and lots of explosions are going to succeed right now. Cinematic comfort food!

Weekend Fix: Paul Blart Gets Taken Down!

February 1, 2009

Hey guys, I’m down with some kind of flu and not feeling too great, and I want to be ready for the Super Bowl tonight, so there won’t be much analysis today. All you really need to know is that Taken had a great weekend ($24.5 million), The Uninvited ($10.5 M) and New In Town ($6.7 M) were relative disappointments, and something finally removed Paul Blart ($14 M) from the top spot. All is well in the world again. Here are the full weekend numbers:

WAIT! For some reason, I feel obligated to give Hotel For Dogs a shout out. After it’s so-so opening of $17.7 million a couple weeks back, it’s been a very solid performer, dropping just 27% last weekend, and 32 % this weekend, for a not-half-bad $48 million total. Okay, now, onto the weekend numbers:

Top 12 For January 30-February 1
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Taken $24,625,000 New $7,736 $24,625,000
2 Paul Blart: Mall Cop $14,000,000 -35% $4,367 $83,375,000
3 The Uninvited $10,512,000 New $4,485 $10,512,000
4 Hotel For Dogs $8,706,000 -32% $2,755 $48,229,000
5 Gran Torino $8,600,000 -47% $2,852 $110,547,000
6 Slumdog Millionaire $7,680,000 -28% $4,703 $67,244,456
7 Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans $7,200,000 -65% $2,447 $32,784,000
8 New In Town $6,750,000 New $3,478 $6,750,000
9 My Bloody Valentine: 3D $4,260,000 -58% $3,030 $44,610,000
10 Inkheart $3,700,000 -51% $1,394 $12,792,000
11 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button $3,611,000 -41% $1,698 $116,540,000
12 Bride Wars $3,570,000 -48% $1,798 $53,936,587
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

What do you think about the weekend? Is Puffy Face (Renee Zellweger) in need of a major career revival? Have you seen Taken? And Lost fans, are you excited to see Maggie Grace (Shannon) find box office success with Taken? I know I am!

Friday Estimates: With $9.5 Million On Its First Day, Taken Will Take The Weekend

January 31, 2009

Friday turned out to be a pretty good day at the box office this weekend, and movies basically have tonight to keep making money, before their box office potential is slashed in half by Super Bowl Sunday. Based on Friday Estimates, though, Taken will easily run away as the weekend champ.

The Liam Neeson action picture, Taken, found a great $9.5 million on Friday, which was far and away the best on the chart. This debut establishes Liam Neeson as a viable box office draw, which is good, because I’m fairly certain that most people knew him as “that guy in a bunch of movies” and the voice of Aslan in the Narnia films. For the rest of the weekend, I’ll give Taken a pretty typical-for-Superbowl-Weekend multiplier of 2.5 and say it should end up with about $24 million for the frame.

The Uninvited opened to a fair $4.5 million on Friday. It’s a bit curious to me that this didn’t break out more, but I think that January’s recent glut of horror films at the cinema must have finally had an effect on the box office. Still, because of low production costs, this is hardly a flop, and it should be able to rake in $12 million over the three day weekend, good enough for 2nd or 3rd place, since Paul Blart: Mall Cop will be looking at a similar total. It will be intersting to see if The Uninvited has a smaller decline next weekend because of its Super Bowl lowered totals.

New In Town could only muster up $2.6 million of ticket sales, as it appears that people just aren’t excited to see Renee Zellweger in any kind of movie, especially one as bad as this. I’m telling you all, winning the Oscar for Best Actress is a box office death sentence. Give New In Town $7.5 million over the weekend. Here are the full Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates For January 30, 2009
1. Taken – $9.5 million
2. The Uninvited – $4.5 million
3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $4 million
4. Gran Torino – $2.8 million
5. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – $2.6 million
6. New in Town – $2.6 million
7. Slumdog Millionaire – $2.25 million
8. Hotel For Dogs – $1.9 million
9. My Bloody Valentine 3-D – $1.5 million
10. Bride Wars – $1.2 million
11. The Wrestler – $1.1 million
12. Inkheart – $1.1 million

Weekend Preview: Can The Uninvited Take Down Taken On Super Bowl Weekend?

