Weekend Preview: Dear John May Tackle Avatar Out Of The Top Spot During The Super Bowl

February 5, 2010

Could this finally be the week that Avatar rescinds the top spot on the chart?  I know I’ve asked that for the last few weeks, but the planets (Pandorum excluded) may be aligned in just the right way to push Avatar down to second place this frame.  The Super Bowl will draw males away from the theaters, and it may leave the romantic, female-targeting Dear John to take the box office by storm.  Still, Avatar hasn’t gone down yet, and there’s a good chance it will win the weekend again, so it’s going to be a fun, close one to watch!  The other newcomer, From Paris With Love, probably won’t have as much success, and the John Travolta action film will have a mid-level debut.  To hear my predictions of those new films, watch the video above.  As far as the holdovers go, drops are usually pretty small at this time of the year, though the Super Bowl will subtract a huge portion of audiences on Sunday.  It is also important to note that a massive snowstorm is expected on the East Coast this weekend (an estimated 28″ where I am!), which may also dampen grosses substantially.  Despite those forces working against the box office, though, the Oscar nominations and consequent expansions of many well-reviewed films should lead to some sturdy grosses in the lower rungs of the chart, especially from the Jeff Bridges showcase, Crazy Heart.  After you’ve watched the video above, check below for my full weekend prediction chart!

Box Office Predictions for February 5-7, 2010
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Avatar 3,000 $25 million
2 Dear John 3,066 $22.5 million
3 From Paris With Love 2,722 $15 million
4 Edge Of Darkness 3,066 $10 million
5 When In Rome 2,456 $7.5 million
6 Tooth Fairy 3,218 $7.2 million
7 The Book Of Eli 2,820 $4.6 million
8 Crazy Heart 819 $4 million
9 Legion 2,339 $3.4 million
10 Sherlock Holmes 1,805 $2.8 million

I’m Still Going After The Internship…

February 5, 2010
 

Hey everyone, this is just a quick update! So I know that it’s Thursday, and I usually do a box office analysis article, but things have been very hectic this week. Between scrambling to get a passport, participating in my fraternity’s rush process, getting my tux dry cleaned for a debutante ball next weekend, trying to finish my schoolwork, and putting the finishing touches on my Entertainment Weekly application, I just needed a day to get really things done. I’m sure you all understand, because you all are the best readers in the world. Anyway, if you know anyone up at EW, be sure to put in a good word for me! And don’t worry, the blog is still on normal operating schedule for the weekend. I’ve already shot the predictions video!

7 Actors With Awful Movie Hair

February 3, 2010

From Paris With Love comes out in theaters this Friday, and with reviews looking pretty wretched at this point, the most notable thing I can say about this movie is that John Travolta’s hairstyle (or lack thereof) isn’t looking too great.  I know the aging actor is trying to stay fresh and unpredictable, and I hate to be shallow, but this style just doesn’t make the cut.  (By the way, I was bald once when I used to be swimmer, and it was not fun.) Inspired by Travolta’s heinousness, I thought a look at some of the worst hair ever rocked by actors might be a fun theme for this List Wednesday.  Thus, allow me to present you these 7 actors, with horrible movie hair:

7. Seth Green (Austin Powers In Goldmember)

At least this was intentionally bad.

6. Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode I-III)

Not even a light saber could tear through this mullet.

5. Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

Kudos to the Coen Brothers for accentuating this sociopath’s creepiness with a buffoonish haircut.

4. Tom Hanks (The Da Vanci Code)

Possibly the most talked about male hairstyle in film history.  It is pretty bad.

3. Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man 3)

Ugh. Emo-Spider-Man. He’s so dark and edgy! Not only does he wear guyliner, but he presses his bangs onto the front of his face! Real subtle, guys.

2. John Travolta (Battlefield Earth)

Which is worse, Travolta with no hair, or with way, way, way too much?

1. Nicholas Cage (Adaptation)

Well, this is just embarrassing. Cage may never find a hairstyle that suits him.

Finally, a note: I haven’t posted DVD Sales for the past two weeks, because I’m waiting for the database to get caught up.  When it gets back to speed, so will I!

