Monday, May 28, 2012

MIB3, Avengers lead disappointing Memorial Day weekend

MIB3 won the four day box office this weekend with a total of around $70 million. The film's three-day total was $55 million, which beat out the other films in the franchise when not adjusted for ticket inflation or 3D prices. Most industry analysts projected around $90 million for the long weekend, but the film fell short. The numbers are a bit disappointing considering the large budget which likely skyrocketed past $300 million and up to $375 million. The international numbers came in strong with $132 million for a worldwide total of $202 million. The film is going to need really strong numbers to break even with its massive budget. The Avengers placed second with $36.8 million over the three day weekend and $46.8 over the four day period. That brings the film's grand total to $523 million. That is an astonishing number and the film should beat The Dark Knight in the next week and fly past $600 million. Battleship placed third with a four day weekend of $13.7 million. That brings the film to a grand total of $47 million, an extremely disappointing number. Battleship will have a hard time breaking even with its budget of $209 million plus. The Dictator finished fourth with $11.7 million over the long weekend. The raunchy comedy will need good international numbers and some more solid domestic numbers to make a profit. The Dictator has now made $43.6 million. Dark Shadows placed fifth with $9.4 million bringing its grand total to $64 million. The film could make up to $90 million by the end of its run. New release Chernobyl Diaries finished sixth with a disappointing $9.3 million. The film faced horrible reviews was not popular with audiences. Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom and The Intouchables did fantastic business in small releases with Moonrise Kingdom breaking the per theater average with $167,000.

Next weekend marks the release of Snow White and the Huntsman, a film that I am really looking forward to. How the film will perform at the box office is some question, but it should definitely do better than Mirror Mirror, the other Snow White movie that made $61 million. I think that Snow White and the Huntsman is going to benefit off of what I like to call "The Hunger Games factor". That means that the film has a lot of crossover appeal with women and men alike, one of the factors that made The Hunger Games so successful. Snow White and the Huntsman was also the most anticipated movie for women this summer according to Fandango and while the list of most anticipated movies for men did not include Huntsman, the trailers have shown enough action that should pull in male audiences. Boxoffice.com predicts that Snow White and the Huntsman will make $50 million this coming weekend. I'm going to be bold and say that Snow White and the Huntsman will make $65 million this coming weekend. Expect a drop of around 50% for MIB3 and a small drop for The Avengers.

1. Snow White and the Huntsman- $65 million
2. MIB3- $27 million
3. The Avengers- $19 million
4. The Dictator- $5.5 million
5. Battleship- $5 million

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Men in Black 3 review

Men in Black 3 comes 10 years after Men in Black II and 15 years after Men in Black. The original was an audience favorite but the sequel was mostly hated by fans. Men in Black 3 introduces a different kind of plot than its predecessors and due to its more complicated plot, its production was a mess. The film soared over budget and cost anywhere from $250 to $300 million. The production started without a finished script and production was shut down halfway through. So its a miracle that Men in Black 3 is actually decent. It's not as good as the original and I haven't seen the sequel but if it's as bad as what everybody says, I trust that this film is better.

Men in Black 3 opens with the escape of Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) from Lunar Max, a prison on the moon. Boris intends to go back in time to kill Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), who is the man that took his arm off. Meanwhile, Agent J (Will Smith) and K are still fighting extraterrestrials on Earth. J and K don't get along well and the first half hour examines their relationship. K is aware that Boris has escaped and is prepared to die. One night K disappears and the only one aware of his existence is J. Agent O (Emma Thompson) tells J that he has to go back in time and kill Boris before he can kill K. J lands on July 15, 1969 and meets the younger K (Josh Brolin) and tries to save the world from an invasion.

Men in Black 3 is a lot of fun at some times. The first half hour feels like traditional MIB, which isn't really a bad thing, but when J goes back to the '60s, there is a nice change. The colors are vibrant and are really fun. Will Smith turns in a good performance as J and Josh Brolin does a good Tommy Lee Jones impression, but the novelty of that joke does wear off after a while.

I was really enjoying the film up until the point where Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) shows up. Griffin is important to the plot but he's this awkward alien that's living in like seven dimensions. Griffin was not a character that I particularly liked and neither was Boris. The creators could have done a lot more with this character and he's way too straightforward for a MIB villain. The main problem is that the film is not funny. When I saw The Avengers, people were laughing out loud the entire time. I can't recall a single time where people were actually laughing out loud during MIB3. Will Smith does his usual shtick, Bill Hader shows up as Andy Warhol in a funny scene and Josh Brolin has some moments but otherwise the humor is dull. I think a lot of the jokes sounded a lot better on paper than they did on screen.

