Box Office - Decade at a Glance: September - December 2007
By Michael Lynderey
December 3, 2009
Looking at the lower box office ranks, there's a lot to choose from among the garage sale of December '07 movies. Denzel Washington's second film as director, The Great Debaters ($30 million), was an effective little drama that didn't get far down the Oscar track. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter sang well, and looked ghastly pale, in Sweeney Todd ($52 million) - not a runaway musical success like Hairspray or Dreamgirls, but a respectable entry in the genre. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep ($40 million) was a nice little family movie with a particularly ugly critter as the star (the Loch Ness Monster is who I mean). Comedy Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story underperformed ($18 million), but gave John C. Reilly a good role and was that rare late 2000s achievement - a genuinely funny spoof. Charlie Wilson's War ($66 million total) may seem like a big-star disappointment - considering the presence of headliners Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman - but for such an off-beat looking movie (a political drama marketed as Coen Brothers-style comedy), it seemed like the best possible score. Alien Vs. Predator ($41 million) showed up at just the wrong time of year, and followed the rest of 2007's horror sequels by coming in way under their predecessor's total (next stop for this franchise: Reboot). Keira Knightley and James McAvoy teamed for the historical romance Atonement, to the tune of a $50 million total and a spare handful of Oscar nods. Paul Thomas Anderson's long, dark, and stormy epic There Will Be Blood ($40 million) gave us one of only four 2000s performances by Daniel Day-Lewis, along with a few lines of dialogue that, unlikely as it sounds, have entered popular culture (I'm talking about that whole milkshake affair). And finally, romantic comedy P.S. I Love You ($52 million) came off like a just slightly less gory remake of Saw IV, what with the plot revolving around Gerard Butler using hordes of pre-recorded audio cassettes to control the life of Hilary Swank from beyond the grave (which is very creepy, if you think about it).
And here's an odd hit - Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman team-up The Bucket List didn't expand wide until well into January, but then pulled in a bizarrely strong $19 million opening and inconceivably leggy $93 million total, despite reviews correctly calling it out for being schmaltz - and the fact that the holiday filmgoing season was at that point pretty much over. That movie's proof of the idea that if you build it (cheesy big-star comedy), they will come - even if it's January. After all, some people just have no respect at all for the way the box office is supposed to work.