New And News: The Beginning And End Of A Great Love Letter

February 1, 2010

Here at TBOJ, I like to start each week with a little column called New And News, in which I take a quick look at the new movies entering theaters this week,and then share some of my favorite recent news stories that have caught my eye.  This week, we’ve got a pair of new movies whose titles seem like they were meant to go together: Dear John and From Paris With Love.  Couldn’t that be the opening and closing of a romantic letter from a girl named Paris?  I think so.  Anyway, the two movies couldn’t be more different thematically, and each is hoping to find an audience that could take down Avatar this weekend, though that’s probably not going to happen.  Click inside for a preview of each film, as well as some news about Redbox stations, Paranormal Activity 2 controversy, and the continued bastardization of the Spider-Man franchise.

New:

Dear John (Sony) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews

This movie has framed itself as a pure romance, which is a genre we rarely see at the box office- especially with young stars like Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  None of the cutesy-fun humor of a romantic comedy seems to be present in Dear John, which tells the somber story of a college girl separated from her soldier boyfriend.  As the title implies, the lovers write passionate letters back and forth to one another, and somehow, I’m sure they’ll be reunited in the end.  Advertising has been very strong, and the song in the trailer is genuinely enthralling.  I don’t know if there’s been better music in a trailer since “Jesus Walks” in the trailer for Jarhead.  It’ll be interesting to see how Dear John does this weekend, but it could be a surprise box office hit.

From Paris With Love (Lionsgate) – 2,600 theaters – Reviews

Fresh off Edge Of Darkness‘ debut, we have yet another action movie with an older male actor in need of career boost.  This time, a bald, goateed John Travolta is the man toting the gun, as he plays an American agent hoping to prevent a terrorist attack in France.  With a similar film having just debuted and a pretty generic story, I wouldn’t expect From Paris With Love to do much better than Edge Of Darkness did last weekend.

News:

Wal-Mart And Target Won’t Sell Something?!?!

Redbox kiosks and Netflix, with their gigantic collections of DVDs, have been making rather handy work of killing the DVD retail industry.  Other retailers have refused to sell DVDs to Redbox employees, which allows people to rent films for just $1, but until now, Wal-Mart and Target have done so.  Well, the two retail giants are finally taking sides, and according to Variety, they are now instituting a purchasing limit of 5 DVDs per customer, in an effort to combat Redbox collections being built so quickly.  Interesting.

Saw 3D And Paranormal Activity 2: This Is War

First they chose the same release date on October 22nd.  Then, they chose the same director.  Paramount wants Kevin Greutert to direct Paranormal Activity 2, but Lionsgate has also offered him Saw 3D.  Right now, things are incredibly tense between the two studios, but someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose, and either way, it’s going to get bloody. Deadline broke the news.

Zac-Efron May Be The New Spider-Man

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!

Weekend Fix: For A 7th Weekend, Avatar Tops Box Office; Outgrosses Edge Of Darkness And When In Rome COMBINED!

January 31, 2010

Another week, another victory for Avatar… As expected, Avatar easily dominated the competition, grossing a record-breaking $30 million in its seventh weekend!  If you had combined the opening numbers of Edge Of Darkness and When In Rome, they still couldn’t have taken down James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster.  The alien film now sits just $6 million shy of Titanic‘s record as the highest grossing film in the US of all time.  Overall, it was a fairly lackluster frame at the box office, despite the fact that drops were pretty small across the board (with the notable exception of Legion).  The Top 12 films were up 4% over the same weekend last year, but when you look at all films tracking, results were actually down 4%.  Tooth Fairy held very well, dropping a scant 29% to $10 million.  That would be much better news if the film had had a solid debut.  Unfortunately, it didn’t.  If 2010 hopes to build on 2009’s success, it will need to produce some legitimate hits pretty darn quick, because the December team of Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Alvin, It’s Complicated, The Blind Side, and Up In The Air, can’t half of the revenue at the box office forever!  To see my thoughts on the weekend, watch the video above (posts in the afternoon).  Then check below for the full box office chart.

