Monday, April 28, 2008

Never hitting No. 1? No problem

I had a sobering thought as the opening sequence of "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" was unspooling before us on Saturday afternoon: I'm just too old for this.

I mean, I still love the guys, and when it was about the two of them and their juvenile exploits the sequel was still often very funny. But it also just contained some of the most tired jokes about prison and Southerners I've ever seen (and, really, when that prison is Guantanamo Bay, is there anything to laugh about?) Overall I'd say if you like Harold and Kumar it's still worth a rental.

I did, however, buy tickets for me and a few friends for the 10:30 p.m. Thursday night screening of "Iron Man," which I'm thoroughly jazzed about, and I still laughed through the entire length of that redband trailer for "Pineapple Express," so I'm definitely ready for summer!

Before we get into that, however, a nugget of news about Jason Bateman, who anyone who's been here before knows I rather like. Along with being Will Smith's life coach in the upcoming "Hancock," he's now signed on for what will most likely be a pretty funny movie that no one will get to see.

Why? Well, it's being written and directed by Mike Judge, whose last fairly funny offering, "Idiocracy," managed to play only in L.A. and Austin, if I'm not mistaken, before heading straight to video. Now he's heading back to the big screen with Bateman in tow for something called "Extract," which explores "what it's like to be the boss when everything seems to be shifting around you." Sounds more than a little just like "The Office," but I'm still betting it will turnout pretty good.

And in one other "Arrested Development" note, it looks like Mitchell Hurwitz's fall Fox offering is definitely headed to series, with the hiring of "Simpsons" veterans Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein to be most likely showrunners. "Sit Down Shut Up," based on a New Zealand sitcom, will be an animated tale about teachers and administrators at a high school who care much more about their own hijinx than the students they supposedly supervise.

And one more nugget before I move on to the main course. Now that he's officially on board for "The Hobbit" and "The Hobbit 2.0," Guillermo del Toro gave the requisite interview with You can read the whole thing here, but here's what I found most intriguing, since it hopefully means he understands that "The Hobbit," much more than "The Lord of the Rings," is a tale for the young and the young at heart:

"Another thing people will notice, at the beginning of the film will be the palette, that will be slightly different, the world will be the same but it will be a more ‘golden’ world, a more wide-eyed world."

Amen brother.

No No. 1? No problem?

Now, for the summer blockbusters that are about to come our way, that would of course be a fallacy, but there are plenty of movies that never reached No. 1 but still had a very healthy domestic box-office take. Here, with a hearty thanks to Box Office Mojo (which is really a stat-lover's dream come true), are 10 (with their chart positions) that I love from the list of the top 150 grossing flicks that never managed to make it to the top of the box office pack (the No. 1 flick, by the way, is "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which never went higher than No. 2 but still managed to take in a rather astonishing $241,438,208):

6. "Chicago": The high-powered musical reached No. 2 when it was released in 2002 and went on to gross $170,687,518

12. "Knocked Up": Judd Apatow's comedy also peaked at No. 2 last year and went on to take in $148,768,917. And, in case you're wondering, "Superbad" isn't eligible for this list because it did indeed open at No. 1, but only took in $121,463,226.

17. "Juno": I can remember watching the numbers for "Juno" during the run-up to the Oscars and hoping it would sneak up to a late-run No. 1 visit, but it never got past No. 2 either in grossing $143,306,893.

26. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon": Man do I miss truly epic kung fu movies. I still haven't seen "Forbidden Kingdom" (though might today), but I hardly think that really counts. This one peaked at No. 4 on its way to taking in $128,078,872.

40. "Big": Has it really been since 1988 that there's been a Tom Hanks movie this fun? The big kid flick managed to peak at No. 2 and take in $114,968,774.

47. "Chicken Run": Back in the day when Aardman Animation wasn't reduced to making TV specials (Wallace & Gromit are coming back to the BBC soon!), they used to have a deal with Dreamworks which led to this zany tale that hit No. 2 in 2000 and managed to gross $106,834,564.

56. "The Aviator": Not even the presence of Leo DiCaprio and tons of Oscar hype could ever lift this higher than No. 3 at the box office, but it still did manage to gross $102,610,330. That makes it the No. 2 all-time hit for Mr. Scorsese, behind only "The Departed," which took in $132,384,315 domestic.

72. "Unbreakable": The last M. Night Shyamalan movie I just loved is also the first one on this list not to cross the $100M box-office barrier. The uber-cool superhero-of-sorts flick hit No. 2 and managed to take in $95,011,339 in 2000.

90: "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie": I may be too old for Harold and Kumar, but I don't think I'll ever outgrow Spongebob. The flick was surprisingly clever, and it managed to peak at No. 2 and gross $85,417,988.

and, finally,

139: "No Country for Old Men": I was sure the Coens' biggest hit would be higher on this list, but shockingly it never made it past No. 5 at the box office. It still did, however, manage to dwarf my favorite Coen brothers' flick and their previous top contender, "O Brother Where Art Thou," $74,283,625 to about $45.5M.

So, there you have it. A waste of time? Perhaps. But still being a huge baseball fan, and since the Orioles are still over .500 at 14-11, I thought a stat-heavy post was in order. I hope someone else found it even a little bit interesting. Peace out.


jeremy said...

When it comes to the Macon Int'l Film Fest--or your local Netflix distribution center--go see Planet B-Boy
Traler here
And my problem with Unbreakable? Its a first act in sore need of some trimming, and a 2nd and 3rd act.
I wonder what John Dahl and Todd Solondz are up to . . . imdb here I come!

Reel Fanatic said...

Planet B-Boy does indeed look awfully cool, Jeremy, so thanks for the heads up .. As for "Unbreakable," we obviously just disagree ... I can see that maybe it lacked a third act, but it left me hoping for the sequel that obviously never came to pass

Mercurie said...

I have to confess, besides The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable is my second favourite Shyamalan. I must also confess I didn't think it did that well at the box office! Glad to know I was wrong.

patrick said...

wow i had no idea juno made that much

sexy said...