Ticket to Paradise Review

The end credit outtakes of Ticket to Paradise give us a glimpse of the fun George Clooney and Julia Roberts had making it. I have no doubt given the gorgeous setting of Bali (though it was made in Australia). They’ve also played exes before in Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve and seemed to have a ball doing it. Ol Parker’s rom com intermittently succeeds at riding the wave of their star power. It’s got the right stars with the right chemistry and too often the wrong script.

David Cotton (Clooney) and Georgia Cotton (Julia Roberts) have, as far they’re concerned, been blissfully divorced for two decades. They rarely interact but will for the one subject they agree on. That’s their love for daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), who’s just finished college. The graduate is ready for some downtime with wild BFF Wren (Billie Lourd) in Bali-stralia. She soon meets Gede (Maxime Bouttier), a seaweed farmer who pulls her heartstrings. Within a month they’re engaged. Given David and Georgia’s history, breaking up the impending nuptials is on their mind and they jet to paradise to execute the plan.

Sitcom level attempts to do so transpire as our leads try to put some bad juju on romantic Balinese traditions. Dropping in to surprise Georgia is younger beau Paul (Lucas Bravo), a pilot who can’t seem to navigate his girlfriend’s signals. His character is an example of the screenplay’s mediocrity. I never bought the relationship they have as anything more than a plot device to reunite our megawatt headliners. I’m not expecting realism in a rom com, but everyone is underwritten or a caricature here (the talented Lourd’s treatment as the boozy travel companion is another case).

Your enjoyment may hinge on how content you are watching Clooney and Roberts do their thing. A drunken night out features 90s jams like “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and “Jump Around”. That’s the decade when audiences fell for them. In Paradise, they can only coast so far given the material. This is not an example of them saving their best stuff for later.

** (out of four)

2022 Golden Globe Nomination Predictions

After a couple years of major controversy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s big shindig is back on your television screens with the 80th Golden Globe Awards. The ceremony honoring the year’s best in film and TV returns to NBC on January 10th and the nominations are out on Monday, December 12th.

Readers of my blog are aware that I update my Oscar predictions every week to two weeks. With the Globes, it’s just one shot. As an aside, I don’t forecast the small screen races.

There are 14 categories to consider. As you may recall, the Globes split Drama and Comedy/Musical for Picture and the lead acting derbies. This is not the case with director or supporting. Furthermore, this ceremony has a sole Screenplay race while the Academy differentiates between original and adapted works.

Let’s get to it! For each competition, I’m also giving you my alternate. On Monday, I’ll have a recap up with my thoughts on the nominations and how I performed.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Elvis

The Fabelmans

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

Women Talking

Alternate: Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

The Menu

Alternate: Triangle of Sadness

Best Director

Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Baz Luhrmann, Elvis

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Alternate: Todd Field, Tár

Best Actress – Drama

Cate Blanchett, Tár

Olivia Colman, Empire of Light

Viola Davis, The Woman King

Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Alternate: Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway

Best Actor – Drama

Austin Butler, Elvis

Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Bill Nighy, Living

Alternate: Hugh Jackman, The Son

Best Actress – Musical/Comedy

Lesley Manville, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Margot Robbie, Babylon

Anya Taylor-Joy, The Menu

Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Alternate: Julia Roberts, Ticket to Paradise

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

Diego Calva, Babylon

Daniel Craig, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Ralph Fiennes, The Menu

Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto

Alternate: Adam Driver, White Noise

Best Supporting Actress

Hong Chau, The Whale

Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Claire Foy, Women Talking

Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Alternate: Jessie Buckley, Women Talking

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Tom Hanks, Elvis

Brad Pitt, Babylon

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Alternate: Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Best Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Tár

Women Talking

Alternate: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Animated Motion Picture

The Bad Guys

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Turning Red

Alternate: My Father’s Dragon

Best Foreign Language Motion Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina, 1985

Bardo

Decision to Leave

RRR

Alternate: Saint Omer

Best Original Score

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Fabelmans

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Women Talking

Alternate: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Original Song

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR

“Nobody Like U” from Turning Red

Alternate: “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing

And that means I’m projecting the following number of mentions for these pictures:

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans

5 Nominations

Babylon, Women Talking

4 Nominations

Elvis

3 Nominations

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Menu, Tár

2 Nominations

RRR, Turning Red, The Whale

1 Nomination

Aftersun, All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Bad Guys, Bardo, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Decision to Leave, Empire of Light, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Living, A Man Called Otto, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Till, The Woman King

