Monday Morning Quarterback Part One
By BOP Staff
January 9, 2006
Hostel stars Jay Fernandez, Derek Richardson and Eythor Gudjonsson.Kim Hollis: Hostel made $20.1 million this weekend, making it the second consecutive Lionsgate horror film to open at the number one spot. Can you name an actor from this film?
David Mumpower: Does Quentin Tarantino have a bit part as Angry Magazine Stand Customer? If not, no.
Tim Briody: There was that one guy...you know the one, he was in that...other movie...with...that chick. Oh, hell.
Reagen Sulewski: Well there's Johnny Whatsisname and Sally Whosits...
David Mumpower: Why should we name the actors anyway? They can't even spell the movie right. It should have been Hostile!
Kim Hollis: Well, I know Jay Hernandez is in it. You might know him from such roles as Football Player Guy in Friday Night Lights and Baseball Player Guy in The Rookie.
David Mumpower: Is he Basketball Player Guy in Hostel/Hostile?
Reagen Sulewski: I hope for their sakes they aren't running off and buying Hummers and mansions based on this weekend.
Lionsgate: Now with less guff, more snuff.David Mumpower: I'm starting to think Lionsgate could open a snuff film to $20 million. Reality programming is very in, after all.
Kim Hollis: I thought Hostel was a snuff film.
Tim Briody: I wouldn't be surprised if they start holding random drawings for people to star in their next $20 million opener.
David Mumpower: Great idea, Tim! It works perfectly in combination with my idea. They're probably drumming up financing for The Lottery as we speak.
Kim Hollis: There's a short story that's begging for another adaptation.
Reagen Sulewski: All they need is a government that's willing to look the other way in exchange for some high profile exposure.
David Mumpower: The good news: you get to star in a Lionsgate feature. The bad news: we will kill you. Our lawyers want us to be clear on this point. You will die.
Kim Hollis: To what do we attribute Hostel's success?
David Mumpower: Angry teens dealing with frustrating hormone issues love to see people die onscreen. Love it.
Reagen Sulewski: The sicker the better, apparently.
Tim Briody: Tim Briody: Also: they were bored...and Narnia and King Kong were too touchy-feely.
David Mumpower: Human sex toys are particularly appealing at that age.
Kim Hollis: Quentin Tarantino's endorsement surely didn't hurt.
David Mumpower: Plus, they've had previous success watching Tarantino films involving gimps.
Tim Briody: Somebody out there must have liked the marketing. I viewed it similarly to White Noise's breakout last January.
David Mumpower: If readers of this column have learned nothing else, it should be that cheap, well-marketed horror is the easiest money in the industry. That's why we saw two dozen horror films last year, almost all of which sucked but were profitable.
Kim Hollis: Lionsgate will keep cranking out $3-5 million slasher things until people stop buying.
Reagen Sulewski: They really went out of their way to make it look and sound like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.
More Saws than a Home DepotTim Briody: I imagine the Saw III script doesn't have a word written yet, but they've already got it written in for a fall release.
Kim Hollis: Which is more or less how Saw II went. *And* they can increase the budget by like a million each time!
David Mumpower: They're just hanging out at serial killer message boards and writing down the best (?) posts.
Kim Hollis: Narnia tallied $15.4 million and has earned $247.6 million domestically. It is within sight of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for second place out of 2005 releases. Will it get there? How impressed are you by its performance?
David Mumpower: I'm more impressed by how emphatically it has slapped down King Kong. I always expected this to be a $250-$275 million title but its ease of victory in December is impressive. I guess that's more of a statement about Kong's failure than its success, though.
Reagen Sulewski: I think Potter is safely out of reach at this point, as all the pre-Christmas stuff, and especially family stuff, falls off the face of the Earth about this time. Still, it's a very impressive run.
Tim Briody: It'll come up a little short, but it's an awesome performance.
Kim Hollis: And it will see a nice, long life on video, too. It's a terrific family film that I expect to be very popular in that regard.
David Mumpower: The highest praise any of us can give it is that The Silver Chair is being rushed into production in a similar fashion to what we were just joking about with Saw II.
Tim Briody: And it's a smart move, all kidding aside.
David Mumpower: That's right, Kim. It's probably going to be a mini-Incredibles in the DVD market.
Reagen Sulewski: You gotta hurry before the trend gets stomped into the ground, after all.
David Mumpower: It's strange. Sequels the year after the original's release used to be a once a decade deal. Now it seems like we get three of them a year.
