Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

September 25, 2008

They're not just metaphorically taking it in the groin.

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Homes selling now at lovely Lakeview Terrace! Buy today!

Kim Hollis: Lakeview Terrace, a relatively unheralded title that stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson, opened to $15.6 million. Do you consider this a good result for a racially charged drama with B-list actors?

Daron Aldridge: Considering Jackson's track record as an above the title star, this seems to be pretty expected. Jackson was really all it had going for it thanks to a generic title and an unimpressive string of ads. Personally, it had an odd vibe to it that was reminiscent to 1995's White Man's Burden with the race issue featured unconventionally. Strangely, this total is almost identical to the take of Snakes on a Plane without the Internet support.

Jason Lee: Racial drama with B-list actors grosses $5 million more than Mr. Hit-or-Miss Cage and $4 million less than the Coen bros. with a cast of A-list actors. Considering the state of the box-office this September, I call this a success.

Sean Collier: It's not just the actors. This has B-movie, in the classic sense, all over it; sensational drama, generic title and setting, looks-like-an-R-but-it's-a-PG-13. This should've done a fairly low number, schlepped around the bottom of the charts for a week or two, and then settled in for a nice stay at second-run theaters; somehow, it pulled in a number one spot. Blame it on the up-and-down star power of Jackson, which remains utterly unpredictable; his career fortune follows the backwards zodiac of some distant galaxy, or something.

Scott Lumley: I don't think we can really consider Samuel Jackson B-List anymore. He's pretty much penetrated the American subconscious and is recognized as being an entertaining actor. While this doesn't look like a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, I think a lot of the success here can be attributed to Mr. Jackson.

David Mumpower: I think this reflects the fact that audiences are inclined to give Samuel L. Jackson the benefit of the doubt on titles such as this that explore race relations. A largely forgotten 2002 release called Changing Lanes opened to $17.1 million, utilizing a similar advertising strategy. What I find most impressive about the $15.6 million performance is that it surpasses the over-hyped, tardy Snakes on a Plane's $15.2 million debut. Sure, Lakeview Terrace isn't going to become a pop culture meme, but it's made the same money, which is what matters.

Les Winan: Unlike David, I'm not quite prepared to assume that audiences look to Samuel L. Jackson for exploration of race relations...Cornel West he is not. Generally, I think they look to Samuel L. Jackson for MOTHERFU$%@# SHOUTING AND MOTHERF!@#*&G BOMBAST! And he reliably delivers.



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Max Braden: I really didn't get an impression of a racial hook to the movie from the trailers. To me, it dealt with an extreme version of a problem many people deal with: annoying neighbors. The what-if of a neighbor who is untouchable seemed like a strong hook and the primary reason it did well. It made me think of Kurt Russell's similarly themed thriller Unlawful Entry back in 1992.

David Mumpower: The annoying neighbors thing has never meant big business on opening weekend. You reference Unlawful Entry, which debuted to only $10.1 million. I would also cite the example of Pacific Heights, a "Batman is a bad tenant" film that opened to only $6.9 million.

Max Braden: I'll point out that Unlawful Entry opened on Batman Returns' second weekend and had a per theater average larger than Lakeview's, and that's before 15 years of inflation. I'm not saying the genre is a big moneymaker, but I think the story hook was the primary reason people went to see Lakeview Terrace.

Tim Briody: Could there be any more lousy film titles mentioned in this topic?

Shane Jenkins: Um, Deck the Halls?

Reagen Sulewski: You all have convinced me - my screenplay entitled "Crisis in Generictown" is now up for bidding. I'm thinking of Billy Crudup and Jeff Bridges for the lead roles. I'm not greedy, so the bidding starts at $1 million.


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