Daily Call Sheet: Box Office Analysis, America Doesn't Care About Sundance and '30 Rock' Day 2

BOX OFFICE ANALYSIS

According to Box Office Mojo, this weekend’s box office is up 26% over last year, which is great news.

1. Underworld Awakening: $25.4m — No one’s ever accused me of being too highbrow to enjoy vampire/werewolf flicks, especially dumb ones, but this is a franchise I could never get into. All camera moves, hyper-editing, and atmosphere. This is a good opening weekend for the fourth in this franchise and for the return of star Kate Beckinsale, who took the last film off.

2. Red Tails: $19.1m — George Lucas should be very happy. If my twitter feed is any indication, people are enjoying this old-fashioned crowd-pleaser.

3. Contraband: $12.2m — After two weeks, Mark Wahlberg’s smuggling actioner has already pulled in $46 million. This is not high-concept driven, and it’s not even a very good movie (saw it last weekend). Maybe it’s time to add Wahlberg to the short-list of those who can actually open a film these days. Good for him.

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: $10.5m — Disaster. People are going to blame the reviews, but the film stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, which means it should be critic-proof. This is Hanks’ second flop after “Larry Crowne,” and I think it’s time for Mr. Hanks to start wondering if his indefensible comments about WWII might have come home to roost.

5. Haywire: $9m — Director Stephen Soderbergh’s female-driven action film had no stars, just one helluva well-cut trailer, and did respectable business.

6. Beauty and the Beast (3D): $8.6m — This will obviously not capture the “Lion King” re-release magic. Still, after only two weeks, the 3D cut has brought in $33m, which is not chicken feed. “Beauty” just doesn’t have the same appeal as “Lion King,” which was much more of a sweeping epic that’s perfect for 3D lovers.

7. Joyful Noise: $6.1m — A musical film starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah, with a trailer that looks like a Disney Channel movie, grosses $22m in two weeks. That’s impressive.

8. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol: $5.5m — $197m domestic, another $336m foreign. There will be a fifth.

9. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows: $4.8m — $178m domestic, another $261m foreign. Hard to imagine we don’t see a third.

10. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: 3.7m — Some are trying to spin a $93m domestic take and another $71m foreign into some kind of victory, but with a $90m production budget (add at least another $35m for advertising), I don’t see it. For starters, it’s not profitable (yet), and it’s based on a trilogy of thrillers that were worldwide sensations. Sure, the story is dark and R-rated, but a $165m worldwide haul is, I’m guessing, somewhere around $350m less than what everyone was expecting. Still, Sony has already committed to a sequel.

11. Iron Lady: $3.7M — Weinstein added 274 theatres and lost 32% over last week. The per screen average sits at $3,445. Not looking like a hit. Liberals probably don’t want to see a film that they’re hearing is sympathetic towards a conservative icon. Conservatives (rightfully) distrust Hollywood. And the apolitical don’t care.

12. War Horse: $3m — $72m domestic, $28m foreign, on a $66m budget. When you throw in advertising costs and the Spielberg/Oscar pedigree, this has to be a huge disappointment.

THE CIRCLE-JERK THAT IS THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

Other than one outlier that’s widely considered a flop, “My Idiot Brother,” nothing that came out of Sundance last year broke $6m at the box office. Only two films broke $5m, around ten broke $1m, and another twenty or so didn’t even reach $1m.

This is just one big, self-involved, self-serving wank-fest that has nothing to do with us, the customers. And when you consider how indifferent all of America is towards all things Sundance, you have to wonder why the sycophant entertainment media would have you believe it’s some kind of Super Bowl.

Film School Rejects makes the case for the festival with “Why the Sundance Film Festival Matters,” and essentially backs up the claim with a list of films and directors that shot out of the festival. But it’s a sad cost/benefit analysis when compared to the thousands of films that have played there over the years, and I find it hard to imagine those titles and talents wouldn’t have found another way to “arrive.”

Listen, I’m not opposed to Sundance or the gajillion other copycat festivals that have been created over the last couple of decades. Hollywood can do whatever it wants. But in the end, when you look at the bottom line compared to the massive hype and the time investment that goes into that massive hype, Sundance isn’t so much a film festival as much as it’s a symptom of an industry and entertainment media wildly out of touch with their customer base. Basically, it’s a days-long elite insider party where movies get screened.

Seriously, Hollywood, have a great time. But out here in the real world, Mark Wahlberg’s “Contraband” is on pace to make more money than every film that came out of Sundance last year COMBINED.

Imagine how much better Hollywood and those who cover them would be if this much hype, attention, and energy went into pleasing the customers instead of themselves.

No one loves movies more than I do. Here’s a photo of 70% of my collection. But 99% of the films screened at Sundance never see the light of day, of the 1% that do, most of them suck (especially these days), and the only thing worse than the films themselves is all the dull, self-serving media coverage.

Wank.

Fest.

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR ‘GO FAR’

This is a film my brother Zack Arnold (whose full-time job is as an editor on “Burn Notice”), introduced our readers to last year. Over the last few years, he’s been raising money for a project he started just as the economy collapsed. You can see more here, and while I’ve contributed money to the project, I am in no way an investor who will profit from it. Brother or no, from what I’ve seen so far, he’s already done his very worthy subject justice, and then some.

