Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
September 20, 2010
Better or worse than The Village? You surprise.Kim Hollis: The Town won the weekend with $23.8 million. What do you think of this performance? Do you see this release as the unofficial start of Oscar season?
Josh Spiegel: I think that this performance is appropriately solid. I'm still kind of shocked that people thought The Town, following in the footsteps of Mystic River and The Departed, wouldn't top the box office this weekend. The movie has been pretty strongly marketed since Inception came out two months ago, many of the actors have been appearing on every TV show that would have them, and it's yet another adult-oriented action movie. To answer the last question, in that this heralds movies that aren't just mindless blockbusters...sure, this is the start of the Oscar season. Does it deserve a Best Picture nod? In my humble opinion, no. This is a good movie, but there have been and will be better. That said, this movie did deserve its haul this weekend, so good for Ben Affleck.
Bruce Hall: I was not writing for BOP at the time so I'll go on record as saying that I feel Mystic River was highly overrated. I liked Gone Baby Gone but not quite as much as a lot of other people did. But I think this is a bigger win for Affleck than anyone else. Quite often when you are early in your career, respect within the industry is bigger than box office because it opens doors, giving you more and more opportunities to succeed. Affleck is by no means a rookie actor but as a director he's still earning his stripes and I think this one goes a long way. He's got real talent behind the lens and this will open even more doors for him. I think that it won't be too many more years before his name is perennially involved in serious Oscar discussion.
I am not necessarily offering qualifications on his level of skill as I am suggesting that his overall talent for choosing material that fits his skill set and presenting it well on screen is quite good, and some would argue that for many well regarded directors that is their biggest strength. In the long run I think that Affleck will benefit from it.
Matthew Huntley: I was surprised to learn the budget for The Town was a relatively modest $35 million, and although this figure doesn't include marketing costs, it suggests Ben Affleck is an economical director who doesn't necessarily come with a hefty price tag, and he can therefore helm a solid, critically-favored picture that's able to earn back the studio's investment. From here on out, Affleck's name behind the camera can now be utilized to sell tickets (which I think it already did for The Town), and because a $20 million+ opening in September is not exactly common, Warner Bros. should be pleased.
There was talk back in July that Inception was the actual start of Oscar season and many predicted the Christopher Nolan pic would secure a Best Picture nomination. I'm not convinced of that yet, but The Town certainly has the qualities of an Oscar nominee. A nominee, yes; a winner, probably not.