Monday, September 7, 2009

Ice Age movie and box office

It deserves some qualifiers. To begin with, the U.S. box office for Ice Age has been steady
but not spectacular, so because of that
this will never become the highest-grossing animated film worldwide.
For the foreseeable future, that will continue to be Shrek 2, with over $900 million it total ticket sales. But Ice Age has hit $732 million
which puts it within reach of The Lion King and maybe the third Shrek movie, close to the top 20 films ever made.
But the real story here is the international markets, which comprise an almost unprecedented 75% of all tickets sold for the new Ice Age.
We talked earlier this summer about Sony not investing that much into the U.S. release of Angels & Demons because it knew the real money was overseas; this film has a higher percentage of international box office than even that one.
In fact, it looks like only Mamma Mia! and The Last Sumarai have a greater piece of the pie going to overseas receipts - or overceipts, if you prefer - and even then, it's only by about a percentage point.
The rather unspectacular third Ice Age movie has made almost $185 million in the U.S. and nearly $550 million in all the other territories.
By the time all the figures are totaled, it could make upwards of $600 million around the world. That would put it among the top ten films ever on that list. Incidentally, it has already made nearly $75 million more than The Dark Knight overseas.
Different audiences, I know, but it does show you just how well this one has played around the world. To claim the record for an animated release in foreign markets, it had to pass Finding Nemo, which made $525 million internationally in 2003.


For a comedy, Extract is kinda depressing. Understand that wildly dysfunctional characters have become the norm in American comedies, but the characters in Extract give dysfunction a bad name. Not a single person in this ensemble comedy doesn't suffer from colossal stupidity.
Nor does anyone possess a moral compass. So from this contrived situation, writer-director Mike Judge, the creator of "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "King of the Hill," wrings all the yuks he can. Extract might be live action, but it still plays like a cartoon.
Miramax will in turn wring all the box office it can from Extract because there undoubtedly is an audience eager to laugh at dumb people behaving badly.
Even so, it's hard to see how Extract will do more than modest business
with perhaps a larger audience awaiting its debut in home entertainment.
Fiction certainly has its share of characters suffering from neurotic anxieties and mental meltdowns, but usually you understand the circumstances.
In Catch-22 or M*A*S*H, the daily likelihood of death in the theatre of war explains all the craziness. In a Cheech and Chong comedy, no one has to ask what those dudes have been smoking.
But in Extract, nothing explains the major stupidity in and about the workplace of a medium-sized business in an unnamed community that looks like bits of Los Angeles pieced together.
Perhaps something in the water system?
The actual source of the chain of daft events is the sexual allure of Mila Kunis' Cindy, who no one seems to realize is a scheming sociopath. Joel Reynolds (Jason Bateman), the owner of a flavor-extract plant, certainly is smitten with his new temp employee.
His best friend, Dean (Ben Affleck), a substance-abusing bartender, convinces him that to not feel guilty about committing adultery, he should first hire a "gigolo" (Dustin Milligan) to sleep with his wife (Kristen Wiig).
Meanwhile, Cindy has sweet-talked fellow employee Step (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who has suffered a bizarre industrial accident, into filing a huge lawsuit against the company that will bankrupt the firm. (Why the company's insurance agents and their lawyers aren't called in is never explained.) Even when Cindy steals workers' purses, the women assume it can't possibly be that pretty young woman, so it must be the new Latino employee.
About the only thing Cindy can't be blamed for is the fact that the company hires only losers and misfits. You do wonder how the firm still is such a success that General Mills is eyeing it as a possible acquisition.
Not for a single moment does anyone in this film make a good decision. Consequently, you quickly catch on and easily anticipate the bad decisions before they happen.
Judge encourages his actors to overplay their hands.
The worst offender is Affleck, hiding behind a beard and hair that renders him almost unrecognizable. At least that's good thinking.
On the other hand, Bateman and Wiig stay enough in control—they seem almost normal—that you can't quite understand their self-destructive behavior.
Then KISS' Gene Simmons shows up as a bus-bench-advertising personal-injury lawyer who, like all the others, is grounded in no discernible realty.
Behind-the-scenes work is professional but unremarkable.

