Daily Call Sheet: Does 2012's Box Office Look Any Better than 2011?

DO 2012’s NEW RELEASES PROMISE A BOX OFFICE COMEBACK?

In the New York Times story I wrote about earlier today, there was this quote:

The good news for Hollywood is that the first quarter of 2012 looks much stronger than the same period this year, when studios had little to generate audience excitement.

Warner has two sequels — “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and “Wrath of the Titans,” while Sony has a prominent remake in “21 Jump Street.” Disney will re-release “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D, followed by Fox’s 3-D re-release of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” And Lionsgate will weigh in with its highly anticipated “The Hunger Games.”

So two re-releases, a sequel to a flop (“Journey 2”), and another remake of an ’80s television show rank as reasons for Hollywood to be optimistic?

The link in the title looks at the box office slate for the first three months of 2012. Take a look. Anything excite you?

What most struck me about those thirty or so titles was an almost complete lack of movie stars.


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LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)Like a lot of people, the first time I saw this was when it played late at night on some independent station. This was years before the now-perennial was rediscovered and when I was in my early teens and just starting to discover the world of classic films. Like most of you, I make a point to watch it every year, usually on Christmas day, and like most of you I am gripped through every frame and moved inexpressibly by the closing scene.

And then it stays with me for days.

It’s the close-up when George Bailey realizes that what Clarence is telling him might be the truth; that he was never born. Capra fills the screen with the horror and helplessness on Stewart’s face after he sees what his mother’s become (I screencapped it above), and after that I start to fall apart.

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

What a wonderful thing that Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, and Donna Reed lived to see their box office disappointment receive the credit it so richly deserves.

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SCOTTDS’ EPIC LINKTACULAR

WHO WROTE THE MEANEST REVIEW OF ‘EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE?

DIRECTOR ALAN TAYLOR CLAIMS ‘THOR 2

WHAT FILMS ARE COMING FROM MARVEL STUDIOS IN 2014?

THEN/NOW: THE CAST OF ‘NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION’

5 SCENES WORTH REMEMBERING FROM OTHERWISE FORGETTABLE 2011 MOVIES

10 UNFAIRLY OVERLOOKED FILMS FROM 2011

THE 15 MOST SHOCKING TV DEATHS OF 2011

11 TV SERIES THAT SHOULD’VE SURVIVED 2011

PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED PHOTOS FROM THE SET OF ‘IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

IT’S A BUNDYFUL LIFE’ AND 21 OTHER TV VARIATIONS OF IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

NEW CINEMATIC LAW: ONLY GENIUSES CAN USE 3D

AN AGE-BY-AGE GUIDE FOR INTRODUCING YOUR KIDS TO SPIELBERG MOVIES

A LOOK AT SOME GHOST MOVIES TO SUPPLEMENT THE HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE

GEORGE TAKEI’S GREATEST AND WEIRDEST MOMENTS

A LOOK BACK AT ‘EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS

COOL FAN-MADE POSTERS FOR ‘HOME ALONE

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF ‘WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

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CLASSIC PICK FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27

TCM:

12:15 PM Casablanca (1942) — An American saloon owner in North Africa is drawn into World War II when his lost love turns up. Dir: Michael Curtiz Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid. BW-103 mins, TV-PG, CC.

When men were men, women were women, Hollywood believed in liberty, and the main protagonist’s character arc involved the shrugging off of narcissism to fight for something bigger than one’s self — for freedom and/or country.

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