Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
July 28, 2009

What a strange threesome.

At least she isn't a *blue*, scary child.

Kim Hollis: Orphan, the latest "children are scary" horror film, opened to $12.8 million. What should Warner Bros. take from this result?

Josh Spiegel: Don't make movies about crazy Eastern European orphans? Seriously, I'm not sure what Warner Bros. should take from this, aside from perhaps keeping the Dark Castle movies to the Halloween season, when this movie may have made more money. Of course, Orphan isn't a movie with any big-name stars (though it has its fair share of high-talent actors), and isn't being marketed as a horror movie along the lines of Friday the 13th or Halloween; still, this number isn't too impressive. At worst, though, the folks at the WB are still busy raking in the international dough from Harry Potter to care.

Jason Lee: Color me surprised by this opening. Not only did they have the "freaky kids" angle going for them and a big marketing effort from Warner Bros., between G-Force and The Ugly Truth, there was little in the marketplace that was going to directly appeal to the teen market (except arguably Harry Potter). Given that every other movie from Dark Castle has landed between $10-$19 million, I thought that Orphan had a chance to at least come in at the high end of that spectrum. Guess not.

Reagen Sulewski: I don't really know what you two were reasonably anticipating, though. These little horror films don't even need that big of an opening weekend to be profitable. This is about as textbook as a release gets.

Kim Hollis: I think $12 million is just fine, especially when you consider that the scary kid bit has been done to death. The only cause for concern is the fact that this movie seemed to be marketed well enough that it could have started off a bit better. It's going to make money for the WB, especially when all of the ancillary revenue is factored in.

Jason Lee: I guess that I was mostly surprised that Orphan came in significantly below The Haunting in Connecticut and The Unborn . . . considering that those two titles were pretty much straight up horror while Orphan at least went in with a pretty good premise ("There's something wrong with Esther") and the promise of a twist, I'm surprised that the difference was as great as it was. Guess people would rather see little boys barf up ectoplasm than a little girl with ribbons around her neck and wrists.

David Mumpower: For a while, I was thinking this was a remake of an engaging, original 2007 Spanish film called The Orphanage. I was disappointed to find out that it was a new property with one of the worst twist endings in the history of modern cinema. Given what I know of this project, the fact that it opened into double digits is a win. Any money whatsoever it makes is a win, although as others have pointed out, just saying "horror" seems to guarantee that kind of opening weekend as long as the title is marketed well...and isn't named something absurd like Dark Water.

In the end, she wakes up in bed with Bob Newhart.

Kim Hollis: There's been a lot of criticism of the twist ending in Orphan. What do you think is the last best twist ending you have seen?

Josh Spiegel: I'll endorse The Prestige here, a great movie to begin with. The ending, though, and the deeper meanings it has, are very powerful, and well-choreographed by director Christopher Nolan. Moreover, with the way that the story's turns have gone, nothing with that ending seems too wildly implausible or nonsensical (and from what I've read of Orphan's ending, that movie is a bit guilty of being too out there). Twist endings these days are too forced and outlandish to work well, but The Prestige managed to skate by such issues.

Jason Lee: A lot of twist endings that didn't work jump to mind pretty quickly (Knowing, I'm looking at you). As far as good twist endings, this is a little old, but gotta say, I liked the ending of Skeleton Key.

Kim Hollis: The Prestige isn't a bad choice, but I'll go with a different Christopher Nolan film for best twist - Memento.

David Mumpower: Memento's ending actually did away with a lot of its enjoyment for me. I've never a fan of nihilism for the sake of nihilism. I agree with Jason that Skeleton Key had a good one, but I'll suggest another release from that same year, 2005. I thought Hide and Seek did a great job of hiding the reveal in plain sight. Both of those films are worthy of throwing in your Netflix queue if you haven't watched them.

Tim Briody: I just have to say, the ending of Orphan was spoiled for me and I laughed hysterically for a good five minutes.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Kim Hollis: With the majority of the major releases now in theaters, BOP's Scott Lumley is wondering what movies are on your radar?

Josh Spiegel: Despite the overabundance of ads (featuring the same jokes with the foreign doctor), I am very eagerly awaiting Funny People. Judd Apatow, as a director, has a good track record and I'm hoping this movie will continue that streak. I'm also curious about District 9, though that's another movie I'll be fine never seeing another trailer for again. Once the summer passes, I'm looking to late September, for The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais' directorial debut; it's got a solid comedic cast and Gervais behind the helm. Aside from that, though, it may be time to lay back until Oscar season comes around.

Jim Van Nest: At this point, it's Inglourious Basterds and nothing else.

Jason Lee: Definitely looking forward to Funny People. And seeing as how I recap Top Chef each week, it should come as little surprise that I'm super eager for Julia and Julia (I'm sure that this will bag her a 16th Oscar nom). I also think that District 9 is looking better than I'd imagined.

Kim Hollis: I'm definitely interested in Funny People, and after that it's all about Ponyo. From there, I'm all excited about Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Hello, my name is Kim, and I like cartoons.

David Mumpower: I'll go see it because of the talent involved, but the Funny People ads do nothing for me. I also haven't seen much about Inglourious Basterds that excites me. With The Time Traveler's Wife looking like a mistake, that leaves District 9 as the remaining summer title that intrigues me. After that, we're talking about 9, The Informant and Coco Before Chanel. This summer has largely been a bust. I guess there was just no way to sustain the momentum created by the first quarter of 2009.