Monday Morning Quarterback Part Two

By BOP Staff

August 9, 2005

Does nobody else find this incredibly creepy?

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Danny DeVito was fifteen years ahead of his time.

Kim Hollis: Now that we've exhausted the subject of competition and considerations the industry has to be thinking about at the moment, let's move on to something new. The Penguins march on, bringing in $7.1 million for a total of $26.2 million. As was speculated here a couple of weeks ago, it's likely to surpass Stealth and The Island in domestic box office. How shocking is this result? March of the Penguins is nestled between two Michael Moore documentaries for second all-time.

Tim Briody: Between this and Madagascar, it's all about the penguins.

Lance Mogul: Penguins put more butts in the seats then the lead lion. :)

Tim Briody: I have to admit that I sure as hell didn't see this one coming.

Joel Corcoran: I didn't either. I was expecting a really solid audience response along the lines of "Winged Migration," but the Penguins truly surprised me. In a good way, though.

Lance Mogul: It's a Penguin world. We just live in it.

Joel Corcoran: Are we going to end up calling this summer box office season "The Year of the Penguin"?

Tim Briody: But as was the lesson last year, with the right word-of-mouth, documentaries can pull in decent money.

Tim Briody: All you have to do is get the film to audiences.

Lance Mogul: Well, it will never play here in Canada, so it's on the DVD list.

Tim Briody: Does anyone else get warm fuzzies thinking about how March of the Penguins is going to out-earn a Michael Bay movie?

Kim Hollis: Even better, it's already pulled ahead of Stealth.

Joel Corcoran: That thought truly warms the cockles of my heart, Tim.

Nature films: Now with explosions!

David Mumpower: I just love the thought that $130 million was given to the budget for Stealth and The Island. March of the Penguins is probably $130,000, if that.

Joel Corcoran: I was just thinking the same thing, David. It has to be one of the highest ROI movies ever made.

David Mumpower: It's not going to be My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but it is definitely going to make the shortlist of exponential money winners a la Clerks and Sling Blade.

Tim Briody: It also gives me hope for the anti-Penguins documentary, The Aristocrats.

David Mumpower: For Michael Bay's birthday, let's send him a bunch of stuffed penguins!

Joel Corcoran: How 'bout we just get him a one-way ticket to Antarctica? ;-) But what happens if Bay decides to start filming nature documentaries now?

Lance Mogul: No, because he would film his next movie there, with snowmobiles exploding and flipping through the air. With action so hot it's melting the glaciers.

David Mumpower: Can you have a nature documentary with dozens of explosions in it?

Lance Mogul: When Michael Bay makes it, it does.

We should just officially turn BOP into a Bruce Campbell fan site.

Kim Hollis: Out of the second weekend films, Must Love Dogs was off 42%, Sky High was off 38% and Stealth died an inglorious death at 56% off of virtually nothing. Do you consider Must Love Dogs or Sky High a winner at this point and is there any sugar-coating Stealth?

Tim Briody: Sky High is a winner.

Joel Corcoran: I agree - Sky High is a winner.

David Mumpower: Agreed, Sky High probably merits a sequel if Disney is so inclined. At this point, Must Love Dogs is a push though it could still move into winner territory. Stealth is in Cutthroat Island territory.

Tim Briody: It held fairly well given what else was out there and it'll have made its budget back by next weekend.

Lance Mogul: I liked Sky High, if was a light fluffy movie.

David Mumpower: Sky High is the most pleasant movie-going surprise of 2005 to date for me. I expected nothing but found it beyond adorable.

Joel Corcoran: I did, too, though I kept having flashbacks to "The Incredibles."

Kim Hollis: I tend to think both films are going to get a credit in the "plus" category. Sky High is on its way to maybe $60 million at the box office on a budget of around $40 million. *AND* it's a very good little film. Additionally, Must Love Dogs is just a couple million away from earning back its budget already, so there's certainly nothing wrong with it. They'll both be hugely profitably by the time the DVD revenue and so forth rolls in.

