Tag: The Muppets

Box Office Recap: ‘Think Like a Man’ still on top

Despite making 46.5 percent less than it did last weekend, “Think Like a Man” remains on top of the charts, so I see no reason not to reuse this picture. After grossing nearly $34 million last weekend, “Think Like a Man” dropped to $18 million. This should be evidence enough that it was a very slow weekend at the (domestic) box office, parentheses required as “The Avengers” made its debut in 39 foreign territories, scoring $178.4 million.

Total domestic revenue dropped 30 percent as compared to a year ago, when “Fast Five” raked in $86 million. “Think Like a Man’s” $18 million is the lowest weekend gross for a number one movie since “New Year’s Eve” made $13 million in December.

Coming in second with $11.4 million was swashbuckling stop-motion comedy “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” followed by “The Lucky One.” In fourth was “The Hunger Games,” which is still going strong in its sixth week, beating out all new releases save “Pirates!”

In fifth was “The Five-Year Engagement,” which made a disappointing $11.2 million. Heading into the weekend, the Judd Apatow-produced romantic comedy was expected to be “Think Like a Man’s” biggest competition. The film brought the writing team of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the same pair who wrote “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “The Muppets,” who also starred and directed, respectively. Few of Apatow’s flicks have had such poor opening weekends. Most of the Apatow films “The Five-Year Engagement” beat out are highly unremarkable (does anybody remember “Drillbit Taylor?”). The lone exception being “Walk Hard,” which was critically acclaimed but never found an audience while in theaters.

The highly predictable “Safe,” directed by Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) and starring Jason Statham (every Jason Statham movie), came in an equally predictable sixth with $7.7 million.

In seventh and last among new releases with $7.2 million was “The Raven,” which starred John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Good. That’s all I have to say about that. I’m disappointed in each and every one of you who helped support this abortion.

Here are the results for this week’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. Think Like a Man, 2/2,015, Sony, $18 million, $60.9 million.
2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 1/3,358, Sony/Aardman, $11.4 million.
3. The Lucky One, 2/3,175, Warner Bros., $11.3 million, $40 million.
4. The Hunger Games, 6/3,572, Lionsgate, $11.25 million, $372.5 million.
5. The Five-Year Engagement, 1/2,936, $11.15.
6. Safe, 1/2,266, Lionsgate/IM Global, $7.7 million.
7. The Raven, 1/2,203, Relativity/Intrepid, $7.3 million.
8. Chimpanzee, 2/1,567, Disney, $5.5 million, $19.2 million.
9. The Three Stooges, 3/3,105, $5.4 million, $37.1 million.
10. The Cabin in the Woods, 3/2,639, Lionsgate/MGM, $4.5 million, $34.7 million.

Box Office Preview: The Movie that Shall Remain “Nameless here for evermore,” Jason Statham, Pirates! and the next Apatow/Stoller/Segel Comedy

The Raven

Let’s just get this out of the way, this movie looks like shit, which is unfortunate given some of the names involved. “The Raven” was directed by James McTeigue, who was an assistant director for the “Matrix” trilogy before making his directorial debut with “V for Vendetta” in 2006. The cast includes Brendan Gleeson (“Braveheart,” “Gangs of New York,” “Harry Potter”), and stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe’s death is shrouded in mystery, so the filmmakers took more than a few creative liberties in this fictionalized account of the writer’s last days. When a serial killer begins using his work as the inspiration for a series of gruesome murders, police enlist Poe to help bring the assailant to justice.

Reviews have been bad, hovering around 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and not without reason. Edgar Allan Poe was a fascinating human being. In 1836, at age 27, he married his 13 year-old first cousin. The man was a great many things: author, poet, alcoholic, opium addict, and the inventor of detective fiction. He uneqivocally was not an action hero or some macabre version of Sherlock Holmes. With such an intriguing life story, there was no reason to make him into such.

“The Raven” is the 241st film or television adaptation of Poe’s work. That leaves you 240 options that might not be garbage, so pick one of those. Or, better yet, pick up some of his written work, which is in the public domain (that means it’s free).


In “Safe,” Jason Statham plays Luke Wright, “the Big Apple’s hardest cop, once up on a time.” Now, he’s a a second-rate cage fighter who drives fast, kicks ass, and always has a wry one-liner up his sleeve. That is, Jason Statham plays Jason Statham doing Jason Statham things, only he’s got an American accent (sort of). In this case, his excuse for coating the streets in blood is protecting a 12-year-old Chinese girl who’s memorized a valuable code from some Russian mobsters. Purely by coincidence, they’re the same Russian mobsters who murdered his wife.

“Safe” couldn’t have a more appropriate title. It’s another formulaic Statham action movie that’s split critics right down the middle because even though you know what’s going to happen, you can’t help but be entertained. Perhaps Aaron Hillis of The Village Voice put it best: “Safe” is a “preposterously enjoyable—or enjoyably preposterous—action-thriller.”

