Category Archives: Disney

High School Musical 2 Nitpicks – The Questions 17+ Million Should be Asking

Okay, so in case you haven’t heard, High School Musical 2 debuted on the Disney Channel last night to 17.4 Million viewers. That is, just so we’re clear, gigantic. In fact, it is the highest rated cable broadcast in American history. These astronomical numbers are, however, only one particular way of measuring the film’s success.

I’ll be honest: I can’t help but analyze this particular film from a critical level. While I know it is designed for pre-teens, and I get that it isn’t supposed to be “good” by my standards, I still want it to make sense. I have to wonder how many of those viewers will be sticking around for encore viewings: will it be deemed a disappointment by so many fans that its staying power won’t last?

But for now, I can’t help but think that the large number of parents forced to sit through High School Musical 2 had to have realized what I did: that this film, especially in its conclusion, just didn’t make any sense. At all. And, well, here’s some questions I had after watching it.

Why did Troy Become Self-Conscious?

In the first High School Musical, it’s Troy who helps Gabrielle through her big number with his humble charm and bravery. So, then, why is it here that he becomes all “Oh, I’m not a singer” and fumbles his way through everything? While I know he also had issues to get over, I’d think he would have solved that.

Why did Troy’s Voice Change?

I actually know the answer to this one: Zac Efron didn’t actually sing in the first film, but decided to actually do so for High School Musical 2. I figure that the hope is that pre-teen fans will just think his voice changed. A lot. I much prefer it, though, to be honest.

How Quickly can these kids learn Music?

Twice in this film the lead characters learned entire songs within seconds of seeing them. It was frustrating not because it was unbelievable, but because it was inconsistent: in some scenes they were reading from sheet music, and in others they didn’t need it at all. Even if they had read sheet music every little while it would have worked for me. But then in the finale, the song was learned in thirty seconds, at most. Just, no.

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Losing my HSM Virginity: Reviewing and Liveblogging High School Musical 2

I have never watched High School Musical. I have thought about it, perhaps many a time, but never have I actually thought about it in a serious fashion. However, with the sequel airing tonight and being a bit of a cultural phenomenon, I figure I should jump in feet first, if you will.

And, well, jump in I did. I’ll be honest in saying that although I have all sorts of various problems with the film’s construction, High School Musical 2 features some strong choreography, some strong musical numbers and what I can only guess to be a decent continuation of the first film’s successes. And, as a result, it is not a failure of a film by any means. However, I think this is a key area where, rather than poor writing or directing being at fault, it may just be the fault of the original film’s success that we have a frustrating, frustrating piece of filmmaking.

Focusing so much of the film on Zac Efron makes perfect sense from a business perspective: he’s a huge draw in film, he’s a teen heartthrob, and he’s a pretty good dancer. The problem is that Troy is a character who needs to be the movie’s hero, but also display some level of emotional diversity…and Efron didn’t do it. Sure, the writing basically killed him, but Efron is not a star: he is a supporting player.

And there’s the thing: he really is not someone I would peg as a star. I fear for Footloose, the remake in which he is starring, simply because I don’t see how he can do anything beyond his admittedly great dance skills. I just don’t see it happening, because what we saw here was an overwrought and overbearing performance of a character who, in my book, couldn’t be more unlikeable.

The problem is that Troy and Gabriella, the ostensible star-crossed lovers, are one-dimensional and boring. Ryan and Sharpay, heck even the rest of the Wildcats, all seem to at least offer some level of either coherent thought or actual character development. The film’s musical numbers were its highlight, but when the film slowed down to look at Troy and Gabriella’s plot it slowed to a crawl. I liked all of these characters, and felt they were spending time with my least favourite, and with the least compelling in non-musical settings.

But that’s not what this is about, and I won’t deny that it succeeds at being a song-and-dance festival like no other Disney Channel television movie ever before. However, forgive me, but I am just curious as to whether its priorities were in the right place. I’d rather have a musical where Sharpay and Ryan have a meatier role, and it’s less the Zac Efron show. I wonder what a sequel to the film would be like if he hadn’t exploded onto the scene, and if the first film hadn’t been such a monsters success.

Perhaps a better film would have resulted. Regardless, that’s that. Here’s my LiveBlog commentary of the film, for those who want to basically read my every thought. That would render you somewhat insane. I’m okay with that.

