Category Archives: Box Office

The Simpsons Movie and The Brevity of Spider Pig

I could write a full review of The Simpsons Movie, which I took in yesterday afternoon, but I’m going to link you over to The Elder’s review over at McNutt Against the Music. Essentially, we both agreed: the film was derivative in almost every way, and yet was really quite funny, entertaining and worth the money. At this point in time the film’s impact is limited by the level to which the series has run potential storylines into the ground; there was nothing fresh to be found, no character stone left unturned. In the end, however, they milked every last drop of humour they could out of America’s favourite family, and the result was an engaging motion picture.

And engage it did: the film garnered a staggering $72 Million opening weekend. The Elder argued that this wasn’t too surprising, but analysts were much more modest with their predictions. The Simpsons are one of those properties where its current fan base is young, its largest fan base is in limbo between childhood and adulthood, and it’s kind of impossible to know how the demographics will turn out. Either way, they turned out, and Fox is laughing all the way to the bank.

One thing I do want to say about the film is how impressed I am by one segment in particular: Spider Pig. This was a big hit in trailers and commercials, and the internet has embraced it fully. I, at worst, wasn’t convinced: it seemed like just a lame gag. However, it is handled effortlessly in the film. When the writers conceived the idea, it was likely just a bit piece, and that is how it stayed.

YouTube – “Spider Pig”

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Weekend Box Office (June 1st-3rd) – Insert “Knocked Up” Pun Here

Well, while it wasn’t #1 at the Box Office this weekend, the big story from the weekend’s box office is the success of Knocked Up, director Judd Apatow’s follow-up to the 40 Year Old Virgin. With rave reviews (It’s the highest rated wide-opening film of the year on Metacritic) and positive word of mouth, the film basically made back its entire budget at the box office this weekend with its solid #2 finish. How’d the Top 5 go down?

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

$43, 188,000 (-62%)

Total: $216 Million

The 3rd Pirates film falls hard in its second weekend, although not as poorly as Spider-Man 3 percentage wise. Still, after opening weaker, the film looks to struggle in order to match the box office receipts of even the 1st Pirates film.

2. Knocked Up

$29,284,000 (NEW)

Total: $29,284,000

Seth Rogen steps into his first leading role and knocks it out of the park with this one, opening over 40% stronger than Steve Carell’s The 40 Year Old Virgin. This opening proves that word of mouth still has a role to play in this day and age, and with some strong holds over the coming weeks the film could perhaps outperform the 100+ Million of its predecessor. Standing in the way, however, is Ocean’s 13 opening next weekend.

3. Shrek the Third

$26,704,000 (-49.7%)

Total: $254,611,000

It’s a decent drop off for Shrek the Third this week, although there are still concerns as to whether it can continue at this pace. Certainly, with a glut of competition, the film isn’t quite able to provide as much staying power as its predecessor. The real test will be how it can perform against next week’s Surf’s Up. Cute penguins may just be Shrek’s downfall after all, it appears. The road seems clear, however, for Ratatouille unless Surf’s Up is a blockbuster success.

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‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ Box Office Watch – Weekend Totals

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Box Office Watch

Tuesday, May 29th – Day “Four”

Okay, so I missed a day: yesterday was a testament to my complete and utter inability to move normally thanks to some incredibly sore limbs. I’m in a great deal of pain, it’s no fun at all.

I’m at work, and thus can’t update the above image to reflect it, but Pirates ended up making $142 Million (Est.) over the 4-day Memorial Day Weekend. This puts it as the highest Memorial Day Opening of all time, and its worldwide totals will be equally impressive.

However, the film will likely suffer from a strong downturn next weekend; not only is the conclusion to the trilogy not quite as likely to see repeat viewings compared to Dead Man’s Chest, but it also faces a strong new competitor in Knocked Up. A stiff drop and a strong debut from Knocked Up will be a tough combo for Pirates if things don’t go its way.

I might update later with final weekend figures, which should be available mid-afternoon.

Sunday, May 27th – Day Three

I apologize for the delay in this update, but I was actually out seeing the film for myself (The Verdict: Better than the 2nd, but doesn’t redeem the two films as much as it could have). It was rough seas for the film’s box office receipts, though, as it failed to live up to lofty expectations (Although it will still come out alright when the Memorial Day totals come in tomorrow).