If “Safe” is your style, go and enjoy it, you’ll get no argument from me. But since you already know the endings anyway, you might as well rent “Snatch” or “Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels” instead.

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Friday movie news dump: the first Salinger movie, the Sundance beat goes on, etc.

Hey folks. I’ve got a relatively limited amount of time today and, just to add to the drama, the usually excellent free wi-fi at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf slowed down today to a relative crawl for a time while I was researching this. Let’s see how much I can cover.

* Just as I was ready to wrap things up, we have a breaking story. As I sorta alluded to yesterday regarding J.D. Salinger, it’s inevitable his death will pave the way for some new films. It turns out I was, if anything, way behind the curve. Working screenwriter Shane Salerno — whose work, like the planned James Cameron-produced “Fantastic Voyage” remake, bends toward the geek — has been working on a documentary about the writer who became almost as famous for his escape from the public eye as for his actual work, and it’s apparently nearly completed. Mike Fleming has not only broken the news of the formerly under-wraps project, he’s seen most of the movie

* Of course, Sundance continues slogging away, and word of acquisitions by film distributors have been making their way round the usual spots. Indiewire’s Eugene Hernandez has news on the well-regarded “Blue Valentine” with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. He also gives a quick nod to such other highish profile films as “The Tilman Story” (a documentary about the late Pat Tilman), “The Kids Are Alright” (not to be confused with the old rock-doc about the Who) and “Hesher,” a not very appealing sounding film that nevertheless has Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead. The “Valentine” sale is of particular interesting as it was the troubled Weinstein Company that picked it up. Coincidentally, the company named for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s parents, Mira and Max, has gone on the block.


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A Couple of Questions with…Miss Piggy?!?

The Muppets are returning to NBC this holiday season, offering up a new special: “A Muppet’s Christmas: Letters to Santa.” In addition to the usual mob of guest stars (pun not intended, even though Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa from “The Sopranos” join such other notables as Uma Thurman, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Jesse L. Martin, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg), old-school Muppet fans will be pleased to hear that the music for the hour-long program has been written by the one and only Paul Williams, a.k.a. the man who brought you “The Rainbow Connection.”

Remember how excited my wife was about my getting to interview Matthew McConaughey? You should’ve seen my 3-year-old daughter when she found out that NBC was giving Daddy a chance to speak to Miss Piggy about her latest Muppet endeavor. Alas, it was a packed call, so I was only able to ask her a pair of questions, but it was enough to make me the coolest Daddy in the world…for, y’know, the duration of those questions, anyway.

Bullz-Eye: Hello Miss Piggy. It’s a pleasure.

Miss Piggy: Yes, it is.

BE: I couldn’t help but notice that you’re in the beginning of the special and you’re at the end of the special, but you’re not so much in the middle. And there were some rumors about possible…well, I don’t want to say diva actions, but, I mean, was it just a mere scheduling conflict?

MP: Well, I am very busy. I’m, you know, highly in demand. But really, you know, the movie kind of takes a turn and it becomes more of an action film. And, you know, I just…I don’t do my own stunts. And, you know, I really thought it best if I just stayed put while everybody else went off to deliver these letters to the North Pole. And, plus, it’s really cold at the North Pole, and I’m not really into cold. I don’t know about you, but I like to be warm. That’s why I didn’t go out to do this interview with you. That’s why I’m doing it from home. Because it’s just too darn cold outside. But it was my choice, really. It was my choice. I talked to the writers. I said, you know, keep me where it’s warm and I’ll be happy. And I can just come back…I just can come in at the end of the movie, save the day and take all the credit…and, you know, leave everybody with the last impression. That’s the secret. Nobody remembers the middle anyhow. Now, really, movies have famous opening shots, right?

BE: Right.

MP: Right? Like “Touch of Evil” or “The Player,” or…I don’t know if you’re a film buff?

BE: I am, yes.

MP: Yes. You know, but…and they have famous end shots, too. But can you think of a famous middle? No.

BE: No?

MP: So what’s the point?

BE: Fair enough.

MP: Why be in the middle? Okay.

BE: And you mentioned the writers. Have you by any chance…or the rest of the Muppets…had any meetings with Jason Segel yet? I understand he’s in talks to write a new Muppet movie.

MP: That’s what he’s telling everybody. Yeah. You know, he hasn’t called me. I haven’t…so I have no idea. I have no idea. Maybe he’s writing a movie, you know. I’m writing a movie too, though. So who knows? You know, maybe the next Muppet movie will be penned by moi?

BE: Fair enough.

MP: It could happen.

BE: Sure. Thank you very much, Miss Piggy.

MP: You’re welcome!

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