20
Nov
2011

Super 8 movie posterWhile you were enjoying the child actors in the recent hit movie Super 8, it seems that a convicted sex offender was the one responsible for putting them on screen.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Jason James Murphy spent five years in prison after kidnapping an 8-year-old boy in Seattle 15 years ago and molesting him.  After serving his sentence he moved to Hollywood and started working as a casting director under the name “Jason James,” and has climbed the ladder of success to where he has been working as a casting assistant on films such as the afore mentioned Super 8 and the upcoming Three Stooges, both of which feature child actors that he was responsible for hiring.

It was J.J. Abrams production company, Bad Robot, that put two and two together this week that they were the same person and notified authorities of the situation.  “It’s shocking and it’s devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe,” Abrams told the paper. “To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable.”

Under California state law, a registered sex offender must notify the authorities of any aliases they work under so that those names can be added to the database.  It appears that Murphy never did this, and the name Jason James did not appear in any databases as a known offender.  Under these laws he is never supposed to be “working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.”

Murphy was originally captured in 1996 after he was shown on America’s Most Wanted and was recognized by a hotel clerk as a guest.  Authorities found him, the boy and $8,000 in cash when they raided the room.

At this time, authorities say he is cooperating with their investigation into the matter.

I actually don’t blame anyone in the casting departments or the films he worked on.  If he never informed the authorities of the name he was working under, there would be no way for anyone to find him in the database, and this goes to show some disturbing lapses in the system.

4
Jul
2011

Transformers 3 movie posterIn a surprise to absolutely no one, Transformers: Dark of the Moon won the box office this weekend, and even set a record in the process.

Despite having its opening day moved around more times than anyone could count, the third Transformers movie won the weekend box office even with having been out a few days prior.  For the three day weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), the film brought in $97.4 million.  Add in the Monday numbers, it is estimated the film will have brought in $116.4 million.  This puts it six percent behind the second film, but still a healthy take.

Also of no surprise, mixed reviews seem to have had no impact on the film’s performance.

Cars 2 had a bummer of a weekend, sliding 60 percent from it’s opening weekend to only ring up $26.2 million for the three days, and $32.1 million for the extended holiday. This puts it well down the list of Pixar success stories, but Cars has never been a big earner at the box office, but it does huge in merchandise.

Bad Teacher slid 54 percent to $14.5 million ($17.6 million four-day). It’s grossed $63 million thus far in 11 days, and considering its $20 million budget, it’s already a success story.

The new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts film Larry Crowne bombed in a big way, opening at 2,973 locations, the production only brought in $13.1 million ($15.7 million four-day). It only had a $30 million budget, and with these mega-stars attached you would have thought it would have brought in larger numbers.

Rounding out the top 5 was Super 8 with $7.8/$9.5 for the three and four day totals.

Monte Carlo cane un sixth with an estimated $7.4 million ($8.8 million four-day). You mean that yet another movie about mistaken identities didn’t do well? I’m shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!

Where’s Green Lantern you ask? Oh, just sliding another 64 percent to come in seventh with $6.5/$8 million for the weekend. I’d laugh if my hopes hadn’t been so high for this disaster.

Next weekends is all comedies with Horrible Bosses and Zookeeper. The former has potential, the latter makes my brain hurt just watching the commercials.

27
Jun
2011

Cars 2Cars 2 sped into first place this weekend, but before you sound the horn, there are a couple caveats.

Cars 2 did indeed come in first this weekend with an estimated $68 million, but as Pixar films go, that’s nothing to sing about. Going on attendance as opposed to dollars due to inflation, the second film in the series only beat out A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille and Toy Story. While people weren’t exactly clamoring for this sequel, the merchandising from the first movie did so well that it is believed that is about the only reason this film exists. Another movie, more merchandise.

We’ll see how it fares with a couple more weekends,but it doesn’t look like this one will be setting the film world on fire like some of the previous Pixar productions.

Coming in second was the new Cameron Diaz vehicle, Bad Teacher.  It brought in an estimated $31 million, but Sony has to be singing songs of happiness today as the audience skewed 63 percent female.  Along the same lines as the current hit Bridesmaids that is still bringing in several million a week.

Normally a film sees around a 40 to 50 percent drop in its second weekend. Then you have Green Lantern. Coming in at $18.5 million, that’s around a 65 percent drop from the first weekend. I think we can officially classify this movie as a disaster at this point.