The film racked up $112 Million over the three-day weekend, which puts it below the recent total of Shrek the Third but just barely ahead of Spider-Man’s old record. This is a solid weekend haul (And great if you combine it with Thursday’s total for $126 Million), but it has yet to be seen just how well the film can hold on Memorial Day. As some anecdotal evidence, the 11:45am screening here in Halifax was mildly full, but as a whole the parking lot seemed empty as we left (Weather’s nice, I reckon). And it’s not even a holiday weekend here.

On top of this, Variety reports that Pirates has crossed the $200 Million mark worldwide, which is a solid total if not one rivaling Spider-Man 3’s epic cume earlier this month. Still, the film is playing well with audiences for now, and will surely avoid box office failure. Let the race between the threequels begin: Shrek just crossed $200 Million, while Spidey creeped over $300 itself. The game is afoot.

Saturday, May 26th – Day Two

From BoxOfficeMojo, Pirates scored a $43 Million opening Friday. This puts its total at $60,000,000, which is $4.2 Million higher than Dead Man’s Chest through this point. It does, however, mean that the film only managed the 5th Highest Opening Day of all time. Still, it puts it on pace for an expectedly strong weekend total, and it should hold well into the holiday weekend.

Friday, May 25th – Day One

After Dead Man’s Chest the box office afire just last year, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End arrives in theatres after two record-breaking blockbusters (Spider-Man 3 and Shrek 3, respectively). It’s the third sequel in four weeks, and moviegoers could be burned out…but it doesn’t seem likely. Here at Cultural Learnings, we’re going to follow the film’s progress as it attempts to break a few records of its own. We’ll be updating it as we go along, so stick around for all the latest info.

Today usually doesn’t bring news, but Pirates officially opened last night (a last minute decision made a month ago by Disney in order to try to squeeze in as many screenings as possible). The result? An extremely solid $17 Million, which ranks as the 7th highest Thursday of all time. Why is this impressive?

Well, because there was only 2/3 as many theatres last night as there will be today, and yesterday didn’t include any mid-day showings. This bodes well for the potency of the film’s box office, as long as the early release doesn’t spread too much negative buzz. For now, though, people are flocking to the cineplexes this evening as the Memorial Day Weekend kicks off in the States.

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Spider-Man 3: Box Office Predictions

Spider-Man 3 swings into the box office today…well, last night really, spreading a web of epic proportions with its over 4200 screens (An industry record). However, puns aside, how large will the film really be? The film doesn’t seem as necessary as Spider-Man 2 did, and the reviews are reflecting it: it’s sitting at a barely fresh 62% on Rotten Tomatoes (Compared to 90+ for Spidey 2), and is at 59 on Metacritic. While mediocre reviews certainly didn’t sink Jack Sparrow last summer, I don’t think that this sequel feels as urgent as even Dead Man’s Chest. Spider-Man has been a series that, while appealing to comic book fans, have also been widely respected as some of the best super hero films to date. And now, with that pedigree gone according to reviewers, will this film be unable to live up to its North American success?

My prediction?

Myles’ Spider-Man 3 Box Office Prediction

[Drumroll please…]


Based on the international success thus far, the marketing steamroller has been effective enough to make for a big opening weekend tally. However, it should be known that my prediction has it falling short of Pirates 2’s opening weekend record. Still, it’s a huge opening that isn’t likely to be too dampened by the reviews. Any of the effects from those will be seen in the following weekends, especially when Shrek 3 opens in two week’s time.

What is everyone else predicting?

Box Office Guru – $140,000,000

Box Office Report – $145,000,000

Am I not giving it enough credit? Will fans turn out even without good reviews (They did go see X3, after all)? Is Venom enough of a draw to overcome the film’s problems? Only time will tell: specifically, mere hours from now when we get the results from the Midnight showings. I’ll update with that info when it comes in.

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Cultural News Bytes – May 2nd, 2007

Why WordPress Rocks

First today, an extensive thank you to the good people at WordPress support for dealing with some technical difficulties in fantastic fashion. I posted last evening’s Tuesday Night TV Society, and then I kind of disappeared from the site. In fact, I was no longer an administrator, and had basically lost control of the blog. As it was late and I was heading to bed (I really shouldn’t have been up blogging in the first place), I sent off a quick message to support and somewhat expected to be dealing with it throughout the day today.

