The Manchurian Candidate

Release Date: July 30, 2004

Is this Man on Fire almost Out of Time?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
10/92 David Mumpower Darker than an eclipse...and I like it that way.
20/126 Kim Hollis Gripping socio-political commentary. Liev Schrieber deserves to be a much bigger star.
25/55 Reagen Sulewski Fantastic acting in this one (especially Meryl Streep) but it does suffer a bit in comparison to the original. The convention scenes are actually quite awful.
43/48 Les Winan Completely unnecessary. Particularly when built around Denzel playing the same character as in every other Denzel movie.
66/133 Dan Krovich Very good, but feels a bit long

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I found one of my all-time favorite movies during the closing of the historic Key Theatre in Washington, D.C. During the final days of the city's last independent movie house, the theater owners showed films that had played over its 24 year history. The Manchurian Candidate intrigued me like few other movies had. The late John Frankenheimer directed a taut, suspenseful film. Knowing her only from her Murder, She Wrote years, I was astounded at the sinister and cunning Angela Lansbury played. Nor had I ever been a fan of Frank Sinatra, yet I thought he too was very effective as the hero.

In Fall 2003, Paramount will begin production on a remake of the classic movie. Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and Liev Schriber reprise the roles of Lansbury, Sinatra, and Laurence Harvey.

The new production will be updated to reflect modern times, yet the plot remains the same. Two soldiers serving in the Persian Gulf War (instead of the Korean War in the original) are kidnapped and brainwashed. The fates of the two are intertwined again years later against the backdrop of a political campaign.

Jonathan Demme directs. After his high-profile turns at the helm of The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, Demme's films have not fared well. He brought a remake of The Truth About Charlie to the screen in 2002, and even with Mark Wahlberg in the lead, the film brought in a paltry $5 million. His 1998 adpatation of Toni Morrison's Beloved, while critically praised, took in only $22 million at the box office. For The Manchurian Candidate, Demme will work from a script by screenwriter Daniel Pyne (Any Given Sunday, The Sum of All Fears).

Looking at comparison films for The Manchurian Candidate, I was surprised to see the box office history of Denzel Washington. One of the more established actors working today, with a good deal of popular and critical appeal, Washington has yet to star in a film opening over $25 million. The Manchurian Candidate might be his best shot. (Tony Kollath/BOP)

September 15, 2003
Kimberly Elise, Denzel's co-star from the "Wait, HMOs *don't* care about patients?!" melodrama John Q, has joined the cast as Denzel's love interest. It will be interesting to see if this version of the character is more comprehensible than the one played by Janet Leigh in the original movie. (Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Manchurian Candidate
Main Cast Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington
Supporting Cast Liev Schreiber, Viola Davis, Kimberly Elise, Jon Voight
Director Jonathan Demme
Screenwriter Daniel Pyne
Distributor Paramount
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 2,867
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Manchurian Candidate
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Bourne Identity, The 6/14/0227.12 28.19 2638 10281.00 10281.0 121.47 126.29 4.48
John Q 2/15/0223.61 24.54 2466 9575.00 9575.0 71.03 73.84 3.01
Training Day 10/5/0122.55 24.06 2712 7315.00 7509.2 76.26 81.39 3.38
Remember the Titans 9/29/0020.91 23.39 1865 11212.00 12064.9 115.60 129.32 5.53
Bone Collector, The 11/5/9916.71 19.91 2590 6452.00 7366.5 66.49 79.23 3.98
Siege, The 11/6/9813.93 17.90 2541 5482.00 6779.4 40.93 52.62 2.94
Silence of the Lambs * 2/15/9113.77 19.72 1497 9198.00 12671.8 130.73 187.24 9.39
Philadelphia * 1/14/9413.70 20.24 1245 11004.00 15642.9 77.32 114.27 5.57
Any Given Sunday 12/24/9913.58 16.18 2505 5421.00 6189.3 75.53 90.00 5.04
Hurricane, The 1/14/009.01 10.07 1465 6150.00 6617.8 50.67 56.68 4.43
Beloved 10/16/988.17 10.50 1501 5443.00 6731.2 22.84 29.36 2.80
Antwone Fisher 1/10/033.78 3.78 1007 3757.00 3757.0 21.08 21.08 3.82
Adaptation 1/10/032.64 2.64 560 4709.00 4709.0 22.50 22.50 6.04
Truth About Charlie, The 10/25/022.27 2.36 753 3015.00 3015.0 5.29 5.50 2.33



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