THE FINAL ‘PRIME SUSPECT’ EPISODES: A FAREWELL TO A GOOD SHOW

Naturally ‘EW’ race-baiter Ken Tucker loves a show the customers don’t.

Perchance, I watched the original “Prime Suspect” starring Helen Mirren last night, the one that started it all. It is magnificent television I can’t recommend enough. One thing I realized, though, is that the show has already been remade in America, and quite successfully, as “The Closer.” Which proves race-baiter Ken Tucker wrong when he says this of NBC’s failed attempt:

The pilot, the crucial episode with which lots of people decide whether they’ll ever watch again, was well-acted, well-made, but easy to dislike for viewers who want their protagonists to be sympathetic (Bello’s Jane Timoney was aggressively gruff, to her fellow police detectives and, by extension, the audience).

Yes, well, so is Kyra Sedgwick’s character in “The Closer.”

WHAT IF THOSE MODERN BLOCKBUSTERS WERE MADE IN THE 1950S?

Every day I surf the intertubes and come across another batch of fan-made posters. The first 200 batches were cool. Next fanboy fad, please.

THE RAZZIE AWARDS MOVE TO APRIL FOOLS’ DAY

This doesn’t sound like a wise idea. In past years, Razzie winners were announced just prior to the Oscar ceremony, which made them something of a story thanks to the contrast to the self-congratulatory heat surrounding the award season. Will we pay as much attention two months later?

STEVEN TYLER’S NATIONAL ANTHEM: GREAT OR AWFUL?

Give Tyler a break. He’s 114 years old in drug years.

NBC BUMPS ‘PARKS & RECREATION’ FOR FULL HOUR OF SHOW NOBODY WATCHES

I’ll ask again: Why does a show that ranked 102 last year get all this press? Why?

Why don’t entertainment outlets hire people who watch, you know, what America watches? Better still, why don’t the networks hire people who, you know, like what America likes?

Oh, look, more coverage of a show that ranked 102 last year.

Seriously, media, step away from the coasts.

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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

Point Break (1991) — Once you got over the depression that comes with the knowledge that “Point Break” is 21 years old, you are reaffirmed in your belief that a remake would be a terrible idea. There’s nothing about “Point Break” that feels dated, and who could possible replace the perfect casting of Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey?

Moreover, this is a director’s film, and you can’t replace Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliance behind the camera. She took a dumb, overlong script and crafted lightning in a bottle. It’s absurd how watchable this is, and that’s not something you can remake.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

WATCH ‘STAR WARS’ REMADE BY FANS IN 15-SECOND SEGMENTS

GEORGE LUCAS’ MOST OBNOXIOUS MOMENTS

LATEST NEWS ON ‘BILL & TED 3

SPEED’ DIRECTOR JAN DE BONT TO DIRECT HEIST REMAKE ‘FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE

FINAL POSTER FOR ‘THE HUNGER GAMES

DOWNEY JR.’S ‘SHERLOCK HOLMES’ VS. PBS’S ‘SHERLOCK’

VINTAGE ARTICLE: ’30 ROCK’S’ WEIRD CONSERVATIVE STREAK

26 OF HOLLYWOOD’S MOST POPULAR ATHLETES-TURNED-ACTORS

KRISTEN WIIG TO STAR IN ‘THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE HECKLED AT SUNDANCE? ONE DIRECTOR TELLS ALL

BILLY BOB THORNTON AND THOMAS JANE TO BATTLE A BEAR IN ‘RED MACHINE

INTERNATIONAL POSTER FOR RIDLEY SCOTT’S ‘PROMETHEUS’ IS A BIT MORE REVEALING

SYFY BUYS PILOT FOR TIME-TRAVELING ANTI-TERRORISM SERIES ‘REWIND

TERENCE STAMP JOINING KURT RUSSEL IN THE HEIST FLICK ‘THE BLACK MARKS

FARSCAPE’ CREATOR ROCKNE S. O’BANNON MAKING A CULT TV SHOW… ABOUT A CULT TV SHOW?

WATCH THE TRAILER FOR A DOCUMENTARY ON THE DEATH OF CELLULOID… FROM KEANU REEVES?

5 UNDERRATED JOHN WAYNE MOVIES

A LOOK BACK AT AIP AND ‘WINTER A GO-GO

THE 50 GREATEST BOLLYWOOD MOVIES

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CLASSIC PICK FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 24

TCM:

4:30 PM EST: Dirty Dozen, The (1967) — A renegade officer trains a group of misfits for a crucial mission behind enemy lines. Dir: Robert Aldrich Cast: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson. C-150 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format.

It’s hard to imagine a time when Hollywood had enough masculine men to fill out this magnificent cast. And maybe today’s lazy action filmmakers could take a gander to learn how action masterpieces are almost always photographed from a tripod.

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Coming Soon to Home Video

THE DOUBLE: In anticipation of the January 31st release of THE DOUBLE on Blu-ray and DVD, we present you with these clips. Here, here, and here.

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