Monday, March 19, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 3/19

The Hollywood Reporter takes an in-depth look at John Carter, a topic I should be bored with by now but which I am thoroughly intrigued by.

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film will be released at Christmas of 2013 while World War Z has been pushed from this coming to Christmas to next summer.

Universal is apparently considering a Jaws remake, which is probably the worst idea in the history of ever.

On the other hand, Universal will bring Jurassic Park back to theaters (though in 3D) next summer. I hate 3D but I do enjoy great movies getting a re-release.

Lots of new trailers recently but I'll save them for a trailer spotlight later this week.

Weekend Box Office Results
At this point it’s far too early to know what 2012’s enduring legacy will be. Odds are it will be remembered as the year a hundred million nerds world-wide died due to complications of awesomeness overload after seeing The Hobbit finally come to the screen. But for now, the early returns for 2012 indicate that Hollywood may have just figured out how to make quality films for less than $100 quadjillion dollars. I know that seems weird given the stupid amount of money spent on John Carter but aside from that underachiever and A Thousand Words which was actually produced four years ago, what you see below are a number of film that have turned profitable domestically (and in some cases extremely profitable) in a short period of time while operating under reasonable budgets. 21 Jump Street follows the path of Chronicle, Safe House, and The Lorax, securing a healthy opening weekend that will insure it reaches the black by the end of the week. It also got my money and with my review to come tomorrow, let me just say, this movie is ridiculously fun.

1. 21 Jump Street - $35M
2. The Lorax - $22.8M ($158.4M)
3. John Carter - $13.51M ($53.17M)
4. Project X - $4M ($48.13M)
5. A Thousand Words - $3.75M ($12.1M)
6. Act of Valor - $3.67M ($62.39M)
7. Safe House - $2.8M ($120.2M)
8. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - $2.46M ($95.06M)
9. Case de mi Padre - $2.2M
10. This Means War - $2.12M ($50.52M)

New to DVD
What I’ve Seen and You Should, Too
The Muppets - Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper
Many of you may know that in my real life I work with kids. I took a couple of my kids to see this movie when it made its theatrical run. Ever since that, every single time that one of them sees me he tells me how many days it will be until The Muppets comes out on DVD. What he didn’t know is that I’ve had this day noted in my iPhone calendar for months. I often say I loved a given movie but to properly express how much I love this movie I would have to create a new word. Since this movie came out, I’ve found two friends who don’t like the Muppets and I mean this seriously when I say that it’s taken everything in me to remain friends with them. I cannot wait to pick up my copy this week and if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t rectify that this week, you’re doing life wrong.

What I’ve Seen and You Should Maybe Think About Seeing, Too
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth
Unlike The Muppets, I will not say that TTSS is a movie that every human should see. It is a remarkably complex, heavy, slowburn of a movie that will not appeal to everyone. I would go so far as to call it the antithesis of the type of blockbuster action film I generally love. That said, if you have an inkling of interest and you know what you’re getting into going in, I highly encourage a viewing if for no other reason than to see the world’s greatest actor (Oldman, duh) at his best.

What I’ve Seen and I Wasn’t Totally Sold On
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
I feel like Dragon Tattoo benefited from a somewhat undeserved flip-flop affect. What I mean is this: I think everyone (including myself) expected it to be great…and then it kind of wasn’t great. So the reviews mostly ranged from “decent” to “good” but rarely “excellent.” I would agree with that feeling; I found Dragon Tattoo to be a bit choppy and underwhelming but solid enough, all things considered. A classic “B+” movie, if you will. But somewhere along the way, everyone started getting all up-in-arms over Dragon Tattoo not getting its due respect from the various award committees and acted like this was an all-time classic. It’s like everyone simultaneously started thinking of Dragon Tattoo in terms of what they expected it to be and what it actually was and that bothers me. I just wasn’t that impressed and I’m sticking to that. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t know anything about this movie or the books it is based upon, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND a little research before renting it for a fun family outing. “Rough” is not a strong enough word.

Also New
Hop - James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco
The Sitter - Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell
Carnage - Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
Roadie - Ron Eldard, Bobby Cannavale, Jill Hennessey

Coming to a Theater Near You
Weeks like this last one make me look pretty smart to the two of you who actually read this column. 21 Jump Street came in a little better than expected, pulling in a stellar 86% Rotten Tomatoes score (versus my 82% prediction); Casa de Mi Padre effectively underwhelmed to the tune of 44% (45% predicted); and Jeff Who Lives at Home was the sweet and funny indie film we’ve come to expect from the Duplass Brothers, pulling in a 73% fresh rating (75% predicted).

This week brings us one (mainstream) film and one (mainstream) film only:

The Hunger Games - Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson
In the not-so-distant future, a pair of children, known as “tributes”, from each of the country’s twelve districts is chosen to compete in a fight to the death known as the Hunger Games until one girl (Lawrence) begrudgingly becomes the symbol for revolution. The other studios were right to allow The Hunger Games to run virtually unopposed this week. Based on a widely-read series of books that has only become more wildly popular over the last few months, this is going to be the film that sets the tone for the rest of the year. And considering the unexpectedly huge box office number The Lorax has brought in, it’s fair to expect $100 million or more this weekend. I’m very excited for this one though I’m still not entirely sure the tone of the book will translate well to a PG-13 movie. But if nothing else, it’s nice to see America get obsessed with something that is significantly and overwhelmingly better than Twilight. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 81%

Also opening in limited release: The Raid: Redemption (Iko Uwais, Ananda George) is getting GREAT reviews and being billed as this year's Attack the Block...The Deep Blue Sea (Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston) concerns an affair involving the wife of a British judge...and October Baby (Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey) centers on a college student who discovers she was adopted.

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