MIB3 is not a total disaster. It's actually decent. Thankfully, director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer David Koepp keep the time travel plot relatively simple until the end which kind of makes sense but doesn't really. The time travel is nowhere near as complicated as Back to the Future Part 2 but it still has its holes. For a film that went through one of the toughest productions in Hollywood history, it's a surprise that it is a pretty fun popcorn movie. But in some ways, I thought it was fifteen minutes too long. I'm a big fan of the idea behind the MIB movies but I can't say I loved any of the final products. The original was pretty good, I never saw the sequel, and this one is fun but flawed. I think that sums up the movie. Flawed fun.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C+                                           (6.4/10)















Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Avengers sinks Battleship and The Dictator with $55.5 million

The Avengers has done it again. While there was little chance that Disney's mega blockbuster would lose the weekend crown to Battleship, nobody expected it to beat the competition by so much. Marvel's The Avengers finished the weekend with $55 million. That is the second best third weekend ever and The Avengers has now reached $457 million in the US. Battleship finished second with a weak $25 million. That number is worse than Dark Shadows and even infamous flop John Carter. There is hope that Battleship can remain strong over Memorial Day but I think that this Battleship is sunk. The Dictator finished behind Battleship with $17 million over the weekend. The film performed weak and has only made $24.4 million through 5 days in theaters. Dark Shadows opened ahead of What To Expect When You're Expecting this weekend. Shadows brought its total to $50.9 million with a $12.7 million while What To Expect made $10.5 million. Next weekend should mark the end of The Avengers reign with the release of MIB3.

1. The Avengers- $55 million weekend, $457 million total
2. Battleship- $25 million weekend
3. The Dictator- $17 million weekend, $24.4 million total
4. Dark Shadows- $12.7 million weekend, $50.9 million total
5. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $10.5 million

MEMORIAL DAY PREDICTIONS

The Avengers will have a really small dip next weekend and I expect it to pull in anywhere between $40 million and $50 million over the 4-day weekend. But I don't see The Avengers beating MIB3. It's been ten years since Men in Black 2 and I think people are ready to see J and K back in action. Also, besides The Avengers, there haven't been any true blockbusters this month and people have probably seen The Avengers enough times already. People like Will Smith, people like Men in Black, and people go to the movies on memorial day weekend and it all works out. Expect all other films to have unspectacular grosses next weekend. Expect a good Memorial Day weekend with grosses of just over $200 million. Here are my predictions for the 4-day Memorial Day weekend.

1. MIB3- $90 million weekend
2. The Avengers- $45 million weekend, $525 million total
3. Battleship- $18 million weekend, $50 million total
4. Chernobyl Diaries- $16 million weekend
5. The Dictator- $10 million weekend, $45 million total
6. Dark Shadows- $8 million weekend, $65 million total
7. What To Expect When You're Expecting- $5 million weekend, $20 million total

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Avengers smashes more records with $103 million 2nd weekend and $1B worldwide gross

The Avengers has destroyed even more records. The superhero flick which grossed $207 million in its 3-day opening, became the first film to gross more than $100 million in its 2nd weekend. The previous record holder, James Cameron's Avatar, was out grossed by nearly $28 million. The Avengers also broke the $1B worldwide barrier, and is now the 11th highest grossing movie of all time, passing The Dark Knight. The film could climb to #4 by Wednesday or Thursday. Back in the US, The Avengers has grossed $373 million and is the 18th highest grossing movie ever. The Avengers reached that total in 10 days, compared to The Dark Knight's 14 days. The Avengers has almost broken every record in the book, except the all time highest grossing movie ever title (but it could happen). The question is now: how high will it go?

$400 million is a lock at this point. By this Friday, the film will have passed $400 million and will probably get to $410. Next weekend comes the first competition for The Avengers (Dark Shadows notwithstanding) in the form of Battleship, The Dictator and What To Expect When You're Expecting. Battleship is the only real competition as the others have different audiences. Battleship has already made $200 million overseas and I think an opening of $50 million maximum is reasonable. But The Avengers should still take the crown with around $55 million. By the end of Memorial Day weekend the film will have crossed $500 million, but will finally lose the crown to Men In Black 3. My final prediction for The Avengers is a worldwide gross of $1.45 billion and a domestic gross of $585 million.