Top 12 Box Office Hits For January 22-24, 2010
Rank Movie Studio Theaters Weekend Gross
Chg AVG. Total
1
Avatar Fox 3074 $30,000,000 -14% $9,759 $594,472,387
2
Edge Of Darkness Warner Bros 3066 $17,120,000 New $5,584 $17,120,000
3
When In Rome Disney 2456 $12,065,000 New $4,912 $12,065,000
4
Tooth Fairy Fox 3345 $10,000,000 -29% $2,990 $26,106,278
5
The Book Of Eli Warner Bros 3075 $8,770,000 -44% $2,852 $74,373,000
6
Legion Sony 2476 $6,800,000 -61% $2,746 $28,646,000
7
The Lovely Bones Paramount 2638 $4,735,000 -44% $1,795 $38,014,000
8
Sherlock Holmes Warner Bros 2250 $4,510,000 -32% $2,004 $197,596,000
9
Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Fox 2526 $4,000,000 -38% $1,584 $209,297,861
10
It’s Complicated Universal 2096 $3,720,400 -36% $1,775 $104,027,220
11
The Blind Side Warner Bros 1751 $3,020,000 -28% $1,725 $237,913,000
12
Up In The Air Paramount 1430 $2,700,000 -31% $1,888 $73,173,000
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

Friday Estimates: Here We Go Again… Edge Of Darkness Can’t Dethrone Avatar

January 30, 2010

Early Friday Estimates are coming in, and as predicted, Avatar will be the reigning champ at the box office once again this weekend.  I could spend a long time analyzing every single figure, but let me make things easy for you.  Here’s all you need to know: Avatar earned $7.5 million on Friday.  It should finish with $28-29 million.  Edge Of Darkness opened with an sub-par $5.7 million on Friday.  It should find just $17 million overall, which is below my expectations, showing that audiences are still turned off by Mel Gibson.  When In Rome earned a solid $4.4 million on Friday.  It should reach $13 million, which is slightly above my expectations.  Meanwhile, there weren’t too many surprises in the rest of the Top 10. Tooth Fairy fell 37% from last Friday to $2.3 million, while Legion plummeted 70% to $2 million. They should reach respective grosses of $9 million and $6.5 million this weekend.  My favorite news to report to you, though, is that Alvin And The Chipmunks and Sherlock Holmes should once again be beside each other on the box office chart come Sunday!  The December BFFs have been separated for the past two weeks, but nothing could keep them apart forever, and each of the enduringly popular films will gross about $3.5 million.  Check out the full Top 10 below:

Friday Estimates for January 29, 2010
1. Avatar – $7.5 million
2. Edge Of Darkness – $5.7 million
3. When In Rome – $4.4 million
4. The Book Of Eli – $2.5 million
5. Tooth Fairy – $2.3 million
6. Legion – $2 million
7. The Lovely Bones – $1.4 million
8. Sherlock Holmes – $1.2 million
9. It’s Complicated – $1 million
10. Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel – $810,000

Weekend Preview: Edge Of Darkness Aims To Shoot Down Avatar; When In Rome Just Hopes That Somebody Will Love It

January 29, 2010

Fellow box office junkies, this could be it.  The time may have come.  We may actually have a movie that can take the #1 spot from Avatar.  Will it happen?  Probably not, but we can dream, right? This week, two new films are entering theaters, and they couldn’t be more different.  On the one hand, we’ve got the relatively well reviewed, R-rated, revenge thriller Edge Of Darkness, and on the other hand, we have the critically savaged romantic comedy When In Rome.  Despite the new openers, though, the box office should once again look pretty similar to last week, since 2010 really hasn’t produced any spectacularly box office performers yet.  Avatar will probably stay on top, though last week’s #2 movie, Legion, will plummet.  Tooth Fairy and Extraordinary Measures might hold a little bit better, but overall, this isn’t going to be the most exciting weekend at the movies.  To see my predictions of the new wide releases (and hear some analysis of Christian movie To Save A Life as well), watch the video above (it’s coming), and then check below for my full box office predictions.

Box Office Predictions for January 29-31, 2010
Rank Movie Theaters Predicted Gross
1 Avatar 3,074 $28 million
2 Edge Of Darkness 3,066 $25 million
3 When In Rome 2,456 $9.2 million
4 Tooth Fairy 3,345 $9 million
5 The Book Of Eli 3,075 $8.8 million
6 Legion 2,476 $6.5 million
7 The Lovely Bones 2,638 $5 million
8 Sherlock Holmes 2,250 $4.4 million
9 Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel 2,526 $4.1 million
10 It’s Complicated 2,096 $3.9 million

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.

