Summer in Review: July
By BOP Staff
October 30, 2008
Hancock - This was just another brick in the wall built as a monument to Will Smith's box office power. Hancock was in line with my expectations. He seems to be this decade's answer to 1990s Tom Hanks with eight straight starring roles that crossed $100 million since 2002.
Meet Dave - This type of failure couldn't happen to a more deserving cinematic crime. By shunning Meet Dave, American moviegoers took the first step to redeeming themselves for making Norbit a hit. Eddie Murphy, why do you continue to forsake fans of Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop and Bowfinger? Unfortunately, the rest of the world needs to get on board with turning its back on this mess.
Journey to the Center of the Earth - Based upon the commercials I saw where the 3-D graphics didn't translate to TV, I am surprised that it was able to demonstrate these kinds of legs. It started with only $21 million and is flirting with $100 million for a multiplier of 4.67. It helped make up for the underperformance of Fraser's other adventure film.
Hellboy II - Hellboy II was a unique beast. Guillermo del Toro was coming off a huge win with Pan's Labyrinth and the explosive success of Hellboy on DVD. Traditional logic dictated that the sequel merited a bigger budget. While it did recover its budget, the studio obviously overestimated the appeal of Hellboy II, even though it had 88% positive reviews.
Space Chimps - The surprise here is that this one turned a $7 million opening into nearly $30 million for a 4.1 multiplier. Is that indicative of the lack of straight up kids' movies this summer or the Armageddon? The world may never know but let's hope 2 Space 2 Chimps never launches.
Mamma Mia! - ABBA flexes its muscle and dominates another facet of the entertainment world. First, it was music and then, it was the theater. To me, the fact that this one wasn't swallowed whole by Batman is the most impressive thing about Mamma Mia! and nearly half a billion dollars later, this was ideal counter-programming to The Dark Knight.
Step Brothers -Step Brothers' success is another indicator that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly need each other. Semi-Pro was Reilly-less and only made $33.5 million domestically. Dewey Cox had no Ferrell and made $18.3 million domestically.
X-Files - It's time for the pun that no one has said. "The truth is out there" and it is that X-Files is no longer relevant or in demand, especially when the film's quality is lacking, like with this one.
Hancock - Considering that a lot of people were talking about their disappointment with this film's quality, it's a pretty huge win that Will Smith was able to carry it to such massive numbers both domestically and worldwide. I'm pretty sure you could slot a "Will Smith Watches Paint Dry" movie in the July timeframe and have it be a huge hit at this point.
Meet Dave - I was so pleased to see that audiences didn't fall for this one like they have with past Eddie Murphy movies like Norbit. When I saw the trailer in theaters, audiences were laughing and I had real fear that the movie-going public was going to continue to encourage Murphy to star in garbage. This vote against tripe is a win for America, people!
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D - This movie proves that 3-D is a draw. It had an impressively long life in theaters, and I'm sure that it's almost purely the result of the 3-D technology as opposed to the movie's quality, which I'm told is okay but not spectacular. It's nice to see Brendan Fraser having a pretty good summer.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Hellboy is such a wonderful character. I think it's a shame that the majority of the fans for this went out to see it in the opening weekend, because it's so fun and good-natured that I really expected word-of-mouth to take it to a higher final result. This was a unique take on the comic book movie - putting our hero into the world of myths and fairy tales - and the visuals are stunning. If you haven't seen this, rent it when you can.
Space Chimps - It's, uh, profitable. Yeah, that's an upset.
Mamma Mia! - What an amazing juggernaut this has been. Really, there are no words. It's working toward being the biggest movie ever in the UK ahead of Titanic. For all our discussion of The Dark Knight's success and potential to be the top movie ever, Mamma Mia! is actually a movie that has a chance to topple a Titanic record somewhere. Who would have seen that coming? I think this proves that when you have a fun, light-hearted musical (Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, High School Musical 3), you can really capture an audience that wants nothing more than easy escapism and a blast at the theater.
Step Brothers - I'd really like to see Will Ferrell move on to something...different, but I remain a big fan even if I haven't seen this movie yet and thought Semi-Pro was just about the worst movie of 2008. I think he's kind of Sandler-ish. He's going to draw a certain segment of audience no matter what.
X-Files: I Want to Believe - What can you say about this one? I can totally understand why audiences ignored this in theaters. Commercials and trailers were lackluster, and then reviews proved that it wasn't really worth spending money on. I was one of the few who saw this one, and it wasn't deserving of a theatrical release. I'm fine with its dark tones. It would have been fine as a standalone episode in the series. I was just expecting something more special.