Box Office Market Analysis: Movie Smack Talk - Summer 2007, Week 1: "Pirates" Hauls Big Booty, and "Mr. Brooks" is Poised to be Your Next Favorite Serial Killer
by Paul Schultz
Published: June 1, 2007
As expected, pirates pulled in big booty over the Memorial Day weekend,
though it depends who you ask whether it was record-breaking. "Pirates of
the Caribbean: At World's End" hauled in nearly $140 million over the "4-day"
weekend, eclipsing the mark of $122 million set last year with "X-Men: The Last Stand". Sony is in a snit over rival Disney's "creative accounting" that
allows them to lay claim on a new world box office record for the first six days of release. When that much money is involved, little peons like me
(visualize my arm out extended out in front of me, palm facing out) say,
Last week's #1 film, "Shrek the Third", dips a spot to second, earning another $67 million to bring it's total so far to $217 million. Not a bad showing for "iffy" reviews, proving that audiences can still be entertained without the film being all that good. In its fourth week of release, "Spider-Man 3" clings to third with another $18 causing its total gross to crawl to $307 million. The other fresh wide-release this past weekend was the Ashley Judd horror vehicle "Bug", debuting at #4 with a take of $4 million.
Coming in with nearly identical numbers as "Bug" -- in less than one-third the screens -- is this year's indie darling, "Waitress" starring Keri Russell, cooking up a chart jump from #12 to #5. One would hope the macabre attraction of writer and director Adrienne Shelly's murder last fall has transitioned into genuine interest in the film. Also surprising is the leap of "Wild Hogs" back into the top ten. On the heels of the freaky news story of an 11-year-old kid killing a thousand pound feral hog, can this be a coincidence? Is this conversation going on in the backwoods?: "Yep, I heard 'bout that boy poppin' that hog, 'n' Hollywood's already got a movie 'about it. Let's go see it!" Taking a precipitous drop out of the top ten to #15 is the underappreciated "Hot Fuzz" by "Shaun of the Dead" creators Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, adding a modest $636,000 to the pot.
Fresh off the griddle at The Trades is our review of "Mr. Brooks", opening
this Friday and going down with somewhat of a sour taste. Kevin Costner's
role as a serial killer, "may not be the next Hannibal Lecter," in the words of
Max Braden, but he adds, "The inner voice that drives him, as portrayed by William Hurt, is excellently depicted and the highlight of what would have been an otherwise average suspense thriller." Click on the link below the read Max's complete review. Also opening this week is the strikingly-titled
"Knocked Up", Judd Apatow’s follow-up to 2005's surprise sex comedy hit
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin". Horror meisters have "Rise: Blood Hunter" starring Lucy Liu to look forward to, and the only film remotely approaching family-fare is the teenage-girl-trying-to-make-the-soccer-team drama "Gracie", inspired by true events from the lives of the Shue family (siblings Andrew and Elizabeth Shue star).
It's a good news week when I can mention Zooey Deschanel ("Elf")... Yessssssss! The lovely young actress has been tapped to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening". The natural disaster (the film's plot, not Shyamalan's career prospects) is due to hit theaters next summer. Also on the radar to a comic book geek like me is the news from Warner Bros. announcing that they will be making a live-action big screen movie based on the hit DC Comic series Teen Titans. Thanks to the Cartoon Network's
animated television series, popularity has grown enough to make this a
reality. It's sure to feature Robin, but whether it will go with the cartoon team with Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven, or the original comic series squad with Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl has yet to be seen. Writer
Mark Verheiden has been brought on board to write the script, and his pedigree is favorable, having written and produced episodes of Battlestar Galactica (enjoy it while it lasts) and Smallville.
Not all are thrilled with Warner Bros., as Darren Aronofsky is, er...
"put-out" by the feature-devoid release of his film "The Fountain".
The studio didn't think including a commentary track would help
explain the film in the sales department on DVD, but Aronofsky is not to be denied. He's planning on recording one himself and making it available (check his blog for the particulars). It seems to me this would be a boon for fans, and an important precedent. Finally, in amongst the plans for a Shrek 4 and Shrek 5, and early approval for two sequels to the "Transformers" remake (which doesn't even screen until July) is the rumor at Collider.com that Jerry Bruckheimer and the folks that made pirates (especially in the Caribbean) popular again will try to make Westerns in vogue again with The Lone Ranger.
Oh, I guess there is one more thing. Jessica Alba is sick of being pretty. FYI... We're not.
There's more to be said about Lindsay
Lohan's woes, and it has to do with the media-fueled, groupie-hangers-on, reality-optional pressure-cooker universe young starlets like her find themselves in. If you've seen Lohan act in "Bobby" or "A Prairie Home Companion", you know the girl's got talent, so it's with great hope that she gets her act together. Her
stripper moves in the trailer for her upcoming flick, "I Know Who Killed Me", are not a sign that she's headed in the right direction. Mandy Moore is looking more and more grounded all the time. Stay tuned to The Trades as the editorial juices flow regarding unrealistic expectations for attractive up-and-coming actresses.
In the meantime, go see a movie.
Summer movie reviews
Movie Smack Talk - Previous articles
Movie openings for June 1