Daily Archives: June 5, 2009
Will Ferrell returns to the screens with another summer offering – Land of the Lost. I will start off by saying that I’m a Will Ferrell fan. He makes me laugh. I will agree that his films are not critic friendly, but he has his fan base, and most of his films are geared toward them. Even though he’s had his occasional misfires [I’m looking at you, Semi-Pro], Will’s been pretty consistent. Take a look at these opening weekends:
Step Brothers – $30.9 million
Blades of Glory – $33 million
Talledega Nights – $47 million
Will can bring the audience in, but unfortunately I don’t think Land of the Lost will be one of his biggest hits. The marketing has been all right, but I just feel like “meh” when the conversation comes up if I should see the film. Also, the poster of Will Ferrell running from the dinosaur on a white background is one of the most boring in recent memory. The film is getting the widest release of any new release this weekend with 3,521 theatres and has a short running time of 1 hour and 33 minutes. I’m going to say that Land of the Lost opens on the lower end of Will Ferrell films with a gross of $35 million.
Todd Phillips directed a group of not very popular actors to much success with Old School, and he hopes to repeat the success he had with that film again with The Hangover. The trailer has been one of the funniest of the year, and I can say having seen the film that not all the funny parts of the film are in the trailer [it’s always nice when that happens]. The film is geared towards men, with the great premise of buddies going to Vegas to for a stag, having the stag, and then going on an adventure to find their missing buddy. I never heard of Zach Galifianakis going into this film, but he should become a star based on his performance in The Hangover. It reminded me a lot of Will Ferrell’s role in Old School, and how Will became the breakout star of that film. I think The Hangover will have a decent opening weekend, but it will become the word of mouth hit of the summer. It’s getting a wide release of 3,269 theatres; it also has a short running time of 1 hour and 36 minutes, so it will get a lot of screenings in a day. I’m predicting an opening of $28 million.
Nia Vardalos returns to the screen with My Life in Ruins. She’s going to a premise that her fans will like her in [a tour guide in Greece], and it will have some nice location shots that will make you want to travel to Greece. Unfortunately it is not getting a wide release [only 1,164 theatres], so it will not crack the Top 5.
That leaves the Up, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Drag Me To Hell as the remaining films that should make the Top 5.
Up had a strong opening, but it will be interesting how it holds up in its second weekend. Here are the 2nd weekends of some recent Pixar films
2008 – Wall-E – $32.5 million – Down 48.5%
2007 – Ratatouille – $29 million – Down 38.3%
2006 – Cars – $33.7 million – Down 43.9%
I think Up will perform much like Ratatouille and I predict it will be off 39% for a total of $41.5 million, making it the #1 movie for a 2nd week in a row.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian should suffer another major drop. I’m predicting a drop of 52% for a total of $11.7 million.
Drag Me To Hell did not have a huge opening, but I think word of mouth and great reviews will draw some interest this weekend. Expect an uncharacteristically small drop off for a horror film of 42% for a gross of $9.1 million this weekend.
So to recap, here are my predictions:
1) Up – $41.5 million
2) Land of the Lost – $35 million
3) The Hangover – $28 million
4) Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian – $11.7 million
5) Drag Me To Hell – $9.1 million
Check back on Sunday to see how I did
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I have very fond memories of watching the Johnny Carson version of the show. Even as a toddler, I was a bit of a late night owl and there were many nights when my mom would let me watch Johnny’s monologue before ushering me off to bed. Carson was king…there will never be another. As I got a little older, I can remember the excitement of sifting through the Saturday morning newspaper to find the thick and glossy TV Guide (not quite the same experience these days). I would flip through the pages to find the 11:35 p.m. listings for The Tonight Show in an effort to plan out my week and decide which guests were worth staying up late to watch. Other than the TV Guide, the rest of The Tonight Show experience was a bit of a mystery. There was no internet, no paparazzi and Carson himself was a bit of a recluse when not seated behind the desk.
Times have certainly changed, and with the arrival of Conan NBC has launched a fairly extensive online destination to help build the fan base for the new show. Visiting www.thetonightshowwithconanobrien.com is like taking a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of the show and show-making process. The site features the standard elements such as an episode guide, video and photo pages, bios and a link to the NBC Store where you can purchase Tonight Show T-shirts, hats and even a replica of the mug Conan uses on the show.
The site also has an excellent video player with featured content from recent shows (all three of them to date) and an interactive calendar that lets you know who’s scheduled to appear on upcoming episodes (just like the old TV Guide).
The show has also hired a blogger named Aaron Bleyaert as The Tonight Show Insider to provide daily behind-the-scenes updates. So far he’s done a great job capturing the backstage vibe leading up to the first show and throughout the first week. The Insider also posts exclusive photos and video of some of the more quirky elements that go in to putting the show together. Bleyaert is also running the show’s Twitter page @nbcconan which features daily Tweets on guests and other happenings at the show’s Universal Studios headquarters. The site also features a robust Message Board with forums on a number of topics ranging from guest suggestions, criticisms (already?) and sketch ideas.
All these excellent features help engage the viewer, now a multimedia savvy consumer, with The Tonight Show brand for more than just one hour each night. It’s great to see that even the major network executives realize that in 2009, you need a fully-integrated online community to make a show work – even a show as deeply entrenched in our collective psyche as The Tonight Show. Just producing an hour of entertaining television every night isn’t enough anymore. It will be interesting to see how much the new Tonight Show leverages the web over time. If Tuesday night’s Twitter Tracker segment is any indication, Conan O’Brien’s version of the show is clearly The Tonight Show 2.0.