Marquee History

Week 7 - 2017

By Max Braden

February 14, 2017


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Welcome to Marquee History, the weekly column that takes you back to a time when you - or your parents - were younger.  Prepare to become nostalgic (and shocked) at how much time has passed when you recall what was new in theaters 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years ago.

The box office picks up in mid-February as studios target the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend.  This week’s highlights include the 25th anniversary of Wayne’s World and 30th anniversary of Mannequin.

Here are the movies that premiered on theater marquees this week...


Ghost Rider - February 16, 2007
Before Iron Man marked the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Sony held the rights to this Marvel character; a motorcycle stuntman who sells his soul to the Devil.  Nicolas Cage plays Johnny Blaze and the bounty hunter of souls who is now fighting to prevent the son of the devil (Wes Bentley) from coming to Earth.  Eva Mendes and Sam Elliott co-star.  Critics weren’t impressed and Cage was later nominated for a Razzie award, but the flaming skull, chain whip, and Hell Cycle effects brought in a solid audience.  Ghost Rider scored the third best February opening ever with $45.3 million ($52 million over the four-day President’s Day holiday weekend) from 3,619 theaters, eventually flaming out at $115.8 million domestically, but also bringing in $113 million from foreign markets.  Cage returned for the sequel in 2012, but then the character rights were transferred to Marvel Studios, and Ghost Rider appeared as a featured character on the TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (portrayed by Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes) in 2016.

Bridge to Terabithia - February 16, 2007
This live action drama from Disney is based on the 1970s children’s novel by Katherine Paterson, and stars Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb as friends who imagine a fantasy world in their local forest (scenes which bring in cgi effects and creatures).  Similar to My Girl, the story has a tragic and bittersweet ending, something which was excluded in the adventure-themed advertising.  Reviews were strong and the cast (including Bailee Madison) won Young Artist awards for their performances.  Bridge to Terabithia opened at #2 with $22.5 million and eventually earned a total of $82 million.


Music and Lyrics - February 16, 2007
The last straightforward romantic comedy of Hugh Grant’s career (to date) gives him more comedy to play with, as he portrays a former 1980s pop star now struggling to remain relevant in the music business.  Drew Barrymore’s character is discovered to have a surprise talent for lyrics, and together they navigate through the business where younger talent gets all the fame (Haley Bennett appears in her first film role as a young starlet).  The relationships are mildly interesting but the music video for PoP! Goes My Heart is entertaining for those who grew up in the days of Wham and early George Michael.  Music and Lyrics opened at #4 with $13.6 million and earned a total of $50 million, one of the better than average results for Grant since Notting Hill.

Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls - February 16, 2007
The first of Perry’s screenplays written directly for film also keeps him behind the camera and instead stars Idris Elba as a mechanic who struggles to keep custody of his three daughters, and falls for his lawyer, played by Gabrielle Union.  Daddy’s Little Girls opened at  #5 with $11.2 million total.  Its $31.3 million total was Perry’s weakest box office result until 2014’s The Single Moms Club.

Breach - February 16, 2007
Screenwriter Billy Ray (Volcano, Hart’s War) directed this spy thriller starring Chris Cooper as Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who sold secrets to the Soviet Union and Russia for two decades before he was caught in February 2001. Ryan Phillippe co-stars as younger agent assigned by Laura Linney’s character to investigate Hanssen.  Reviews were excellent but with a modest release pattern, Breach opened at #6 with $10.5 million and earned a total of $33.2 million.

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