Alas, this was not the case; I had an email from Mark when I woke up this morning, and logged on to find that I once again had control of the site. This basically means that the blog was down for an entire five hours or so. Mark was extremely apologetic, but honestly: where else would tech support on a blog host going to get things done in five hours (And what is technically the middle of the night out here on the East Coast)? Many thanks to Mark and everyone at WordPress for creating such a fantastic environment. I tip my hat to you.

9 Minutes of Rat-a-too-ee

It’s Disney’s big hope for the mid-summer months, and it’s Pixar’s first film completed under complete Disney/Pixar partnership. Ratatouille began as a project under Jan Pinvaka, director of the Oscar-winning short Geri’s Game, but was radically revamped starting early last year when Brad Bird ended his vacation early to take over the project. The result was a complete story overhaul and likely a completely different film. That film, it seems, is coming along quite nicely. For those of you who watched American Idol last night (In both Canada and the US, since I also saw this), you saw an extended commercial for the film which taught you how to say its title, and sent you to in order to watch a 9-Minute preview of the film.

This is an interesting strategy, considering that it is basically advertising their advertising campaign. However, it’s probably the right way to go in terms of getting the word out about this film. It is lacking a gimmick, an immediate appeal, outside of its Pixar quality. It is the first Pixar film since The Incredibles to really feature human characters and it lacks that film’s built-in superhero audience. Ratatouille has a confusing title, a rat as its lead character, Paris as its setting, and in many ways it’s an unmarketable film…but don’t tell that to the 9-Minute clip on Disney’s website.

For me, it’s everything Cars wasn’t. Cars was really very lifeless, if I had to lodge a single complaint in its direction. The landscapes were luscious, but the cars just didn’t convey emotion except within its supporting characters (Mater and Guido were the only ones who really stuck with me). Its action scenes were beautiful and impressive, but didn’t have the frenetic pace and energy we saw in The Incredibles…but it’s all here. There is emotion that is mature, understandable, touching. There is action that carries the story forward and seems exciting, meaningful, and beautifully animated. I now can’t help but be excited for this film’s release, much more so than any of the multitude of sequels which surround it.

Ratatouille opens on June 29th. I can now spell it without checking it; with any luck, millions more will be able to do the same soon.

The Fate of Scrubs

There’s usually a few hits a day on my post regarding the need for NBC to cancel Scrubs, and here’s a bit of an update. According to Variety, NBC aired commercials on Monday promoting the “final episodes” of Scrubs airing on Thursdays. Considering the show’s budget, and the multi-million dollar deal signed by Zach Braff, NBC really isn’t in any position to keep a show that, after losing its post-Office time slot to 30 Rock, was defeated by the Freshman drama in key demos and total viewers. On a basic level, Scrubs is not going to be on NBC in the fall (especially for the reason that we’ll discuss Re: The Office on Thursday).

However, considering that ABC signed Braff’s contract (They own, produce and distribute the show), all signs point to ABC picking it up. They’ve been looking for a comedy hit for ages, and with According to Jim and George Lopez on their last legs and with three failed comedies (Knights of Prosperity, In Case of Emergency, Notes from the Underbelly) this season, a known success would be key. Variety notes that it could still be too expensive, but ABC is in such a bad comedy state that they’ll spend the money just to be able to air the show’s final season.

So, fans of the show should be holding their breath for seeing another season of the show, but don’t bet on the peacock.

Spider-Man 3 Opens Strong Internationally

Watch today for initial opening-day results from its European tallies, but early word from Asia is that Spider-Man 3 will continue the franchise’s overseas success at the very least. It set records in Japan, Hong Kong and China, and is likely to do similar business across Europe. When it opens on Friday, it will be the widest opening ever…which basically means that its success is guaranteed. It’s funny, really: I can’t really get excited about this film, and yet it never had a chance to fail. It’s got nothing opening against it, this past weekend as an abysmal one for the domestic box office so there’s no holdover competition in the least, and there’s nothing opening on May 11th to challenge it. Basically, until Shrek 3, Spider-Man 3 can destroy the box office with no real competition. The really interesting opening will probably be Shrek 3, as I think it’s the least necessary sequel and stuck in the middle of Spidey and Sparrow (Pirates 3)…but who am I kidding? They’ll all make hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Box Office ‘Disturbia’ (April 14-16) – Friday Estimates, Projections

