Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 27, 2009
Sean Collier: I agree that, when all is said and done, Benjamin is not going to have a significantly higher final tally than Slumdog. To get an idea of how well Slumdog is doing, we need a point of comparison - and there aren't too many genre-hopping foreign-made best picture contenders with no bankable stars in recent memory to pick from. A telling one, though, is Babel. Lots of buzz, a best picture nomination, a respected non-American director, and its final tally was a little over $34 million. Slumdog has $55.9 million, and earned most of that BEFORE it got a best picture nod, and WITHOUT Babel's stars - which included a certain Mr. Pitt. Slumdog is exceeding even the wildest of expectations.
David Mumpower: Tim, why are you confident this is Benjamin Button's last weekend in the top ten? It was up 7% while the films at 6, 8, 10 and 11 were off between 40% and 72% (!) with Inkheart, the #7 film, unlikely to have the appeal of it next weekend.
Max Braden: Button is a perfect holiday season release, and the December/January timeframe is usually good to studio box office numbers. I figured Slumdog would be the movie that only critics saw. I was equating it to The Kite Runner, which was highly praised but earned less than $16 million in its entire US run, and only got one Oscar nomination (for original score).
Tim Briody: You would think a film that got as many nominations as Titanic did would do better than a 7% increase, is all I'm saying.
Reagen Sulewski: Honestly, any kind of increase for a film that's already been out for a month is outstanding. The real gold comes if it wins Best Picture.
David Mumpower: The other factor to consider is that last weekend's total was holiday-inflated. That moderate increase this frame is against an artificially good total last weekend, making it all the more impressive.
Stupid WeinsteinsKim Hollis: Okay, let's get to it. What are your biggest Oscar surprises and disappointments? Other than WALL-E and Heath Ledger, what is your lead pipe cinch winner?
Brandon Scott: The Reader landing a best picture nom was a shock. Jenkins over Eastwood was a mild surprise. Chris Nolan being left out in the Director category was a disappointment. Doubt getting four nominations for acting and none for Best Picture is also a bit surprising when you look at it. I was glad for Heath Ledger and glad that Wall-E didn't get in for Best Picture. I think The Wrestler deserved more kudos than Rourke's amazing performance as well. It is a moving picture (that he anchors incredibly), but a bit tragic, and maybe in these harder economic times that is not what people (Academy voters) are looking for. DiCaprio being left out for Revolutionary Road is also a bit surprising from what I gather.
David Mumpower: After spinning this over in my head a few days, I've reached the conclusion that Woody Allen not being nominated for the Vicky Cristina Barcelona script is the biggest shocker. Given the Academy's love for him, I'm a bit confused why they would shun him for delivering one of his most successful movies in recent memory. Similarly, I think I've made it clear that I didn't drink the kool-aid on The Dark Knight, a movie I simply don't like as much as Iron Man (or Batman Begins), but slotting a movie as lackluster as The Reader in the Best Picture race ahead of it is...well, Don King smells a fix from The Weinstein Company. If some enterprising Los Angeles resident were to steal Weinstein's hard drive, I am convinced a few hundred members of the Academy would have their voting privileges stripped. And I am not in the habit of making accusations like that. The Reader's nods (other than Winslet) were bought. I'm convinced of that. A film that is 52% (among top critics) at Rotten Tomatoes doesn't get a Best Picture nomination on its own merits. Conversely, I am pleasantly surprised that WALL-E got a screenplay nomination. Writing a film that is silent for the first half is among the most difficult achievements in the screenplay field. I know that conventional wisdom says that a good script would work just as well if it were silent, but let's be honest. There haven't been a dozen of them this decade that would qualify under that criteria.