ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend Box Office #140

So TRANSFORMERS 2 is already jaw-droppingly huge; it did some $60 million on Wednesday (best Wednesday ever; second best day ever for a movie) and another $28 million yesterday.

Imagine if it had gotten good reviews?

Ironically, Michael Jackson died yesterday, and something similar happened -- suddenly he was viewed as this tragic icon, the king of pop cut down in his prime. But imagine the reaction if he hadn't been a weird little pervert.

Even pop culture successes are never quite as big as they could have/should've been.

Opening wide today:

TRANSFORMERS 2 (4234 theaters). I didn't see the first one, but apparently it has something to do with robot cars and a sexy Megan Fox. The sequel will probably add another $95 million this weekend. Yay, the economy is coming back.

MY SISTER'S KEEPER (2606 theaters). Oy. I guess there's room for a weepy movie geared toward women, and they have been advertising the heck out of this. But it's not exactly escapsim. $11.2 million for the weekend.

******

THE PROPOSAL did a very strong $33.6 million for the weekend, Sandra Bullock's best opening ever, and a jolt of life for star-driven romcoms.

YEAR ONE did a pretty good $19.6 million, but word of mouth doesn't seem very solid, and it'll probably drop fast.

14 Comments:

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But imagine the reaction if he hadn't been a weird little pervert."

Imagine if parents hadn't conspired with lawyers to use their children as tools of extortion; maybe we'd just think of him as weird (which is dubbed "eccentric genius" when you're selling multi-platinum), but not a pervert. Hardly a crime.

I'd rather be friends with Bubbles than the no-talent vultures that picked his bones clean.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

There are also a couple of movies opening in limited release. The Hurt Locker and Dead Snow look particularly good.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Scott, you should see "Transformers" (I can't believe I'm actually saying that), totally bizzare premise, but the action scenes with the robots ROCK! IF you can overlook the RIDICULOUS premise it's well crafted and fun.

Glad to hear "The Proposal" is doing well. HUGE fan of the rom-com genre, will be shooting you an e-mail cc. availabitly to cover my NEW rom-com. It's not a play by the number rom-com either. Yes, it's got some laughs (at least I HOPE it does) but it's got a bit of an edge to it too. You'll see...
It's ALMOAST ready to show. Am also hard at work on a really cool spec. script CD soundtack cover.

Michael Jackson was a JOKE. He had a couple good years in the 80s and he road that success. The king of pop? Ha! The Beattles kings of pop -- yes, The Rolling Stones kings of pop -- yes, Michael Jackson -- no.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

 
At 12:38 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Jesus, EC. You make it too easy. Transformers is the movie equivalent of being kicked in the scrotum repeatedly. Nothing is good about it.

As for your review of Jackson's career, let me fill you in a bit.

First of all, The Rolling Stones are not a pop band. They're a rock and roll band. The Beatles are so many different things: rock, pop, blues, psychadelic that they can't just be classified as pop.

Michael Jackson had much more than a couple of good years in the eighties. His career started with the Jackson 5 and blew up in the eighties. He revolutionized music, and MTV. His live performances were legendary, and yes, thrilling.

And I say all this as only a casual fan, nowhere near a fanatic.

Don't confuse the controversy with the talent.

 
At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I agree with Matt's comments regarding music, I think he's being too harsh with Transformers. Even though I'm not a fan of Bay's films, it's clear that he's a genius when it comes to making popcorn films -- just as MJ was a genius with pop music. They know what works for the masses; and they serve it up unabashedly. Their ability to do that over and over with such success speaks to their talent.

There's lots of big budget action pictures with good looking casts -- and better looking FX, but why will Transformers eclipse the total box office of the latest Terminator movie in its first weekend?

Michael Bay. He knows what works.

McG may not.

Same for Jermaine and Tito.

It's more than CGI robots and luck.

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Couldn't disagree with you more, anonymous.

People aren't idiots, but McDonalds sells a hell of a lot more burgers now than if they started selling veggie burgers. People want what is quick, easy, and a little bad for them.

Michael Bay is slightly better than McG and Brett Ratner, only because he is so motivated by greed and arrogance. I get the feeling McG and Ratner bang all the chicks and have all the cash they could ever need, and they really dont' care about a legacy.

