Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

June 16, 2009

The bad news is that he's gonna think this snarl is the reason they won.

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The Hangover actually felt pretty good the next day...

Kim Hollis: The Hangover, last weekend's surprise blockbuster, fell only 27% to $32.8 million this weekend. Where do you rank this on the list of 2009 box office surprises, good and bad?

Josh Spiegel: I wonder if this is the year that Hollywood realizes that movie stars are, or can be, completely pointless. I'm not sure if I'd place The Hangover's success as the biggest surprise of the year, especially when considering the stellar performances from Taken and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but all three of these movies prove that you don't need the most famous people in show business in your movies. True, Liam Neeson and Kevin James may be more well-known to more people than Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, but the point remains. The fact that this movie may end up making as much or more than Wedding Crashers is really impressive; one can only hope the good vibes lead to a good sequel.

Scott Lumley: This isn't quite Fireproof, but it's up there. A tiny little film with no effects, an R rating and a good story has romped through the box office like a 500 pound gorilla. It's fair to say that nobody saw this coming. I sure didn't. This was barely on my radar until a couple of months ago but I thought this might open fairly large due to the intriguing trailers and the mass of marketing I was seeing for it.

Sean Collier: I do reviews on a Pittsburgh morning show, and The Hangover was being discussed for weeks in advance of its release. The lesson here might be that making a film "buzzworthy" and generating stellar word-of-mouth is more important than any of the traditional models of making money, at least right now. The trouble is that there's no surefire way to generate those qualities, especially at the time of greenlighting a project. Anyway, the point: it's a huge surprise, but part of a larger web of surprises this year.


Max Braden: Personally I'd put Taken at the top of the most surprising hits, but The Hangover is close. On the other hand, it mirrors the stream of Judd Apatow hits, so it shouldn't be seen as a complete surprise.

Jason Lee: I'm still reeling from the bulldozer performance of Paul Blart. That said, The Hangover is CLEARLY entrenched in my top three for the year. Hopefully, 2009 comes to be known as the year when "audiences let Hollywood know that storytelling and not billing will determine a film's profitability." That's my takeaway in the first six months (though storytelling for Blart is more of stretch than it is for Taken and Hangover).

Reagen Sulewski: Sean, there's making a film buzzworthy, and then there's delivering on that. It's possible to get a big opening weekend by throwing money at the promotion department, but if the product isn't there, you're going to get a ferocious backlash on the second weekend. If I may make a strange golfing metaphor, the opening weekend is the drive, and the second weekend is the putt. So drive (opening weekend) for show, putt (everything after) for dough. At this point, we're getting close to There's Something About Mary level of business, although coming from a much higher starting point. By my watch we should see the "It's not *that* funny" backlash in about three weeks.

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