Entertainment behind the scenes
As Hollywood’s summer movie season draws to a close — only two weekends to go — box office watchers are expecting slightly more than $4 billion in total revenue largely because of superhero blockbusters “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man” and “Hancock”
A final number around last year’s record $4.18 billion would approximate last summer’s record box office, but it’s important to note that while revenues are up, attendance — the number of people actually going to movies — is down about 3 percent from last summer. What accounted for the difference? Higher average ticket prices.
The decline in attendance leads us to think that maybe, despite the success of “Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” and even “Sex and the City,” maybe audiences weren’t too thrilled with Hollywood’s summer. Can anyone say “Speed Racer”?
Or, how about Indy’s fourth movie? Was it worth it for director Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford to team up again for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”?
Maybe the moviegoing experience just wasn’t worth the price of admission, which is $10 or more depending on the theater and location. Or, maybe the Olympics were just too much late night competition for late-summer movies such as “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” slowing momentum from June and July.
Hollywood always seems to have another sequel up its sleeve. But the magazine Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday said enough already, calling for Hollywood producers to pull the plug on 14 movie franchises it says have run out of gas.
First on the list was “The Mummy.” The third and latest installment in the franchise, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” which stars Brendan Fraser, had an opening weekend about $10 million below pundits’ forecasts more than a week ago when it made $40.5 million. On its second weekend, it dropped a whopping 60 percent to $16.5 million, and only 11 percent of critics on the Web site RottenTomatoes.com gave “Tomb” a favorable rating as of Tuesday.
Entertainment Weekly said the latest movie comes “eight long years” after the last installment and that the franchise “should have stayed in its tomb.”
The latest Indiana Jones movie, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” has made a whopping $776 million worldwide since it opened in May. But that’s not enough to stave off the Entertainment Weekly pundits. They called the movie “humdrum” and said they would only be interested if Indy’s dad, played by Sean Connery, makes a comeback.
Also on the list was the Austin Powers franchise. The magazine said comedian Mike Myers’ style “became all too predictable with its two sequels,” before the third movie “Austin Powers in Goldmember” came out in 2002. Myers also had out “The Love Guru” this summer, which bombed at box offices.
Other film franchises on the Entertainment Weekly list were “American Pie,” “Bring It On,” “Saw,” “Friday the 13th,” and spoofs in the style of 2000′s “Scary Movie.”
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)
As whip-wielding adventurer Indiana Jones storms back into movie theaters after a 19-year hiatus in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, fans of the intrepid archaeologist played by Harrison Ford were asked in a survey by Blockbuster video to name their favorite scenes from his previous three movies. These came out tops:
1. Running from the Boulder (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”) — 75%. An overwhelming three out of four surveyed chose this scene with Indiana Jones running from a boulder in a booby-trapped temple as essential Indy material.
What exactly makes a Cannes film? If you scroll down the Fan Fare blog, you may see a comment on our “‘Indiana Jones’ avoids critical mauling, but…” posting that ponders why such a big event Hollywood movie would play at a festival like Cannes that is known for more art-oriented cinema.
I cannot tell you what Cannes festival programmers think, but I can tell you that in 15 years of writing about movies and 10 years of covering festivals, that type of comment generally has several answers. Festival directors often say big Hollywood movies bring big Hollywood stars, which can draw attention both to the festival and the art films that may not otherwise be seen. Moreover, what’s a festival for, if not to bring a wide variety of movies to the people who are attending.
Welcome to the world of the movie junket. Ever see “Notting Hill”, where Hugh Grant waits around in a swanky hotel waiting for his few minutes with the stars of a new movie?
It’s a reasonable representation of the “junket”, a rather unflattering but nonetheless apposite term to describe the short TV interviews studios organise to give news channels and agencies access to stars. The reason: news media need soundbites for their stories.
So, we finally saw the new Indiana Jones movie, which is the biggest show in town at the Cannes film festival this year.
There was a scramble to get into the packed press screening, with reporters waiting up to two hours to ensure a spot, and reviewers were sending out their opinions on the internet within an hour of it finishing.