Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
November 2, 2011

The zombie Cardinals want David Freese's brains!

Oh, well. At least Justin's got MySpace.

Kim Hollis: In Time, the science fiction Justin Timberlake vehicle, opened to $12.1 million. Is this a good enough result for a $40 million production?

Brett Beach: To focus on the positive, it's the best opening in pure dollars of any of Andrew Niccol's four efforts as writer/director (Gattaca, S1M0NE, Lord of War). If Halloween impacted it negatively and word-of-mouth is above average, it could maybe make back its budget domestically. While I now understand more about the plot, up until 48 hrs ago, I had only vague notions of a vague plot and it didn't seem all that enticing. Now, it feels slightly more so, but still lacking the emotional connection and romantic pull of April's Source Code. I have no doubt Timberlake will headline a blockbuster in the future, the future just isn't quite now.

Bruce Hall: No, it's really not good enough. And I sat here for a good long time trying to think of a way to spin it positive, but I really can't. But this is a stain that will wash right out. This isn't going to stop doors from opening for Justin Timberlake. Right now, he's too big to fail. I agree that one day he'll catch on in front of the camera. But I also agree that it's not today.

Edwin Davies: As with so many films these days, the global box office will probably be the saving grace for In Time, which I suspect will finish up with less than $35 million unless it has a really spectacular run. On the other hand, for a film with a concept that is really hard to put across in a television spot or trailer, this is more than I would have anticipated, and that budget is nothing if not modest by science fiction standards. It's not going to have the same sort of run that The Adjustment Bureau or Source Code had (or Inception, which is kind of the Patient Zero for this run of slightly obtuse, cerebral thrillers we've seen of late) but it's not going to be a complete disaster, and it'll probably end up developing a cult audience on DVD as Niccol's first film, Gattaca, did.

Jim Van Nest: I saw a trailer for this one a long time ago and I was really intrigued. I thought it looked fantastic. Recently, I've seen a ton of commercials for it that make it look average, at best. In some of them, it looked terrible. I'm not sure what happened between the first trailer and the opening week media blitz, but it missed the mark something horrible. Thanks to those awful TV commercials, I spent a lot of time last week telling people, "No really...the first trailer looked amazing. No, I haven't been drinking."

Kim Hollis: It's a forgettable result for a movie that no one will remember in six or seven months. Honestly, I'm surprised Nic Cage didn't star. Fortunately, he was too old for the premise.

David Mumpower: What I found notable about the movie in the months leading up to its release is that it somehow managed a Christopher Nolan vibe, and I liked the featured cast a lot. Cillian Murphy is quite selective with his projects, Timberlake showed a lot with The Social Network, and I like all three of the established television actors, Matt Bomer, Vincent Kartheiser and Johnny Galecki. Plus, the two women are Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde. I expect this to be a potential nominee for Best Cast when we do Calvins voting this year yet the movie ads are a mess. It somehow seemed less clear than Source Code, a movie I love whose marketing clips were opaque. I kept waiting for something that explained the story better but this is an issue I have had before with the work of Andrew Niccol. Brett mentioned his prior projects and I actually like S1M0NE the best of the trio. Gattaca bores me to tears while Lord of War didn't do much for me either. His stories just don't seem to appeal to me in the least and given his prior box office failures, that seems to be the minority opinion (although Gattaca has obviously become a semi-popular cult film over the years). I view In Time's opening weekend result as primarily cast based and something of a best case scenario, all things considered. It's just too weird for most consumers.

Why is the rum always gone?

Kim Hollis: The Rum Diary, a Johnny Depp feature from fledgling distributor FilmDistrict, opened to $5.1 million in 2,272 locations. How did they hide a Johnny Depp film in plain sight the way they did?

Brett Beach: I am not terribly surprised. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a film with a title that people who had never even read the book probably recognized, opened over a decade ago to less than this and only wound up with $10 million (to put it in perspective, it grossed the same as What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Astronaut's Wife). The Johnny Depp of 2011 probably opened this as strong as anybody could (except maybe the Johnny Depp of 2003-2004? I would love to know what either of these might have grossed at that point in time). This was even moved from last year, so as not to compete with any other Depp films. I have seen a number of ads and trailers for this so I don't consider it all that well "hidden." I think the most surprising thing is that this has a $50 million budget. Depp's appearance is probably responsible for that amount being secured, but I think it is quite hefty for a quirky indie with a limited audience.

Edwin Davies: As we saw last year with The Tourist, people don't seem that fussed about Johnny Depp when he isn't Captain Jack or Tim Burtoning it up, and The Rum Diary was an even tougher sell that that film, which at least had espionage and intrigue to give people a handle on it. The adverts I saw made it almost impossible to tell what was going on, there wasn't any real hook other than watching Johnny Depp be drunk in a tropical locale. Admittedly, that does sound like fun, but without a stronger sense of story in the adverts it was never going to bring in a broad audience. The main draw seemed to be that it was reuniting Depp with the work of Hunter S. Thompson, but whilst Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas has led a richly deserved second life as a cult classic, it is undoubtedly a cult film, so even if everyone who watched and loved that film came out for The Rum Diary it was still going to struggle to do anything on opening weekend.

Jim Van Nest: I'd never heard of this film until I saw a TV spot that said "Now playing" over this weekend. I agree with the comparison to Fear and Loathing. I think the bottom line is that films like this aren't made to cash in at the box office. That's what Pirates of the Caribbean X: A New Hip is for. I would say this film will be looking for an audience on DVD and that's where Johnny Depp comes in. When looking at Netflix or the local video store and you can't find anything, what's more likely to go home with you? The latest Van Damme straight to DVD? Or that Johnny Depp movie you never heard of?

Kim Hollis: I'm honestly not terribly surprised by this result, as even though Depp is well-liked, this is still an odd-looking flick that has him returning to the Hunter S. Thompson well. It's not like Fear and Loathing was a massive blockbuster, though admittedly it came well before Pirates of the Caribbean. I will say, though, that I admire Depp for doing what he wants to do. Even as he plays the Captain Jack and Tim Burton roles, he still seems to be embracing his independent nature - nothing he does is ever conventional.

David Mumpower: Depp has achieved that stage of industry pull where he is ceded personal projects like this in exchange for acting like a pirate every now and again. We all know this but I still think it's valid to say that he needs to drop the Hunter S. Thompson fetish. It's a nice tribute to a man he clearly admires (is that the right word for their relationship?). It shouldn't come with a $50 million price tag, though. This was an exercise in economic malfeasance.