Monday Morning Quarterback Part One
By BOP Staff
August 29, 2005
Somewhere, the Weinsteins are laughingKim Hollis: The Brothers Grimm opened to $15.1 million. It has a reported budget of $80 million. Should Disney be happy with this result? Would it have done better if the Weinsteins were still the caretakers of the project?
David Mumpower: The performance is stronger than I would have expected just a couple of weeks ago, so Disney gets some credit for their late marketing push. I do think the Weinsteins are just naturally better at promoting quirky titles, though, so their absence hurt the release.
Joel Corcoran: If I was at Disney, I would not be happy with this result. At all. And I think the movie would've done far better if the Weinsteins were still involved. They have the skills to promote movies like this, ones that fall outside traditional genres.
Reagen Sulewski: I think it'll tally a nice profit when it's all said and done, as Gilliam films have a lot of international appeal. It's quite a sub-par result for something with this budget and at least one proven box office star, however.
David Mumpower: That's the other aspect of it. How much money did they spend in the late marketing push versus how much extra was brought in? And why wasn't Matt Damon emphasized more? He's Jason Bourne, for God's sake.
Joel Corcoran: Just one proven box office star? I think Heath Ledger and Matt Damon have nearly equal appeal, though in different demographics.
Kim Hollis: I do think that Disney realized a little bit late that the movie was tracking fairly well amongst some unexpected groups, and tried to make up for it with the late push. Once international receipts come in (and I agree that the film will do well overseas), it will probably be fine as far as profitability goes, so the opening weekend has to be best-case scenario at this point. At the beginning of the month, I was thinking Brothers Grimm would be lucky to make $5 million in its first three days.
Joel Corcoran: What should have been a borderline break-out film got bungled. Personally, had the project been managed better -- especially on the marketing side-- I think Brothers Grimm could've easily had a $50+ million opening.
David Mumpower: $50+ million for a Terry Gilliam film? Bartender, it's time to cut him off.
Good news, Naomi Watts! We're about to pick on Heath LedgerReagen Sulewski: I think they *hoped* they had another Pirates of the Caribbean on their hands, but it would be tough to get that kind of performance out of such a fiercely non-commercial director like Terry Gilliam. Also, I think Ledger is well below what Damon is. A Knight's Tale, Lords of Dogtown and The Order were noisy failures.
David Mumpower: I don't see Ledger as being anywhere near Damon's plane of box office existence. Bourne Supremacy opened to $52.5 million. I think Knight's Tale is Ledger's biggest film as a lead, and it barely passed that Bourne opening in total box office, either.
Kim Hollis: To be fair, though, Ledger was not one of the major leads in Lords of Dogtown. It's not really appropriate to credit that failure to him. That said, he doesn't have much of a track record as a lead.
Joel Corcoran: But I think Ledger still has a very strong following among the crowd who remembers him from 10 Things I Hate About You. I wouldn't put him up as the same caliber of star as Damon, but he does have a significant box office draw.
Kim Hollis: Yeah, I would suspect $25 million would be a high-water mark for The Brothers Grimm opening under any circumstance. And as for Ledger, his openings/totals for films since 10 Things I Hate About You fly in the face of the notion that he is a significant draw.
David Mumpower: I'm also disappointed because I honestly think this was a great idea for a film in theory. Between the performance of this and The Order, you can almost argue Naomi Watts was right to preemptively dump him. Michelle Williams gets him in the down phase of his career.
Kim Hollis: It really was a terrific idea. At one point I really thought it was being regarded as a potential awards-bait project. I'm bummed it went wrong (particularly as I love the Grimm's fairy tales).
Reagen Sulewski: Other observes might say that indicates they deserve each other, David.
Joel Corcoran: I agree it was a fantastic idea for a film, and Terry Gilliam was the ideal director for the story and the portrayal. I think this film was a case where all the right production elements were in place, but the support surrounding The Brothers Grimm was lacking.
David Mumpower: It could have been a gothic answer to Shakespeare in Love. I'm sad we did not get that movie.
Joel Corcoran: That's a great way of putting it, David.
Cole Hauser is the new Uwe BollKim Hollis: The Cave managed a paltry $6.2 million. Is there any way to describe this amount as anything other than an out-and-out failure for Screen Gems?
Joel Corcoran: No.
David Mumpower: Absolutely not. These low-budget horror/action films should be a license to print money. The Cave is that rare project that sounded better eight months ago than it did after there was footage released. In point of fact, that goes for both the major releases this weekend.
Reagen Sulewski: Although they couldn't possibly have spent much money making this.