Film -The Final Destination

There is no final in The Final Destination, the fourth installment of New Line's body-dismantling gorefest.
The franchise threatens to never end. The new gimmick here is that all the flying body parts and absurd impalements come in 3D.
And that's about as inspired as anything gets in this edition.
Story and character get chucked to the sidelines, as the arena has room for only death scenes.
The film opened in both 2D and 3D versions, without press screenings
which makes sense since there isn't much for a critic to do here other
than critique the mechanics of the Rube Goldberg deaths.
So here goes: The level of invention by writer Eric Bress and director David R. Ellis—both making their second movie in the franchise—is pretty low.
An object tips over here, triggering another accident there and soon an entire car wash or movie theatre or auto-repair shop is filed with flying lethal objects.
There is a slight sense of macabre humor as characters scan ads for a movie called Till Death Do Us Part or drink lattes at a “Death by Caffeine” coffee shop.
And 3D does make sharp objects and bloody organs a little more in-your-face to go with those lattes.
A white racist sets himself on fire trying to drunkenly install a burning cross in a black man's front lawn while his car radio blares "Why Can't We Be Friends." Yes, that probably will do for light-heartedness.
The format requires an individual, in this case Nick (Bobby Campo), to experience a premonition of impending disaster, this time at a race track, that seemingly saves him
and some friends and strangers from horrific deaths. Only Death feels cheated and continues to stalk the characters, in the order of their avoided deaths, until they are eliminated.
Since Death is never a character—you were expecting maybe Ingmar Bergman?—the film lacks a villain. Since nothing apparently can reverse the determination of Death, the only suspense
is how characters will die, not how they will be saved.
We don't even mind too much the demise of the racist (Andrew Fiscella) or Nick's strange best bud (Nick Zano), a thoroughgoing male chauvinist, but you do feel sorry for the cute girls, Nick's girlfriend (Shantel VanSanten) and her pal (Haley Webb).
But seeing cute girls getting ground into hamburgers is exactly why young males like this sort of lame entertainment.
The set-pieces with the stunts, editing, visual effects, panting music and screaming actors do their jobs efficiently. You can almost sense the high-fives behind the camera.
But Death surely needs a holiday.
He's tired and running out of ideas.

Demi Moore Biography - part 5

Moore maintained a lower profile after this union, but returned to the spotlight for former flame Estevez's ambitious
political period-ensemble Bobby, about the events leading up
to Robert Kennedy's assasination. Among the star-studded cast, Moore was given a showy, standout role as an alcoholic lounge singer; there was room, too, for Kutcher, as an acid-dropping hippie.
The film garnered decidedly mixed reviews, even if Moore attracted
some attention for her part.
In 2007 the actress joined the cast of director Bruce A. Evans's psychological thriller Mr. Brooks, as a tough-as-nails detective on the trail of Kevin Costner's titular, obsessive suburban serial killer. The movie suffered an ignominious fate at the box office, and Moore
was singled out by critics for her implausibility. Rebecca Flint Marx, All Movie Guide

Demi Moore Biography - part 4

Although her career in front of the camera suffered, Moore managed to do well for herself as a producer.
In 1997, she produced the hugely successful Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and served in the same capacity for its mega-hit sequels, 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember.
In 2000, Moore returned to the screen to star in Alain Berliner's Passion of Mind, a psychological drama that cast the actress in a dual role as two women who lead different lives but are tied by a single identity.
The year 2003 brought Moore back to the spotlight in a big way -- not only did the 41-year-old actress play the shockingly buff-bodied bad guy in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, she gave the paparazzi something of a godsend by dating Punk'd and That '70s Show heartthrob Ashton Kutcher, sixteen years her junior.
The two wed in late September 2005, at a ceremony attended
by hundreds, including Bruce Willis and his three daughters with Moore.

Demi Moore Biography - part 3

Following the commercial success of Indecent Proposal, Moore's career hit something of a downward spiral. 1994's Disclosure proved a disappointment, and the following year's Now and Then (which she also produced) staged a similarly wan performance at the box office; however, it was Moore's other film that year, a "free,"or, as some would say, staggeringly misguided, adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's -The Scarlet Letter, that had critics howling and audiences cowering like small children
being forced to watch German expressionist films.
An unintentionally hilarious rendering of the classic tale, it featured Moore's Hester Prynne exposing plenty of skin, luxuriating in what must have been one of
Puritan New England's few hot tubs, having steamy sex on a shifting bed of grain, and walking off into the sunset with her beloved
Reverend Dimmesdale (a moody Gary Oldman).
Following this debacle, Moore took refuge on safer grounds, lending her voice to Disney's animated The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996; however, that same year, she encountered another career pitfall in the form of Striptease.
Based on Carl Hiaasen's satirical novel about a divorcée who turns to stripping
so that she can raise money to win back custody of her daughter, the tonally inconsistent film proved a failure, despite titillating advertisements promising that Moore would bare all for audiences.
The actress' career suffered a further blow with the disappointment of Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane in 1997, and she found herself getting more attention for her offscreen life as she was, by that point, embroiled in a very public divorce from Willis.
The two formally separated in 1998.

