Tag: My Life in Ruins

Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up: What Goes “Up” Actually Stays Up

Tonight, for just a few hours, the show business center of gravity shifts back to its old home of New York City for the Tony Awards, tonight hosted by Neil Patrick Harris — a guy just talented enough to get me to break my usual one-award-show-per-year regimen (Oscars, naturally). But we still have some box office news to report…

After yesterday’s b.o. surprise, the world has set itself right on its axis and Disney/Pixar’s PG-rated, family (if not toddler and kindergartner) friendly “Up” managed to nose out this week’s genuine sleeper, Warner’s “The Hangover,” $44.2 to $43.3 million. And, hey, it’s no revelation to say that “Up” appeals to people of all age groups and genders, but can someone make Nikkie Finke and the Hollywood denizens she writes for stop calling it a “four quadrant” film? They could say it was a film that appeals to “all audiences” or that it attracts, say, “everyone,” but then people might understand what they’re talking about.

Sleeeestaaak..........Of course, where there are winners, there are losers, and that would be what Variety perhaps laughingly refers to as a Will Ferrell “laffer,” “Land of the Lost.” The picture was apparently avoided by more grown-up audiences as one would avoid a Sleestak with digestive issues, netting a subpar $19.5, about one-third shy of the studio’s expectations. (Those seeking an extra bit of  schadenfreude need only see the comments by Dave, Jason, and Will on yesterday’s afore-linked “Hangover” surprise post.) Another, even less surprising, loser was “My Life in Ruins,” which netted a horrendous $3.2 million from 1,164 screens, coming in at the #9 spot in its first week. How many quadrants would that be?

A movie like “Ruins” really can be hurt by reviews, which is why it’s interesting to note that the week’s highest per screen average of $35,750 was achieved by “Away We Go,” the small Sam Mendes-directed comedy written by Dave Eggars and the alliterative Vendela Vida, and starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph,  I eluded to on Friday. As Anne Thompson pointed out in a post which I think I’ve linked to multiple times for multiple self-serving reasons, the film doesn’t seem to have the kind of reviews required for an indie hit, so I’m expecting this one to fade as it goes into wider release. Not that there might not be an audience for the film, which, going (unfairly, I’m sure) by the trailer, looks like a sweetened-up version of David O. Russell’s 1996 farce, “Flirting with Disaster” (am I borrowing this thought from someone?). Personally, I’ll take the tangier version.

Box Office Preview of the “Lost” Weekend

So, there I was, thinking about what I was going to post tomorrow when it suddenly occurred to me: it’s not Wednesday, it’s Thursday, which means you’re reading this on Friday morning and, damnit, you need your box office preview.

This weekend sees the release of passel of comedies and comedy dramas, and the smart money at both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter agrees that “Up,” which is just about ready to receive the first Nobel Prize for animation and become the basis for a new religion, will likely defeat both of the newcomers. It gets more intriguing become it’s not impossible that the film starring a bonafide comedy superstar could come in at the #3 spot.

I speak, of course, of “Land of the Lost” starring Will Ferrell, which our own Will Harris gave a mere 1.5 stars to on the grounds of being unfunny and raunchily disconnected from it’s own youngster appeal. Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a sad 20% “Fresh” rating (even if Roger Ebert wrote another of his very, very many utterly winning defenses of films I would never spend my own money to see). I’m sure the elaborate comedy will do a certain amount of business based on Ferrell’s appeal and its special effects, but unless audiences like this one vastly more than critics, there may be long faces at Universal on Monday. At least it’s gotten the original TV series reissued, much to the delight of my fellow PH-er, Ross Ruediger.

Ed Helms and a feathered friendOn the other hand, the megastar-free “The Hangover,” which sort of sounds like a retread of the premise of “Very Bad Things,” is apparently a vastly more upbeat affair. My film review overseer, Jason Zingale, gave it a solid 3.5 stars and in general it is being received as a very good thing by RT critics, and may well do very good things for the careers of its up-and-coming cast. An upset at the #2 spot is not impossible.

Other than that, we have a new romantic comedy vehicle from Nia Vardolos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), “My Life in Ruins.” Despite being written by the very talented comedy writer, Mike Reiss, this film keeps alive director Donald Petrie’s career long record of never making a single well reviewed featured, receiving a truly dismal 7% at RT. I wouldn’t expect another sleeper from this one. Bullz-Eye’s Dave Medsker gave it 2.5 stars, definitely more in sorrow than in anger.

That’s pretty much it, but in very limited release is a new film from Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, “Road to Perdition”) and literary power couple Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, which we’ll talk about when it’s in more than four theaters. Also, speaking of director’s named “Sam,” please consider giving Mr. Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell” a chance this weekend. It’s that or the only horror films the studios will be greenlighting will be “The Grudge 15” or such upcoming torture-porn classics as “I Digest Your Eyeballs” and “The Scrotum Stretchers.” Keep horror sane, see the darn thing. (Also check out Will Harris’s interview with the very cool actor, Dileep Rao.)

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