Archive for the ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’ Category

DVD Sales: G.I. Joe Shoots To The Top Of The Chart

November 18, 2009

Finally!  The paper from Hell is done, and I have a life again!  Until Monday, when another paper is due…ugh,  But don’t let me sit here and whine my whole day away- it’s time to get back to what I do best- being a numbers-obsessed blogger!  This week, for about the fifth week running now, we’ve had a new DVD earn about $40 million, and these figures should stay strong through holiday season.  This week, G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra topped the DVD Sales Chart, which you can see in full, along with my DVD Sales Notes, below.

DVD Sales Notes

G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, known mostly as a movie that blew stuff up every five seconds, blew up on the DVD Sales Chart this week, selling 2.5 million copies for $41 million in sales.  This is a really great result for an action movie that made $150 million in theaters, and $300 million worldwide.  With strong DVD sales like this, Paramount may just be convincing me that greenlighting a sequel for this wasn’t a terrible idea.

-What does this say about me?  The Taking Of Pelham 123, which starred John Travolta and Denzel Washington, grossed $65 million in theaters, $14.2 million in its first week on DVD, and I could not remember what it was for the life of me.  Meanwhile, Aliens in the Attic, which starred nobody but Ashley Tisdale, grossed $25 million in theaters, $5 million in its first week on DVD, and I knew exactly what it was…

-Disney is still working its magic Tinker Bell And The Lost Treasure, which earned another $10.2 million this week, for $34.4 million overall.

-With New Moon coming on this Friday (What? You haven’t heard?), Twilight is back on the charts, trying its hardest to break the 10 million unit barrier by Christmas.  This week, it got 149,284 copies closer to that goal, earning $2.9 million in the process.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season One is the TV-on-DVD performer of the week.  Cartoon Network’s big hit sold 156,630 units for $4.7 million in its first week, and I’m wondering how old the people are who are buying this DVD.  Do you think its mainly kids or adults?  I’m genuinely wondering.

Check out the full chart below:

DVD Sales for the Week Ending November 8, 2009
Rank Title Units this Week Total Units Sales this Week Total Sales Wks
1 G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra 2,538,577 2,538,577 $40,998,019 $40,998,019 1
2 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 974,814 3,482,051 $17,322,445 $59,168,230 2
3 The Taking of Pelham 123 919,727 919,727 $14,154,599 $14,154,599 1
4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 791,782 7,564,163 $17,015,395 $170,718,052 3
5 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure 636,167 2,152,795 $10,172,310 $34,423,192 2
6 Aliens in the Attic 306,914 306,914 $4,981,214 $4,981,214 1
7 The Proposal 276,959 3,595,899 $4,780,312 $59,596,023 4
8 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Complete Season One 156,630 156,630 $4,697,334 $4,697,334 1
9 Monsters vs. Aliens 154,092 3,888,366 $2,551,764 $67,612,008 6
10 Twilight 149,284 9,312,042 $2,921,488 $167,739,089 33
11 Orphan 138,099 424,927 $2,484,401 $7,644,437 2
12 I Love You, Beth Cooper 124,390 124,390 $2,113,386 $2,113,386 1
13 Family Guy – Volume 7 117,028 706,926 $2,397,904 $16,901,163 21
14 The Simpsons – The Complete Twelfth Season 105,859 420,282 $1,720,505 $11,903,326 12
15 Land of the Lost 105,605 804,830 $1,748,819 $13,149,697 4
16 24 – Season Seven 101,035 694,804 $2,373,312 $21,284,505 25
17 Hannah Montana The Movie 97,989 2,850,845 $1,468,855 $48,711,729 12
18 Edward Scissorhands 95,704 $984,976 479
19 The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season 93,674 385,723 $2,762,446 $11,279,403 8
20 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 92,658 3,951,721 $1,419,521 $66,785,312 8
21 Drag Me to Hell 88,850 632,612 $1,585,973 $11,132,721 4
22 Polar Express, The 88,089 $791,920 202
23 Battlestar Galactica: The Plan 82,504 262,273 $1,560,151 $4,959,582 2
24 Ice Age: The Meltdown 82,458 8,009,712 $1,165,132 $131,237,769 155
25 Mickey’s Magical Christmas 78,950 $1,307,412 418
26 Dr. Seuss – Green Eggs and Ham and Other Favorites 41,359 $268,420 318
27 Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead 40,110 201,325 $715,964 $3,534,361 3
28 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past 31,478 1,019,583 $458,320 $17,844,124 7
29 The Last House on the Left 28,686 872,883 $430,003 $16,701,703 12
30 Legend of the Seeker: The Complete First Season 22,339 141,094 $706,583 $4,534,909 4
Figures from The-Numbers


Week Late Review: The Taking of Pelham 123

June 19, 2009

I’m sorry, I meant to write this review sooner, but I just got out of the hospital after suffering from seizures induced by watching this movie.

The setup of The Taking of Pelham 123 is strong enough. A group of terrorists, lead by a man named ‘Ryder’ (John Travolta) take over New York subway train Pelham 123 right in the middle of a dead zone. They detach all but one compartment, and let those lucky bastards jump ship, while they keep the twenty or so remaining passengers as hostages. The demand is ten million dollars, to be delivered in precisely one hour, or his trigger finger is going to start getting twitchy, while the barrel is likely aimed at a hostage’s head. Ryder refuses to talk to anybody but MTA Transporter Walter Garber (Denzel Washington), who has been recently demoted and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ryder takes a liking to Garber, who is an everyman with a little secret hovering over his demotion, all the while Garber gets a spot-on assessment of the type of person Ryder is (evidently only Wall Street people use the term ‘commodities’). As the deadline gets closer and closer, Ryder continues to vent his disgust with New York City, its infrastructure and the type of people who run it, particularly lashing out on the mayor (played rather well by James Gandolfini). Once the deadline hits, Ryder wants Garber and Garber alone to deliver the money. The average-Joe just turned G.I., and gets put right in the middle of the whole thing.