9:00pm: It’s East High School, and I’d say it’s summer: mainly because it’s empty and really Kenny G like music is playing. This always, in my view, indicates summer. And there was also an illuminated moon. And…now we’re in a classroom and there’s a really annoying teacher who is…well, it’s kind of annoying.

9:01pm: What do you do when you’re annoyed by a teacher talking about summer? You start a song and dance number. And it appears that Troy and Gabriella (I think that’s their names, I won’t know any more of them) are looking forward to a summer of awkward team love. Meanwhile, their rivals (Sharpay and…Ryan? I don’t know yet) get a far more satisfying verse but unfortunately get shafted in the bridge.

9:04pm: Wow, okay – there’s some rather insane choreography going on here. It’s actually ludicrously complicated.

9:05pm: Troy just said “I gotta make bank.” Sharpay, meanwhile, makes a complete and total fool out of Gabriella.

9:06pm: Holy crap, he totally just branded her! I mean, seriously, could it have been something less obnoxious than a T? That’s unfortunate. Meanwhile, Sharpay hatches the obvious plan to bed Troy in order to establish herself as the Queen of East High while Ryan tries to put on a brave face. And then everyone fances out of the school as we get our first reprise of the opening number. I expect more to follow.

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The Ten Reasons You Should See Disney-Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’

I saw ‘Ratatouille’ two weeks ago in a Special Sneak Preview, and I loved the film. And, well, I think other people should see it too. This is not a perfect film: its problems are small, but they are in fact there and this cannot be ignored. However, they are far outweighed by those qualities that raise this film experience to a different level than last year’s Cars. These qualities are those that make Ratatouille stand out for kids, adults, and all moviegoers. They might not stand out for every single critic, or for every single person who goes to see it: but I believe that they make this a film worth watching.

Over the past two weeks I have covered the first nine of these reasons, and with this feature I present the 10th and final one. For those who are not yet convinced as to whether this film is worth the time of you or your family, I can only say that the theatre in which I saw this film ran the gamut from toddlers to seniors. This is a film for everyone, and it’s a film you should see for the following ten reasons.

10. The Story

What makes Ratatouille so special is that its story covers so many bases without feeling overstuffed: Remy’s storyline deals with identity and finding one’s passion, Linguini has to learn to grow a backbone, and the commercialization of good food even gets its nose into the picture. While the themes and settings of the story are perhaps Pixar’s most unique yet, the heart at their centre is classic Pixar.

9. The Total Package (Wall-E and Lifted)

Now, this was technically just Wall-E in my initial piece, but I had to make a change to fit something in below. What the Wall-E teaser trailer and short film ‘Lifted’ bring to Ratatouille is a sense of both the future of Pixar and the value that Pixar brings to their films. For adults, seeing that Wall-E trailer gives you a glimpse at the conceptually unique film Pixar has coming next year. And, for kids and adults, Lifted is a comic gem that will get you ready for the main course.

8. The Music

I said a lot of positive things about Michael Giacchino’s work on this film, and reviewers are coming in with the same feelings. From the Chicago Tribune:

To “Ratatouille” Giacchino contributes the most delightful musical score of the year. His delicate, nimble flute theme for Remy (like Jean-Pierre Rampal on uppers) captures the hectic pace of a rat’s life, and there’s a genuinely rhapsodic swell of feeling in the way the orchestral music augments the rooftop view from Linguini’s tiny apartment, as seen through the eyes of Remy.

7. The Supporting Voice Cast

From unknowns to legendary film stars, what Ratatouille perhaps does best is maintain a sense of character within its, well, characters. These are not celebrities voicing people and rats, but instead people who are becoming these characters and giving them depth and interesting developments. Peter O’Toole is especially fantastic.

6. Paris

This film is as much of a love letter to Paris as it is to food itself. With breathtaking beauty, Pixar has created a stunning vista that stretches for miles which portrays Paris as a beautiful city; however, they go further. The sidestreets and alleyways are full of life, imagination, colour, and when Remy travels through this city there is a sense of discovery and wonder unseen in even previous Pixar films.

5. The Comedy

Some critics are claiming that this film isn’t funny, and I think they need to get in touch with people who know what comedy is. Comedy doesn’t have to be puns, or fart jokes, or even verbal. The comedy within Ratatouille is sly for adults, physical for the kids, and fast-paced even when the dialogue is not. While the film is not a laugh riot, with great precision it milks laughs out at key points to serve its story.

4. The Food

Buy snacks when you go to see Ratatouille, and make them as gourmet as possible. Your stomach will start rumbling watching this movie, and the preparation that went into this food is rather stunning. I’m pretty sure that Pixar’s animators will view cooking as easy compared to cooking it up on computers.