Kim Hollis: And Walden Media is very good at rushing through production but in a quality manner. They're the Clint Eastwood of production houses.
Kong is long. Not like that, perverts.Kim Hollis: King Kong earned another $12.5 million this weekend, bringing its running total to $192.5 million. Is there any way to paint this total as something other than hugely disappointing?
Tim Briody: Perhaps we declared the Curse of Naomi Watts to be ended a bit prematurely?
David Mumpower: No, it's not a bomb but King Kong has made pretty much the least possible amount of money considering all it had going for it.
Kim Hollis: 'Twas the three hour run time killed the beast.
Reagen Sulewski: It's close to $400 million internationally already so I doubt that Peter Jackson will have to sell pencils anytime soon. He's not getting to choose the length of his film next time, though.
David Mumpower: If you're reading this and you work at a studio, I implore you to hear what I'm saying here. Please oh please oh please stop with the three hour run-times. You make movies feel like work instead of entertainment when you do this. I am quite confident I speak for the overwhelming majority of flyover state consumers with regards to this particular point.
Reagen Sulewski: Really, I think it got Hulked by its initial teaser.The FX looked a bit dodgy and no amount of raves could change that perception until it got out to the public.
Tim Briody: For god's sake, man, leave some stuff on the cutting room floor! That's what the Special Edition DVD is for!
That's the last time BOP cuts Peter Jackson any slack.David Mumpower: In hindsight, BOP gave King Kong far too much benefit of the doubt with our last edition of Monday Morning Quarterback. We kept waiting for a recovery which never really came.
Tim Briody: We're sorry! Really.
Kim Hollis: In all seriousness, almost every person I've spoken to who isn't a huge, huge movie fan has made note of the run time. When people who don't follow movies super closely are aware that three hours is an issue, you know it's a big deal. And like Tim, I'm ready to concede that I was wrong about Kong. It's not a spectacular failure, but I do think we have to see it as under-performing relative to realistic expectations.
Tim Briody: Right, I don't think it's a bomb at all. You would just think that King Kong + Peter Jackson fresh off the Oscar and hobbits would equal a much larger box office.
David Mumpower: The run length was even more problematic this particular year since the calendar configuration quirk eliminated otherwise stellar holiday business. Someone at Universal has a lot of explaining to do in this regard. You've got a $205 million production at stake. Would it have killed you to open your daybook planner for a minute?
Reagen Sulewski: There was a peculiar rush to be the first to kill Kong. There was a report on Thursday already that it was bombing, albeit from Fox News, who had more than a little at stake there. It very nearly snowballed from there.
Reagen Sulewski: It definitely felt like one of those "Hollywood eats its own" scenarios where they wanted to bring him down a couple of pegs.
David Mumpower: In hindsight, I think the other thing that really hurt King Kong was the glowing nature of early reviews. The production was done a disservice by people unwilling to acknowledge that the length was an issue. A few accurate assessments about the dinosaur and boat sequences could have helped a lot. In my opinion, a two and a half hour film would have made $50 million more by now. The stigma of the three hours combined with the fact that it's not as great as advertised hurt a lot.
Less shock collar, more rubber face.Kim Hollis: Fun with Dick and Jane made $12.2 million and has a running total of $81.4 million. How would you describe this performance?
Tim Briody: Not that fun. I think it might have been too high concept for Jim Carrey fans.
Kim Hollis: Given the buzz surrounding the film, I think $81 million is about as much as they should have hoped for.
David Mumpower: After a shaky early start, it's mostly recovered. It will wind up making around $100 million and while that's not a huge performance, it's acceptable. The DVD sales will turn it into a winner, I would expect.
Reagen Sulewski: More high concept than "Jim gets the power of God"?
David Mumpower: I think the biggest criticism I can give of the film is that I laughed the hardest at the dedication to Enron at the end.
Tim Briody: But he was goofy in the commercials!
Reagen Sulewski: I'm moderately surprised by its staying power, especially with the schizonphrenic ad campaign which never seemed to be sure if it was about then down on their luck or busy being petty criminals.
David Mumpower: Shock collars are not as funny to North American audiences as Sony had anticipated. I hope this doesn't affect any of their plans for the PS3.
Kim Hollis: Though the PSP might be *more* fun had they included one.
David Mumpower: Judging from the reports about the Xbox 360's overheating issues, they might have tried.