Friday, July 29, 2005

It Takes Diff'rent Strokes to Move the World

As I pointed out last week, our foreign friends sometimes have different tastes than us. In that spirit, here's a fun game for you:

Match the 2004 movies (domestic grosses in parentheses) with their overseas totals (all numbers in millions). Answers appear in the Comments section.

Movies (Domestic Totals)
1) The Passion of the Christ ($370.3)
2) The Incredibles ($261.4)
3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($249.5)
4) The Day After Tomorrow ($186.7)
5) The Bourne Supremacy ($176.2)
6) Shark Tale ($160.9)
7) I, Robot ($144.8)
8) Troy ($133.4)
9) Ocean's Twelve ($125.5)
10) Van Helsing ($120.2)
11) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story ($114.3)
12) Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy ($85.3)
13) The Notebook ($81.0)
14) Man on Fire ($77.9)
15) The Terminal ($77.9)
16) Garfield: The Movie ($75.4)
17) Christmas with the Kranks ($73.8)
18) Sideways ($71.5)
19) Shall We Dance ($57.9)
20) Barbershop 2: Back in Business ($65.1)
21) King Arthur ($51.9)
22) The Phantom of the Opera ($51.2)
23) Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason ($40.2)
24) Alexander ($34.3)
25) Closer ($34.0)
26) Good Bye, Lenin! ($4.1)

Overseas Totals
A) $540.3
B) $370.0
C) $364.0
D) $356.0
E) $241.1
F) $237.2
G) $221.5
H) $202.6
I) $202.4
J) $180.0
K) $151.5
L) $140.8
M) $133.3
N) $123.2
O) $112.3
P) $112.2
Q) $103.3
R) $81.1
S) $75.3
T) $53.4
U) $40.8
V) $37.1
W) $34.3
X) $22.8
Y) $5.3
Z) $0.88

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Creative Arts Emmys" Doesn't Have to be an Oxymoron

It's belated, but I've just realized two more snubs that The Emmys should be ashamed of -- both in the Creative Arts Emmys categories.

First of all, how could they ignore Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County in Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming? It's by far the most beautifully shot Reality show I've ever seen. Heck, it's prettier than most scripted series. Too bad it's on MTV.

Then there's the Outstanding Main Title Design category where Rescue Me really deserved a spot. I can't speak for The Grid, Huff or The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, but Rescue Me's opening title sequence is much cooler to look at than House's rip off of X-Men's rip off of Fight Club. Still, this is the one place where Desperate Housewives deserves to win (well, here and Outstanding Main Title Theme Music).

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The TomKat (Home) Theater

Watch where you're pointing that gun, Mister.

Ah, those sly marketing geniuses at Best Buy have put together a fun bit of juxtaposition in their latest Sunday circular. And at 20 bucks, their pairing of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes comes a lot cheaper than the real deal's five million dollar price tag (though we'll be lucky if DVD technology lasts as long as five years).

[Apologies if this hardly seems post-worthy. It's a slow news day (pop culture-wise) and it's been 23 days and 11 posts since I last blogged about TomKat. I'm going through postpartum depression.]

Friday, July 22, 2005

The People of Santa Monica are Easily Shocked

From IMDb:

Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts shocked residents of Santa Monica, California when she was spotted driving through the coastal town with out of date license plates.

These are the residents of Santa Monica

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Across the Isle


How long after The Island opens will it take for people to bemoan the subliminal Right Wing bias of Hollywood movies?

Monday, July 18, 2005

No Sexy Please, We're British

Oh dear, we are a pair of saucy wankers, aren't we?

Granted, my sample is limited to two, but apparently, British men don't like drop-dead-gorgeous women as much as they like plain/hideous nannies/prostitutes.

Does that make them less shallow than us? Or just colossally stupid (though oh-so-adorably bumbling)?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The ChrisHenchy Code

Can anybody crack the roman à clef that is Entourage?

From tonight's Sundance episode:
Eric: Harvey Weingard.
Shauna: Oh. Harvey's a prick to work for but he's a genius. Everything he touches turns to Oscar gold.
I'm stumped.

This show is nothing if not subtle

I won't say I told you so, but...

...I will link (if only life were like blogging!).

After the hefty Friday numbers came in for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, box office prognosticators were predicting big things for the rest of the weekend. Box Office Prophets called for a 3.1 multiplier and $64.4 million total. David Poland thought it would fall somewhere between $60 and $70 million, maybe even higher. So what went wrong?


The Friday-to-Saturday drop (uncommon for children's films, as I pointed out back in April) can't be blamed on quality. Charlie currently has a very high 83% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Compare that to Tim Burton's last remake, Planet of the Apes, which had a paltry 45% Fresh rating, and yet its Friday-to-Saturday decline was less than 1% versus Charlie's 7.9% dip.

