The Time Machine

Release Date: March 8, 2002

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This is a remake of the 1960 film based on the writings of H. G. Wells. Note that it is *not* a remake of the 1979 film Time After Time, so we will not see Jack the Ripper. Guy Pearce follows up his exquisite work in Memento with this film that has one unique twist to the usual remake: The director is, in fact, the great-grandson of Herbert George Wells, so he will have a bit more of a vested interest in this one than most. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish the shoot due to exhaustion, so Gore Verbinski, recently of The Mexican fame, completed the last two weeks of filming in his absence. That alone is a danger sign, but the remake itself could be a good one.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this classic tale, a Victorian-era inventor creates a time travel machine that sends him 800,000 years into the future. In this advanced world, society has been broken down into two different evolved human species, the Morlocks and the Eloi. The former group is nocturnal and predatory in nature and feeds off of the latter group. The time traveler interacts with both species, and discovers that the cannibal group has stolen his time machine, so he must go underground to their cavernous realm and attempt to get back to it in order to go home.

This is a classic sci-fi tale that will make for just as interesting a remake a century from now as it does in 2001, because the look of the future in 800,000 years will always allow for interpretation. If we combine that knowledge with the continuous improvement of special effects in movie-making, The Time Machine will always offer a chance at a great sci-fi update, with an ability to comment on current sociopolitical concerns.

With regard to box office, the teaser is, *ahem*, vague, so we're still flying blind. It's a special-effects film opening on Christmas Day, so people will have ample opportunity to see it that week if there is demand for it. Since the director is unproven and Jeremy Irons is the only other famous co-star, analysis of business is premature, but attached are some comparison films for your perusal. Contact is the only one I think has any real use as a data point. (David Mumpower/BOP)

September 17, 2001
DreamWorks has pushed The Time Machine back to February 8, 2002. The schedule change was actually made on September 10th, the day before the terrorist attacks, and the decision was made to do so because December was so crowded with releases. Apparently the ending of the film will be reshot, though, as its original ending featured pieces of the moon falling on New York City.

October 13, 2001
In a second release date push, DreamWorks shifted The Time Machine's opening bow to early March. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Time Machine
Main Cast Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Phyllida Law
Supporting Cast Laura Kirk, Josh Stamberg, John W. Momrow, Sienna Guillory
Director Simon Wells
Screenwriter John Logan
Distributor Warner Bros.
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 96 minutes
Screen Count 2,958
Also see Stephanie Star Smith reviews the teaser trailer
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Time Machine
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Matrix Reloaded, The 5/16/0391.77 91.77 3603 25471.00 25471.0 281.91 281.91 2.61
Star Trek: First Contact 11/22/9630.72 41.91 2812 10925.00 14336.0 91.98 125.48 2.99
Matrix, The 4/2/9927.78 33.10 2849 9751.00 11133.0 171.38 204.23 5.82
Hollow Man 8/4/0026.41 29.54 2956 8934.00 9613.6 73.21 81.90 2.77
Starship Troopers 11/7/9722.06 28.98 2971 7425.00 9382.4 54.72 71.88 2.48
Contact 7/11/9720.58 27.03 1923 10702.00 13523.2 100.92 132.57 4.90
Dungeons and Dragons 12/8/007.24 8.09 2078 3484.00 3749.0 15.19 16.99 2.10
Galaxy Quest ^ 12/25/997.01 8.35 2412 2906.00 3317.9 70.26 83.72 10.02
Dracula 2000 12/22/006.23 6.96 2204 2827.00 3042.0 33.00 36.91 3.82
Thirteenth Floor, The 5/28/993.33 3.96 1815 1835.00 2095.1 11.80 14.06 2.76



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