Tag: Whiteout

Tyler Perry can do well all by himself

Tyler Perry in "I Can Do Bad All By Myself"

Tyler Perry’s latest for Lionsgate, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” which once again features his crazed cross-gender alter-ego, Madea, over-performed its expectations by a few million and nabbed the weekend’s top box office spot with an estimated $24 or 25 million. The reason for the discrepancy, by the way, is that it appears that the numbers Nikki Finke nabbed late last night are differing slightly from those being offered by Variety and THR.

Finke is characteristically spinning the gross as a negative for Perry, since his last film made $41 million on its opening run. However, that was “Madea Goes to Jail.” If there’s one thing we’ve learned about film marketing in the current climate in recent years, having a title that explains your premise never hurts. Just ask “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Of course, that’s not the whole story — just ask “Snakes on a Plane.”

Considering that this film is actually getting okay reviews (58% “fresh” on the RT Meter as of this moment) from the critics who’ve sprung for a film bucks to see the movie this weekend, it seems that Perry is offering a least a modicum of story-and-music based entertainment. Low expectations may also be helping. The good news for him is that it seems to be pleasing his large, predominantly African-American and female, fan base — ensuring that his modestly budgeted films remain profitable. I wonder if Lionsgate is reevaluating its decision not to screen “I Can Do Bad” in advance; they actually might have found some decent quotes to help pull in some newbies. Tyler recently signed a deal to make a film of the 1975 poetry-based Broadway sensation by Ntozake Shange, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” Is critical respect of some sort in his future?

9With an estimated $15.2-$15.5 for Focus Features over its first five days and an on-track $10.9 million for the weekend, “9” seems to have found its audience. As I recounted last time, it’s only the eighth movie to be so numerically named, if you don’t count the original short film that launched it. (The true no. 9 will be Rob Marshall’s upcoming film of the Broadway musical “Nine.”) Now, I don’t how I missed this before, but the computer animated dystopian tale from newcomer Shane Acker was actually released on Wednesday of last week. That was not simply to get a jump on the competition, but to milk the fact that it was September 9, 2009 — i.e., 09/09/09. I guess the numerical mojo didn’t hurt.

Coming up in the #3 spot was neither of the two remaining major theatrical releases, but…drum roll…”Inglourious Basterds” once again proving wrong those who assumed that a subtitles and cinephilia heavy flick would ward-off rank-and-file filmgoers. At roughly an estimated $6.5 million in its fourth week for the Weinstein Company, Quentin Tarantino‘s latest has accumulated about $104 million so far, which I think is about double what some insiders expected from it. It seems fairly certain now that, with the benefit of at least a few Oscar nominations, it’s going to beat the $108 million take of “Pulp Fiction,” though perhaps not adjusted for inflation.  I can’t wait to see what Tarantino’s next step will be.

The critically dissed Kate Beckinsale “Whiteout” — which Fox tried to pass off as sci-fi horror in the tradition of “The Thing” but is really more of an action-thriller/whodunit — and Summit’s Heathery actual horror/slasher remake, “Sorority Row,” went down to an ignominious, youth-audience splitting, defeat. Each film made just over an estimated $5 million. The real horror film (i.e., “Row”) did slightly better than the fake one set in Alaska, but they were both unable to beat even the second week of the fourth-place “All About Steve,” and came in at the sixth and seventh spot on their opening week. Ouch.

Box office can be bad all by itself (updated)

2009_tyler_perrys_i_can_do_bad_all_by_myself_002

And by “bad” I might actually mean “good” for at least one, perhaps two, of the four new major releases coming this first weekend of the traditional movie fall season.

First off, jolly Carl DiOrio of THR is bullish as he anticipates about $20 million for the latest from Tyler Perry, the hyphenate auteur whose major appeal to African-American audiences, and major lack of appeal to critics, has been proven several times. His latest film version of one of his hit plays, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” is not being screened for the nasty folks of the press. The latest appearance of Madea, Perry’s chunky female alter-ego, is nevertheless thought to be attracting interest with his usual blend of melodrama, broad comedy, and music. (Having both Mary J. Blige and the great Gladys Knight in the cast won’t hurt this one.)