Likewise, the excuse that parents suddenly got wise to how twisted Burton is doesn't track. That rationale was used to explain Batman Returns' cumulative disparity from the first installment, yet the "darkness factor" didn't really kick in until after opening weekend. Yes, even Batman Returns experienced a slight uptick from Friday-to-Saturday (despite greater buildup, a fan boy rush brought about by a comic book sequel to one of the biggest hits of all time and more gripes about quality/suitability for fragile youth).

The thing is, Charlie's weekend haul is really quite good. On Friday, most people were predicting a total of about $45 million, so it exceeded initial expectations by $10 million. But, to play Oskar Schindler, how much more could it have made if they hadn't gone up against Harry Potter?

Warner Bros. is avoiding admitting a blunder by continuing to hide their heads in the sand:

The jury was still out as to how sales were hurt by the worldwide hype surrounding the release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

"That's a hard call," said Dan Fellman, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Warner Bros. "You just can't put your finger on it."

Actually, I think I did just put my finger on it, Dan. In fact, I did it three months ago. So why didn't you?

Sweet Cloned Jesús Cristo!

If it turns out to be true, this is the best news I've heard since yesterday.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Top Ten Best Tim Burton Movies Ever

Finally I can do this list and not include Planet of the Apes

1. Batman Returns
2. Edward Scissorhands
3. Ed Wood
4. Batman
5. Mars Attacks!
6. Big Fish
7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
8. Beetlejuice
9. Pee Wee's Big Adventure
10. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
10½. Sleepy Hollow

Sweet Zombie Jesus!

If it turns out to be true, this is the best news I've heard in a long, long time.

Playing Checkers With Domino

What's going on with Domino's release date? If I recall, it was originally scheduled for an August berth before being placed head-to-bald head with V for Vendetta on November 4. I blinked, and suddenly, according to Box Office Mojo, it's had three more release dates in the last month (Nov. 23, Aug. 19 and now tentatively Oct. 14). Does this have something to do with the real-life heroine's untimely end or perhaps wildly different test audience reactions ("They love it... move it up!" "They hate it... delay the sucker!") or is it merely motivated by changes in Pirates of the Carribean 2/3's production schedule? The world may never know...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Good, The Bad and The Emmy

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the nominations this year. Sure, there are a few glaring omissions (and a couple of glaring inclusions), but there's enough Good to make up for the bad.

The Good

South Park's choice of episode submission. Last year, I bemoaned their misguided pick, but this year they chose a good one.

Arrested Development getting noms for Jason Bateman and Jessica Walter, while dominating the Writing category. Now if only they could do something for Will Arnett.

Scrubs finally gets some recognition in the major categories (well, it picked up a Writing nom last year, but who cares about writers?). Perhaps John C. McGinley will fare better once Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett are out of the way.

Four out of five of my picks for Best Drama series made the cut, so no complaints there (maybe it's time I gave Deadwood another shot).

Good for Glenn Close, Alan Alda and Terry O'Quinn.

Project Runway is a pleasant, somewhat unexpected surprise. I figured The Contender and America's Next Top Model were ahead in the running, but this is an excellent choice.

The Bad

I don't usually notice the Dramatic Underscore on TV, but I distinctly recall watching the "Tuesday" episode of Alias and thinking that it was a sure bet for an Emmy nod in that category. Alas, it was not to be. At least Michael Giacchino wasn't completely shut out like he was at the Oscars this year, scoring a nomination for his work on Lost.

I know I should be happy with the nominations they did receive, but how could Arrested Development be shut out of the Directing category?

The entire Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy category. It's not that I dislike any of these performers (though Boyle, Garrett and Hayes have all done better), but there are so many more deserving actors out there.

STOCKARD !@#$ing CHANNING?!?! Did the voters even see her performance this year, because I didn't and I watched every single episode of The West Wing? There were guest stars who had more lines in one episode than Channing did all season. How they could consider her more deserving than the tragically overlooked Shohreh Aghdashloo and Yunjin Kim is beyond me.

And The What The !@#$ Were They Thinking?

Conchatta Ferrell? Really?

I guess I understand Desperate Housewives' 15 nominations, but Will & Grace's 15? Huh? Granted, five came from the Guest Actor categories (most of those undeserved as well), but still, why reward such mediocrity?

If I Picked The Emmy Nominations 2005

This year, I'm not even going to try to anticipate what The Academy will nominate -- with just five hours to go, what's the point? I will however offer what my ballot would like would that I could cast one (without any explanation). Most of the disclaimers from last year apply again (in particular, I'm not sure which categories the actors from The O.C. and Reno 911! are submitting for) and to compare my picks this year with my picks last year, click on the category headers.

