Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

August 6, 2007

A-Rod really hates the New York media.

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Go see Bourne or else!

Kim Hollis: This weekend, The Bourne Ultimatum became the largest August opener of all-time, earning $70.2 million from 3,660 venues. To what do you attribute this record-shattering performance?

Joel Corcoran: I attribute its performance to the simple fact that the Bourne franchise is -- by far -- the best spy/action/thriller franchise out there currently. The previous two movies were very well done, with great action, fine acting, and taut storylines. Fans of the first two simply knew that this third installment would be just as good. I also think a lot of people finally wrapped their brains around the idea that maybe "Matt Damon, action star" wasn't an oxymoron.

Shane Jenkins: The Bourne franchise has a reputation for being "adult" without scaring off younger viewers. Older viewers have been patiently waiting for something to see this summer that doesn't involve a guy made of rocks or some kid and his robots. They are the audience most likely to be influenced by reviews, which for Bourne, are by and large rapturous.

David Mumpower: Joel has touched upon the key aspect. We have been discussing this for a while now in our BOP analysis. Movie franchises have a tendency to "pay it forward". The prior film's quality directly impacts consumer desire to for the successor. The Bourne Identity's debut was fine, but it was far from extraordinary. Once it was discovered on DVD (becoming the most popular DVD release of that year), consumers were psyched for The Bourne Supremacy. Seeing that the sequel was a rare example of duplicating if not exceeding the quality of the original, audiences were that much more confident in Ultimatum. When the early reviews confirmed this quality, it was a slam dunk to attend.

Kim Hollis: I don't really think you can discount reviews in this case, either. Generally, I would definitely fall into the camp that says they really don't matter much on opening weekend, but when they're as jubilant as the ones for The Bourne Ultimatum were, I do think there's some effect. People who might have been inclined to either wait a week or two or put the movie off until DVD actually have some motivation to get out to the theaters.


If Matt Damon isn't available for the role, maybe Ben Affleck would be interested

Kim Hollis: The Bourne Ultimatum's opening weekend is equal to the combined opening weekends of the two prior films in the series. Do you believe the franchise has maxed out, or would a fourth film be even more successful?

Joel Corcoran: I think the franchise is maxed out in terms of the storyline -- I have trouble seeing where and how a fourth movie would picked up from the end of the third -- but Universal is going to be sorely tempted to come up with a fourth installment. I'm sure the studio could put together a movie adaptation of one (or both) of Eric Van Lustbader's novels that continued Robert Ludlum's original trilogy, but I think doing so would be a mistake.

David Mumpower: I have seen and greatly enjoyed The Bourne Ultimatum. I don't want this discussion to involve spoilers, so I will speak in generality here. I fully believe if such a scenario were possible wherein Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass receive another high quality screenplay from Tony Gilroy, they would do it. And using the theory I used in the prior discussion about movies paying it forward, The Bourne Whatever would have a solid chance at a $100 million opening. Consistent movie quality such as we have seen with the Bourne series is the gold standard for franchises. It's been better in that regard that Indiana freakin' Jones, and I say that as a huge Indy fanboy.

Reagen Sulewski: I think this was a pretty satisfying "end" to the series if they leave it here, and dramatically I'm not sure there's a need for a fourth film. That said, I'd be right there opening night for that film.

Jim Van Nest: I haven't seen Ultimatum yet, but the trailers show enough for me to know that apparently Bourne gets his memory back and finally ends everything. If that's the case, I'm not in favor of a fourth. Sometimes (and I'm looking at you, George Lucas) the story's told. Sometimes, no matter how much money is out there, the story is simply finished. For me, having the underlying "what the hell did they do to this guy and what will he do when he remembers everything" was what drives this franchise. If this stuff is concluded (as the trailer indicates), I think a fourth movie would lose quite a bit of what made the trilogy so damn good.

Dan Krovich: It's nice to see a franchise actually grow into such a huge success. The numbers are definitely going to have Universal wanting more Bourne, but I would actually love to see it remain as an excellent, tight trilogy and have them not make any more. My suggestion is to give Greengrass a greenlight to make whatever he wants at a small budget in return for him coming on board to direct some brand new spy franchise "from the makers of The Bourne Ultimatum" starring some young up and coming star like Chris Evans or Channing Tatum.

Dan Krovich: With a little further checking, it does seem like Universal already has plans to get Damon and Greengrass back together with Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

Kim Hollis: I would also like to see it end on this note. I mentioned previously that maybe we could look at a re-imagining many years down the line, but the final film really is just pitch perfect. As to whether the story is left open for further installments, I would say that it is, though I'm not certain that such exploration would ultimately be satisfying.

David Mumpower: Even if the money didn't predestine the eventual sequels, there are still quite a few loose ends remaining in the series. I won't say more due to a concern for spoilers, but this story is far from finished as written.

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