No More Russell Crowe-in’

Straight links, let’s hit it:

what did you say about my movie?

what did you say about my movie?

There’s yet another lesson in the weekend’s box office, where Harry Potter managed its biggest opening in the franchise’s history and the sixth-biggest of all time. The lesson? Don’t eff with Harry. Not even you, Russell Crowe. Opening Crowe’s The Next Three Days was a gamble, but since the audiences were completely different, it shouldn’t have been that much of a risk. But the reviews were pretty bad, and adults normally aren’t going to adult movies unless the reviews are better. Last year on this weekend when Twilight: New Moon went off, The Blind Side still grabbed $34 million. Blind Side’s reviews, however, were better and it had a lot more positive buzz than Next Three Days. So here’s some free advice to Winnie the Pooh and The Sitter, which are opening against the final Harry Potter movie in July — make a good movie.

Blaming the Eagles-Giants game for me not watching the American Music Awards would be like blaming a snowstorm for me not seeing Avatar — I wasn’t watching it either way. But here’s some free advice to the AMAs. For an awards show that doesn’t get much respect, the way to go about attaining some sorely needed credibility is not to give Justin Bieber all the awards. There is about a 5 percent chance I’d watch the American Music Awards in any given year compared with a 98 percent chance of watching the Oscars, 70 percent for the Emmys and about 60 for the Grammys. After turning on the AMAs during commercials about three times and seeing Bieber on the screen every time, I’d say my chances of watching next year are down to about 0.63 percent. Eminem should probably be put on 24-hour suicide watch after losing artist of the year to The Beeb. I wouldn’t expect Marshall to show up at these things next year.

stand up for your movie -- just do it the right way, like the skyline producers

stand up for your movie -- just do it the right way, like the skyline producers

There is an even smaller chance I see Skyline before it hits Syfy in five years. But I’m almost tempted to go see it just on the strength of the writers/producers being so candid and honest about how much it sucked getting bad reviews. There are usually two different, immediate reactions when your movie either tanks or gets bad reviews:

–Go into hiding. This is the encouraged route by agents and management teams. Lay low, don’t talk to anyone, maybe take a vacation — just disappear. People forget about the whole thing and in a couple of months, you’re getting your quote again and people have already forgotten the words “Hudson Hawk.”

–Rip everyone. Tell reviewers they’re crazy, tell them they wouldn’t know a good movie if it fell out of the sky, call them dumb and unsophisticated, make fun of them for sitting in their parents’ basements while they write their reviews. When you open your next movie, you then say things like “I don’t make movies for reviewers, I make movies for the audience. I don’t even read reviews.” Hello, Michael Bay!

Whatever the reaction is, you don’t publically admit it hurts, not immediately. When things die down five, 10, 20 years later and Letterman asks about it, then you admit, “Yeah, it hurt, we put our lives into that movie and for no one to buy into it, I almost dropped out of the business.” Then it makes you look almost sage-like and human. When you do like the Skyline producers did and come out a couple days after the opening to ask, “WTF, people?” you’re supposedly desparate. But I love it. I love that they’re still standing by their movie and they still think it’s good. Maybe they’re delusional and stubborn, but they freely admit it’s not the best movie ever made and they still claim it’s not nearly as bad as everyone says it is. They also say that even though they’re bewildered by its failure, they’re not going to cry about it and rip into people, they’re going to take it like men. Gotta love that.

hi! my movies suck and it's everyone else's fault except mine!

hi! my movies suck and it's everyone else's fault except mine!

On the far, far, far other end of the spectrum is Jessica Alba, who seems like she’s actually going to go out and rent a bus to drive over just about everyone she’s ever worked with. Actually, since her baffling career has afforded her what is likely a pretty luxurious lifestyle, she can buy the tour bus of 10 different bands to not just drive over the people she rips, but to then have one bus for each person. I’ve said this here before, so I’ll say it again — no one gets a pass in Hollywood like Jessica Alba. She has yet to make a good movie in which she’s in it for more than 20 minutes — I’m not counting Sin City — and not only are her movies not good overall, but she makes d!ck at the box office. How she still hovers around Hollywood’s A-List is quite incredible actually. So for her to go out and say how much the business sucks and how much other people are responsible for her multitude of box office bombs is pretty pathetic. At some point, you have to take responsibility for yourself and your own choices, and if God came down right now to convince me that an early draft of Good Luck Chuck was actually good, there’s no way I’d believe him. She should be ashamed of herself.

What’s more surprising? That Ace of Cakes is getting canceled, or that it’s upcoming season will be its 10th? 116 episodes, seriously? And Running Wilde can’t even hit double digits before getting canceled? My wife watches it, so by Jules Winfield’s logic, that means I watch it too. I can never get through five minutes of an episode without thinking, “This is a TV show about a cake shop.” Then it bothers me even more when I realized there are a couple of other shows about cake or dessert shops, and they all get good ratings. It’s usually then that I consider sticking my head in Duff’s oven.

When a show is about to be canceled, there are plenty of warning signs running around to be wary of, and they were there for The Good Guys and Running Wilde. First come the bad ratings (check). Then comes the network support, usually littered with quotes like, “It’s a show that needs time to grow” or “We’re committed to the (insert show name/producer/star here).” Then come the time/schedule changes (Good Guys moved to Fridays, Wilde pre-empted in October). Then the producers/stars start begging people to watch their show (check-plus). In the end, it’s usually pretty simple — bad ratings means cancellation. That’s exactly what happened with these two shows. Fox did a solid to Matt Nix for keeping it around a whole season, there was no way it deserved it, not with its terrible ratings. Fox obviously wants to be in the Matt Nix business beyond this show, so they showed extra support to it. The show was good, and Fox execs are probably scratching their heads as to how it failed. They thought it might gain some viewers in the fall so they kept it going after its summer run, but for whatever reason, it just never resonated with the public. I have no idea why, it was a good, funny, fun show. Running Wilde on the other hand, I can see why it’s done. That just isn’t the kind of humor people latch on to — even though they latched on to it with The Office and Modern Family. Both show have more new episodes coming because they’ve already been filmed, but after that they’re done. Not that anyone would notice.

not good news

not good news

Fox probably had the best intentions when it decided last spring it would air The Good Guys and Human Target on Fridays this fall. The shows aren’t completely similar, but it was going to make for a pretty decent action/comedy two hours of mindless fun. Then Lone Star tanked, Lie to Me had to come back early, and Human Target had to be moved to Wednesdays to take Lie to Me’s spot. Next thing we knew, the midseason schedule came out last week and Friday night was back to being Fox’s dumping ground of shows it likes but can’t seem to get support on any other nights (see: Dollhouse, Serenity, Terminator). So what does that mean for Fringe, truly one of the best shows on TV that just never got the kind of audience support it deserved? It’s now moving the Fridays, a Fox death sentence for other shows. Will Fox just finish out the year and be happy with whatever ratings it gets before dumping Fringe next year? Or is it a renewed effort to try and establish a Friday night beachhead to try and compete with CBS? You can’t blame Fox for wanting American Idol on the advertiser-important Thursday nights, it’s actually surprising it hasn’t made that move years ago.

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