Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 27, 2009
Jai ho!Kim Hollis: The Academy Awards nominations were announced, and the front-runners for Best Picture are Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. With $10.6 million this weekend, Slumdog has current box office of $55.9 million, while another $6 million for Button gives it a running total of $111 million. Which box office performance is most impressive to you and why?
Brandon Scott: Good question. Slumdog is the bigger success, simply because it was shot in India with unknown actors and has succeeded simply on word-of-mouth and critical praise. I would find anyone hard pressed to truly say otherwise. But, I do feel Button's haul is impressive, even given its massive budget, especially once you have seen the film. This is a long movie with a familiar storyline (again at least once you have seen the movie or read the comparisons to Gump), so to see it doing this well is impressive. I feel it is unquestionably one of the best two or three movies I have seen this year (maybe the best) and even though it will not likely win the big one (Slumdog is the significant favorite here), it's still a nice number. The budget of course is what makes one feel otherwise, since that was in the $130-150 million range.
David Mumpower: This is an interesting question in that it includes factors such as scale and expectations. The surface evaluation would be that Benjamin Button has earned twice as much and that no matter how well Slumdog Millionaire performs from here, it will not close that gap in revenue. I agree with Brandon's assessment, however, in that a film starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett has much higher expectations than one starring an entire cast of complete unknowns. The only legitimate celebrity in the entire Slumdog production is the film's director; rare is the instance where a project like that earns $100 million, which appears to be where Slumdog Millionaire is headed. It's following in the footsteps of Juno and while Benjamin Button is going to make more money, Slumdog is the stronger performer relative to expectations. It's also the better return on investment since it cost only $15 million to make. As an aside since this has been coming up a bit lately, if you have not watched Boyle's 2004 release, Millions, it functions as something of an emotional precursor to Slumdog Millionaire. And it's wonderful.
Daron Aldridge: I echo Brandon and David's thoughts. Button was supposed to be huge and Slumdog wasn't really on that many people's radar until after it got its limited release and the ensuing praise. Thanks to David for giving Boyle's Millions a mention, so that maybe more people will seek it out.
Shane Jenkins: It's hard not to root for scrappy li'l Slumdog over Gump II. And let me jump on the bandwagon here - Millions is one of my all-time favorites.
Tim Briody: I actually disagree, David. Most folks who want to see Benjamin Button already have and this was surely its last weekend in the top ten. Slumdog Millionaire earned $42 million without ever going above the low 600s in screen count, and as the current favorite for Best Picture, will get more and more exposure over the next couple of weeks. I would not be surprised if it closed that gap with a Best Picture win.