What Else Ya Got? “Sherlock Holmes”

When a movie makes as much money as “Sherlock Holmes” did at the box office (certainly not “Avatar”-sized numbers, but still respectable for its budget), you expect the studio to reward its audience with some cool DVD bonus features. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here, as Warner Brothers has only included a 14-minute making-of featurette called “Sherlock Holmes: Revisited” that, although not as shallow as the typical EPK, doesn’t go into nearly enough detail for being the only extra on the disc.

Among the topics discussed include how this rendition of Holmes is actually closer to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original vision; Guy Ritchie’s originally plans to cast an actor in his late 20s to play the title character before meeting Robert Downey Jr.; and why Jude Law’s Watson is unlike any other we’ve seen before. In other words, it’s information that anyone following the film would have already read about, rendering the featurette fundamentally pointless. It’s a real shame, too, because there had to be some other bonus material (like bloopers or deleted scenes) sitting around in the vault that fans would have liked to have seen. Though the Blu-ray edition gets the added incentive of WB’s awesome Maximum Movie Mode, even that seems a bit light for such a major release. The history behind Holmes is simply too rich to receive such a lackluster treatment, and though I’ve never been a very big proponent of studio double dips, this time around, it’s almost necessary to make up for such a major blunder.

  

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“Avatar” tops a weekend of holiday box office bounty

If you’ve been following the horse-race over at Nikki Finke’s place, you’ll know it’s been a very long holiday weekend of box office ups and down. However, for those of us who can wait a day or two for the results, it’s actually somewhat simple.

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James Cameron‘s super-expensive 3-D extravaganza for Fox, “Avatar,” emerged as the victor of a three-way battle for the top prize with an outstanding second-weekend estimated take of $75 million and an absolutely minuscule drop from it’s first weekend of 2.6%, according to Box-Office Mojo. The Hollywood conventional wisdom has it that most science fiction films drop by at least 50% on their second weekend. Clearly, this is not most science fiction films and the fact that people are waiting to see this one in 3D and paying extra for the privilege is not hurting. So, as I’ve alluded to often enough, the word of mouth on this thing is something else. However, as always, I await the backlash as some folks plunk down their extra-heavy 3D ticket price and fail to have a religious experience.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, or some version thereofSecond place, of course, was Guy Ritchie’s unorthodox action-comedy take on probably the oldest genre franchise in the biz, “Sherlock Holmes.” The Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law team-up loosely drawn from the late 19th/early 20th century works of Arthur Conan Doyle defeated “Avatar” and all-comers on its record setting Christmas opening. It then fell a bit and earned a still whopping estimated $65.38 for Warner Brothers, a company that certainly has some experience with franchises. Better yet, this one is in the public domain, which means fewer folks get a share in the wealth.

Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” actually beat “Avatar” by a couple of million on its early opening day last Wednesday, but fell sharply on Christmas Eve and rebounded the rest of the weekend, for a very healthy estimated third place showing of $50.2 million. Critics may detest it; parents may barely tolerate it, but, to paraphrase the old blues song, the little kids understand (or don’t know any better). The film’s total estimated take starting from its early opening is just a tad over $77 million.

Considering it’s a Golden Globe-nominated sex comedy presumably aimed at a very grown-up audience — not only because of the average age of its stars but also because it’s R-rated, Universal’s “It’s Complicated” has generated the critical equivalent of a shrug, with our own David Medsker coming down on the very much negative side. That doesn’t bode extremely well for this sort of movie, which can use all the critical and awards help it can get.

Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in Still, this weekend’s rising tide managed to lift this boat to the tune of an estimated $22 million or so, which is really not bad for this kind of film. Or, it wouldn’t be because Nikki Finke claims the budget was $80 million, which is way high for this kind of movie  and suggests to me that it’s possible stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin let their agents negotiate extra-hard for a big pay-day because they were perhaps less than wowed by the film artistically. Universal just doesn’t seem to be cutting itself any breaks lately.

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Comic-Con mess o’ stuff


I might have missed my Joss Whedon panel yesterday (clearly, I didn’t want it enough and failed to get in line an hour early), but lots of other folks aren’t missing a thing.

* Apparently, Robert Downey, Jr. is claiming his martial arts using, womanizing (at least that’s how I remember the trailer), and druggie Holmes is closer to the Arthur Conan Doyle character that the scads of cinematic and TV Holmesessess we have had up to now. Well, the literary Holmes did use cocaine. Let’s just say I share Luke Thompson’s differing memory on those points.

Maybe it was all a product of the squirrelly Downey sense of humor we’ve seen in so many unusual performances over the years. I’m also skeptical of why Steven Zeitchik thinks the Guy Ritchie-directed Holmes is a particularly tough sell to geeks. Isn’t Data one of our patron saints? The geeks I grew up with actually used words like “Holmesiana.” The Aleister Crowley-cult thing won’t hurt with a certain breed of gothy nerd, either.

* John Lasseter presented one of the real greats, still very active and hoping for his first stateside hit: Hiyao Miyazaki.

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