3. The Critical Moral

This is a change from my initial list, but I wish to change this for a reason: as more negative reviews (not unjustly) come in, my first fears have come true. The film has a moral message delivered by food critic Anton Ego that challenges the current state of criticism, and some reviewers are getting all uppity about it. I think they should watch the movie again and reconsider, but that moral is well-stated, brilliantly read by Peter O’Toole, and something to make you think after leaving the theatre. I won’t spoil it, per se, but I think it makes a strong coda for the film and is certainly a reason for adults to see this film.

2. Patton Oswalt / “Remy”

A lovable rat? It doesn’t seem possible, but Patton Oswalt gives Remy just enough rat-like qualities while creating an insanely likable lead character. You can’t possibly not root for Remy in this story, and Oswalt’s passion for all things food bleeds through his shiny blue fur to create an intriguing mix of rodent and chef extraordinaire.

And, without further adieu, the #1 Reason to see Ratatouille is…

1. Brad Bird

There is not enough space within ten reasons to address all of the amazing technical animation work, the wonderful layouts and backgrounds, the glorious sound effects and all of that other stuff. So, as we usually do, we like to attribute a film’s quality to its director, the person in charge of the project. Doing so for Ratatouille feels almost more natural: Brad Bird (The one on the left, for the unaware) is a fantastic director (“The Iron Giant”, “The Incredibles”) and this is a fantastic film. However, Brad Bird deserves simultaneously only partial credit for conceiving this film, and entire credit for getting it into the shape it is in now. And that struggle, without a doubt, makes the work of Brad Bird (All of it) the #1 reason to see ‘Ratatouille’.

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The Ten Reasons You Should See Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’: #2 – Patton Oswalt/’Remy’

#2Patton Oswalt/”Remy”

I cannot say that I knew who Patton Oswalt was before he became the lead voice actor in Pixar’s Ratatouille. In fact, when people became somewhat excited when his voice emerged from Remy during the initial teaser trailer, I kind of just shrugged and didn’t bother investigating further. However, as hype behind the movie heated up I started to come to understand both who Patton Oswalt was and why Brad Bird had selected him for this part. And yet, despite knowing all of that, nothing could have prepared me for how awesome Patton Oswalt is in this film, and how he brings a sensibility to Remy that is charming and yet subversive. Combined with the work of the Pixar animators, Remy goes from being a blue rodent to a leading rat set to conquer the world in the hands of Patton Oswalt, and this character and its voice actor are Reason #2 You Should See Ratatouille.

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The Ten Reasons Why You Should See Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’: #10 – The Story

I am hereby declaring the following decree that should be followed by all analysts, all critics, all viewers, and all bloggers like myself. In light of the fabulous Pixar creation ‘Ratatouille’, I want to make something incredibly clear:

From this point forward, the success of a Pixar film shall never be measured by its box office results, but rather by its quality. Both Variety (Noting it could be a harder sell) and The Hollywood Reporter (predicting it would struggle to meet box office receipts) prefaced their reviews with a statement proclaiming that this might finally be the Pixar film that doesn’t live up to the rest financially. And, well, I don’t give a rat’s ass (Oooh, I know, bad pun). The fact of the matter is that this is one of Pixar’s finest films, in a league of its own, and its box office results don’t particularly matter. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter agree with my assessment of the film’s quality, but this need to address the pessimists shouldn’t be necessary. Pixar is making great films, and until they stop doing so “The End of Pixar” will be the last thing that enters my mind.

With this said, I invite all of you to peruse the following review to discover why Ratatouille is worth sampling when it opens in two weeks time on June 29th…or, that is what I would say if I didn’t realize that I am quite unprepared to right a review at this stage of the game.

You see, Ratatouille is a film that I’m having a hard time criticizing. Every time I attempt to do so, I find myself writing sentences and sentences on one of its many fantastic elements. And so, over the next two weeks (Yep, I’m milking this one for all its worth), I intend on highlighting The Ten Reasons You Should See ‘Ratatouille’. Now, you might claim this to be some sort of viral marketing attempt, and it really isn’t. I might well be critical within these sections, but only in small quantities: admittedly, this is a film I loved and I am not afraid to say so.