Super 8 came in fourth with $12.1 million, bringing it’s total to $95.2 million and in line with films of this type.

Rounding out the top five Mr. Popper’s Penguins with $10.3 million.  The fact this movie even exists boggles my mind, so lets just leave it there.

The only major release next week is Transformers: Dark of the Moon … PREPARE FOR BAYHEM!

20
Jun
2011

Green Lantern movie posterYes, it’s true, a $53.2 million opening weekend is a disappointment in this day and age for big budget films. Add in the fact that Green Lantern was supposed to shepherd in a new age of movies based on DC Comics, and it gets even worse.

Where the issues for Green Lantern really kick in is that revenue dropped 22 percent between Friday and Saturday, a far larger than usual number for a major film.  There is no way the pounding this film took from the critics didn’t play a factor, and the average comments on sites such as Twitter that I saw over the weekend eld me to believe the paid reviewers got it right this time.

The final insult?  Based on attendance instead of dollar amount, Green Lantern fared worse than Daredevil or Ghost Rider … ouch.

Coming in second was Super 8 with $21.2 million, just over a 40 percent decline from last week, but seeing as 50 percent is considered average, this film may have some legs to it.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins opened in third place with $18.2 million.  I think this means we’re officially over Jim Carrey, and I for once couldn’t be happier about this.  He hasn’t been funny in years, and even then it was very touch and go when he actually was good.  Even discounting Carrey, this film did poorly for a summer family film, apparently no one wanted to watch a movie about a guy with penguins in his house.

X-Men: First Class came in third with $11.5 million and a decline of 52.5 percent from last weekend.  This marks the third worst weekend for any X-Men film, so it looks like this one is definitely not living up to expectations.

Rounding out the top 5 was The Hangover: Part II with $9.6 million, off 45.5 percent from last weekend.  It’s still at $233.1 million domestic gross, however, off of an $80 million dollar budget.  Translation?  It’s in the black.  I still would say a third film is on the way.

Other recent films such as Kung-Fu Panda 2 took a major hit, falling to sixth and not performing anywhere near expectations with $8.7 million this weekend. Bridesmaids brought in nearly $7.5 million and just keeps chugging along. This movie just won’t quit.

Next week?  Cars 2 from Pixar … prepare for an astronomical number.

13
Jun
2011

Super 8 movie posterThe latest film from J.J. Abrams, Super 8, had a $37 million opening weekend which surpassed last minute predictions, but still fell short of what the studio was hoping for.

On the same weekend last yet, The Karate Kid remake opened to $56 million, far exceeding studio projections, so a low opening for one of the most hyped filks of the summer is sure to have disappointed.  While the $37 million surpassed industry experts projections, the studio was surely hoping for more with Abrams and Spielberg attached, and a huge marketing campaign behind it.

The issue is, I think people are tiring of Abrams’ super cryptic shtick of telling you next to nothing about a film before its opening.  Excitement was huge for Cloverfield, and it ended up just being a horrible film.  Some audience trepidation for a film market in a similar manner is totally understandable.  The good news is that audience satisfaction is high with this project, so odds are it will have some staying power and not suffer the usual 50 percent fall of a second weekend.

Speaking of 50 percent falls, X-Men First Class fell 55 percent this weekend to $25 million, landing it in second place.  As X-Men films go, that actually was the second lowest drop in the series, coming in behind X2: X-Men United.

The Hangover: Part II fell another 41 percent to to $18.5 million, crossing the $200 million mark on its 16th day of release.  It’s falling off much faster than the original film, but due its spectacular start, the third film is still a given.

Kung-Fu Panda 2 only fell 30 percent this week, coming in with $16.6 million.  It seems to finally be leveling out and could hang around for some time now.

Rounding out the top five was Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides which fell 40 percent from last weekend to bring in $10.8 million. It surpassed $200 million on its 22nd day of release, and looks set to be the worst performing film in the series domestically. However, it’s total worldwide gross is now at $886,774,000. Off a $250 million dollar budget, I wouldn’t write this series off yet.

Normally I stop at the top five, but Bridesmaids brought in another $10.2 million, falling only 16 percent from last weekend. It’s now up to $123.9 million off a $32.5 million budget. Not bad at all.

Green Lantern is up next weekend, lets see how one of the most anticipated films of the summer does.