Bay is not a good filmmaker. He makes things that are fast, loud, and overbearing. He's far from being the king of modern action films. Tony Scott, James Cameron, Michael Mann, and Walter Hill, just to name a few, are far better than Bay.

You want to do a comparison? Watch the bank robbery/shootout scene in Heat. The famous one that takes place in the streets of L.A. Then watch any Bay action scene.

You'll notice the difference.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt:

It is with a tremendous lack of humility that you assume you know Michael Bay (as opposed to any of the other directors you named)is "motivated by greed and arrogance".

How would you know what he's motivated by?

And how does being motivated by greed and arrogance make him better than the Ratner ilk?

I think you missed Anon's point entirely. S/He wasn't saying that Bay is better than a Mann or a Hill.

S/He was simply implying that Bay, for good or bad, simply seems to know what an audience will digest on these hot summer days.

Peter

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but McDonalds sells a hell of a lot.."

I think you're just reiterating my point. If you're saying that McDon's is to food what Bay is to film, I agree. I'm just saying that there's a genius to those golden arches -- even if you don't like them. And there's a genius to the songs of MJ's Thriller -- even though they're clearly not written by Bob Dylan. So, if it required only mediocre talent, why wouldn't everyone jump in and enjoy the success?

"and arrogance. I get the feeling McG and Ratner really dont' care about a legacy."

You're taking your personal tastes as an objective standard. I've heard that Ratner does care about his legacy -- but his goal is HIS goal, which may not be what you think it should be. How would you compare the legacy of MJ with Dylan? Were they aspiring to the same thing? Was Dylan shooting for 13 #1s on the pop charts? Was MJ trying to be the poet of a generation?

"Bay is not a good filmmaker. He's far from being the king of modern action films. Tony Scott, James Cameron, Michael Mann..."

Since Spielberg asked him to direct Transformers, I think he disagrees with you on Bay's filmmaking ability -- and one might call you "arrogant" for saying what you said.

But anyway, we have to define an "action" film. I think calling Cameron or Mann kings of action films is like calling John Lennon the king of British pop. I would think Mann would be appalled at the limits your designation suggests -- after directing The Insider and Ali.

"Watch the bank robbery/shootout scene in Heat. You'll notice the difference."

Yes, the difference I notice is that Heat is a cops/robbers crime drama while Transformers is a sci-fi film with giant CGI robots and huge exploding set-pieces. They should be assessed using different standards -- clearly.

 
At 11:32 PM, Blogger Matt said...

You're right, anonymous, Bay is motivated by making great art that will stand the test of time. He's motivated by the Oscars. He's motivated by pushing the boundaries of storytelling.

"And how does being motivated by greed and arrogance make him better than the Ratner ilk?"

Because Ratner is only motivated by greed. He doesn't seem to care about leaving any kind of legacy, he'll make shit films that are of somebody elses design just to get more ladies and cash. I'll give Bay enough credit that he cares about being a great action filmmaker. But he falls short.

As for me missing his point, he used the word genius to describe Bay. The only way Bay is a genius is that he has somehow become an extremely successful filmmaker without having any discernable talent.

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Matt said...

"I'm just saying that there's a genius to those golden arches -- even if you don't like them. And there's a genius to the songs of MJ's Thriller -- even though they're clearly not written by Bob Dylan. So, if it required only mediocre talent, why wouldn't everyone jump in and enjoy the success? "

I don't get your point here. What does any of this have to do with Bay? Bay is less than a mediocre talent. I don't know if he made a deal with the devil, or if he just had the right connections, but it doesn't take talent to do what he does. It takes having a strong personality and balls maybe, but that's it.

"You're taking your personal tastes as an objective standard. I've heard that Ratner does care about his legacy -- but his goal is HIS goal, which may not be what you think it should be. How would you compare the legacy of MJ with Dylan? Were they aspiring to the same thing? Was Dylan shooting for 13 #1s on the pop charts? Was MJ trying to be the poet of a generation?"

If Ratner is concerned about a legacy, I've got some bad fucking news for him.