October 28-30 Box Office Predictions

Studios usually don’t roll out movies that they think will scare up huge box office dollars on Halloween weekend and that holds true for 2022. We have the supernatural horror tale Prey for the Devil and the expansions of Till and Tár (both with likely Best Actress Oscar contenders in Danielle Deadwyler and Cate Blanchett, respectively). You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on that trio here:

Devil may round up the most business of the newcomers, but my mid single digits forecast would put it in fourth place behind a trio of holdovers. My take on Till could put it in fifth or sixth position based on how Halloween Ends holds after its massive sophomore frame plummet (more on that below). As for Tár, it’s slated for approximately 1000 venues and my $1.8 million projection leaves it outside of the top five or six.

The top 3 should remain the same with Black Adam having no trouble topping the charts for a second weekend. How far it falls is a better question. With a so-so B+ Cinemascore grade, I foresee a slightly higher dip than the 54% that Shazam! experienced in 2019. If it approaches closer to 60%, a gross in the upper 20s would be the result.

Ticket to Paradise with George Clooney and Julia Roberts slightly surpassed expectations and it should hold well with a 35-40% decrease. The runaway hit Smile should be the fright fest of choice in third place as it continues its meager declines.

And with that, my top 6 take for the spooky close out session of October:

1. Black Adam

Predicted Gross: $28.1 million

2. Ticket to Paradise

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million

3. Smile

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million

4. Prey for the Devil

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

5. Halloween Ends

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

6. Till

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

Box Office Results (October 21-23)

The DCEU’s Black Adam, with Dwayne Johnson seemingly everywhere promoting it, opened in line with most prognostications at $67 million. That’s a bit above my $64.7 million take and in line with the studio’s Aquaman from 2018. It’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of the character. As mentioned, this should easily repeat in 1st position this weekend (and the weekend after until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits).

Rom com Ticket to Paradise capitalized on its star power for $16.5 million, bettering my prediction of $13.7 million. That’s a needed boost for a genre that’s been struggling in recent years and an older crowd turned out to make the multiplex trek.

Smile continued to make Paramount happy with $8.4 million, a shade below my $9.5 million estimate. At $84 million after four weeks, the low budget pic is barreling toward $100 million domestically.

Halloween Ends went from 1st to 4th with a momentous 80% reduction. At $8 million, the final showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers didn’t match my $10.4 million projection. The two-week total is $54 million as it will fall quite a bit short of the $92 million that predecessor Halloween Kills made.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile rounded out the top five with $4.2 million (I said $5.2 million) and $28 million overall.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

October 21-23 Box Office Predictions

Dwayne Johnson lends his star power to the DC Extended Universe in Black Adam and there’s the megawatt combo of George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the rom com Ticket to Paradise. They are the weekend’s new offerings and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Black Adam Box Office Prediction

Ticket to Paradise Box Office Prediction

While Adam is unlikely to approach the $100 million plus starts of other DCEU efforts, it should easily rock the charts with a gross in the mid 60s.

The two spot could be more of a battle. However, I’m guessing the Clooney/Roberts team-up (while it would’ve been more potent 20 years ago) should nab the runner-up position.

With a C+ Cinemascore grade, Halloween Kills couldn’t keep up with its two predecessors Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021). Last October, Kills plummeted 70% in its sophomore outing. I expect Ends may even get slashed a tad more. There’s even a possibility its second weekend could place behind the fourth frame of Smile, but I doubt it.

Finally, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile should round out the top five and here’s how I see it looking:

1. Black Adam

Predicted Gross: $64.7 million

2. Ticket to Paradise

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million

3. Halloween Ends

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million

4. Smile

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

Box Office Results (October 14-16)

Coming in nearly $10 million below the last tussle of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers was Halloween Ends with $40 million (under my take of $47.6 million). The budget is low so profitability isn’t an issue. Yet it will take the current (and final?) trilogy out on a low note.

Smile continued its impressive holds in second place with $12.5 million, just ahead of my $11.8 million estimate. The horror hit (which is likely starting its own franchise) has amassed $71 million in three weeks.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was third with $7.3 million (on target with my $7.2 million call). The family friendly musical stands at a middling $22 million after 10 days of release.

The Woman King was fourth with $3.7 million (I said $4.1 million) for $59 million overall.