7 Reasons To LIKE Mel Gibson

January 27, 2010

Lately, as I’ve been reading other movie blogs and even the comments on my recent posts, one of the trends I’ve noticed is that people really love to hate Mel Gibson.  The cool thing to do right now is to feel disgusted by the accomplished actor/director, and if you write about movies on the web, it seems as if you are almost obligated to approach Mel Gibson and his new movie, Edge Of Darkness, with a sense of dread.  Indeed, people just can’t understand why anyone would like Mel Gibson.  Well, I have a confession: I do.  He’s not my favorite star in the world, but the man has taken a lot of grief for his unfortunate DUI incident in 2006, in which allegations of anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia were made.  Instead of forgiving Gibson for his unfortunate drunk actions the way America loves to forgive other celebrities, people have instead decided to hold a grudge.  Still, I believe there are things about Mel Gibson that, believe it or not, aren’t totally bad.  Thus, because it is List Wednesday, here are seven reasons to like Mel Gibson.

1. Because he’s actually a very good actor

Sure, he’s known for mainstream blockbusters like Lethal Weapon and Signs, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a talented actor! If being a serious actor means you have to be in serious movies, then take a look at films like We Were Soldiers, Galipoli, or Hamlet for proof that Gibson has got some serious chops.

2. The Passion Of The Christ

Say what you will about Gibson’s film: it’s anti-semitic, it’s too violent, it’s blah blah blah ad nauseum.  At the end of the day, The Passion was a compelling piece of work about Jesus Christ’s last hours.  It’s no surprise that critics didn’t like it!  Anything remotely conservative is considered pure evil in the eyes of Hollywood. Fortunately for Gibson, who invested $25 million of his own money into this movie, the rest of America is much more moderate, and for $370 million worth of ticket buyers, this was a very moving film.

3. Because he’s funny!

Mel has that old-school Hollywood charisma that so many movie stars lack these days.  Not only is he an effective dramatic actor, but in movies like Lethal Weapon and What Women Want, interviews, and acceptance speeches, Gibson proves he’s got a great sense of humor comic timing.

4. Braveheart

This movie is awesome.  If you’re a girl, and you just don’t get it- don’t worry about it.

5. Because he’s bold!

I think it’s admirable that Gibson takes chances.  He directed a movie about Jesus and funded it himself.  He shot a Mayan adventure entirely in another language.  He frequently commits to producing television episodes and films, despite the fact that TV is a highly hit-or-miss format.  Now, though conventional wisdom would tell Gibson to star in a friendly comedy to rebuild him image, he’s decided to make his comeback performance in a dark revenge thriller called Edge Of Darkness.  He’s not entirely predictable, and he knows his super-violent movies will ruffle some feathers, but he just keeps blazing his own career trek.  I think that’s pretty cool.

6. Apocalypto

This is one of my very favorite movies.  A non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, Apocalypto, which is really just an extended chase scene, benefited tremendously from Gibson’s vision.  The Mayan adventure features gorgeous sets, incredible stunts, a heckuva lot of violence, and a cast of very good unknown actors.  Gibson set out to make an exciting film that didn’t rely on CGI, and he succeeded on every level.  It’s a shame that Gibson’s infamous DUI took place just before Apocalypto‘s debut, because it deserved a much bigger audience.

7. Because everyone has overreacted!
Look, I don’t stand by the words that Mel Gibson said, and I certainly don’t condone drinking and driving, but come on, people, Mel Gibson is not an evil man.  You can’t work in Hollywood for as long as Gibson has and hate gay people and Jewish people- they run that town!  Ever since Gibson aligned himself with conservatives (and don’t misunderstand: Gibson is neither a model conservative or Christian) with The Passion Of The Christ, the liberal media has wanted to dislike him so badly.  Unfavorable reviews of Apocalypto had very little to do with the movie itself, and much more to do with the critic’s pre-conceived notion that he disliked the director.  Any slight incorrect speech Gibson makes or potentially rude action he takes is scrutinized to no end!  To the media, there’s nothing Mel Gibson can do right.  Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen tries to stab his wife, and he gets off with nothing more than a few tabloid articles.  A little consistency please?

