Box Office Case Files: Hangover Part II

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend, whether there was a parade in town or not.

Don’t forget I’ve got four Deep Purple tickets to give away for Sunday, June 12, at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Find out some extra details on how to enter.

The links:

the next austin powers franchise?

the next austin powers franchise?

When I think of the financial performance of The Hangover and The Hangover Part II, the first movie that comes to mind is the Austin Powers franchise. At my college graduation party in 1997, I distinctly remember my buddy Big arguing with my brother Mark about the movie, and Big saying he can’t understand why something that funny didn’t make much box office money. Fast forward two years — the movie kicks butt on DVD and — gulp — VHS, and the sequel makes about six times the opening weekend haul of the first and four times overall what the first made here and $312 million around the world. That kind of thing was unprecedented. But now here comes The Hangover, which was supposed to finish second its opening weekend to Land of the Lost — and we all know how that turned out. Now we’re two years into DVD, YouTube and HBO viewings, and the second one gets one of the prime opening weekend dates of the year and goes yard by more than doubling the opening weekend of the first one ($45 million vs. $105.8 million). There just aren’t that many sequels that can do that. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Hangover Part III for Memorial Day 2013. The Hangover franchise will be far more profitable than Austin Powers because it actually hit at theaters, where it took Austin Powers a year or more to become a hit. 

There was too much money to be made for The Hobbit to die, so it was a “when” thing, not an “if” matter. And now we know the answer to when: Dec. 14, 2012. That’s already shaping up to be a huge holiday season, with the last Twilight, the next Bond and now Twilight. Man of Steel is supposedly opening that December too, even though it hasn’t been announced yet.

I must be behind on my Hollywood lingo. When George Lucas says he has 50 hours of a Star Wars TV show “in the can,” doesn’t that mean it’s already shot and ready to go? So why in the next sentence is he saying that he needs technology breakthroughs before he can shoot it? Weird. I must be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that soulless man is just waiting for someone to give him more money for this show so he can officially buy all of the islands in the South Pacific instead of just owning a piddly four or five. This is probably a good a time as any to mention Indiana Jones 5 is still a possibility.

Two years ago, if I heard the name “Sean Kingston,” it wouldn’t have meant squat to me. Then he threw the Sherman Theater under the bus a little more than a year ago and butchered the Poconos geography in a tweet in the process, so now he’s on my radar. But that doesn’t mean anyone should be happy the guy was in a brutal boat crash. We’re better than that, Poconos. Wish him well.

birdie will not be back in above the rim 2. sorry.

birdie will not be back in above the rim 2. sorry.

Gang, Tupac is dead. He just is. He and Elvis and Hitler — they’re all dead and buried. Tupac probably has two more albums in the works, but that’s money grubbing record executives at work, not the guy who gave us one of the greatest rap albums of all time, his 1991 2Pacalypse Now debut. So when you see seemingly legitimate stories about how Tupac is alive and well and living like a king in Patagonia, it just isn’t true. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

This is hysterical, funnier than anything in Two and a Half Men. It’s not competing for a best comedy Emmy because of all the backstage drama with Charlie Sheen. At least that’s the company line. How about it’s not submitting for a best comedy Emmy because … IT SUCKS OUT LOUD!!! No one seems to be bringing this point up. That might be the most impressive stunt Charlie Sheen has pulled this year. He made people completely forget that the show sucks with or without him. CBS should be thanking Sheen for that. I’m dead serious.

can't believe these two kids couldn't make it

can't believe these two kids couldn't make it

Normally I shy away from the minor marriage-divorce-TMZ stuff, but the Chris Knight and Adrianne Curry breaking up story is too awesome to ignore. Yes, under protest, I watched both seasons of My Fair Brady, but by the end I was actually interested in these two. The only conclusion I ever came to watching that show was that these two people should have never met. They were doomed to ruin each other’s lives, it was that volatile. There should have been some kind of cosmic interference to save them from each other, like The Adjustment Bureau. When they were on Surreal Life, Roger Sterling should have appeared out of nowhere and rewrote history so that not only would they never meet, they should never have even know the other existed. But they kept it up for about 10 years or so and finally and thankfully called it quits before one of them jumped off a bridge. Because that’s where it was destined to head.

grant college, the college that gives classes in opening umbreallas.

grant college, the college that gives classes in opening umbreallas.

When someone mentions A, My Name is Alex, it’s my sworn duty to talk about it. I’ve done this before around here, and dammit, I’m going to do it again. “A, My Name is Alex” is the seminal hour-long Family Ties episode where Alex’s “best friend” dies in a car accident that Alex was supposed to in, but blew off because he didn’t feel like helping said “best friend” move. We use the sarcastic air quotes there because Greg had never been seen or mentioned on the show before, ever. Not even in passing. At least when Matthew Perry’s Sandy died in a DUI on Growing Pains, we met him in a previous episode as Carol’s college-aged boyfriend. Why would the Family Ties writers even consider going in that direction? Sure, Alex didn’t have many friends. But Timothy Busfield was on a couple early episodes, couldn’t they bring him back for a day or two of shooting? It was a typical 80s sitcom move (George Clooney on Golden Girls too) that was insulting to the audience, but we all went with it for some reason. If anyone tries that shat now, we’re all over them. Anyway, just forgive and forget that little detail like we routinely did in the 80s. Alex then goes to a psychiatrist for answers, and delivers the best performance in any sitcom, ever. EVER. I was 12 watching that episode and vividly remember thinking, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” I immediately knew what acting was and what made a good performance. Well, maybe not. But I at least had a much better idea of it than I did at the start of the hour. I’m the first one to call a show out for not standing the test of time, and a lot of times, Family Ties doesn’t. But I just watched it again a couple weeks or months ago trying to keep an open mind, and it 110 percent holds up. It was different, it was risky, and it all depended on one thing — that Michael J. Fox would deliver one of the best acting performances in sitcom history, up there with Carroll O’Connor in the rape episode of All in the Family and … man, it’s tough to even think of any other performances that match up with those two at the time. Fox delivered and then some. Think back to that time. He was the hottest thing in Hollywood, had one of the biggest hits in history under his belt two years earlierand was being offered dozens of movies. He had to have one foot out the Family Ties door, right? Obviously, the producers saw this and started giving him deeper storylines — and A, My Name is Alex was easily the best. It remains the best performance in a sitcom I’ve ever seen — cheesy or not.

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