You see, sometimes the Box Office needs to make up its bloody mind. The past year has seen internet-focused films like Grindhouse and Snakes on a Plane fail to meet expectations, struggling to emerge from their internet-audience into a broader spectrum. And yet, this weekend has marked the success of a film that had little-to-no mainstream hype, a plot ripped almost straight from Rear Window (Although you could do far worse than Hitchcock), no truly mainstream lead, and a limited marketing push on television coupled with an extensive internet advertising campaign centered on sites like Ain’t It Cool News. That film was Disturbia.

Friday Estimates – Top 5

1. Disturbia -$8.7 Million

2. Blades of Glory – $4.3 Million (-50.8%)

3. Perfect Stranger – $3.9 Million

4. Meet the Robinsons – $3.1 Million (-54.3%)

5. Are We Done Yet? – 2.4 Million (-55.3%)

6. Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior – $1.7 Million

8. Redline – $1.4 Million

10. Grindhouse – $1.3 Million (-73.9%)

11. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres – $1.3 Million

First off, I think this shall now be officially declared the Spring/Summer of Shia LaBeouf, considering that he’s starring in Transformers and will likely start shooting Indiana Jones 4 during this period. This 21-year old (He’s my age, this is terrifying) has made a name for himself as a talented actor and someone for the future, but that was all supposed to start with Transformers. That fact that Disturbia stands to make $23 Million or so is absolutely astonishing, and destroys most predictions made for the film’s box office fortunes. It’s a huge coup for Dreamworks, and should be a huge coup for young LeBeouf as well.

Perfect Stranger, the other big release, had Halle Berry and Bruce Willis…and yet more or less bombed. The reason is simple: the film didn’t look very good. Berry has yet to be a box office draw since her Oscar win, since X-Men had nothing to do with her, and people like to see Bruce Willis playing either sarcastic or full-on action here. This doesn’t do much to hurt Willis heading into Live Free or Die Hard, but Berry’s star is falling fast. Meanwhile, the other three debuts were, as expected, tepid at best. Crashing a fancy car did nothing for Redline’s box office fortunes, Karl Urban is unsurprisingly not a large enough draw to carry a Viking film, and ATHF did alright for a niche release.

Among holdovers, drops were high as expected due to last week’s Friday holiday, but films held on at fairly standard levels…except for Grindhouse. I singled it out for an absolutely disastrous week-over-week drop of 74%. The film has sunk, and whether Weinstein splits Grindhouse into two parts or not I just think that the films don’t have an audience big enough to make it work. It’s a fine piece of art, but people weren’t looking for art in their cinema.

So, what does this mean for the Top 5 Weekend totals? Without looking at sites which actually do this on a regular basis, here are my educated guesses:

Weekend Projections

1. Disturbia – $22.7 Million

2. Blades of Glory – $14.3 Million

3. Meet the Robinsons – $11.8 Million

4. Perfect Stranger – $10.1 Million

5. Are We Done Yet? – $8.1 Million

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Box Office (3/30-4/1) – Friday Estimates, Weekend Projections

Box Office Estimates and Projections

‘Blades’ achieves Box Office ‘Glory’

Friday, March 30th (

1. Blades of Glory – $12,065,000

2. Meet the Robinsons – $7,630,000

3. 300 – $3,380,000

4. Shooter – $2,525,000

5. TMNT – $2,520,000

Will Ferrell’s comedy vehicle ‘Blades of Glory’ easily skated away with the Friday box office battle, unsurprising considering the current lack of competition in the teen laugher category. Tracking higher than this year’s ‘Norbit’, the film looks to rack up a fair chunk of change. Disney’s ‘Meet the Robinsons’ is certainly not a bomb, looking to gross fairly well at the box office, but it is growing increasingly clearer that Disney just doesn’t have the same clout it used to. Meanwhile, the continued success of ‘300’, the decent 47% drop of Shooter, and the disastrous 71% drop for TMNT round out the Top 5. Projections are below.