However, in short, I will say this:

I believe that Ratatouille is perhaps the best example of a purely Pixar film since Toy Story. It is a film that engrosses itself in its setting, its characters, its universe more than any of their films in between. It has most of The Incredibles’ fantastic qualities (I want to marry Michael Giacchino right now), but does so within a more traditionally Pixar story…and that combination is hard to beat.

As the studio prepares to release a mostly silent film starring a trash compacting robot (Wall-E, 2008) and one about a park ranger and an old man fighting beasts and villains (Up, 2009), the time has come to appreciate Pixar just like you would any other movie studio: by the quality of their work. And this is a work of sheer quality.

And so, without further adieu, I introduce Reason #10 Why You Should See ‘Ratatouille’.

Reason #10 – The Story

SPOILER WARNING: While I will not ruin any of the best moments of the film, I am likely to allude to them in some shape or form, and this might not be in your interest. However, I will be as spoiler-free as physically possible.

The smallish theatre designated to this evening’s special sneak preview was pretty well to capacity, with nary a single seat left in the auditorium. The audience was varied: I attended with my parents, there was a twenty-something couple to one side of us, there was an older woman by herself to our right, and there were of course kids all around us. This was a diverse audience, which I presume will be a positive sign for the data collectors when they get this information. Because, even with an audience this diverse, they absolutely loved Ratatouille. And a lot of that has to do with its rich story. It is not number 10 because it is the least important, but simply because it is the one thing leaping out at me as I react to viewing the film for the first time.

The story isn’t original on paper, per se: a country rat ending up in the big city and having to come to terms with his two lives is treading on familiar territory. However, what needs to be made clear is that the story does not stop and end with that moment. Like Brad Bird’s other stories, such as The Incredibles, this is a multi-faceted, multi-layered story that spans species, generations, and professions to become something truly memorable.

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‘Up’ With Pixar – Studio’s 2009 Offering Skews Older…but it’s a good thing.

[Yes, while I have shifted to exclusively talking about television gradually over the past five months, I will be interluding with gems of information like this one.]

Pixar has been a studio that hasn’t taken a whole lot of risks with the subject matter of its films, even if technological and storytelling risks were certainly taken in the process. I say this because, technically, all of the films appealed to younger or established demographics. Toy Story was about toys, A Bug’s Life about cute bugs, Monsters Inc. about furry monsters, and The Incredibles about superheroes. Even Ratatouille, despite being very different story-wise from most animated films out there, remains firmly in the realm of the types of characters that can be made into furry stuffed animals if need be, or at the very least action figures.

However, news broke today that Pixar appears to be breaking out of this mold in a big way. With Disney’s own animation studio ramping up and beginning to deliver more films, and with Lasseter at the helm, Pixar is letting itself roam free…and roam ‘Up’.

From Variety:

Pixar is going a little older than its typical demo in 2009.

Toon studio revealed Monday that’s its release that year will be “Up,” about a 70-year-old man who teams up with a Wilderness ranger to fight a cadre of beasts and villains.

“Monsters Inc.” director Pete Docter is co-directing with Bob Peterson, an animation vet making his helming debut. Ronnie Del Carmen, a Pixar story supervisor, is writing the script.

This, my friends, is the best decision that Pixar has ever made. With Ratatouille I believe that the studio has its first chance at true box office disappointment, even with what looks like a fabulous film. With so many animated films flooding the market, oversaturation is going to keep Ratatouille from making as big of an impact as it might have years ago. The film will be a success, surely, but it won’t perhaps be a blockbuster. But, Pixar doesn’t need to make blockbusters, and that’s the whole point of their new development strategy.

Next year, Wall-E is a film with a lead character devoid of dialogue and who is a garbage collecting robot. And now, with Up, they’ve developed a film about a 70-year old man and a wilderness ranger teaming up to fight creatures of unknown origin. What we’re seeing is Pixar breaking free of its boundaries, free of the problems that plagued them when forced to develop Toy Story 2. While it is one of my favourite Pixar films, once can only wonder what original material they were cooking up…and now we don’t have to.

With Wall-E (Which will debut its teaser trailer in front of Ratatouille) and Up, Pixar is moving into a niche knowing that its name will carry with it some level of success. Fans of Pixar as a filmmaker, not just as a commercial enterprise, should be excited at this idea. No longer do action figure sales dictate the determined path of a film for the studio, and the result is two films that could return Pixar to its attempts to revolutionize computer animation in terms of its storytelling, its technology and perhaps even its audience. I don’t see toddlers getting a kick out of a senile old man cutting down demons…but I can’t wait.

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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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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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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