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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

North American box office: ‘G-Force’? Really?

Armed guinea pigs beat Harry Potter?

1. G-Force: $31.7 million (NEW)
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: $29.5 million (2nd week; drops 62%)
3. The Ugly Truth: $27.6 million (NEW)
4. Orphan: $12.9 million (NEW)
5. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: $8.4 million (4th week; drops 52%)

actual numbers, not estimates
Oh, god, I’m not gonna have to see this silly guinea pig movie now, aren’t I? Just to see what all the fuss is about. Almost $32 million? That’s insane. Wisecracking furball stereotypes with automatic weapons kick Harry Potter’s ass? What kind of crazy universe are we living in?

More than half of G-Force’s take can be accounted for by 3D showings, which come with a premium price tag, according to Box Office Mojo, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. I mean, it doesn’t mean we can relax and sigh with relief that this performance was some sort of anomaly, because it means that this “anomaly” will become the reality. Hollywood doesn’t need stars (never mind actually good actor) or scripts: all it needs is high concept + 3D for a guaranteed box office win. Just you wait: This time next year, we’ll get an R-rated talking-animals-go-to-Vegas-for-a-bachelor-party movie. In 3D.

I really hope we see The Ugly Truth take a huge tumble next weekend, because at least that will mean that all those many people who ventured out to see it this past weekend hated it, and told their friends to avoid it. If the movie holds well — and, I must be honest with myself, the almost-as-odious The Proposal is still going strong, and will easily pass $150 million within two weeks — that means that either no one cares how hateful and misogynist this flick is, or that they don’t even notice. I’m not sure which explanation is worse.

At least the movies with the best per-screen averages deserve it:

In the Loop: $23,983 (on each of 8 screens)
500 Days of Summer: $19,244 (85 screens)
The Ugly Truth: $9,579 (2,882 venues)
G-Force: $8,576 (3,697 venues)

(Note to self: Must review those two indies soon…)

And, actually, four of the next five films in the ranking are IMAX documentaries, those 45-minute jobbies you see at science museums. It’s nice to know that people are still going to museums…

[numbers via Box Office Mojo]



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  • Paul

    Is it possible that the per screen earnings for indies are a statistical illusion created by them being on fewer screens so more people have to fit into each room?

  • LaSargenta

    @ Paul

    Dunno about that. When I went to In The Loop last Friday at the IFC Waverly, it was a pretty small theater. It was nearly full (although there were a few open seats) but it wasn’t terribly big to begin with.

  • Old adages don’t appear out of thin air,there is always a grain of truth to them. “A fool and his money are soon parted” is one adage that comes to mind.

    Kids particularly have not reached the point of sophistication where they filter out the message with which advertising bombards them. “It is the greatest thing since the thing we sold you last week!” the message screams.

    Kids, beg to see this greatest thing since the greates thing last week, and parents just wanting them to shut up will comply. After all it is easier to spend the $10.50 (or more) to have 2 hours of silence than it is to ask their kids to justify the expense.

    “Is the movie enlightening in some way? Will it instill some value in you? Will it enrich you intellectually? Advance you socially? What do you gain from the loss of the $10? Is this something you will want to own in a few months time? Something you will want to share or that will become an obsessive hobby?”

    Parent who ask their children these questions…even if they don’t care what the answer is…have smarter, more informed children. I have asked my nieces and nephews these questions before their Uncle spends a dime on the movies they see. Some of the answers have been enlightening.

    “It’s just a movie.”
    “Who cares?”
    “It’s cool”
    “I want to see it!”

    Think about these answers, children, the next time you want $10 for an album on iTunes or a meal from a restaurant. Think about it when you feel a need to bum $10 off your uncle, who is glad to spend the money, but who wants you to understand that these costs have to be considered not just granted.

    So why did “G-Force, Bruckheimer’s brainless animated bombfest push Harry Potter’s latest installment from the list? Because the kids saw Harry last week and this was new.

    They’ll drop it for the next shiny thing next week.

  • Accounting Ninja

    “Is the movie enlightening in some way? Will it instill some value in you? Will it enrich you intellectually? Advance you socially? What do you gain from the loss of the $10? Is this something you will want to own in a few months time? Something you will want to share or that will become an obsessive hobby?”

    Okay, as a parent, full confession: I hate parents like this. I mean, sometimes fun is just fun. And that’s okay.
    That being said, I would not take my son to see movies like this, simply because we are forever inundated with pure, unfiltered shit every day. If I spent money on every piece of schlock that caught my kid’s eye, we’d go broke. I have to be very discerning. But, if he really wanted to watch it, On Demand or rentals can make that happen. Or, if he had been this huge fan of guinea pigs even before this movie and now it looked like all his wildest, guinea-piggy dreams will come true, I might consider blowing the money on a theater trip. But not on opening weekend. I’d make him wait a little for it. >:)

  • Hypocee

    I have to confess, I intend to see G-Force at some point. I somehow give lots of mental bonus points for effort to the animators of non-anthropomorphized cartoon animals. I half-enjoyed Cats & Dogs, for instance, purely on my appreciation of animators and writers working around scary characters who cannot smile. We’ll just see whether I can put up with the human characters.

