Movie Week in Review: The Good, Bad and Beautiful
Michael Mann's revamping of his popular 1980s TV series for the big screen, “Miami Vice,” met expectations and was the top-grossing film of the weekend, with $25.2 million. The crime-noir thriller could have done better if the critical reaction were more positive. (See below).
Given the film's huge budget (over $130 million), though, Universal hopes that “Miami Vice” has long legs like “Collateral,” which made $100 million. Realistically, the movie will score somewhere between Mann's “Heat” (the best of the trilogy) and “Collateral.”
The second place is occupied by Johnny Depp's star vehicle, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,” which refuses to decline, maintaining its strong position, both domestically and internationally. “Pirates” finally ceded the No. 1 spot at the box office, and it's now a domestic record for Disney.
Stateside, the movie has crossed $385 million and is on its way to become one of the most commercially successful movies of all time, in league with “The Lord of the Rings” and the “Harry Potter” series.
In contrast, Shyamalan's “Lady in the Water,” the worst of the quintet of supernatural thrillers he has directed, is dying very quickly at the box-office. As of today, it has made about $32 million, thus becoming the least commercial picture of the five.
Too many animations
The market may be flooded with family-oriented animation fare. In its second week, the Spielberg-Zemeckis produced “Monster House” declined 50 percent, and has amassed about $44.0 million.
Newcomer animated “The Ant Bully” made poor impression, with only $8 million. The movie marks another disappointment for Warner, along with partner Legendary, in a tough summer. Opening in a crowded season, just a week after “Monster House” and with “Cars” still playing, the inexpensive toon didn't draw many families. Next week, “Barnyard” is joining the crowd, but no animation in sight is likely to outperform Pixar's “Cars.”
Of the new movies, “John Tucker Must Die,” the comedy starring “Desperate Housewives” hunk Jesse Metcalf, did rather well, as the third grosser of the weekend, with $14 million, appealing as expected to teenage girls and young women.
Dont dismiss the critics yet
“Da Vinci Code” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” may be the only two tentpole movies to have survived negative (in the former case) and mixed reviews (in the latter). However, “Miami Vice” received more negative than positive reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, which polls about 200 critics across the country, “Miami Vice” scored 48 percent, which means that 52 percent of the reviews were negative (the ratio is 56 fresh to 61 rotten).
“Lady in the Water” scored only 22 percent per Rotten (the ratio is 35 fresh to 122 negative reviews), with average rating of 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 10.
One of the biggest disappointments this week is vet auteur Woody Allen's “Scoop,” a retro movie that rehashes old stuff like “Manhattan Murder Mystery” and “The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.” This retread to Allen's old tricks (kvetching as amateur private eye) resulted in a 39 percent score per Rotten (38 fresh versus 60 negative reviews).
Just when Allen showed promise with his last film, “Match point,” which also starred Scarlett Johansson and made over $20 million, he may be now back to the small audience that has embraced his movies over the past decade. Focus opened “Scoop” to a decent $3 million at 538 theaters, averaging $5,582, but the movie is expected to decline rapidly due to negative word-of-mouth.
Speaking of comedies, the Owen Wilson starrer, “You, Me, and Dupree,” with Wilson as the unwanted guest of Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson, is performing so-so ($59.0); it also suffered from bad reviews.
Like Allen, it's safe to say that Ivan Reitman, maestro comedy director of the 1970s and 1980s, has lost touch with Hollywood, the comedy genre, and the zeitgeist. Even worse than his previous effort, “Evolution,” his new comedy, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” is a huge failure, despite a sexy performance by Uma Thurman.
Dito for Kevin Smith comedy-sequel, “Clerks II” which declined a sizable 61%, taking 3.9 million, on its second week, with cume of $18.5 million. Time has passed for Smith's raunchy humor, which was fresh in 1994, when the first “Clerks” came out of nowhere.
In contrast, in limited release, the Sundance hit comedy, “Little Miss Sunshine” opened to a strong $356,863 at 7 theaters, averaging over $50,000 per play. Fox Searchlight bowed the film on a Wednesday, and it now has a cume of $449,000.
As I noted in another piece, Meryl Streep should be declared “Queen of the Summer,” having scored in not one but two films. The nasty fashionista comedy, “Devil Wears Prada,” has crossed $106 million and will make more money than Vince Vaughn's “The Break-Up.” Shallow but also glitzy and intermittently witty, “Prada” is one of the most enjoyable adult comedies this summer.
Streep no doubt has contributed to the success of Robert Altman's radio movie, “Prairie Home Companion.” Though an ensembler, with the likes of Lily Tomlin and Kevin Kline, it's Streepwho shines; she's easily the best thing in the film, in which she acts and sings (both lovely).
The most disturbing and original movie I saw this week (and month) is “Brothers of the Head,” a faux-documentary about conjoined twins who established a rock band in London in the 1970s as a way to express their anger as well as creativity. IFC is platforming the movie, first in NY, then L.A. and other cities (See my review).
Miami Vice, 25.2; 25.2
Pirates of the Caribbean, 20.5; 385.4
John Tucker Must Die, 14.1; 14.1
Monster House, 11.5; 44.0
Ant Bully, 8.1; 8.0
You, Me and Dupree, 7.0; 59.0
Lady in the Water, 7.0; 32.0
Little Man, 5.0; 50.0
Devil Wears Prada, 5.0; 107.0
Clerks II, 3.9; 18.5
*first figure is the weekend gross, second is the cumulative figure.
related article 1: Miami Vice.
related article 2: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
related article 3: Devil Wears Prada, The.
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