In other box office news, Dark Shadows grossed an underwhelming $28.8 million, and The Hunger Games is now at $386.9 million.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hulk Smash Record! The Avengers beats Potter with unprecedented $200.3 million

Although the initial tracking numbers said $125 million to $150 million, The Avengers smashed all of that and took the crown for an opening weekend gross with an amazing $200.3 million gross. If ticket prices were adjusted The Avengers would still come out on top. The film made $80.5 million on Friday, $69.7 million on Saturday and $50.1 million on Sunday for a heroic $200.3 million. The film beat the previous record holder of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 by $31 million. The film also received an A+ cinema score which means the film will have legs in the future. The film should win for the next two weekends until Men in Black III is released. Here is the full list of records The Avengers broke:

Opening Weekend
Summer Opening Weekend
May Opening Weekend
Theater Average
Highest Grossing Saturday
Highest Grossing Sunday
Fastest to $100 million
Fastest to $150 million
Fastest to $200 million

In other box office news The Hunger Games is now at $380 million and is less than $1 million away from passing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 for 13th at the all time box office. As one Twitter member said: "Your move, Batman"

The Avengers review

Back in 2006, Marvel reacquired the rights to Iron Man and began production with Jon Favreau in the director's chair and added Robert Downey Jr. to star. When that film went to Comic-Con in 2007, fanboys went nuts and the idea of doing films based on Marvel's B-List of characters didn't seem like such a bad deal after all. When the film was finally released in 2008, Marvel had a complete smash on their hands. But Marvel fans were excited about another thing. After the credits, Tony Stark is shown in his room. A man walks in; the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury who said "I'm here to talk about the Avengers Initiative." That was the line that started the whole thing. Four years, five solo films, and several post credit scenes later, The Avengers is finally here. And it lives up to the expectations. *For people who want to know absolutely nothing about the movie, the will be MINOR SPOILERS*

The film starts with the Tesseract, the power source that the Red Skull harnessed in Captain America. Dr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Sarsgard), who appeared in Thor is working with S.H.I.E.L.D to make the cube a source of unlimited power. Out in space Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is shown talking to The Other, an alien creature that is one of the masters of the Chitauri, an alien army in space. Loki is then transported to Earth from the other end of the cube (there's an end on Earth and an end in space). Loki steals the cube, takes Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Dr. Selvig and an assortment of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Nick Fury (Sam Jackson) and a few other agents escape from the destroyed base and he activates the Avengers initiative. Fury, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) assemble Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Bruce Banner (scene stealer Mark Ruffalo) and they travel to Germany, where Loki is trying to harness the power of the Tesseract. Loki eventually strikes a bargain with the Other: Tesseract for Chitauri, the alien army that will assist him in the domination of the Earth. Notice that all the pieces are in place except Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Thor kind of magically drops from the sky and onto a big plane.

The team is assembled and they fight and they banter and then fight some more and then banter some more. There are some important things happening but it takes the death of a major S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for the Avengers to really get into gear and realize that they need to save the world. What ensues is awesome, epic, and awe-inspiring.

The Avengers is not a perfect film. I was as excited for it as anyone, but there are still flaws. There is a middle section that lags at times and underused characters. Hawkeye spends half the movie as Loki's assistant and he just shoots arrows from a building for most of the final battle. Thor is really in it to make Loki more interesting, but his awesomeness is just not really shown that much. Otherwise I feel that Whedon and Marvel did a fantastic job. They made Black Widow really interesting and did the right things with Cap and Iron Man. And don't get me started on the Hulk. Marvel has finally gotten the Hulk right. Every scene with him was awesome.

There is literally non-stop action throughout the movie but some of the fights between characters were underwhelming as well. Hulk vs. Thor was lame in some respects, but that was the only bad scene with the Hulk. From the point where Loki throws Tony Stark out of a window, it is an epic action conclusion that is amazing but gives you time to breathe so that you're not overwhelmed with action, unlike some Transformers movies. But there is literally non stop explosions and action.

Whedon has done a fantastic job with the film. In many ways, people are right, it should not have worked and it did so everybody should applaud Whedon and Marvel for making a fantastic film. Note: This is one of the two films I've ever been to where people have clapped during a movie. It was insane and a lot of fun. Stay through the middle of the credits and if you want to see a picture of Avengers eating shawarma stay until the end.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A                                            (9.4/10)