Memorial Day Blahs

terminator salvation is off the hook for how badly it mucked up last memorial day.

terminator salvation is off the hook for how badly it mucked up last memorial day.

I love the box office stories of every weekend, it’s the first thing I read when I come in at the start of the week. They’re so pathetically hilarious, and they never disappoint. No matter how poorly a movie performs, there are always studio types who spin it so that it looks like their movie did gangbusters.

So when Prince of Persia, which had to be envisioned as a $300 million franchise-starter being released on the most important three-day movie weekend of the year, only does $37.8 million and may finish in third place, it’s hysterical to read this:

“Our surprise strength through the weekend and coming in second rather than the predicted third was a nice plus,” said Chuck Viane, head of distribution for Disney.

First of all, I don’t even know what that means. Surprise strength? Were they expecting it to just stop doing business on Saturday? I know Hollywood has become a business of immediacy, but even that’s a little much if you just expect for it to premiere Friday with great numbers then poop the bed from then on in.

Second, the guy is cheering for coming in second? I suspect when this movie was pitched, they guaranteed a #1 opening with a whole lot of backslapping and handshaking and a check for $200 million to go make the movie. Then they lost to a second-weekend movie that was considered disappointing itself and may have lost to a movie that no man on the planet will admit they saw. Those are not things to brag about.

I would have much rather that Disney guy said, “You know, if I ever see those Sex in the City ladies on the street, they’re all getting short-arm clotheslines, and I’m just gonna keep walking” or just take random potshots like “Mike Myers hasn’t made a good movie since So I Married an Ax Murderer, and even that wasn’t very good.” So the answer is no, I don’t believe that Disney guy is being very truthful.

the opposite of funny

the opposite of funny

You think this is bad? Just wait til this weekend when Marmaduke, Splice, The Killers and Get Him to the Greek come out. Summer has one weekend like this every year. Every weekend gets gobbled up years ahead of time with big-ticket tentpole movies, but there was one weekend with open real estate and everyone jumps on it. This weekend will be that weekend. The more I think about The Killers, the more I want it to throw up a stink bomb. I want people to be coming out of the theaters literally holding their noses. The commercials for it are absolutely preposterous, especially the Ashton Kutcher line, “Let’s just say I work for the blah blah blah, and they gave me a license to blah.” That’s trailer material? If I was the person making the trailer and went through the whole movie and realized that was the funniest thing I had to offer to get people to see that movie, I’d get my resume ready. It’s not funny, it’s not enticing, it’s not inviting, it just sucks rocks. It’s so stupid it’s like Ashton Kutcher wrote it himself. I die a little more inside every time I hear it. Yeah, I’m a little obsessed with it.

It’s pretty rare when hand-picked directors start spouting off about a project that’s two years away from reaching the theaters, doesn’t have a cast and barely has a word of the script written. So when Guillermo del Toro started blasting The Hobbit last week, the writing was on the wall, on the doors and on the ceiling that he wasn’t happy with the current situation and might have been trying to figure out a way to get out of the project. It’s not surprising he got his wish yesterday when he “quit” Hobbit, when in reality he probably got a “don’t let the door hit you in the butt if you’re that unhappy” memo.

The death of Dennis Hopper shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, word is he’s been on his death bed for months, and he always looked like he’d been dead for years anyway. That’s why a couple of months ago I managed to squeeze in a Dennis Hopper tribute, to make sure he got some recognition while he was still alive rather than just do the basic, “Too bad he’s gone, he was great” thing. But the one thing you can take away from his career is that he actually had to tell movie people not to bother casting him as a villain anymore, because he won’t do it. He was so good at acting the villain part that so many people wanted him to do it he had to put a stop to it. It’s like changing your phone number because you have a stalker. “I’m flattered, but this is getting a little creepy and I’m going to have to end this.” Hopper was that good. This one’s for you, Shooter.

For the last couple weeks, I’ve somehow failed to mention my affinity for the History Channel’s miniseries America: the Story of Us. Maybe because it’s not appointment television. It’s not like we don’t know what happens at the end, and the entire series is easily accessible OnDemand and in repeats. That’s how I’ve been watching most of it. But for an American history enthusiast, it’s probably the definitive piece of work on our country’s legacy. I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I usually brush stuff like this off because it rehashes material I’ve heard or read about a thousand times. Yet somehow, in Story of Us, they came up with 3-4 things in each episode that made me say, “How come I didn’t know that yet?” The show’s focus was brilliant, its research unparalleled and its execution flawless. Instead of just rushing through 250 years of history with the same things we’ve heard since elementary school, the filmmakers decided to concentrate on this things that had they not happened, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Minor, seemingly small things that get overlooked in textbooks because they didn’t have immediate implications, but decades or centuries later, we now know the world would have been a much, much different place if it hadn’t happened. the discovery of oil in Texas is a great example. The McFaddin Brothers, who discovered that vast pool of oil, should be household names, but I never heard of them until I watched Story of Us. Without that discovery, cars don’t become accessible, which keeps us perpetually living like it’s 1900. I didn’t even see the finale last night, but it was just a great, great series and I should have been playing it up for often.

a flash movie could be the most boring thing ever

a flash movie could be the most boring thing ever

Just another example of how far ahead Marvel is when it comes to turning comics into movies. Marvel keeps churning out its top properties and has been so successful, it’s already rebooting two of its franchises, Spider-Man and X-Men. It sets ambitious release dates and seems to demand top quality from those movies even though they know people will come out in droves to see them. It makes a big splash with the press every year to update where the company’s movie properties stand. DC on the other hand just plods along and doesn’t really seem to have much idea of what direction it’s headed in. It’s really missed the boat when it comes to cashing in on the comic book craze, and they may not have the opportunity to make it up.

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