The film suffers from a terrible bit of identity dissociation disorder. It can’t decide if it wants to be an action flick or a smart, hostage drama. I’ll get to the directing later, but scenes that should be rather calm were shot as if the camera man had Parkison’s and had his finger stuck on the zoom button. Conversations between Garber and Ryder, via the radio on the train, are never shot with a still frame. It’s always rotating, encircling them in order to increase the drama, but really just take away from it (and made me so motion sick I had to take a Dramamine). The plot is solid, and the tension is high, no doubt. But the film seems to suffer from there.

Denzel Washington plays the part of ‘everyday man turned hero’ as well as he always does, though Garber was perhaps too calm from the get-go. But after that it holds up fine. He’s horribly one-dimensional, though, and once the film is over I’m not sure how he has changed or what the experience has done for him. We know he’s accused of taking a bribe, and he gets a brief scene talking to his wife on the phone, but other than that he’s kind of a stranger. And mentioning that phone, I think that might be one problem with the movie. Most of the dialogue is between two people on the phone or radio, which is really hard to pull off for two hours. Colin Farrel did in Phone Booth surprisingly well, but that movie did a great job of raising the stakes and keeping everything tense. In Pelham the stakes are high, but constant throughout, and phone conversations get a little redundant.

I did like James Gandolfini’s mayor. The film makes a point that he’s not running for reelection, which apparently allows him to finally make good decisions and not care about talking to the press. When the film could have gone for another asshole politician, they actually gave us a pretty decent guy (there’s a strange likeness between him and Giuliani as well. Maybe it’s just because they’re both bald). At first he’s a little slow to respond, thinking it’s just a dumb crook with a gun, but once he realizes the stakes of the situation, he’s invested and caring and interested in saving lines. At one point Ryder offers to trade him for every hostage he had, and it looks like he might take the deal, were he not told by the hostage negotiator (John Turturro) that it would be a bad idea (that’s fine, Ryder wouldn’t have done it anyway). I did think it was interesting that he was willing to pay them off, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t hear him say, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

One of the biggest flaws in the movie is in the character of Ryder, and the actor portraying him. John Travolta usually does a decent job of taking the cartoon-like villain and making it work, which he does in this film, occasionally. But he also says “mother fucker” after every… single… line… and he says it in the exact…same…way. It’s always the same, in pitch, tonality, even how long it takes. It’s like they recorded him saying it once and then played it back throughout the movie. (There’s a lot of emphasis on the Fuh sound. Like “Mother FUH-ker”). The thing about Ryder, and Travolta playing him, is that they can never decide if they want him to be a one-dimensional lunatic that kills whenever he’s angry (and he will, don’t test h-, whoops, they did) or a layered and complex, nihilistic bad guy that’s smart, but unafraid to die. He goes from being relatively interesting, talking to Garber about life and even his Catholic faith, back to saying “mother FUH-ker” sporadically throughout, so ultimately he fails at both. Not only this, but when it boils down, his scheme is borderline retarded. It also seems way too easy to catch him. This is implied to be part of his unafraid-of-death, nihilistic approach to life, especially since he doesn’t seem upset by his failure at all, but it also makes you wonder: what was the point of the whole damn thing?

So Ryder didn’t quite work for me, but what really failed was the direction by Tony Scott. I mentioned some of this earlier, the constant camera motion, the quick zoom-stop-quick zoom-stop tactic employed at inappropriate times. He also seemed to film in stop-motion, like he was doing some sort of claymation tactic, that just made the screen blurry and choppy, and resulted in those seizures I mentioned up top. This is one of the worst directed films I think I’ve ever seen, so much that I actually noticed it during the movie, and that it took me out of the film. Usually I don’t think about it all that much while watching, but this was almost all that weighed on my mind as I ralphed into the little air-sick vomit bags they put in every seat of the theater.

There’s also a stretch in the film where a group of cops are rushing the money across New York, and apparently have to crash into anything and everything they can. The only purpose for this I can surmise is that they wanted to show some action in the trailer, so they had motorcycles flipping over parked cars and trucks slamming into each other. Every crash you see in the trailer (literally) occurs in a quick cut scene whose sole purpose was to show that very collision. It was incredibly stupid, and I’d bet not cheap, leaving me to wonder why they thought it was a good idea. This, along with other logical failures, really take away from the film.

So with the action movie tactics in what shouldn’t be portrayed as an action movie, and John Travolta’s disjointed attempt at Ryder, I’d have to say this is one of the worst films I’ve seen this summer. It’s not all bad, you might want to rent it when it comes out, but save your hard earned money for something else at the mulitplex.


Reed’s Rankings Explanation:
9-10: Godly, genre defining, timeless
8-8.9: Great movie, definitely see it in theaters, buy it when it comes out
7-7.9: Your average movie. It succeeds at what it attempts. You won’t begrudge seeing it.
6-6.9: Has it’s moments. Might fails at it’s premise slightly. Possibly be worth a rent
5-5.9: Only slightly entertaining. Maybe watch if you don’t have to pay for it, and there’s nothing else on.
4-4.9: Not entertaining, probably not worth your time, but might have a redeeming factor or two.
3-3.9: Not worth the box cover it’s in.
2-2.9: Not worth the air required for the actors to breath and speak their lines.
1-1.9: I’ve never ranked a movie lower than a 1.3, I don’t think. You should grind a cactus before watching this.
0-.9: If I ever rank a movie this low, the Apocalypse is here. I’m too forgiving of movies for this score.

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.