THE MARKETING FORCE NEVER SLEPT

21 Dec

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1. Star Wars VII/Disney Wknd/$ 238.0 Total/$ 238.0

2. Alvin & The Chipmunks Road Chip Wknd/$ 14.0 Total/$ 14.4

3. Sisters/Universal Wknd/$ 13.4 Total/$ 13.4

4. The Hunger Games Mockingjay 2 Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 254.4

5. Creed/WB Wknd/$ 5.1 Total/$ 87.9

6. The Good Dinosaur/Disney Wknd/$ 4.2 Total/$ 96.5

7. Krampus/Universal Wknd/$ 3.8 Total/$ 34.8

8. In the Heart of the Sea/WB Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 18.6

9. Dilwale/UTV Wknd/$ 1.9 Total/$ 1.9

10. Bajirao Mastani/Eros Wknd/$ 1.7 Total/$ 1.7

THE SKY IS BLUE AND WATER IS WET

To the surprise of no one anywhere, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens at number one, breaking nearly every conceivable box office record that would apply to it (it didn’t beat Jurassic World for Global Box Office and if you think Spielberg’s not laughing about that you’re wrong). It’s already made half-a-billion dollars worldwide and by the time it’s done should crush everything, including fucking Avatar, which has me pulling for it for that alone. But it is good. As he proved when he crapped all over Star Trek by turning it into Star Wars (farmboy goes to the stars to fight a planet destroying machine) Abrams knows, understands and has affection for this material. Some may say a little too much given it does involve a cute droid carrying information vital to The Resistance and The First Order (which are what The Rebellion and The Empire have become 30 years later). There’s also a hotshot pilot and an orphan on a desert planet and…and to say more would give things away and I want you to enjoy it and not kick my ass. Like that dickhead kid who decided he’d give away plot twists after seeing it and had the shit beaten out of him. Do I even have to tell you he was dateless and in a Star Wars costume? What I’m saying is, while there are new things (women and minorities in prominent roles for one), they clearly were not out to reinvent the wheel and rightly so. They give you what you want and they give it too you good, like a well-made cheeseburger but on a brioche bun this time.

EVERYONE INVOLVED IN MAKING THESE IS A WHORE, PERIOD.

When I was waiting in line to see Star Wars, I saw Neil DeGrasse Tyson come in with his kids. They didn’t go to see Star Wars so I like to think they went in to see Alvin & The Chipmunks: Road Chip (opening at number two) instead and that we’d be getting tweets about all the failed physics in the film. Neil DeGrasse Tyson possibly seeing it is probably the most interesting thing about this series, which has reached its fourth goddamned installment. I’m beyond stunned to learn that the first two actually made over $200M domestically. Even the last one made $133 domestic and when you factor in another $50M in DVD sales, you new another one was coming. Again, pulling for Star Wars to help kill this off.

THE TITLE SAYS I HAVE TO

Sisters opens at number three and apparently the pattern of the Tina Fey/Amy Pohler movies will be whomever played the free spirit last time will play the uptight one this time and vice versa. I will see this regardless, but appropriately enough am waiting to see it with my sisters, who complain that I’ve seen everything when I get home.

YOUNG, GIFTED AND YOU KNOW THE REST

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is down to number five, followed by Creed at number five and is this when we finally get a young Black leading man to take the place of Denzel Washington in Michael B. Jordan? Anthony Mackie was the last candidate, but it clearly didn’t work out as he now supports Chris Evans as The Falcon with no one rushing to give him his own mainstream Hollywood films in which to star (as opposed to indie films and movies clearly meant for a Black audience and no one else). Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut are well into their 40’s and now on TV. Chaswick Boseman has come close and will actually be lead in his own superhero movie as the Black Panther, but a) he’s 40 and b) and apparently isn’t seen to helm anything beyond bio pics (Diggs and Chestnut didn’t even make it that far). Seriously. He’s been James Brown, Jackie Robinson and next will be Thurgood Marshall. Denzel had his bio pics too (Malcolm X, Cry Freedom, The Hurricane) but was also allowed to be hero cop/lawyer in other films too (albeit with an A-list white star beside him). Michael B. Jordan looks poised to be that guy and is probably thrilled the Fantastic Four movie failed because now he’s not obligated to any sequels that will keep him out of choice roles.

LOOKING FORWARD TO KRAMPUS 2: THE WRATH OF RUDOLPH

The Good Dinosaur is down to number six, followed by Krampus at number seven and how is it this is the first time the other side of the Santa Clause legend has gotten his own movie? You’d think an animated feature about him would write itself (he was reassigned to administrative duties after the marketing department decided he didn’t “sell” to a modern audience). At least they had the common sense to go with black comedy about the being who came at Christmas time to punish bad children. Needless to say, overseas where Krampus is still very much a part of the holiday it’s doing very well. It’s made double its budget here so once home video sales are tallied in, don’t be surprised if sequels become a holiday occasion.

SADLY, IT’S JUST NOT ENOUGH TO BE BIG AND PRETTY

In the Heart of the Sea is down to number eight and fool me once, Chris Hemsworth and Ron Howard, shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me. I tend to forget that when the rubber meets the road, Ron Howard is one of the most pedestrian A-list directors working. The opposite of people like Ridley Scott, he has neither style nor flair…or even an interesting point of view, which is why his best work was Apollo 13, which is practically a documentary. I’m still amazed a Beautiful Mind was as good as it was, because usually he makes movies that look like big budget TV films with the same level of writing. Rush, which also starred Chris Hemsworth was one such film. In fact, given that most of Chris Hemsworth’s non-Thor work has sucked, this has two strikes against it right out of the gate and that was more than enough for me to give it a pass.

WHY WE’RE STILL GREAT: AMERICA IS ONE OF THE FEW COUNTRIES WHERE BEAUTY QUEENS DON’T HAVE INSTANT CAREERS

Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani are at nine and ten and are two of those Indian films that hit the top ten from time to time. The most notable thing about the latter one to us is that it stars Priyanka Chopra who stars in that dumb Quantico show. She’s stunning (Miss World 2000, first non-white face for Guess Jeans) and has a great deep scratchy voice (sorry, that works for me) and hopefully will see better things from Hollywood. Then again, if the posters of her Bollywood movies are any clue, she’s used to successful crap and feels right at home already. I mean aside from being able to actually kiss a dude onscreen.

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