Lastly, Amsterdam (as expected) fell a precipitous 57% in its sophomore weekend to $2.7 million. I was a bit more generous at $3 million. The big budget flop has taken in only $11 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Ticket to Paradise Box Office Prediction

There’s a good chance that Ticket to Paradise would’ve been the top grossing romantic comedy of about anywhere from 1998-2004. Its success in the fall of 2022 is less assured but achievable (though not in the range of its potential earnings years ago). George Clooney and Julia Roberts are a divorced couple on a mission to prevent their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from tying the knot. Ol Parker, director of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, is behind the camera. Costars include Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier, and Lucas Bravo.

In a somewhat rare release pattern, Ticket was made available to various other international markets in September. The results have been pleasing with $60 million around the globe. Reviews are mixed/positive with 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rom coms have been challenged at multiplexes lately and a little hard to come by. Many have gone the streaming route instead. Pics like The Lost City have featured an action dynamic that Paradise doesn’t have.

It does have two high wattage leads and a return to Julia’s most beloved genre after two decades. She’s been a stalwart of this material with gigantic blockbusters such as Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, and Runaway Bride. Having her Ocean’s Eleven ex-hubby along for the ride only helps.

The chance of this over performing its projection of low to highish teens is doable. Yet I suspect this won’t be a runaway huge premiere and instead do respectable business.

Ticket to Paradise opening weekend prediction: $13.9 million

For my Black Adam prediction, click here:

Black Adam Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Ticket to Paradise

These posts about the awards viability of many pictures might be called “Oscar Predictions”. Sometimes it’s more of a Golden Globe predictions centered type of thing. That’s the case with Ticket to Paradise. The rom com has heavy star wattage with George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a divorced couple trying to prevent the pending nuptials of their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever). Ol Parker, who last made Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, directs. Costars include Maxime Bouttier, Billie Lourd, and Lucas Bravo.

Paradise is out in many parts of Europe next week before its October 21st domestic booking. Many reviews are out and the Rotten Tomatoes meter is at 67%. Academy attention is a non-starter. However, I do wonder if The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will take a look at Clooney or Roberts in the lead races in Musical/Comedy at the Globes. It remains to be seen how competitive those competitions are for 2022.

If the Globes want some big celebs in the mix as they return to the airwaves next year, you could do a lot worse. It’s just as possible that won’t happen, but I wouldn’t count it out. My Oscar (or Globe) Prediction posts will continue…

Summer 2011: The Top 10 Hits and More

We have arrived at part III of my recaps of the summer seasons that came 30, 20, and 10 years ago. That means 2011 is upon us. If you missed my sizzling throwbacks to 1991 and 2001, you can find them here:

Summer 1991: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2001: The Top 10 Hits and More

As is tradition, I will recount the top 10 hits as well as other notable features and some flops in a season where moviegoers bid a fond farewell to their iconic wizard:

Let’s get to it, yes?

10. Bridesmaids

Domestic Gross: $169 million

Kristin Wiig made one of the most successful jumps from SNL to movie stardom in this critically hailed pic that also earned Melissa McCarthy her silver screen breakout and even an Oscar nomination. It might not be the highest grossing comedy on here, but it’s definitely still the most talked about.

9. The Help

Domestic Gross: $169 million

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller, the 1960s set period piece from Tate Taylor brought the book’s readers and many others to the multiplex. Four Oscar nods followed including Best Picture and a Supporting Actress victory for Octavia Spencer.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger

Domestic Gross: $176 million

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first big branch out occurred during this summer where we would get our first glimpse at this OG avenger in the form of Chris Evans and another one who sits at the throne of spot #6. The sequels actually improved on what we see here, but the Captain gets rolling with this.

7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Domestic Gross: $176 million

Rupert Wyatt’s reboot of the franchise is deservedly better regarded than Tim Burton’s re-imagining that transpired in 2001. Debuting the fantastic motion capture work of Andy Serkis, this would spawn two follow-ups that also pleased audiences and critics and did considerable monkey business.

6. Thor

Domestic Gross: $181 million

Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian heartthrob hammered into the public consciousness alongside Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins and managed $5 million more box office bucks than the Captain. The third sequel is currently in production.