Weekend Projections

1. Blades of Glory – $37.7 Million

2. Meet the Robinsons – $27.4 Million

3. 300 – $12.3 Million

4. TMNT – $9.5 Million

5. Shooter – $8.2 Million

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Cultural News Bytes – February 23rd

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve done one of these, but there are some smallish things that I want to cover before we head into the weekend.

Television – Thursday’s Ratings Battle

It was quite the night for television, as my rather epic edition of Thursday Night TV Club shows. As a result, let’s take a look at who was positively or negatively affected.

On the positive side, American Idol‘s one-hour results episode scored well, winning the 8pm (EST) hour quite easily. However, it wasn’t the highest rated episode of the night, as Grey’s Anatomy‘s cliffhanger regarding Meredith’s death scored big for ABC. I have to wonder whether or not people are tuning into results shows these days, knowing just how frustrating and dragged out they can be. Fox should really considering cutting them all down to a 1/2 hour, or else people might finally turn their back on the franchise. ABC also had themselves a winner at the 10pm hour, as Oprah Winfrey’s Oscar special held onto a decent chunk of its lead-in to win the lost.

While CSI and Shark performed well for CBS, Survivor did not fare quite so well. I think it’s really quite interesting that people seemed to turn away from it to Idol much more than from Earl/The Office (who performed only slightly lower than last week’s numbers). It’s not really surprising, the fanbase for Survivor is less rabid than that of the youth-oriented comedies, but it definitely does not bode well for Survivor’s future. The Apprentice has already lost every bit of success it once had, CBS has to be careful not to mess with its scheduling and ruin it all.

NBC may have had decent holds for Earl/Office, and similarly decent holds for Scrubs and 30 Rock, but E.R. took a fairly sizable hit at the 10pm hour against the steamroller that is Oprah Winfrey. ER has been holding out strongly in the timeslot, but it seems as if Shark is more capable of holding onto its CSI audience than ER is building one, especially when Oprah is involved. With another easy channel surf option, people don’t tend to turn to NBC at 10pm.

And, while it may have had its largest audience in a very long time, The O.C. died a quiet death in the ratings pool, dropping almost two thirds of its American Idol lead-in. The show never had a chance against CSI, let alone against both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy. The around seven million people who tuned were likely pleased by what they saw, but the fact remained that the show was never able to regain its cult status after its first season. Let’s just hope they don’t pull a 7th Heaven and decide to resurrect the show, which has proven to be a terrible experiment in futility.

The Ethics of Commercials featuring Robot Suicide

So, right after the Super Bowl I wrote about the GM commercial featuring a robot being fired and then, eventually, jumping off a bridge where he wakes up from his bad dream. I, personally, loved how strange and uncanny the commercial was; suicide prevention groups, however, felt differently. Since I had not been paying too much attention to this particular development, I had missed this important memo from February 11th, when it was announced that they would be editing the commercial. As a result, imagine my surprise when I saw the familiar commercial begin but then end without the bridge conclusion.

Now, while I see the point of the groups protesting the ad’s content, I don’t think that solution GM came up with really does then any good. As some have pointed out, the commercial isn’t really all that entertaining outside of the whole suicide stuff. A robot doing odd jobs isn’t that funny, robots getting fired is more depressing than it is hilarious…really, the only thing making the commercial even remotely stand out was the ending, which was just so bizarre that one couldn’t help but notice it.

By editing out the ending, the commercial is a bore. The message still doesn’t really get through, it doesn’t actually address the quality control issue, and doing odd jobs isn’t enough of a bad dream for the ending to have any resonance. I know they spent millions airing it during the Super Bowl, and a fair amount filming and conceiving it, but the fact of the matter is that without the suicide it isn’t worth the trouble. The commercial doesn’t do anything in its new state other than remind us of the old one; the band-aid solution only makes it boring, and that does not a good commercial make.

Cinema – Box Office Predictions

That’s right, time for some fearless box office predictions. Woot.

1. Ghost Rider – $23,500,000

2. The Number 23 – $23,232,323

3. Bridge to Teribithia – $15,500,000

4. Reno 911!: Miami– $12,000,000

5. Music and Lyrics – $10,500,000

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Cultural News Bytes – January 29th


The Muppet Show Meets The Office: The Return of Kermit to Primetime?