January 30, 2009


It’s Super Bowl Weekend this weekend, and in terms of the box office, that means it’s time for counter-programming. With every man in the U.S. glued to the sofa on Sunday, studios traditionally hope to release movies that will engage female viewers. But the curious thing about this year is that among the three new releases, it seems that the harder they target women, the less box office potential they have. Opening this week is the male oriented action film, Taken, a psycho-stepmom horror flick, The Uninvited, and a generic romantic comedy, New In Town. Strangely enough, as the subject matter gets girlier, the receipts should be lower.

The number one film this weekend will be Fox’s Taken, which is getting a huge release into 3,183 theaters. The film, which stars Liam Neeson, will have to make almost all of its money on Friday and Satruday, since the Super Bowl will absolutely obliterate ticket sales. Taken tells the story of a retired CIA agent, who must rescue his daughter and her friend when they are abducted in France. Besides Neeson, the film stars two beautiful actresses who have been written off popular TV shows, Maggie Grace (killed off of Lost) and Famke Jansen (her character left when she turned out to be a man on Nip/Tuck). Despite the lack of Sunday box office, awareness is pretty good for this one, advertising has been effective, and it’s got some fairly good reviews. All of this should lead to a nice $19 million weekend.

The only other newcomer competing for the top spot this weekend is The Uninvited, the latest in what has become a veritable parade of horror movies this January. The feature from Paramount stars Elizabth Banks as a woman who comes to tend to a sick father’s bedside. All of the sudden, though, the man’s wife has died, and he has become engaged to this younger woman. His daughters are creeped out by the new fling, and they set out to get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s a mixture of a ghost story and a psychotic stepmom story. The advertising on this has been strong and highly effective, giving audiences a good idea of the plot. Also, with a PG-13 rating, and three central female characters, this seems like a horror release that is woman-friendly, which should help it a bit this weekend. For a movie of this genre, reviews aren’t bad, and earlier in January The Unborn, My Bloody Valentine: 3D, and Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans all managed to open in the $19-22 million range, and while the Super Bowl will take that dwn a notch, I don’t why audiences would have just suddenly gotten tired of horror again. Almost every other box office prediction is giving this an $11-12 million opening, but I think The Uninvited, which is flying into 2,344 theaters, is looking at $17 million over the weekend.

The final new release of the weekend is the only offering that is truly targeting women, but its prospects are still looking grim. New In Town is a romantic “comedy” from Lionsgate starring Puffy Face herself, Renee Zellweger, and Harry Connick Jr.. (I will admit that she looks a bit less “puffy” in this movie, so maybe she’s taking it easy on the botox…) The plot here is so thin that I won’t even go over it, but suffice it to say, it looks terrible. Like Bride Wars terrible. I’m pretty sure winning the Oscar for Best Actress is actually a curse that makes all of your following films extremely bad, because I don’t see why else Zellweger would sign on to this. I guess she just needs work like anyone else. Reviews are awful, it’s getting a release of 1,941 theaters, and there’s been minimal advertising for this stinker. Give New In Town $6.5 million for the frame.

Among holdovers, Paul Blart: Mall Cop is still very much a force to be reckoned with. Since the Sandler-produced comedy is a film geared at young males, it will drop a bit harder this weekend, but a 45% drop will still give it $12 million for the weekend, and $80 million overall. Clint Eastwood’s box office stalwart, Gran Torino, will continue its great run, and a 40% drop will put the film at $10 million for the weekend and $111 total. Given the geek factor and the Super Bowl factor, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans should see a fanboy-style drop of about 60% to $8 million. Meanwhile, Slumdog Millionaire should continue its increible resilience as it expands into about 200 more theaters, which might give it a sweet 12th weekend of $8 million. Here’s my full forecast for the weekend:

Predicted Top 12 For January 30-February 1
1. Taken – $19 million
2. The Uninvited – $17 million
3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop – $12 million
4. Gran Torino – $10 million
5. Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans – $8 million
6. Slumdog Millionaire – $8 million
7. Hotel For Dogs – $7.5 million
8. New In Town – $6.5 million
9. The Curious Case Of Benajmin Button – $4.5 million
10. My Bloody Valentine: 3D – $4.3 million
11. Bride Wars – $4 million
12. Inkheart – $3 million

What do you all think of my forecast? Does it make sense, or am I as hopeless as The Cardinals on Sunday? Let’s hear your predictions in the comments! Go Steelers!