Sunday’s New York Times included a story that movie fans should find as terrifying as anything since the last 20 minutes of Silence of the Lambs. In it, writer Brooks Barnes introduces us to Vinny Bruzzese, a “chain-smoking former statistics professor” who has “started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers.” In other words, studios write Bruzzese and his company a check, and in exchange, they’re told how to make their movies as bland, homogenous, and predictable as possible. Sounds like the recipe for a golden age of moviemaking! … Read More
Whether you want to blame it on the runaway early summer success of The Avengers or the impact of real life tragedy, suffice it to say that The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t delivered the box office numbers that many in the industry were expecting from the final film in such a popular franchise.… Read More
If you try to follow the business end of the film industry too closely, you can get some awfully mixed messages. (I mean “the business end” in the literal sense, although I’d imagine the sentence reads accurately the other way as well.) Perusing the Internet this morning, I found out that a) domestic box office is still on the decline and b) DVD and Blu-ray rentals are continuing to drop as well, though c) IMAX is booming, and d) ticket prices will probably go up, to make it seem like 3D is less of a rip-off. Oh, and e) The Hunger Games had one of the biggest opening weekends in movie history.
In other words, William Goldman was right: In Hollywood, nobody knows anything.
Of course, this whiplash-inducing confusion (are people going to the movies, or not? And if not, where are they seeing them?) is a natural byproduct of the cinema’s current state of transition, where people are as engaged and passionate as ever about movies, but changing the ways they watch them. And that’s why we’re curious about you, the Flavorwire reader: how do you see movies these days? … Read More
This weekend, the third installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise — a supernatural sensation since Oren Peli’s original film debuted in 2009 — rocked the box office, taking in $54 million for its opening weekend. The film also holds rank as the highest grossing movie for any October opening in history. While Paranormal Activity’s victory can be largely attributed to its successful grassroots marketing campaign and Halloween slot (it replaced popular spooky long-runner Saw), it’s still quite the feat for a part three film. Most threequels fizzle out by the third go-round, leaving their characters to dully ride the coattails of previous successes — but clearly that isn’t always the case. And with news about Sherlock Holmes securing a writer for its third installment, perhaps the action-mystery movie can follow suit. After the break, we took a look at several trilogies that buck the trend of bad things coming in threes — some third features even managing to outdo the films that started their respective series. … Read More
ArtsBeat has tipped us off to the fact that thanks to The Blind Side and The Proposal, which grossed more than $500 million last year — and in spite of the mullet-wig disaster that was All About Steve — Sandra Bullock has been named the top box-office draw of 2009 by movie theater executives. To put this in perspective, the illustrious Meryl Streep made this year’s list at number 7, and the last woman to win top honors was Julia Roberts back in 1999, the year of Runaway Bride and Notting Hill. … Read More
The movie critics are calling it the “worst film of the decade, yet simultaneously, the greatest allegory for the automobile industry.” Transformers 2, has tied Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for the #1 spot making $42.5M over the holiday weekend. (This secures The Hangover as the only movie this year to hold the numero uno spot for two consecutive weekends.) Transformer 2‘s inability to come out on top comes as no surprise, since both sequels easily divide the ”me like big 3-D creatures break stuff” audience. … Read More
Obviously good press makes all the difference, as last weekend’s top two films (The Hangover and UP) hung onto their top spots with little to no competition from newcomers The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and the dismally-performing Eddie Murphy kid’s flick Imagine That (why, Eddie?).… Read More
After reading about the latest Clive Owen dud, we wondered what happened to the hunky, talented Brit — our favorite thing about Closer. As this post on EW.com points out, The International had everything in place for box office magic: A thriller about an evil finance corporation that “couldn’t be more topical if it included a subplot about octuplets and a pot-smoking Olympic swimmer,” direction from Run Lola Run‘s Tom Tykwer, and, well, its leading man.
Yet, first week numbers earned it a number seven position. Translation: it fared even worse than Confessions of a Shopaholic. After the jump, we explore why moviegoers would rather spend their cash on flicks about chubby mall cops than evil financial institutions; here’s hoping for a Clive Owen shared comeback with Julia Roberts. … Read More