Kingdom of Heaven

Release Date: May 6, 2005

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, July 13, 2004
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Hey, is that Keira Knightley?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
37/60 Les Winan Not as bad as the box office would indicate. Liam Neeson has cornered the market on wise father figures.
151/166 David Mumpower A film so misguided it makes me long for the halcyon days of 2004's Alexander.

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Noted director Ridley Scott caught lightning in a bottle in 2000, when he turned a fictional tale about a Gladiator into a massive box office hit and an Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

Scott followed up this triumph by creating the blockbuster Silence of the Lambs sequel, Hannibal. At the time of its release, the return of Hannibal Lecter shattered the records for February and R-rated opening along the way to earning nearly $170 million in domestic receipts.

Next up was the critically acclaimed Black Hawk Down, a powerful tale of a military disaster in a foreign country that co-starred any number of rising Hollywood actors. To the surprise and disappointment of many, the movie was shut out of a Best Picture nomination. Scott had to settle for the impressive $108 million in box office along with a couple of technical Oscars and another Best Director nod that didn't lead to a win in the category.

For the genius behind Alien and Blade Runner, losing is nothing new. Scott is now 0 for 3 in the category including a loss for Gladiator that still remains inexplicable to many.

Sir Ridley's most recent directorial effort was the cerebral Matchstich Men. The film deftly addressed the concept of how a con artist would handle the difficulties of fatherhood, particularly in that awkward instance where the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree professionally. Matchstick Men earned solid box office of roughly $37 million, but it stopped Scott's streak of $100 million movies at three.

How then does one of the greatest living directors follow up a financially disappointing movie and a string of respected but Academy dissed action films? He asks a studio for $110 million, and he gets right back on the horse again.

Kingdom of Heaven is the fruition of a long discussed but never implemented concept in Hollywood circles. It's a movie about the Crusades. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in particular has frequently been rumored to frontline such a production. In the end, though, he waited too long and grew too long in the tooth to play any action hero not named The Terminator.

Kingdom of Heaven instead has new blood in the title roles. Everyone's favorite archer, Orlando Bloom, takes time out from his busy schedule of looking like Sideshow Luke Perry to star here. He plays a peasant blacksmith living in Jerusalem who we are certain is completely different from the young blacksmith he played in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

The effeminate yet arguably still macho Bloom will seek to become a knight who fends off foreign invaders seeking to take control of the holy land. While our hero is not busy fighting evil, he will somehow manage to find time to woo the princess of the city he is protecting.

Yes, the story sounds cliché, but the good news here is that the fetching Eva Green, last seen giving twins a saucy name in The Dreamers, will portray the princess. This damsel in distress awaits the arrival of the Italian plumber who will save her and teach her how to jump on koopas, ride go-karts and play golf. Or something like that.

Kingdom of Heaven is embracing its natural similarities to Scott's previous success story, Gladiator. The 66-year-old director seeks to get the Oscar win here that eluded him in that otherwise perfect project. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Kingdom of Heaven
Main Cast Orlando Bloom, Eva Green
Supporting Cast David Thewlis, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Alexander Siddig, Jouko Ahola
Director Ridley Scott
Screenwriter William Monahan
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 145 minutes
Screen Count 3,216
Awards Awards page for Kingdom of Heaven
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Kingdom of Heaven
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Lord of the Rings, The: The Return of the King 12/19/0372.62 72.62 3703 19614.00 19614.0 377.02 377.02 0.00
Lord of the Rings, The: The Two Towers 12/20/0261.50 63.94 3622 16980.00 16980.0 340.48 353.99 4.89
Lord of the Rings, The: The Fellowship of the Ring 12/21/0147.21 50.38 3359 14055.00 14428.1 313.84 334.96 6.06
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl 7/11/0346.63 46.63 3269 14264.00 14264.0 305.41 305.41 0.00
Gladiator 5/5/0034.82 38.95 2938 11852.00 12753.5 186.61 208.76 5.36
Black Hawk Down 1/18/0233.63 34.96 3101 10844.00 10844.0 108.58 112.89 3.17
Braveheart * 5/26/9512.91 17.89 2035 6344.00 8458.7 75.59 104.78 5.65



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