    For anyone wanting G-Force style animated rodent action at the opposite end of just about every spectrum, check out Cat Shit One (yes, really), apparently AKA Apocalypse Meow in America.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr4QBZfjtqs

    I’ve looked at the manga and it didn’t really impress me, but the cartoon looks different enough that I’m willing to give it its own shot.

  • neil a.

    Ms. Johanson’s critique of The Ugly Truth, demonstrates a level of outright anger and hatred that the general public, minus the movie critics, does not agree with. I believe that she and the majority of critics are so far removed from the general population as to have no understanding as to what everyone else finds entertaining. Perhaps her anger relates to her identifying with the lonely women who stay home with their cats?

  • Accounting Ninja

    Yeah, she’s SO out of touch. That’s why we all just hate her site. You figured out we’re all here to just make fun of her, right? /snark

    Look, this is called “filosopher”. So, you know, it’s implied that there’s more thinking and deep digging about movies than one would expect and not the same pat “thrills spills and chills see it now!” you find everywhere. And truth is, neil a., when you start to really think about things (not that you’d know what that’s like, so bear with me), you start to realize that 90% of media is shit. Why does everyone love shit? Because people are discouraged from actually *thinking* about anything deeper than a fart or titty joke or yet *another* tired movie about stupid gender stereotypes that the general public is duped into buying. Discouraged by people like you, who are everywhere. But it’s easier not to think about shit, because blissful ignorance means that for every ticket you buy you’re clapping your hands gleefully at every flick shouting “what a TOUR DE FORCE OF ORIGINALITY! LULZ!”

  • Okay, as a parent, full confession: I hate parents like this. I mean, sometimes fun is just fun. And that’s okay.

    Actually if they are judging the response to the question on the “adult scale” I do too.

    I watch movies just for fun. I do it all the time. It is how I get sucked into watching shows like “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” and much of Adult Swim’s lineup. But I do it with my eyes open. I make a choice to watch those things and not a reaction to watch them.

    And that is the lesson I want my nieces and nephews to walk away with: “Think about your choices.” I want them to be discerning consumers so that as they get older they’ll consider the value of blowing their money on “My Little Pony: The Apocolypse directed by Michael Bay” or “The Legend of Uwe Boll” and make a reasonably intelligent choice.

    Or make the best choice and realize it is all crap and that they might want to wait another month for something better to rotate into the theaters.

    I would not deny them if they were to say “Because it looks cool.” or “My friend Tiffany saw it and she said it rocked!” or even if they say “I saw a trailer/commercial for it and it looked fun.” If it sounds good enough I might want to see it myself (I saw “Monster House 3D” that way and wasn’t disappointed).

    I talk to them about movies I pay for afterward and ask questions about what they liked and use that to decide if I wasted my money (I rarely do, my nieces and nephews are sharp kids) or whether I might see it by myself.

  • MaryAnn

    Ms. Johanson’s critique of The Ugly Truth, demonstrates a level of outright anger and hatred that the general public, minus the movie critics, does not agree with. I believe that she and the majority of critics are so far removed from the general population as to have no understanding as to what everyone else finds entertaining. Perhaps her anger relates to her identifying with the lonely women who stay home with their cats?

    That’s beautiful. It really is. If I hate *The Ugly Truth,* it must be because I’m a sad, lonely woman who stays home with cats all the time. Because what other reason could a woman have for disliking that film? Any proper woman knows what her mouth is good for, and it ain’t complaining about movies that tell it like it is.

    The most wonderful thing is that neil a. doesn’t even see the irony in what he wrote, in response to that particular film.

    I guess that answers my question, though, at least in neil a.’s case, about whether audiences don’t care about the misogyny of the film, or whether they just don’t care. He, clearly, doesn’t see it. How could he? He’s a misogynist himself — he actually buys into that horrid stereotype about women and cats — and thinks that’s normal and appropriate, so much so that he has no compunctions about making public statements outing himself as such.

  • Victor Plenty

    I had to chuckle at the way Neil A. made certain to use the abbreviation Ms. — as if starting off with “Ms. Johanson” could insulate him from any charges of misogyny.

    (“Look look! As you can see, I’m hip to the whole feminism scene, because I used the preferred feminist form of address. We’re cool, right?”)

    Reminds me of the many people in recent days who seemed to think they could get away with saying all manner of ugly nonsense about Henry Louis Gates, just so long as they made sure to refer to him as “the good professor” or “the good doctor” at every opportunity.

  • hdj

    Did anyone here think Darwin kinda acted and talked like John Mccain?
    Also what would be so bad with getting rid of all the space junk, maybe we should make a magnet that gets all that junk. Is there really that much debris in the orbit? Thats terrible

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