Agent Cody Banks

Release Date: March 14, 2003

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If Agent Cody Banks sounds awfully similar to the recent Spy Kids series, that’s probably not accidental. MGM has had a rough go of it in recent years, so it’s only natural that they would look to a family-flick as a potential cash cow.

Give them credit, though. If the film seems to be a bit of a knockoff, they’ve done a fine job of casting the teen lead. Frankie Muniz continues to enjoy a lot of popularity as his Malcolm in the Middle remains a staple of Fox’s Sunday night television lineup. He’s a young man with a great deal of charisma and a fine sense of comic timing and it’s almost certain that the relative success of Big Fat Liar ($47.8 million gross against a $15 million budget) can be at least partially attributed to his presence in the film.

There’s not much else to commend the film other than the promise of plenty of high-tech gadgetry. Directed by Harald Zwart (of the disastrous One Night at McCool’s), Agent Cody Banks tells the story of a teenager who is recruited by the U.S. government to become a unique breed of special agent - a kid who can be sent in on missions where adults are simply “too old” to accomplish the prime directive. His primary co-star is Hilary Duff, star of the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire. She’s not widely known beyond that small, targeted demographic (the show is by no means a phenomenon), but even so, there’s still a movie based on that series in the works.

Working with a budget of $20 million, the director has managed more than 250 visual effects shots. For films in the spy genre, such effects are practically a necessity, so it will be important to see if Agent Cody Banks can do anything to set itself apart in this area. If potential audiences see it as just a stale copycat of a film that already produced a sequel, it will probably suffer some backlash. MGM will need to tread that line very carefully once it sets the marketing campaign in gear - and will probably be better served to target Malcolm fans rather than trying to recapture the magic of Spy Kids. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Agent Cody Banks
Main Cast Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff
Supporting Cast Angie Harmon, Judge Reinhold, Arnold Vosloo
Director Harald Zwart
Screenwriter Jeffrey Jurgensen, rewrites by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz
Distributor MGM
Rating PG
Running Time 102 minutes
Screen Count 3,369
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Agent Cody Banks
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Spy Kids 3/30/0126.55 28.33 3104 8552.00 8779.0 106.26 113.41 4.00
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams 8/9/0216.71 17.37 3307 5053.00 5053.0 85.63 89.02 4.63
Big Fat Liar 2/8/0211.55 12.00 2531 4565.00 4565.0 47.81 49.70 4.14
Harriet the Spy 7/12/966.61 9.01 1826 3620.00 4750.2 26.54 36.20 3.57
My Dog Skip 3/3/005.86 6.55 2331 2514.00 2705.2 34.10 38.14 5.70



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