can’t stop the movies

It’s starting to look like one of the recession-proof businesses in the country is movies, with attendance up 10 percent this year compared to this point last year after Monsters vs. Aliens grabbed $58 million last weekend and everything else performed pretty well.

I’m not yet convinced it’s necessarily true, though, especially with more studios cutting jobs.

You could easily attribute the rise in attendance to more event-type movies being released in the winter than ever before. A sure-fire, big-ticket like Monsters vs. Aliens is usually slotted smack dab on July 4 or Thanksgiving weekend, but DreamWorks felt comfortable throwing it out there on the last weekend of March.

Five years ago, the big release for that weekend was the crapfest of Scooby Doo 2. Ten years ago, it was EDtv. Fifteen years ago — Mighty Ducks 2. Not exactly titles that stick in your memory.

Putting a hugely promoted, big-budget tentpole like Watchmen out in the first weekend in March would have been unheard of 20 years ago, when Lean on Me saw an uneventful early March opening. Now it’s pretty common.

The days of stuffing the summer and the holiday season with the biggest movies of the year and leaving the rest of the months to fend for themselves are, almost officially, over. Opening weekends are too important for a studio to risk leaving itself vulnerable to another buzz-y movie coming out the same weekend. When you spread it out, you make sure you’ve got the weekend all to yourself.

It doesn’t hurt this year when you get surprise hits like Paul Blart and Taken, either.


Time to be scared. At least we’ll know today what the fate of Friday Night Lights is. I had friends who watched this third season over the fall on DirecTV tell me that it was just as good or better than the first season. I was skeptical. In fact, I believe my response was “no effing way.” But after Friday’s ridiculously good episode, I’m ready to say it — it’s better than the first season and is in a dogfight right now with Mad Men for the title of best show on TV. Watch out, Don. If this is the last season of FNL, it’s been a true treat watching this year. If I see anything today that gives a decision, I’ll make sure to update this.

I take offense with this, saying the next Damon-Affleck project will be their first teaming since Good Will Hunting. Does this guy just block all Kevin Smith movies out of his head? They’ve done Dogma, a small piece of Jersey Girl, and the still unreleased Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.

My problem with Brooke Shields isn’t that she’s finally saying Lipstick Jungle is canceled. It’s that she tried to deny it in the first place when everyone else in the world was telling her it was done, done, done. The two people who watched Lipstick should be very, very angry with her.

Really? The answer to “Who you gonna call?” is going to end up being Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen? I’m not sure I want any part of that.

It should be interesting to see what Scranton-Wilkes-Barre station will be running The Office reruns here. It’s gotten to the point where Fox 56, The CW 38 and the MyNetwork TV stations — all under the Myfox Nepa blanket — are the only ones who run syndicated comedies. But it wouldn’t surprise me if WNEP, WYOU or WBRE get into the bidding on this one, especially WBRE, which already has it in primetime and might want to quit its experiment of 90 minutes of news from 5-6:30 p.m.

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