5. Cars 2

Domestic Gross: $191 million

Despite grossing nearly $200 million, this Pixar sequel is not one of the studio’s most fondly remembered vehicles with just a 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating. A third Cars did zoom into theaters six years later.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Domestic Gross: $241 million

With a reported budget of $379 million, Johnny Depp’s fourth headlining of the franchise still sports the largest price tag of all time. The actor’s final participation in the series would come in 2017 with Disney still looking to reboot it without their signature player.

3. The Hangover Part II

Domestic Gross: $254 million

Crowds were still clamoring for the drunken exploits of Bradley Copper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. Critics weren’t near as kind to part II, but audiences didn’t begin to tire of the hijinks until part III two years later.

2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Domestic Gross: $352 million

Michael Bay’s third saga of the Autobots and Decepticons marks Shia LaBeouf’s last appearance in the franchise and includes drop-ins from acting heavyweights John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. Mark Wahlberg would take over starring duties three years later.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Domestic Gross: $381 million

After nearly a decade of enchanting kids and their parents alike, the franchise stemming from J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels received a fittingly massive send-off with this billion dollar plus worldwide earner.

Now for other noteworthy titles from the summer:

X-Men: First Class

Domestic Gross: $146 million

Bryan Singer’s handed over directorial reigns to Matthew Vaughn for this reinvigorating reboot of the series that introduced the younger versions of Charles Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique in the bodies of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. Numerous sequels of varying quality followed.

The Smurfs

Domestic Gross: $142 million

Sony Pictures wasn’t blue about the financial returns for this half live-action/half animated adaptation of the popular comics and animated series. A sequel came in 2013.

Super 8

Domestic Gross: $127 million

In between Star Trek pics and before rebooting Star Wars, J.J. Abrams helmed this sci-fi original which paid tribute to the Spielberg efforts of the 1980s. Critics gave it their stamp of approval and it’s notable for one heckuva train crash sequence.

Horrible Bosses

Domestic Gross: $117 million

This raunchy comedy about workers exacting revenge on their wretched superiors showed us a whole different side to Jennifer Aniston and spawned a 2014 sequel.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Domestic Gross: $84 million

Before their collaboration on La La Land earned lots of Oscar nods five years later, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling teamed up for this rom com with Steve Carell and Julianne Moore that exceeded expectations with audiences and many critics.

Midnight in Paris

Domestic Gross: $56 million

It was a different time 10 years ago for Woody Allen, who scored his last big hit with this fantastical comedy starring Owen Wilson. Woody would win the Oscar for Original Screenplay and it landed three additional nominations including Picture and Director.

The Tree of Life

Domestic Gross: $13 million

Terrence Malick’s epic philosophical drama won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography at the Academy Awards. Not your typical summer fare, but it certainly had reviews on its side.

And now for some titles that didn’t meet expectations commercially, critically, or both:

Green Lantern

Domestic Gross: $116 million

Five years before he entered the comic book flick pantheon with Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds didn’t have as much luck with this critically drubbed flop. Even the star himself has taken to calling it a waste of time for viewers.

Cowboys & Aliens

Domestic Gross: $100 million

Coming off the huge Iron Man pics, Jon Favreau cast James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in this space western that didn’t impress crowds or critics and earned considerably less than its budget domestically.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Audiences were mostly cool to Jim Carrey’s treatment of the popular late 30s children’s book though it did manage to top its $55 million budget. It probably would have made far more during the star’s box office heyday.

Spy Kids 4-D: All the Time in the World

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A decade after Robert Rodriguez kicked the kiddie franchise off to great results, part 4 marked a low mark for the series.

Larry Crowne

Domestic Gross: $35 million

The star power of Tom Hanks (who also directed) and Julia Roberts couldn’t elevate this rom com from a subpar showing (critics weren’t kind either). This is largely a forgotten entity on both actor’s filmographies.

Conan the Barbarian

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Before becoming known to the masses as Aquaman, Jason Momoa couldn’t fill the shoes of Arnold Schwarzenegger in this bomb that couldn’t swim close to its $90 million budget.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have recaps of the summers of 1992, 2002, and 2012 up for your enjoyment next season!

Summer 2001: The Top 10 Hits and More

My annual recounting of the cinematic seasons that preceded 30, 20, and 10 years prior continues on the blog today with the summer of 2001! It was a frame dominated by an animated jolly green giant that kicked off a massive franchise for its studio.