Best Drama Series
  • 24
  • Lost
  • Nip/Tuck
  • Six Feet Under
  • The West Wing

Runners-up: Eyes, Rescue Me, The Shield, Veronica Mars

Best Actor in a Drama

  • Michael Chiklis, The Shield
  • Peter Gallagher, The O.C.
  • Julian McMahon, Nip/Tuck
  • James Spader, Boston Legal
  • Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Runners-up: Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under), Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Hugh Laurie (House), Denis Leary (Rescue Me)

Best Actress in a Drama
  • Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
  • Glenn Close, The Shield
  • Jennifer Garner, Alias
  • Joely Richardson, Nip/Tuck
  • Kelly Rowan, The O.C.

Runners-up: Candice Bergen (Boston Legal), Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under), Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under), Allison Janney (The West Wing)

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

  • Alan Alda, The West Wing
  • Anthony Anderson, The Shield
  • Josh Holloway, Lost
  • Terry O'Quinn, Lost
  • Kevin Weisman, Alias

Runners-up: Jonathan Ahdout (24), William Shatner (Boston Legal)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, 24
  • Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under
  • Melinda Clarke, The O.C.
  • Yunjin Kim, Lost
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub, 24

Runners-up: N/A

Best Comedy Series

  • Arrested Development
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Malcolm in the Middle
  • Reno 911!
  • Scrubs

Runners-up: Entourage, Everybody Loves Raymond

Best Actor in a Comedy
  • Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
  • Zach Braff, Scrubs
  • Thomas Lennon, Reno 911!
  • Eric McCormack, Will & Grace
  • Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond

Runners-up: N/A

Best Actress in a Comedy

  • Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
  • Lauren Graham, Gilmore Girls
  • Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
  • Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle

Runners-up: Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives), Debra Messing (Will & Grace)

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

  • Will Arnett, Arrested Development
  • Michael Cera, Arrested Development
  • David Cross, Arrested Development
  • Tony Hale, Arrested Development
  • John C. McGinley, Scrubs

Runners-up: Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls), Jeremy Piven (Entourage), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

  • Alexis Bledel, Gilmore Girls
  • Sarah Chalke, Scrubs
  • Kerri Kenney-Silver, Reno 911!
  • Judy Reyes, Scrubs
  • Jessica Walter, Arrested Development

Runners-up: Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls), Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development), Christa Miller Lawrence (Scrubs), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Nicollette Sheridan (Desperate Housewives)

I will be very excited if:

  • The vacancies in the Comedy categories make room for some noms thrown Scrubs' and Gilmore Girls' ways (I think Zach Braff may be the most likely from either show), as well as more acting recognition for Arrested Development.
  • Yunjin Kim and Shohreh Aghdashloo get much deserved nominations.
  • 24 and The West Wing are nominated for Best Drama for seasons that actually deserve it.
  • Nip/Tuck gets anywhere near the recognition it received from The Golden Globes.
  • At least one of the Desperate Housewives is left out, leading to a nasty behind-the-scenes catfight. I'll settle for the series earning zero noms for its lame male actors and landing no more than one Writing nomination.

And a few things to be on the lookout for:

  • Will sentiment lead to surprise nominations for Jerry Orbach, Dennis Franz and/or Matt LeBlanc?
  • How many Oscar nominees will be nominated in the regular series categories (potentials include Shohreh Aghdashloo, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, James Cromwell, Rachel Griffiths and Gary Sinise)? Will Quentin Tarantino be included for directing C.S.I.?
  • Which HBO Drama will dominate - past Emmy favorite Six Feet Under (whose buzz has cooled) or Deadwood (which was surprisingly overlooked last year)?
  • I'm getting ahead of myself, I know, but have a freshman Comedy and a Freshman Drama ever won Best Series Emmys in the same year? Seems quite possible this year.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Box Office Tracking: A Pseudo-Science

How to measure the impact (positive or negative) of Tom Cruise's recent antics on the box office of War of the Worlds? There's no way of knowing how much it would have made if he'd remained his usual, cool, movie star self. My hypothesis has been that he won't keep many sci-fi/action/event fans away, but that women who don't usually go for that type of movie but will see Cruise in anything (even Vanilla Sky) might abandon him (not to in any way generalize an entire sex). So Monday morning, the number I'll be looking at won't be the overall gross, but the percentage of women who showed up.

Minority Report, which is obviously the most analogous release to War of the Worlds, had a surprisingly strong female turnout for a hardcore sci-fi movie on opening weekend: 48%. Compare that to Alien Vs. Predator's 30%, The Matrix Reloaded's 38%, Terminator 3's 40% or Revenge of the Sith's 42% (I wish I had more stats to offer, but demographic breakdowns are proving difficult to track down). Cruise had to account for some of that discrepancy. So if women don't make up at least 45% of War of the Worlds' weekend haul, I for one will take that as a sign of backlash against the star.