The Elder sent me this a link just now that some part of me knew about, but I forgot to head to Muppet Central recently and thus missed out on the details. It seems as if the Muppets may well be returning to television, as their Disney overlords are shopping around a 10-minute pilot featuring everyone’s favourite puppets.

The short pilot uses the television syntax of a documentary (think “The Office” meets “The Muppet Show“). The series revolves around Kermit the Frog as he attempts to reassemble the Muppet troupe and launch a new Muppet show. The mockumentary mini-series would feature fictional English filmmaker Ian Bascombe who, with his film crew, follow the daily happenings Kermit and the Muppets, both on and off stage. Bascombe finds that many of the classic Muppets have gone off to other venues since we last saw them and follows Kermit as the frog attempts to track them down and get the whole troupe back together.

Now, it is just a preview of a proposed mini-series that could then launch into a series, but there is some promise here. There is a sense of wit about a show like The Office that the Muppets have been lacking lately, and I think that it could bring broad comedic possibilities. That being said, I also think that it’s basically ripping off The Muppet Movie (Not the worst source material, but still) and that it will need to find some more ground to work on.

I think that the idea has potential, and I hope they at least go through with a mini-series. The Muppets deserve a chance to reconnect with today’s viewers, and this seems like the best concept to come along yet in terms of doing so. It is certainly better than the defunct America’s Next Muppet pilot they shot a few years back. There might already be two shows covering the backstage tomfoolery of variety shows, and there might have already been two versions of The Office, but I think that the Muppets can work it out.

Reality TV Gone Bad

So, for anyone who might be following the state of entertainment journalism on the internets, this might be repetition for you, but there’s an interesting little war brewing surrounding the amount of nostalgia being pumped into reality TV programming.

Reality Check for a Generation That Knows Best – Alessandra Stanley

New York Times TV reporter Stanley is basically arguing that reality TV, despite its apparent appeal to young audiences, tends to cater more to the nostalgic baby boomers.

“The larger cruelty of Fox’s “American Idol,” its NBC look-alike “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” “The Apprentice” and even “Armed and Famous” (Erik Estrada?!), is a generational snub. Reality television, which was originally created as a thumb-nosing alternative for the young (“The Real World”), has been co-opted by the baby boomers, who never miss a chance to assert their hegemony on popular culture.

It’s not so much that they watch the shows, though many do. It’s that reality television aims for younger viewers, 18 to 34, while subliminally underscoring and cementing their fealty to the relaxed-fit generation.

Whether it is a firing by Donald Trump or a personal attack by Mr. Cowell, each rejection is a symbolic re-enactment of an inter-era struggle in which the bullies always come out on top.”

Now, at first I wasn’t sure I necessarily bought that this struggle existed to the degree she claimed it did, and I was somewhat siding with Michael Slezak, who over at Entertainment Weekly’s Pop Watch noted the following:

“If I ever got 30 seconds to bend Stanley’s ear, I’d tell her this: Sometimes, TV is just TV… or occasionally, it’s HBO. And that’s not going to change — no matter how much highfalutin’ philosophizing people do about it. So please, for the love of Paula Abdul, stop trying to beat the fun out of my favorite programs, especially Idol. Thank you. That’s all.”

Perhaps it was my general appreciation for reality TV, but I somewhat agreed with his general statement if not his bashing of analyzing reality TV in general. I, of course, had not actually read the article in question. Or, as it turns out, seen the most recent episode of Grease: You’re the One That I Want.

If there was no generational battle going on there, I’m blind and deaf. You have young singers preparing for a role in a broadway musical, and what do they do? They have them singing popular music. And, not just somewhat popular music that works as broadway. There was a version of KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” that almost made be wretch. There was a version of “Summer of ’69” that honestly made me throw things and hope that they never try to stage a Bryan Adams musical in Toronto. But really, at this point in the competition who exactly is this show aiming for? The kids are going to be the ones voting, but the judges are indeed baby boomers. It was a difference that resulted in some absolutely terrible performances.