Demi Moore Biography - part 2

Moore made her film debut in 1981, appearing in both the coming-of-age drama Choices and the schlock-tastic Parasite.
Following a bit role in 1982's Young Doctors in Love, she had her first lead role in No Small Affair (1984) as an aspiring rock singer opposite Jon Cryer.
Her real breakthrough came the next year, when she starred as an unstable member of a group of college friends in St. Elmo's Fire.
Apparently, her onscreen instability mirrored her offscreen condition at the time; she was reportedly fired from the film at one point and then rehired after going into drug rehab.
The film was a hit, and Moore, along with such co-stars as Emilio Estevez (to whom she was engaged for three years), Rob Lowe, and Ally Sheedy, became a member of the infamous "Brat Pack."
Fortunately for Moore, she managed to avoid the straight-to-oblivion fate of other Brat Pack members, increasing her fame and resume with films like About Last Night (1986) and The Seventh Sign (1988).
Her fame further increased in 1987 when she wed Bruce Willis in a Las Vegas ceremony presided over by singer Little Richard. In 1990, Moore had her biggest hit to date with Ghost, a romantic drama that cast her as the grieving girlfriend of the deceased Patrick Swayze. A huge success, Ghost secured Moore a place on the A-list, something she managed to sustain despite the subsequent twin flops of The Butcher's Wife and Mortal Thoughts, both released in 1991. That same year, Moore gained exposure of a different sort when she appeared nude and hugely pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair; the resulting hoopla gained her more attention than either of her movies that year.
She was back on the magazine's cover the following year, nude again but fetus-free and sporting a layer of artfully applied body paint.
The controversy surrounding her cover-girl appearances may have helped Moore weather similar flak around her next feature, 1993's Indecent Proposal.
The story of a woman (Moore) who agrees to a one-night stand with a wealthy man (Robert Redford) for one million dollars after she and her husband (Woody Harrelson) find themselves in dire financial straits, Proposal was decried by a number of feminist groups
as well as various film critics
and went on to be another big, if controversial, hit for Moore.

Demi Moore Biography - part 1

Actress, tabloid fodder, provocative Vanity Fair cover piece: the husky-voiced brunette
Demi Moore is nothing if not an unforgettable roadside attraction on the pop culture highway. Rising to prominence with a string of successful films during the '80s and early '90s, Moore became known for both her onscreen and offscreen ability to draw attention for everything from her grin-and-bare-it roles in
films like Striptease to her well-publicized marriage to (and divorce from Bruce Willis.
Born Demetria Guynes in Roswell, NM, on November 11, 1962, Moore led a troubled childhood. To call it tumultuous would be something of an understatement: along with her mother, half-brother and stepfather
she moved no less than 30 times before her adolescence, thanks to her stepfather's job as a newspaper ad salesman. The problems that went along with such an itinerant lifestyle were compounded by the dysfunctional, sometimes abusive relationship
between Moore's mother and stepfather.
The latter committed suicide when Moore was 15, around the time that she discovered that he was not her biological father.
She dropped out of school a year later and did some modeling in Europe.
When she was 18, Moore married rocker Freddy Moore; the union lasted four years, during which time the actress landed her first role playing Jackie Templeton
on the TV daytime drama General Hospital.

Kate Gosselin and Holiday Weekend

Poor Kate Gosselin. We really are starting to feel sorry for her.
On Labor Day Monday, we found her checking out of the Homewood Suites in Reading, PA -- all by herself -- of course.
Now, we're sure the Homewood Suites by Hilton is a homey place but with room rates averaging about $190 a night, it's not a luxury resort, like, say, where Jon stayed in Las Vegas or Venice or St. Tropez.
Reading is just a short hop to the Gosselin home in Wernersville, where Jon spent the weekend entertaining his family, signing autographs for fans and taking delivery of his new Mercedes Benz.
Oh, but Kate did get to a tanning salon and had her nails done in Reading.
So why is it that Jon's the one complaining so much?
In part two of his explosive interview with GMA, to be broadcast
Tuesday, Jon accuses Kate of making his life a living hell.