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More On Movies:
The Last Word On Film Is Juicy!
Written by: Alex Sandell, who thinks he's sooooo clever for coming up with that "more on" play on words (more on = moron, get it? "Moron Movies?!?")
The biggest event (or should I say "non-event?") in "More On" movie news this week is The Iron Giant's horrible performance at the box-office. This film is honestly one of the best films ever made, animated or not, and should have been the biggest hit of the summer, if not the decade. Nearly everyone that has taken a chance on it has loved it with an enthusiasm I haven't seen since E.T., Indiana Jones or the original Star Wars. The film already sits in the NUMBER ONE spot on IMDB's list of the top 250 movies ever made with an astounding average "1-10" vote of 8.8. Website after website is praising the film and BEGGING people to see it (kind of like I'm doing here). Yet, no one is going. The film was number 9 for the weekend, bringing in only 5.7 million dollars, and has performed poorly throughout the week. Why? First of all, the Warner Brothers' marketing group are idiots. Total fucking morons. They refused to let Brad Bird, who co-wrote and directed the masterpiece, cut his own ad, and instead opted for cheesy commercials catering to 12-year-old GI Joe fans who listen to The Scorpions. Now, let me ask you, how many 12-year-old kids do you know who A.) worship GI Joe and B.) are big fans of outdated heavy metal that sucked when it first came out? That's what I thought. Obviously, Warner Brothers lives in a totally separate realm from our own, one in which hair-metal is still the in thing, and making a classic movie look like crap is the best marketing scheme since that old bitch asked, "Where's the beef?". The Warner world is one in which suckhole movies like Wild Wild West are worth millions of advertising dollars, but a groundbreaking film like The Iron Giant is hardly worth the time of day. Second of all, people are idiots. Little pimply sheep flocking together to view whichever film has the longest line. It doesn't matter to the mindless sheep if the film is any good or not, it just matters that the film is viewed the most by other sheep that they want to converse with the next day, in a sheep ranch like Starbucks, or something. No one bothers to take the time to check out the story behind the film, the critics who've already seen it, or just which looks the best to them, on a personal level. All they do is head toward the one they saw on TV the most. God forbid they put any work into it. "If you advertise it, they will come (unless it's The Mystery Men)." Finally, the film is animated and doesn't have the Disney logo on it. Plenty of people will go to a cartoon, even if it sucks, as long as it has those two treasured words all animated works need to have to become a gigantic success: Walt Disney. You see, with Walt, you're safe. You know the formula. Some guy or girl will feel they need something "more" out of life. A whole new world, if you will. They'll converse with some talking animals who sing songs and dance around, occasionally falling over one-another, to make the kiddies laugh. Then, *GULP*, just when you thought things were safe, they'll meet up with a really, REALLY evil person and that person will be after them for the rest of their lives unless they meet up with another singing dolt that ends up falling in love with them and knocks the "bad guy" off of a cliff, tree and/or any high up place. What happens if there are no talking animals, singing dolts or romantic leads? What if there's only genuine heart, a moving story, and great characters? One of two things: 1. The film isn't animated 2. The film bombs, no matter how good it is, because people can't handle change in doses any larger than the "special" shake at McDonald's being altered from "banana" to "root beer." At least you'll get an Inspector Gadget body part, and the chance to win 1,000,000 dollars. Not to mention, if you're a winner, they'll let you make a fool of yourself on national TV! Ah . . . the wonderful world of Disney. Those marketing wizards have it all.
Proving that not even a shit-storm of hype can topple Disney's marketing machine, The Sixth Sense came in at number 1, for the weekend, with an astounding 26.7 million. This was about 2 million more than ultra-hyped The Blair Witch Project, which took the number 2 spot, and dropped nearly 60% from last weekend, even though it was playing on an extra 1,000 theaters. It looks like the buzz for Bruce Willis is growing at the same time Blair's buzz is fading away. I'm guessing Blair Witch, which has earned a pretty impressive 80 million, will start sinking quickly, and wind up grossing a total of about 130-140 million. I'm figuring The Sixth Sense, which is receiving tremendous word of mouth, will end up in around the same area. Runaway Bride took in 20.8 million in its second week, for a total of 73.8 million and a third place finish. Being that horse-faced Julia Roberts and uber-bland Richard Gere supposedly have some sort of chemistry, I'm predicting this tepid excuse for a romance will reach a final tally of around 110 million, which is way more than it deserves, but less than it desired. In fourth place we have The Thomas Crown Affair which poked and prodded its way to a sexy 14.6 million debut. I really liked this movie (a little better than The Sixth Sense and significantly more than The Blair "Where's the Witch" Project) and hope that its 55% jump from Friday to Saturday means that it has some legs. I'm going to be optimistic and estimate the film will leave theaters with around 50-60 million dollars, which is far less than industry fortune tellers predicted it would make, but good enough that it can claim to be a "hit" film. Finally, in fifth, we have Deep Blue Sea, which chomped up another 11.2 million dollars for an okay 2.5 week total of 45.5 million. I'm guessing this shark-fest will leave the theaters with around 60-65 million, which is about what it cost to make. It's no Jaws, but it isn't Lake Placid, either. That last sentence was gay. Proving there is a God, even though there probably isn't, Mystery Men didn't even get into the top 5 and debuted with a fairly crappy 10 million. I'm very, very happy to discover that not every piece of shit that comes out can sell itself off as gold and make a bundle. I'm guessing this waste of film will reluctantly leave the theaters with only about 30-40 million. Not even half of what it cost to make, much less advertise. Stupid piece of junk. As I mentioned above, The Iron Giant, which I, along with the vast majority of critics and audience members that have seen it, consider the best animated film EVER, barely made the top 10. It placed number 9 for the weekend and brought in a dismal 5.7 million. Proving, once again, that humans suck shit and don't have the guts to try something new if it isn't force-fed to them in a fucking happy meal.
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©1999 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copy this, without my permission, and I'll send a fat lady over to your house and have her pee on you!
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