Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
September 11, 2012

Damn kids these days.

[Insert Generic Movie Title Here]

Kim Hollis: The Words opened to $4.8 million over the weekend. What are your thoughts on this result? Also, can you come up with a lamer title than this one?

Matthew Huntley: Normally I would deem such an opening - from such a large theater count (over 2,800) - somewhat of a disaster. But then I learned the film only cost $6 million to produce and CBS Films only paid $2 million for the distribution rights. So, with these two figures in mind, my initial reaction has been mitigated from "disastrous" to merely "poor." Surprisingly, the film may actually show a profit when all is said and done...eventually.

I actually saw the film and it's decent enough entertainment. While the title is appropriate for the subject matter, I agree that it's lame. Here are some potential worse contenders: "The Book"; "The Lie"; "The Literary People".

Jason Barney: It is not like expectations were huge for this. John Hamann's weekend wrap-up giving information on the lack of audience faith in Labor Day and the following weekend was very eye-opening. CBS Films may not have put up much money for this one, but allowing it to be released at this point in the schedule is an indication they didn't think it would get much attention. $5 million is a very weak opening, but it appears they won't take too much of a hit. I didn't think this would be a breakout film or anything, but this opening is low. As for the name.... "Fingers and Keys".

Max Braden: $5 million for a movie like this isn't terrible, considering that a lot of its audience probably saw it for free on the film society circuit. They'd also be the ones who would take the time to look up what the movie was about, because the trailer was all over the place. Is it all psychological? Is his life in danger? I can't tell. 2800 screens was overly ambitious. How about "Type Cast"?

Kim Hollis: This is a movie that no one will remember in six months, maybe not even in three. It's obvious that the studio had little faith in it, and this is another one of those situations where the film's theatrical release will serve just fine as an advertisement for the inevitable DVD. I think an apt title might be "Nondescript".

David Mumpower: This is the equivalent of signing a player for the league minimum then watching that person perform at a marginally better than average level. Alternately, it's like making a $10 bet. If you win, you get $11. Eleven is better than ten but you will not be retiring on your profit. I could keep talking on the subject but I feel like I am just going through the motions, saying The Words.

Reagen Sulewski: I prefer to think of the title as truth in advertising. Sure, it's tough to think of a more boring title, but it's also tough to think of a more boring subject than literary plagiarism. Even Jeremy Irons didn't really want to talk about what this film was about. That said, I agree that this film did OK for what it was, and we have to not make the mistake of requiring every film to be Transformers in order to be considered a success. Where these kinds of films really make money is when they're Oscar-caliber, and this one is... not. But making some money is better than not making money.

Tim Briody: You know, every single weekend, you can find someone totally interested in one of that weekend's new films. Except this one. I admit I had zero awareness of this weekend's releases, and I track this stuff. Obviously we need to recalibrate our expectations now that the summer is over, but I don't think anyone expected one of the worst box office weekends in the history of this site would be possible in 2012.

I fell asleep just thinking about this movie.

Kim Hollis: The Cold Light of Day finished outside the top 10 with $1.8 million. This is the worst opening weekend performance of Bruce Willis's career. Say something funny about The Cold Light of Day. Also, in your estimation, what's the worst Bruce Willis movie?

Matthew Huntley: Did anyone even know this movie was opening? I tend to go to the movies at least once a week and while I have seen a poster for it in the lobby, I haven't seen one trailer. Given its performance, the movie should have been called, Will Never See the Light of Day.

Worst Bruce Will movie? That's a no-brainer for me: The Whole Ten Yards. I shuddered even as I wrote that.

Jason Barney: I am a huge Bruce Willis fan and I didn't even know this film was being released until last weekend. The only positive for this opening is the take from overseas. With $13 million from Europe already, it is surprising that the North American opening was so non-existent. This is Bruce Willis, and his name being associated with a film should at least mean something. Opening outside of the top 10 is about as low as it can get. This is the worst weekend of the year, and it wasn't a factor at the box office. There is no other way to describe this but sad.

I think Hart's War was an awful film.

Shalimar Sahota: I remember seeing ads for this with Henry Cavill running around and jumping from rooftops, but not really knowing why. I was not remotely interested in finding out why either. I imagine a little more marketing could have made people "aware", but the slightly low screen count also shows that Summit rightfully didn't really have enough faith here. I know that there are a handful of bad Bruce Willis movies. Thankfully I haven't sat through many of them. Does Ocean's Twelve count?

Brett Beach: From my understanding, this was supposed to have a very minimal limited engagement up until last weekend when they ratcheted it up to 1,500 screens (perhaps Willis has a no dumping clause in his contract)? Hopefully Mabrouk El Mechri (who helmed JCVD a few years back, a must see for a great Van Damme performance), fares better next time out.

As for worst, the first time I remember being deeply disappointed in a Willis film was 1996's Last Man Standing. I had enjoyed Hudson Hawk, Striking Distance, even Bonfire of the Vanities at that point, but have never seen North, and don't think I ever will. Among his latter day films, Perfect Stranger, w/Halle Berry, wanted to be bad/good, but wound up so WTF by the end, it couldn't be enjoyed even on those terms.

Max Braden: Hey, at least that's $1.8 million more than Set Up and Catch .44, two movies of his from last year that never saw the light of a movie theater projector because they went straight to video. I never saw an ad for this. That would be very embarrassing considering that Eddie Murphy's A Thousand Words was in purgatory for years before making four times that number on opening weekend. Willis is just at that stage of his career; Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro have gone through the same thing.

David Mumpower: What pops in my head as I think about this opening weekend performance is that it's roughly how much Peyton Manning earned in Sunday's game. He could have doubled the box office of the movie if he had used that single day's pay to buy all of his fans a ticket to see The Cold Light of Day. Then again, the other thing that pops in my head is that Henry Cavill's Superman campaign is off to a rough start. Of course, virtually no one who watches Man of Steel will be the least bit aware of the existence of The Cold Light of Day.

As for the worst Bruce Willis movie, this is like being the worst STD. I love John McClane going all the way back to his days as David Addison. I cannot ignore that he has Eddie Murphy-itis, though. Any paycheck is accepted, script issues notwithstanding. Picking his worst movie is brutal. I walked out of Sunset, probably the last time in my life I did that. I am firmly in the HATE camp on Hudson Hawk. Color of Night committed the cardinal sin of being a boring sex flick. I doubt Breakfast of Champions even made sense to Kurt Vonnegut. If I can only pick one, however, I agree that The Whole Ten Yards is the clear choice. The first movie was great with the follow-up being a perfect example of how woeful sequels can be. It lacks in totality any understanding of why the original was so entertaining.

Kim Hollis: I am happy to say that I have pretty much avoided all the bad Bruce Willis movies over the years. Somehow, I've been able to sort the good ones from the awful. The worst one is probably Alpha Dogs, but that's hardly a Bruce Willis movie. At least I can be content in the knowledge that he was in the wonderful Moonrise Kingdom earlier this year.

Along the same lines, I'm not entirely sure we can call The Cold Light of Day a Bruce Willis movie, either. He's in it, sure, but this is a Henry Cavill movie - clearly something no one wanted.

Reagen Sulewski: It's another home run from Summit! I expect them to pull out a secret sixth Twilight movie any day now.

Personally, I have to side with the Breakfast of Champions mention as his worst, one of the more unpleasant experiences I've ever had in a theater, and I've been to shock gore film fests.

Tim Briody: Well, it's not his fault, but a movie I absolutely can't stand that just happens to contain Bruce Willis is The Fifth Element. So there.