LifeCell
LifeCell Anti Aging & Beauty Tips

“Shutter Island,” “Cop Out,” and “The Crazies” mine money from mayhem for an R-rated weekend

Pretty much everything happened this weekend the way it was supposed to. As discussed here late Thursday (or very early Friday if you’re on the East Coast), Martin Scorsese‘s cop-psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio, “Shutter Island,” was expected to come in at the #1 spot after having a drop of something in the 50% range. Meanwhile, the new Kevin Smith-directed Bruce Willis/Tracy Morgan buddy-cop comedy, “Cop Out,” and the quasi-zombie horror remake, “The Crazies,” were supposed to fight it out for the #2 spot and do reasonably well. That’s precisely what happened.

As per the filmic bean coutners of Box Office Mojo,  “Shutter Island” suffered only a lower-than-usual 45.9% drop. It therefore stayed on-top with a healthy estimated $22.2 million for Paramount, which won’t hurt the Scorsese/DiCaprio brand any.

Tracey Morgan and Bruce Willis I thought “Cop Out” was, at heart, a moderately lousy movie but also had to admit to almost kind of enjoying a lot of it. That was a rave compared to most critics. Still, as I suspected, the movie delivered the cop comedy goods just enough to keep audiences coming  and it netted Warners a perfectly acceptable estimated $18.5 million in the #2 spot for a modestly budgeted ($30 miillion) comedy.

“The Crazies,” which actually got its share of decent reviews, scored a solid estimate of $16.5 for the weekend for Overture. That’s actually a bit better than it sounds for the George A. Romero remake, because it was in nearly 500 fewer theaters than “Cop Out” and its per screen was average was nearly $700 higher than the comedy. Also, with stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell presumably asking less upfront than Morgan and Willis, it’s budget was $10 million cheaper.

The highest per screen average this week was, as usual, for a limited release film. Still, considering that it expanded this week from four to 43 theaters this weekend and managed a really good $20,233 per screen, Roman Polanski’s political thiller, “The Ghost Writer” did very well for itself.

As for poor little “Avatar” it made only a measly $14 million estimated this week in the #4 spot. But do not cry for the Na’vi, it’s still on top in the international box office sweepstakes. Nor should you shed tears for Hollywood overall. As Nikki Finke points out, revenue is up, even if attendance is just a tad down.

http://www.bullz-eye.com/mguide/reviews_2009/avatar.htm

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

Related Posts

Another Winter Olympics movie moment…with “Suspense”!

1946′s “Suspense” is, without a doubt, one of the weirdest classic-era Hollywood films ever made. It attempted to blend the appeal of  tough-as-nails post-war film noir thrillers with, yes, ice skating.

An Olympic skater for her native England at age 12, Belita “the Ice Maiden” (not sure how long that moniker lasted) had been best known in the movie world as a competitor to Norwegian Sonja Henie, the hugely well-paid skating star of a series of successful light musical comedies for Fox. Working with “Poverty Row” studio Monogram, Belita understandably wanted to get out from Henie’s shadow and become more of a dramatic actress. “Suspense” must have seemed like a natural transition: a fairly lavish crime drama with an ice-show setting…a noirish one. Here, Belita skates — suspensefully  — as Barry Sullivan and the great Eugene Pallette look on.

Related Posts

A Winter Olympics movie moment

I’m having a hard time thinking of two many notable films involving Olympic level winter sports, but “Downhill Racer” definitely qualifies. It was a labor of love, albeit an extremely jaundiced one, for it’s ski-happy producer and star, Robert Redford, and features plenty of thrilling racing footage captured by first-time director Michael Ritchie. The first choice was avid skier Roman Polanski.

You can read my quick-take review of the Criterion DVD here.

Related Posts

“Iron Man 2″ dans Monaco? Mais, oui!

Via Collider, we have this very nice French promo, with comments by Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson, director Jon Favreau, and, of course, Robert Downey, Jr. Plus, it’s got another (subtitled) look at the pretty happening trailer for “Iron Man 2,” which is coming sooner than you think.