David Mumpower: $30 million is the reported budget with $48 million the negative cost.
Reagen Sulewski: Then they're fired with good cause.
Joel Corcoran: I mean, March of the Penguins pulled in another $4.5 million. The Cave could do only 33% better than that on its opening weekend?
Kim Hollis: Cole Hauser=box office death. Seriously, why do people keep casting him in movies.
David Mumpower: Cole Hauser should be fired on the first day of principal photography of every movie dumb enough to cast him. No reason why. It would just make me happy.
Kim Hollis: It never looked original or interesting (hi, we're hoping that you might be reminded of Pitch Black!). Hell, I'll see Morris Chestnut in damned near anything and yet I just never even considered giving up cash for this mess.
Joel Corcoran: I thought they were using the same monsters from Pitch Black.
Reagen Sulewski: Loathe as I am to blame this on competition, movies like this generally only succeed when there is nothing else good out. There's too many films that people just want to see before they move on down to their fifth choice.
Joel Corcoran: And wasn't Hauser in Pitch Black, anyway?
David Mumpower: He was but he was the guy Vin Diesel humiliated rather than the lead.
Kim Hollis: Though he is certainly still humiliated after this weekend.
Joel Corcoran: That's right. Well, maybe the producers of The Cave thought, "Hey, it's the same movie, let's get someone who already knows the lines"?
In which we invent a new word: HauserianKim Hollis: Undiscovered made $690,000. What is the moral of this story?
David Mumpower: The film was aptly named. Hiring Ashlee Simpson for anything is a mistake of Hauserian proportions. $690,000 worth of movie-goers have zero self-esteem. Supercross could have done worse last week. Is that enough morals for one rant?
Kim Hollis: It's always great when we can invent new words in the course of a column.
Reagen Sulewski: This probably should have been the pilot for a mid-season replacement on the WB.
Kim Hollis: I'm a little bit sad for Warren Peace, though.
Joel Corcoran: Who the hell is Pell James, anyway?
Kim Hollis: She was in Broken Flowers!
David Mumpower: I think she gives college grants to needy students, Joel.
Reagen Sulewski: I imagine Pell eyed her co-star Shannyn Sossamon with caution. "Remember me? I was the hottest thing in the world three years ago."
Joel Corcoran: My only regret is that Meiert Avis is going to get hammered for this film, undeservedly.
Kim Hollis: Who the hell is Meiert Avis, anyway?
David Mumpower: And how does Meiert pronounce her (?) name.
Joel Corcoran: I have no idea.
David Mumpower: I'm from Tennessee. I'm calling her Mert. If it's wrong, it's her parents fault, not mine.
Joel Corcoran: But she/he did a wonderful job with a great many U2 videos, and I was hoping for something better for him/her. Also, I say "My-eart." Sounds more European.
David Mumpower: As in My-eart is broken by the performance of Undiscovered.
Kim Hollis: Apparently My-eart is a man, baby!
Joel Corcoran: Well, you learn something new every day.
Enemies of BOP should immediately cast Ashlee Simpson and Cole Hauser as leads in their next movieDavid Mumpower: Seriously, if Ashlee Simpson were cast in a porno film, Vivid stock would be the new Enron. She's a dark vortex of suckage from which there is no escape. On a sidenote, did Simpson speak her own lines or did she lip-synch them to someone else's voice dub?
Joel Corcoran: I was seriously surprised at the film earning less than a million. I mean, a million dollar opening requires only 100,000 kids from the MTV demographic, and they couldn't find that few to go?
Kim Hollis: And was there a hoedown in the film? I so can't wait for David to watch this one!
David Mumpower: Was there a hoe down? Yes, Ashlee Simpson. Please pay attention, Kim.
David Mumpower: My bottom ten films of 2005 are going to be my excuse when I wind up on a clock tower purifying the city.
Reagen Sulewski: It's sort of like Empire Records in its box office futility, Joel, which even had more up-and-comers, and no horrendously bad pop singers.
David Mumpower: Wouldn't it be funny if Undiscovered wound up being this generation's Heathers?
Joel Corcoran: Funny? No. I would lose all hope for this generation and just start concentrating on making sure the next one was brought up right.
Kim Hollis: Hey, Christian Slater's movies aren't doing that badly. Yet.
Joel Corcoran: See, I thought Empire Records was a pretty decent little film. Not great, but a fun way to spend an afternoon on the couch.
David Mumpower: The big mistake with casting Ashlee Simpson was that some producer found her to be a fun way to spend an afternoon on the couch.