Whichever film franchise wins, we lose.

David Mumpower: I have been trying to think of a comparison for the disasters of The Island and Stealth. The best I can come up with is Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within. It killed an entire animation studio. The Island significantly downgraded the value of DreamWorks stock right as they were ready to sell.

Kim Hollis: To the point that DreamWorks might be absorbed by another entity. That's rough.

Joel Corcoran: The Island is like the anti-Passion.

David Mumpower: Diane Lane is quietly becoming an icon on DVD. I expect Under the Tuscan Sun to eventually get a sequel based mainly on the DVD sales (and the fact that there are other books in the series).

Tim Briody: The most astounding fact to me is not that The Island and Stealth bombed hard. It's that they bombed on consecutive weeks. It's like Ishtar was released twice.

David Mumpower: I wonder how much money The Island vs. Stealth would not make.

Joel Corcoran: Ye gods ... can you just imagine the pain of The Island vs. Stealth?

We swear that there is a movie called The Great Raid opening this Friday. We are not making this up.

Kim Hollis: Next week's openers are: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Four Brothers, Skeleton Key, and The Great Raid. Is there anything positive you can say about this mix?

Tim Briody: I was always told that if I can't say anything nice...

Lance Mogul: The Great Raid is the only one that interests me.

David Mumpower: Rob Schneider getting a sequel is proof that he has negatives of somebody with a goat, a corpse, and the cast of Monster Garage.

Tim Briody: There's a whole bunch of noise until The 40 Year-Old Virgin for me. And all it means is that Wedding Crashers' amazing run will continue until then.

Kim Hollis: I'm pretty much only looking forward to Four Brothers, which has a terrific trailer. I'm really hoping for Deuce Bigalow to follow the Miss Congeniality 2 trajectory.

Joel Corcoran: I think "Four Brothers" could be a pretty good movie. Not interested in Deuce or Skeleton Key, though.

David Mumpower: Agreed, Joel. Four Brothers does seem to be a notch above the rest of those though I expect it to only finish second or third out of the four openers.

Joel Corcoran: You think Deuce will do better, David?

David Mumpower: I think so, but I will be thrilled to be wrong. I actually think Skeleton Key has the biggest opening weekend.

Lance Mogul: I haven't seen the trailer to Four Brothers, and I've seen no ads, not one, for this movie either.

Joel Corcoran: I'm really impressed with the trailer, too, Kim. The movie seems to have a lot of very interesting plotlines that - if managed well - could turn it into a really good movie.

David Mumpower: The Great Raid will be happy if it can just avoid an R-rating at this point. That one is a DOA as DOAs get.

We swear that some people could have seen The Great Raid last Saturday. We are not making this up.

Kim Hollis: It had sneaks this weekend. How much of the movie-going public even realized it?

Tim Briody: It had sneaks?

Joel Corcoran: I didn't know that...

Lance Mogul: 800 screens isn't much of an expression of support from the studio.

Joel Corcoran: But when I saw the trailer, my only thought was "I've seen 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Band of Brothers' already..."

David Mumpower: It doesn't even have a studio as far as I'm concerned. All of these Miramax/Weinstein efforts are just being sacrificed to the gods of cinema. I think that Disney actually beat people up if they tried to buy tickets to Mindhunters...which is not a bad thing, really.

Kim Hollis: I'm not a big fan of war movies (I get very squeamish with regards to that stuff). When you have one without much buzz or a cast to support it, it's so hard to sell.

Lance Mogul: And based on the quality of those, I'd give it a shot over the usual crap they put out each week.

Tim Briody: I bet Benjamin Bratt misses the regular work of Law & Order.

Joel Corcoran: He has "E Ring" premiering in a few weeks - Mr. Bratt is all good.

