Familiarity Breeds, If Not Contempt, Then Falling Box Office

Johnny Depp picture courtesy of Wikipedia


For awhile it seemed as if everything Johnny Depp appeared in turned to gold.  From Pirates Of The Carribean:  Dead Man’s Chest in 2006 to Alice In Wonderland in 2010, it seemed as if he could do no wrong.  

Then came Dark Shadows–an ironic title if there ever was one–based on the gothic soap opera by Dan Curtis.

Despite being directed by Tim Burton (who directed Depp in some of his biggest hits) the movie performed underwhelmingly, earning almost $246 million on a $150 million budget. 

Though no one’s perfect, and besides, Depp had been successful enough in the past that one weak performer could  hardly touch his strong box office Kung-Fu. 

That is, till 2013’s The Lone Ranger, a movie plagued with cost overruns so great that executives at Disney were somewhat relieved they were able to rein in the budget at $215 million. 

Though that comfort of a carrion sort considering after all their efforts the movie ended up earning just $260 million worldwide, though if it’s any compensation, it out-earned John Carter (though admittedly not by much). 

The point being, recently the trades reported that Johnny Depp will co-star in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them with Eddie Redmayne though maybe Depp needs a little time out if the public eye, so that maybe we can begin to miss him a little bit as opposed to being the Steven King of fir movie world.

‘John Wick’ Trailer

Let’s be honest for a moment.  Keanu Reeves is a pretty mediocre actor.  In most movies he appears, he occupies physical space, yet at the same time barely registers, almost as most of him existed in some sort of parallel dimension and what we see on movie screens is only a shadow the real person.

Like Roger Zelazny’s Amber.

That being said, I kind of want to see John Wick.

And sure, the title seems inspired by John Carter or Jack Reacher.  And despite the fact that the movie seems vaguely similar to The Equalizer–though probably not as good–there’s something oddly engergizing about an engaged Keanu Reeves.

‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Trailer 2

I honestly don’t know what to make of this movie.  I am relatively sure that the structure will be similar to many movies that have come before, but if feels so odd…and I don’t necessarily mean in a bad way.  This time around James Gunn is giving use the goods.  We see both Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) talk, and get a shot of Glenn Close, the head of the Nova Corps, wondering what they could have done to have billions of lives in the hands of reprobates like the so-called Guardians Of The Galaxy.

We also get a shot or two of Ronan (Lee Pace), the threat that Close is so worried about, as well as the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) and scenes showing Starlord’s spaceship, the Milano (like the Pepperidge Farms cookies), in action.

And while this movie looks different than anything Marvel has released so far, that’s not the same thing as saying that it isn’t interesting.

What’s also sort of strange is that, at least visually, I saw two scenes in this trailer that were evocative of Disney’s John Carter, which is a bit of a bad omen.

And Rocket does ‘adjust himself’ at the end of the trailer, by the way.  I wasn’t sure that I saw it the first time, though the second confirms it.

Weird Math: ‘Rise Of The Guardians’ Edition

Rise Of The Guardians poster 1The head of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, reported that as a result of the weak performance of 2012’s “Rise Of The Guardians” the studio had to write off $87 million.

Sure, it’s not a “John Carter” sized loss, but it’s still substantial.

Now here’s the weird part:  ‘Rise’ earned over $300 million worldwide (on a $145 million budget), not what I would traditionally call a failure.  By way of comparison, “Tron: Legacy” cost $170 million, and earned $400 million, which is a better performance, though not hugely.

But while a sequel for ‘Legacy’ is in the works, ‘Rise’ has lost thousands.

The ’Tron’/‘Rise’  is a comparison I made before, mainly because it makes no sense to me that “Rise Of The Guardians” was such a (relatively) large failure.  If that were it’s only problem, it would be bad enough, though accompanying it was the layoff of 350 workers.

This is weird because it feels that ‘Rise’ underperforming could have perhaps been the impetus, and provided the cover, for Jeffrey Katzenberg doing what he wanted to do anyway.

Am I right?  I have no idea, but the idea that one film underperforming could cause all this damage feels odd.

Mystery Film From Pixar

According to Comingsoon.net, there’s an original film–as in not a sequel to anything–coming from Pixar in 2013.  This is a mystery because it’s commonly known that they are releasing “Cars 2,” “Brave” and “Monsters University” the sequel to 2001’s hit “Monsters.”

So what is this new film?  It can’t be “John Carter.” which, despite the uninspired title, is based upon Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter, Warlord of Mars” series of  books.

According to SlashFlim it’s the first film of a trilogy, and coming later this year–which I doubt.  Sometime in 2012 for the first film seems far more likelier.

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