Because, really, they should be singing SHOW TUNES. It’s a BROADWAY MUSICAL. COME ON, PEOPLE! It’s not that hard to figure out that when judging someone’s ability to deal with broadway material, you shouldn’t be testing their ability to turn George Michael’s faith into something even more theatrical. Rather you should be testing their range with the type of song they’ll actually have to sing.

But, Show Tunes wouldn’t continue their charade of youth, would it? Really, if they didn’t allow for popular music, why would the kids watch it? The reality is that they wouldn’t, and there’s the problem. And, it’s why I’m on the side of the New York Times, all outside of one little quibble.

See, I like Ivanka. She’s attractive, intelligent, and good-humoured. Her comments are usually pointed, on-topic, and well-stated. This week’s lack of Ivanka was most depressing. In the end, she is surely overstated as she has to give her horribly staged “It was a tough decision, but you made the right one” speech, but I personally continue to see her as the actually intelligent one. I think that there is the ability for some of us to see through the power, see through the annoying hair, to those elements that are actually somewhat enjoyable.

Weekend Box Office Results

The predictions were a bit off this week, no question. People seem to be tired of the Oscar-nominated films, opting instead to head in droves to the two new popcorn releases. Here are the early estimates, along with their difference from my predictions in parentheses.

1. Epic Movie – $19.2 Million (+2.8)

2. Smokin’ Aces – $14.3 Million (+1.8)

3. Night at the Museum – $9.5 Million (+1.6)

4. Catch and Release – $8.0 Million (Not Predicted)

5. Stomp the Yard – $7.8 Million (+0.6)

6. Dreamgirls – $6.6 Million (-0.9)

All in all, I was too high on Dreamgirls and not quite high enough on everything else. Seems like people didn’t quite embrace the Oscar hopefuls as much as was expected, but Pan’s Labyrinth and The Queen each saw healthy returns so it was really only Dreamgirls that suffered greatly.

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Cultural News Bytes – January 27th

Where Dreams Come True – Disney Parks

It’s another year, another lack of a trip to Disney World. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am no longer expecting such a thing to happen, but it still pains me. It’s now been almost 10 years since I was last in Florida, and every year I think back to what’s there that wasn’t before. There’s two new coasters, the entirety of Animal Kingdom, and I can’t help but feel that there is something I am missing. I think I almost have more appreciation for Disney in my early 20s nostalgia than I did in my early teens strangely long-lasting fascination, so something continues to call me South pretty much every year.

But, I’m an easy sell, due to my life-long enjoyment of all things Disney. Disney is selling their parks to families, potential tourists who are looking for a way to be sucked into the magic. And, as a result, a new marketing campaign has been announced that is rather strange in its focus. It’s a delightful cross between the nostalgic and the recent.

These three photos are the first in a series, and cover a broad range of interests. We’ve got Beyoncé for the “hip” kids, Lyle Lovett for the older folks, Oliver Platt for the…hmmm, David Beckham for his cross-continental appeal, and Scarlett Johansson for her appeal with the twentysomethings.

But what is there for the kids, really? The references to Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Alice in Wonderland are certainly somewhat relevant, but not to an incredibly great degree, and Beyonce is the only star I can see young kids recognizing. Are parents really looking to have their dreams come true? I’m not sure, but I’m so there. Eventually. Give it time.

Friday Box Office Estimates

Well, it appears that I was a little bit low on the new releases, and a little bit high on the holdovers. Very simply, it appears that people are sick and tired of hearing about old movies, and instead wanted to find something new. This is perhaps unsurprisingly, but specifically a film like Dreamgirls was expected to do better. And, with teens and adult males the major targets of the two big openers, family favourite Night at the Museum held stronger than expected, and will see a big weekend bump into possibly third place.

Friday Box Office Estimates (c/o

1. Epic Movie – $6.8 Million

2. Smokin’ Aces – $4.7 Million

3. Catch and Release – $2.5 Million

4. Stomp the Yard – $2.3 Million

5. Night At The Museum – $2.2 Million


(Other Notables)

8. Pan’s Labyrinth – $1.2 Million

13. Blood and Chocolate – $790,000

So, it looks like my estimates will be pretty good again this week. Yay me! Enjoy the weekend, everyone. And seriously, go see Children of Men and Pan’s Labyrinth.

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Filed under Box Office, Cinema, Disney