Related Posts

Better late than never, it’s your Friday and weekend movie news dump

Since I took a day off earlier in the week, I’ve got probably enough material for fifteen separate blog posts, but just one will have to do…

* Since about Wednesday (my day off) items about the upcoming Superman film being presided over by Christopher Nolan have been rolling out. First Latino Review broke the news in Spanglish that writer David Goyer, who has been involved with Nolan’s Batman franchise from the start, would be on board. Now IESB (via Bad Guy Wins) reports what it says are rumors that  the director of the Superman film will be Christopher’s writing partner brother, Jonah, making his directorial debut.

91942339_c4ad70cbd7

That seems reasonable enough especially given that Nolan’s going to be busy with the third instalment in his Batman franchise. I get a bit more skeptical about the idea that Nolan will be sticking around to direct the long-mulled Justice League movie which would presumably include the new Supes (whoever he may be; sorry Brandon Routh), the current Batman (just as long as no one gets into his eyeline), and Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern, but I suppose anything is possible.

* I could spend the next week trying to figure this one, but negative PR campaigns against Best Picture Oscar nominees have become de rigeur in recent years and the shrapnel is flying in more than one direction around “The Hurt Locker.” First there were stories from Pete Hammond and a typically voracious Nikki Finke about anti-”Avatar” e-mail blasts by producer Nicolas Chartier. Today there was a far more substantive front page news story in the Los Angeles Times on some disagreements among military people about the film’s putative claims to authenticity. The most serious allegation — which doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to being proven — charges that the crew drove a Humvee into a Jordanian village in order to film angry locals.

Though I think quite highly of Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a frequent guest on Rachel Maddow’s old radio show, I think his criticism is way off-base and was surprised to see him on the anti-”Hurt Locker” side. I don’t think anything in the film indicates that the dangerous-seeking behavior of Jeremy Renner’s character is supposed to be typical, but simply one person’s reaction to an insane situation. Still, it’ s easy to understand why some might kind of forget the movie, though attempting to mirror reality to some degree, makes no claims to being anything other than fiction.

Steve Pond covers the push-back by reporter-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal.

The Hurt Locker

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts

Animation videos: one from Finke, one from Thompson

You can’t say I’m not evenhanded when it comes to stealing interesting animated trailers and what not.

Right now, I’m borrowing La Finke’s “Hot Trailer” of Dreamworks’ “How to Train Your Dragon.” I honestly can’t tell from this or the earlier trailers how good the film will be, but I suspect the kids will eat it up as it looks to have the right combination of cool and cuteness to get a pretty good cross section of ages and genders. Dog movies — and this is a movie about a giant, flying, fire-breathing dog — will always work. The flying scenes should also be a hoot in 3-D. Still, I’d like to have seen them try this one in traditional animation, though it doesn’t look half bad.

And via Ms. Finke’s classy rival, Anne Thompson, below is a mash-up of “Avatar” and “Pocahontas.” As Ms. Thompson says, it’s not like the similarities haven’t been noticed before. Still, it’s interesting to see them in one place.

CFV 426 – Avatar/Pocahontas Mashup FINAL VERSION from Randy Szuch on Vimeo.

Related Posts

Weekend box office: “Cop Out” and “The Crazies” may duke it out for #2 (updated)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Michelle Williams in As far as I can tell and certainly the way THR’s jolly Carl DiOrio sees it, “Shutter Island” is likely to enjoy a second weekend atop the nation’s box office. Earning some $41.1 million last weekend, it would take a much bigger than average drop for it to be within range of the two new major films debuting this week, but then anything is possible.

And so it’s a showdown for the second spot between an R-rated violent horror remake and an R-rated and fairly violent if wacky homage, of sorts, to eighties buddy cop films. On his weekly video, DiOrio spectulates that either or both could make “mid teen millions or a little bit better.”

The first of these I saw myself last night. As you can see in my review of the Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan vehicle directed — but not written — by Kevin Smith, “Cop Out“, I found the movie more bad than good. At the same time, I couldn’t deny that, as bad action comedies go, it was kind of fun. I have a feeling that audiences might be a bit less particular than me and since the movie delivers reasonably on laughs and moves along at a nice enough clip (Smith edited it himself), they may be more satisfied than not.  Still, my overall negative reaction puts me in line with the critical majority, with “Cop Out” netting a rather dismal 13% “fresh” reading on the Tomatometer, not that this kind of comedy has much to fear from critics.

Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan in

Interestingly enough for a horror remake, “The Crazies,” based on a relatively little seen personal favorite of zombie-master George A. Romero, is getting what are at least numerically better reviews on the Tomatometer than the original film. The new version, directed by Breck Eisner, previously something of a critical punching bag with “Saharaand “A Sound of Thunder,” is getting by far the best reviews of his career with a healthy 74% “fresh” rating. [UPDATE: I failed to double check this. Turns out long-time directorial hack Peter Hyams helmed the failed Ray Bradbury adaptation, so Breck Eisner doesn't get the blame for that one since he was only an executive producer on the film. According to his IMDb page, Eisner was also a production assistant on "Tango & Cash" and I guess he shouldn't get the blame for that, either.]

The original version only gets 60%, though a number like that can be misleading in that it doesn’t really measure a critic’s level of passion. Also, most of the top venues seem to have skipped reviewing it at all, so the results could be skewed here by reviews from horror-friendly venues. In any case, horror films are really not critically driven, but stronger-than-average reaction could still bring a few extra bodies into the theaters from folks who enjoyed Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s somewhat similarly-themed, critically praised disease/zombie hit, “28 Days Later.”

Related Posts

American Idol: semi-shocking elimination

Well, I said this morning that I thought Jermaine should be the first guy getting booted off “American Idol” but that nothing would surprise me. Still, I was kind of surprised by a couple of the results tonight. Here is how it all went down…..

First, the awful group number….a jazzy, horrible song I think called “American Boy.” Blech. Most of the contestants looked bored, lost, or indifferent. Yes, it was epic bad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts

Here’s the problem with “Law Abiding Citizen”

**SPOILER ALERT**

Well, after reading David Medsker’s review over at Bullz-Eye, maybe there’s more than one problem with “Law Abiding Citizen,” but I rather enjoyed it, save for one thing.

Can a good thriller still be good if it’s based on a faulty premise? In the opening scene — and again, I feel compelled to write **SPOILER ALERT** here — Gerard Butler’s character (Clyde) witnesses the rape and murder of his wife and daughter. There were to men who invaded his home — Clarence Darby (who actually committed the rape and murders) and his accomplice Rupert Ames.

Fast forward to the deal that Jamie Foxx’s character (Nick) struck, and I’m confused. If he has Clyde as an eyewitness, why would he make a deal with Darby when he was the one who actually committed the most heinous acts that night? If Darby was prepared to cooperate but Ames was not, why not go to Ames (knowing that he’s the “less guilty” of the two) and say, “Look, if you don’t testify against Darby, he’s going to testify against you, and you’re going to get the death penalty. We know Darby is a bigger sh*t than you, so why not do everyone a favor and testify against him?” Is there anyone that wouldn’t take that deal?

This, coupled with Nick’s decision to shake hands with Darby at the ensuing press conference (knowing full well that he’s a rapist and murderer) sends Clyde off the deep end. The entire movie is based on this faulty premise.

On a side note, is it just me or does Butler have one of the worst American accents of all time? Between “Law Abiding Citizen” and “The Ugly Truth,” the guy just seems to have a tough time swallowing his Scottish accent. I like him as an actor, but I find his American accent incredibly distracting.

Related Posts

American Idol: can we just start over?

Okay, folks. After seeing the crop of 24 semi-finalists in Season 9 of “American Idol,” I’m convinced that the judges are high. They call this the best group of singers ever? Um, far from it…I think it may be the worst crop in years, possibly the worst since the first couple of seasons. Every single contestant this year has at least one flaw, and most of them have multiple flaws and glaring weaknesses. Anyway, the guys sang last night, and honestly, most of them were pretty awful. But the judges selected a few to prop up even if they were just okay…maybe it’s the way the field is, but this is not good. Here is the recap of last night’s dude-fest:

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts