Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

January 17, 2012

A-L-E-X!

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Kim Hollis: Contraband, the latest movie from Marky Mark and/or the Funky Bunch, opened to $24.3 million over the three-day portion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Is this more, less, or about what you were expecting? Do you think Contraband is a hit?

Matthew Huntley: For the past three months, my friends and I have been making fun of Contraband because everything about it seems so generic - its title, its trailer, its premise, its cast. And now that seems to be the case for its opening weekend, which I guess answer's Kim's first question: yes, this is more or less what I was expecting, because it's not too big and not too small, but sort of middle ground given the genre and target audience for the month of January. So far, nothing about this movie has surprised me, but despite how conventional it is, I would call it a hit considering it carries a production budget of $25 million and it's likely to gross twice that in the United States alone. It will be all but forgotten by March and probably live an even more mediocre life on DVD/Blu-ray/cable. It's the type of movie that will have people asking, "What was the name of that one Mark Wahlberg movie? Not sure when it came out."




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Bruce Hall: The protagonist is a reformed criminal who's gone legit, so you kind of have to root for him. He's also doing it for his family, so whatever level of violence/depravity he may/may not utilize in order to win is kind of justified in advance. And, it's got the reliable "one last job" heist movie formula going for it. It sort of sounds like a mediocre two episode arc on TNT's Leverage but hey, why not? January is notorious for less than stellar cinema, so if you're going to release a generic crime thriller starring Mark Wahlberg, what better time to do it? Even casual moviegoers tend not to expect much out of this time of year, so to make any kind of a splash between New Year's and MLK Day has to be considered a win. Contraband will probably meet whatever expectations Universal had for it, the Blu-Ray should be a fine bargain and you'll no doubt see it in heavy rotation on F/X when the time comes. I expected something in the teens so while I'm mildly surprised, I kind of like Marky Mark. So I consider the surprise to be a pleasant one.

Brett Beach: This is about $10 million more than I was expecting for the three-day. In much the same way that The Devil Inside seemed to satisfy that January need for some generic looking horror film, this quenched the thirst for a generic looking action film headlined by a big name (Wahlberg) and an actress big in another well-performing January series of films (Beckinsale). The trailers and ads didn't look terrible but nothing that I saw had a hook or a stunt or MOMENT that screamed out for this to be anything more than a passable timekiller. Since costs were kept low, it made its budget back domestically over the long weekend so even if this tops out at $50-60 million, it would qualify as a hit in my book.


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