All right, I’ll get down off my soap box now and turn things over to you.  What do you think of Mel Gibson?  Am I crazy for writing this post?  Are you a fan?  A hater?  An indifferent party?  Are you excited for Edge Of Darkness?  Let me know in the comments.

New And News: Will Edge Of Darkness Finally Topple Avatar?

January 25, 2010

Every week, Monday means it’s time for New And News, where I summarize the week’s upcoming wide releases and share some of my favorite movie news articles from the past seven days.  Two new films are entering theaters this frame, and with When In Rome being one of the movies debuting, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate week for the other wide release to be called Edge Of Darkness, since When In Rome looks like it came from the bottom of the crappy romantic comedy barrel.  Still, it’s not just the new releases that are “dark” this week- so is the news!  Inside, you’ll find some great stories about Disney’s Sleeping Beauty spinoff, the Spider-Man reboot, and New Line’s The Hobbit!

New:

Edge Of Darkness (Warner Bros) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews

On January 30, 2009 Taken debuted and took the box office by storm.  The story followed a man (Liam Neeson) avenging his daughter’s kidnapping, killing every adversary that got in his way.  Exactly one year later, we have Edge Of Darkness, which is essentially the same film.  Just replace Neeson with Mel Gibson and kidnapping with murder.  Advertising has been strong, and Warner Brothers is clearly trying to tap into the same audience that pushed Taken to a $145 million total.  Mel Gibson, who directed The Passion Of The Christ, has been a massively polarizing figure since his DUI arrest in 2006, where he was accused of anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, and pretty much every other un-politically correct thing someone can be accused of. Personally, I like Mel Gibson. I think the man has film making in his bones (Apocalypto haters, back off), and though this hardly looks groundbreaking, I’m excited to see him back on the big screen.  This film has the best shot to take down Avatar this weekend, though I’m guessing that both films will finish somewhere in the $27-30 million range.

When In Rome (Disney) – 2,200 theaters – Reviews

Maybe Disney is trying to get an early start on Valentine’s Day with this romantic comedy, but it’s been pretty clear from the advertisements that Rome is not a very appealing destination.  In the movie, Kristen Bell plays an American tourist who takes three coins from the Fountain of Love, which is apparently a big mistake.  By removing the coins, Bell magically turned the three men (Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, Will Arnett) who cast them into the fountain wildly in love with her.  Still, Josh Duhamel plays a nice-guy reporter who seems to have genuine feelings for her.  Hmm. I wonder who she’ll end up with?  One of the three average-looking guys that are under a spell to love her, or the handsome man that really does love her? It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.  Reviews for the predictable rom-com should on par with other recent January releases, and I wouldn’t look for this to break out the way that Dear John and Valentine’s Day will in the coming weeks.

News:

Maleficent May Get The Tim Burton Treatment

According to AICN, Disney, who’s gearing up for the release of Alice In Wonderland is looking to team up with Tim Burton for yet another live-action film.  This time, the movie would be a spin-off of the classic Sleeping Beauty, only this time, it would be told from the evil Queen Maleficent’s point of view à la Wicked.  Can we assume that Burton’s wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, will be playing the titular character? Probably, but I totally think Angelina Jolie could rock this part.  Either way, Maleficent sounds pretty cool to me!

We Scrapped The Old Franchise For Angsty Teen Spider-Man? Ugh.

Last week, Sony announced that they were scrapping production of the current Spider-Man franchise, instead opting to reboot the entire series with Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) in the director’s chair.  Now, THR reports a few more details about the reboot.  First off, the new Spidey movie will focus on The Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, which take place in high school and focus more on angsty teen drama than the action.  Second, Sony has budgeted $80 million for the film, and while I applaud a major studio for trying to be frugal, that is simply not enough money to make an exciting superhero movie!  Ugh. I’m still bitter about Spider-Man 4 getting canned.

New Hobbit Film Likely Appearing In Late 2012

Maybe I’m just interested in this news because I’m reading The Lord Of The Rings for the first time and loving every second of it, but I think you all would care to know as well! Via Variety, the first part of the hotly anticipated Guillermo Del Toro picture, The Hobbit, will likely reach theaters in late 2012.  Delays up until now have been due to New Line’s restructuring.  Even though I’m still not on board with the idea of splitting The Hobbit into two parts, I can’t wait!