For cinephiliacs and geeks, the most interesting release this week by far is the computer animated dystopian science-fiction fable, “9” — which is not to be confused with the upcoming musical stage adaptation, “Nine.” This may seem a bit odd, but it gets downright weird. I just did little searching on IMDb and found two other films named “9” (not counting director Shane Acker’s original short subject). I also found a total of six films entitled “Nine,” including the upcoming musical version of Felini’ s “8 1/2” starring Danel Day Lewis and Marion Cotillard and directed by Rob Marshall. That makes six films named “Nine” and three films named “9” which, of course, comes to nine films called “9” or “Nine.” That either means the apocalypse is nigh this November 25 when the musical “Nine” comes out or, the moment of its release, I should go to Vegas, head straight for the crap tables, and bet everything on hitting 9. How can I lose?

Nine
As for Shane Acker’s, “9,” though it’s been the beneficiary of some buzz, I personally wouldn’t bet everything on the dark tale finding a huge foothold with audiences. With a PG-13 rating, a vision clearly too scary for small children, and characters who a friend of mine — who really wanted to see it — likened to a jock strap, this film would be risky even if it was tremendous. However, David Medsker’s mixed review seems pretty much in line with the unspectacular 60% “Fresh” Rotten Tomatoes rating; the consensus being that this expansion of a short film is weak on story though strong on compelling visuals. “9” actually opened Wednesday and made about $3 million. Expectations are fairly high, with DiOrio suggesting the film could reach $15 million, even though the theater count is a relatively modest 1650+.

Continue reading »

DC’s turn

DC-Heroes----Neal-Adams-dc-comics-251225_1024_768

Nikki Finke, who scooped everyone by a little bit on this major development, denies there’s a direct connection. It’s still impossible to not think the Marvel/Disney bombshell of less than a fortnight ago isn’t related to this slightly less incendiary news: Time Warner is restructuring venerable DC Comics as DC Entertainment, placing it under the direct control of Warner Brothers and its head, Jeffrey Robinov.

Actually running DC will be Diane Nelson, whom Finke describes as a “brilliant marketer” and credits with the successful marketing of the Harry Potter movie franchise. (She’s also been involved with the direct-to-video DC animated titles that have been coming out recently.) No longer running DC comics will be Paul Levitz, a very well regarded writer and editor whose been associated with the company since his teens and whose been the company’s president since 2002. Levitz will remain as a writer, editor, and consultant — who I hope they actually listen to.

The general verdict on this seems to be that DC is playing catch-up with Marvel’s broader use of its character roster. Though I don’t follow the comic book world the way I used to, my default mode on this was to be slightly dismayed to see a creative like Levitz replaced by a marketer in the top spot, however “brilliant.” In her initial post on the topic ace comics blogger Heidi MacDonald had this to say:

The moves are mostly aimed at shoring up Warner’s movie slate….Where will comics fit? Probably (our own guess) as a smaller and smaller part of the empire.

She also ventures a thought on the long-in-development “Wonder Woman” movie.

Some of you will recall that Robinov is notorious for his “no movies with female leads” edict, which led to the Kate Beckinsale led WHITEOUT being kept on ice for two years.

I don’t read her as regularly as I’d like because I don’t follow comics regularly, but Ms. MacDonald is one of the best there is at this media blogging game. Seems like a fair assessment and a warning worth listening to on both counts. Certainly Robinov’s sub-moronic move in 2007 could give people pause, though it might be less an example of blatant sexism than the kind of bizarre thinking that often runs Hollywood: If I have a hit with a panda one year because I made a great movie starring a panda, then suddenly pandas are the path to success. If, the next year, I make a sucky movie about a koala and it fails because the movie was dull, then koalas are now and forever box office poison. The fact that one was a good movie and the other stank is something studio execs like to ignore because it’s such a sticky and confusing matter. Better to issue pointless edicts about the species, gender, hair color, formats (3-D animation “in!”; 2-D animation “out!”), etc.

Let’s hope that Ms. Nelson insulates DC from that sort of thing, or it’s bad news both for movies and comic books. Something like this probably had to happen, but I certainly hope this doesn’t bland things out in our already too bland media landscape. I also hope that the more diverse DC line, which spans a lot more genres than Marvel, is allowed to stay that way and not turned into a Marvel-like superheroes-only outfit out of some misguided idea of branding. Comics are, if nothing else, a strong idea factory for movie properties and there’s no reason at all to limit the kinds of ideas.

Heidi MacDonald has statements from Paul Levitz and praise for the long-time DC standby, who edited his first comic book at age 20, from others, including herself.

© 2020 Premium Hollywood

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