erik lundegaard

Hollywood B.O.: Denzel, Trains and Tony Scott: Who Are the Megaminds Who Came Up With That One?

How odd to be Tony Scott. You've directed 16 movies and the most popular is your second, “Top Gun” ($176 million in 1986), and your second-most popular is your third, “Beverly Hills Cop II” ($153 million in 1987), and since then only one of your movies, “Enemy of the State” ($111 million in 1998), has topped $100 million.

That's unadjusted, by the way. So your current movies, with all that inflation, don't come close to your 1986 movie and its puny 1986 dollars. Ouch.

But at least you keep making movies. And at least you keep making movies with Denzel—despite diminishing returns: “Crimson Tide” in '95 ($91 million), “Man on Fire” in '04 ($77 million), “Deja Vu” in '06 ($64 million) and “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” in '09 ($65 million). That last movie was considered a box-office disappointment but you've got balls. So does Denzel. A Tony Scott-directed movie about trains starring Denzel did so-so business, so you're back with... a Tony Scott-directed movie about trains starring Denzel. It does similarly. “Pelham” opened at $23.3m, “Unstoppable” at $23.5m. “Unstoppable” wound up second for the weekend to “Megamind,” which, in 10 days, has already grossed more than “The Social Network” has in 45 days ($89m vs. $87m). Inventing Facebook? We prefer our megaminds to be cartoons, thank you.

The two other big openers didn't open well. The low-budget but high-tech “Skyline” grossed $11m in 2800 theaters, while the adult drama, “Morning Glory,” about the dumbing down of morning talk shows, grossed $9m in 2500 theaters. They finished 4th and 5th, respectively. “Due Date,” or “Planes, Trains and Automobiles Redux,” came in third.

In other, better news, the “Saw” franchise appears to be dead. It peaked in '05 with “Saw II” ($86m) and it's been downhilll ever since. “Saw VI” only made $27m but I guess LionsGate wanted to see what sadism looked like in 3D. Opening weekend worked: $22 million. But now they're pulling out fast, dumping 800+ theaters, and last weekend it only grossed $2.7m for a 17-day total of not even twice as much as its three-day opener: $43m. Please play taps already.

Clint Eastwood's “Hereafter” (or, in self-help mood: “Hereafter: How Your Dead Loved Ones Can Help You Live a Better Life”), is also dead. Warner Bros. pulled it from 674 theaters and it responded with $1.3m and 13th place, for a total gross of $31 million. With the exception of “Letters from Iwo Jima” (which was in Japanese and did lousy business) and “Gran Torino” (in which Clint killed bad guys and which did boffo business), Eastwood's last six films have all settled in the $30 million range:

“Hereafter”: $31.4 (*still playing)
“Invictus”: $37.4
“Changeling”: $35.7
“Flags of Our Fathers”: $33.6

Many of these did better abroad—particularly in France. “Changeling” made $77m in the foreign market, “Invictus” $84m. “Hereafter” hasn't been released globally yet but one imagines it will since it's got an international cast and inernational settings. Clint Eastwood, the All-American tough guy, has become, in box-office terms, Woody Allen: more appreciated abroad than at home.

The sad totals.

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Posted at 07:24 AM on Mon. Nov 15, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office  
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