MJ had tons of talent and he chose to be more commercial. Dylan had tons of talent and he chose to be a poet. I don't see talent in what Michael Bay does. I love action movies. Love them, so this isn't a snob thing. Bay can't even shoot a decent action sequence that is memorable. Paul Greengrass outdoes him with every Bourne film.

"Since Spielberg asked him to direct Transformers, I think he disagrees with you on Bay's filmmaking ability -- and one might call you "arrogant" for saying what you said. "

I love Spielberg, but I think the worst thing he's done for his legacy (but not for his bank account) is to team up with Bay. Spielberg always found a way to balance art and commerce. It's a let down to me that he's teamed up with such a talentless jerk.

But anyway, we have to define an "action" film. I think calling Cameron or Mann kings of action films is like calling John Lennon the king of British pop. I would think Mann would be appalled at the limits your designation suggests -- after directing The Insider and Ali.

Cameron is an action director. He may have done a few other things, but his best movies are action based. While Mann has done plenty of other types of films (The Insider is my favorite of his) when he does action, nobody does it better.

"Yes, the difference I notice is that Heat is a cops/robbers crime drama while Transformers is a sci-fi film with giant CGI robots and huge exploding set-pieces. They should be assessed using different standards -- clearly."

No, there should be tension, and suspense, and fear of something terrible happening in any kind of action sequence, no matter if it's robots or bank robbers. Do you ever feel on the edge of your seat in a Bay action scene? I never have, not even in the films of his I give a pass. Action is action. Suspense is suspense. If during the biggest action scene in the first Transformers I'm checking my watch, something is clearly being done wrong on his end.

 
At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ignored my legacy point. Roger Corman has a legacy -- it's that he never lost money on a picture -- and he helped launch the careers of many talented people. You might not care about that (or Piranha 3), but he did. Personal legacy is just that -- personal. Read up Ratner's non-tabloid stuff, you might be surprised.

But you ignored another point which is much more important.

What makes Bay's films more commercially successful than so many others of the same ilk? If a sub-mediocre talent (as you call him) keeps generating hit after hit, why don't all the other subpar directors follow suit?

They don't want the money??

And why wouldn't Spielberg find a cheaper director -- even better for his bank account -- if Bay's just garden variety or worse?

How does Bay make his films commercial successes when so many others fail -- even though they have access to the same budgets, stars and technical tools?

And I repeat: I'm not at all a fan of his films. But he's obviously doing something that works time after time.

And one more personal question for you: Have you ever made a feature film? or a short?

 
At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terminator Salvation: bad reviews, big budget, FX, popular franchise, hot chicks, explosions, robots -- and the Dark Knight himself in the lead.

39 days = 121 million

Transformers 2: worse reviews, big budget, FX, popular franchise, hot chicks, explosions, robots -- and Shia "I'm no Christian Bale yet" LaBeouf.

5 days = 201 million

Does McG scratch his head and say "Dang, How'd he do that??" when he thinks of Bay?

 
At 10:03 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Terminator 2 - Fourth film in a franchise, first three were R Rated, last movie barely made its money back, lacked its leading man from the first three, hack director who tried to do everything to make main star happy including beefing up his role until the movie was illogical

Transformers: ROFL - Second film based on a series of toys and cartoons, same stars from the first, same director, bigger budget, Megan Fox running in slow motion.

Really, you cannot compare the two so easily. Bay has copped it because he makes terrible movies, and he seems awfully proud of that. Thats what gets alot of people I think. He does not even acknowledge the fact that his movies are crap.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta side with Matt on the fact that TF2 is trash and this is coming from a Bay fan. I love The Rock, Bad Boys I & II, Armageddon and I like the rest, but TF1 and TF2=crap. I wouldn't go as far as to say Bay is motivated by greed and arrogance, he's just a filmmaker conducting business, only it's not the kind of quality business that say, Spielberg, Mendes, or Scorscese is conducting. And Michael, though tainted by his personal life as of the last decade or so, you can't dismiss the skills and joy that he's brought to the world over the course of his career, and respect is what he deserves for a job well done. R.I.P. Mike. Thank you.

 

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