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Box Office - Decade at a Glance: May - August 2007

By Michael Lynderey

December 2, 2009

What? I need to practice for the next season of Top Chef.

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The month's next two $100 million+ titles were sequels, of course - unnecessary and confusing threequel Ocean's Thirteen ($36 million opening, $117 million total) and considerably cheesy follow-up Fantastic Four: the Rise of the Silver Surfer ($58 million opening, $131 million total). I don't have much to say about the Ocean's film (except I hope that the series is really over now), and it looks like Fantastic Four 2 is going to be the last entry in that franchise as well, although you never can tell with such things. Also hanging around at mid-month's point were Emma Roberts as the title character in the stylistically incoherent Nancy Drew ($25 million total), cute CGI film Surf's Up, which finished at $58 million (remember, by 2007, CGI did not automatically equal $100 million), and Eli Roth's torture porn franchise-killer, Hostel: Part II. Roth's film continued the year's tradition of disappointing horror box office - especially for sequels; it grossed $17 million, way down from the first movie's shockingly high $47 million, and that was that for the Hostel franchise. Shed tears at your own discretion.

Next, on the 22nd, Evan Almighty was an almost reluctant $100 million earner, finishing at exactly that one-zero-zero number after a slow $31 million opening. Evan was the follow-up to 2003's mega-hit Bruce Almighty, and featured Steve Carell taking over from Jim Carrey in a kind of laugh-less, critically panned retelling of the Noah's Ark story. Almost forgotten but not ignored, the same weekend dished out entertaining PG-13 ghost story 1408, which combined good reviews and the likeable presence of star John Cusack to a $20 million opening and $71 million total. Not too shabby at all.




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The end of the month was where the June action really was, though - Pixar's rat tale Ratatouille opened on the 29th, taking in a low-for-Pixar $47 million for the weekend but then legging it up to a hefty $206 million. As usual for Pixar, the film was praised through the roof, won the Best Animated film Oscar, and so on. In short, it was all very predictable, and I'm on the verge of refusing to see any more Pixar films until and unless they make one that gets savaged critically, is despised by audiences, and finishes with a paltry $24.7 million at the box office. I may have to wait a while on this one, but I'm ready.

The same weekend also gave us Live Free or Die Hard ($33 million opening - $134 million total), the fourth film in that series and a very effective action thriller, bringing back Bruce Willis after 12 years and pitting him against some crafty cyber-terrorists. While it was a shame that the film was stamped with a mild PG-13 rating, it certainly didn't feel like it skimped on too much action for rating's sake. As for Willis, he had mostly spent the few previous years turning in some interesting supporting work (especially in Alpha Dog), so it was good to see him in the lead of a big film again. Meanwhile, on the margins of the month were Angelina Jolie's bid for Oscar glory, dark drama A Mighty Heart ($9 million total), the overcooked Meryl Streep-Claire Danes-Vanessa Redgrave melodrama Evening ($12 million), and documentarian Michael Moore's follow-up to his Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko. Tackling the health insurance industry, Sicko was typically topical, but it was more or less expected that it wouldn't live up to the lofty Fahrenheit standards - it finished with $24 million (to the previous film's $119 million) - still a good sum for a documentary, a genre that continued to thrive during the 2000s.


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