Ken Harrison 6:45 p.m., Aug. 23
Hollywood on its Way to a Record-Breaking Year
The good news is Hollywood is rapidly climbing out of last year's box office recession and heading towards a record-breaking year. What's the downside? Sequels to The Hunger Games and The Lorax are destined to corrugate the road ahead.
With only 1.28 billion tickets sold, last year saw the lowest movie theatre attendance since 1995. What a difference a year and a new series of derivative children's books to slavishly serve up makes.
Taylor Kitsch stop reading here.
With the exception of John Carter, virtually every major Hollywood release over the past few months has turned a profit, with box office receipts running a whopping 17% ahead of last year. (For the record, I'm the one who didn't mind Disney's $250 million trip to Mars.)
The Vow made money? Inconceivable! Half the audience walked out on the trailer!
Just when we thought Hollywood might take the hint and get a sequelitis vaccine, it's time for another prolongation-packed summer at the movies! Brace yourself: between now and the end of August, Hollywood has on its roster Men in Black 3, Madagascar 3, Piranha 3DD, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, and The Expendables 2.
The only two sequels that I am actually looking forward to seeing are Resident Evil: Retribution and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.
I don't know about you, but I saw almost 300 movies last year and only three of them made the list of the top ten highest grossing films 0f 2011. (The other seven were sequels to films I wouldn't consider in the first place.) Once again the blame lands squarely on the shoulders of Steve and George, the duo that started this "two hits make a season, six hits define the year" mentality.
Hollywood was once popcorn salesman to the world, producing quality entertainment geared for adult minds. Now they turn a profit by breaking into children's piggy banks. Jerry Lewis was right in saying, "Before meeting with studio executives, I stop at a Toys 'R' Us and pick 'em up a gift."
Why can't studios produce 20 films budgeted at $10 million a piece instead of one shrill $200 million CGI opera? And how about an occasional flash of (dare I say it?) originality?
Who needs originality when celluloid board games await? Milton Bradley may make the best games in the world, but is anybody really looking forward to Battleship?
See you in September when the kids are back in school and it's once again safe to move around the multiplex.
More like this:
- Philip Seymour Hoffman to be digitally inserted into final Hunger Games sequel — Feb. 5, 2014
- New releases opening this week — March 1, 2013
- Interview: Kristen Connolly, star of The Cabin in the Woods — April 12, 2012
- American EXPRESS -- The Race Card. Don't Leave Home Without It. — Oct. 23, 2008
- To be continued — July 13, 1978