Kim Hollis: It was a *fantastic* call on his part not to sign for Miss Congeniality 2. Perhaps he, unlike Ms. Bullock, actually glanced over the script.

Lance Mogul: I'm still waiting for Speed 3.

If you're keeping score at home...

Kim Hollis: What are the winners and losers of the summer so far?

Joel Corcoran: Biggest winner has to be "Batman Begins," though I'd put "March of the Penguins" right up there, too. I think you can count "War of the Worlds" as a winner, if only for the fact that Tom Cruise's antics in the weeks prior to its release didn't hurt its take at the box office.

Kim Hollis: Big, big winners: Wedding Crashers, March of the Penguins, Mr. & Mrs. Smith. There's some others that will have done well financially, but not to the exponential degree of those three.

Tim Briody: The biggest winner by a mile is Wedding Crashers. It's the Sixth Sense all over again with the declines it has had.

Joel Corcoran: We've already covered the two losers, though I think "The Island" is a much bigger loser than "Stealth."

Lance Mogul: Batman, War of the Worlds, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wedding Crashers and March of the Penguins are the winners.

David Mumpower: I believe the biggest winner of the summer is Episode III. It met expectations, which is no small feat for such a historic production. The biggest surprise winner from my perspective is unquestionably Wedding Crashers. I don't think anyone expected it to be this competitive with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wedding Crashers could even wind up being the biggest comedy of the year.

Joel Corcoran: Wedding Crashers is a huge winner, though I still say Batman ranks over it. Batman had to overcome a helluva lot of angst and trepidation.

David Mumpower: Why do you think The Island is worse than Stealth, Joel? They have almost identical ten day box office totals. Is it the timing with DreamWorks up for sale?

Joel Corcoran: I don't think it is worse, I just think it's a bigger loser because Michael Bay was at the helm - has he ever had a flop? For me, that was the biggest shock of the summer.

David Mumpower: No, but Rob Cohen's last two films, xXx and The Fast and the Furious, opened as big as Bay's, Bad Boys II and Pearl Harbor.

Joel Corcoran: I've never liked Bay as a director, but he's always seemed to have his pulse on the summer action-adventure blockbuster. And he totally blew it (though I can't hold him entirely responsible for that mess of a movie).

David Mumpower: Okay, I agree with that and have said as much a couple of times.

Tim Briody: Again, it's just awesome that both movies are having their butts kicked by a bunch of penguins.

Joel Corcoran: I can't think of any other summer films right now, which may be an indicator in and of itself.

Now on sale at BOP!

Lance Mogul: Kingdom of Heaven should have done better then it did. It's a vast improvement on Troy and Alexander, and that's with Orlando Bloom as the lead.

Joel Corcoran: Absolutely, Tim.

David Mumpower: Okay, so we're selling schadenfreude this week at BOP.

Kim Hollis: Same as every other week!

Tim Briody: It's our specialty.

Joel Corcoran: Kingdom of Heaven was a slight disappointment, Lance, but I can't quite put it in the "loser" category. It still seems to fall somewhere in the middle of the bell curve.

David Mumpower: If we are discussing quality, I can see that. If we are speaking financially, Kingdom of Heaven is a disaster.

Lance Mogul: After Stealth and Island, a quick scan of the summer movies and nothing really stands out as a bomb except Kingdom of Heaven.

David Mumpower: Certainly nothing in terms of absolute dollars. All three of those are candidates to wind up among the 25 worst budgetary losers of all time.

Fantastic Four is a misleading title.

Tim Briody: Almost everything else looks like a hit compared to Stealth and The Island. Those two did blow the curve right out the door. We stopped making fun of Fantastic Four because of those two films, for crying out loud.

David Mumpower: But not Jessica Alba and that guy whose name I can't spell who was Mr. Fantastic.

Kim Hollis: Which, incidentally, stopped many of the cards and letters from disgruntled fans of the Four.

David Mumpower: They're a passionate but misguided bunch of chucklenuts.



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