As is tradition, I’ll run through the top 10 domestic grossers as well as other notables pics and some flops. If you missed my post covering 1991’s May-August output, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/06/26/summer-1991-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

Let’s get to it!

10. Dr. Dolittle 2

Domestic Gross: $112 million

Eddie Murphy returned as the doc who talks to animals in this sequel that managed to cross the century mark, but failed to approach the $144 million earned by its 1998 predecessor. This would mark the end of Eddie’s involvement in the franchise, but a direct to DVD third helping came in 2006.

9. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Domestic Gross: $131 million

Angelina Jolie (fresh off an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted) headlined the video game adaptation that, despite weak reviews, spawned a sequel and an eventual reboot with Alicia Vikander that will soon get its own follow-up.

8. The Fast and the Furious

Domestic Gross: $144 million

We first saw Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and those souped up whips 20 years ago. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t heard of The Rock), this begat a franchise which is still running strong today. F9 is currently the #1 movie in America in this series that has topped a billion bucks.

7. American Pie 2

Domestic Gross: $145 million

Universal quickly green lighted this sequel to 1999’s smash hit comedy. The gross out gags in part 2 (which resulted in another theatrical effort in 2003 and numerous direct to DVD entries) stands as the largest worldwide earner of the bunch.

6. Planet of the Apes

Domestic Gross: $180 million

Tim Burton’s reimagining of the 1968 classic didn’t result in the new franchise that 20th Century Fox hoped for. Critics had their knives out for Mark Wahlberg’s lead performance and the surprise ending that didn’t pack the wallop of Charlton Heston’s encounter with the Statue of Liberty. The studio would get their successful trilogy a decade later beginning with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which will be covered in 2011’s blog post).

5. Jurassic Park III

Domestic Gross: $181 million

Joe Johnston took over directorial duties from Steven Spielberg is this threequel. Sam Neill was back in this dino-tale that (while profitable) failed to reach the heights of the first two commercially. A reboot 14 years later would get the series back in billion dollar good standing.

4. Pearl Harbor

Domestic Gross: $198 million

Michael Bay’s romantic war epic failed with reviewers but still approached $200 million domestically and $450 million worldwide. Its six Golden Raspberry nominations topped its four Oscar nods.

3. The Mummy Returns

Domestic Gross: $202 million

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz returned for this adventure sequel to the 1999 hit that topped part 1 domestically by nearly $50 million. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would join the fun here and was rewarded with his spin-off (The Scorpion King) the next year. A third Mummy landed with disappointing results in 2008.

2. Rush Hour 2

Domestic Gross: $226 million

It was the best of times for director Brett Ratner and stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan as this action comedy built upon the grosses of the 1998 original. A third would follow six years later.

1. Shrek

Mike Myers as the title character ogre, Eddie Murphy stealing scenes with his voice work as Donkey, and Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona proved that Disney wasn’t the only animation game in town. Shrek even competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in this DreamWorks game changer that resulted in three sequels and a stage musical.

And now for some other notables flicks from the summer that was:

The Princess Diaries

Domestic Gross: $108 million

Disney’s live-action fairy tale served as a breakout role for Anne Hathaway and a return to the studio for Julie Andrews for the first time since Mary Poppins. A 2004 sequel followed.

The Others

Domestic Gross: $96 million

With its own Sixth Sense style twist ending, this gothic horror pic with Nicole Kidman earned solid reviews and got genre fans to turn out.

Legally Blonde

Domestic Gross: $96 million

Shrek isn’t the only feature to spawn a Broadway treatment. So did this Reese Witherspoon hit which also resulted in a sequel and a third Blonde that is slated for May 2022.

Cats & Dogs

Domestic Gross: $93 million

Dr. Dolittle wasn’t the only animal game in town. This kiddie pic featuring featuring talking creatures also began a franchise.

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

Domestic Gross: $78 million

Long planned as a project for Stanley Kubrick (who passed away in 1999), Steven Spielberg directed this sci-fi visual feast with Haley Joel Osment. The film elicited strong reactions from critics and crowds (both positively and negatively). It may not have reached $100 million domestic, but it’s still a picture people like to debate about today and that’s more that can be said for most titles on this list.

Swordfish

Domestic Gross: $69 million

Hugh Jackman and John Travolta headlined this action pic which somewhat underperformed expectations. This is mostly known as the film that paid Halle Berry an extra $500,000 to go topless during a few seconds of screen time.

Moulin Rouge!

Domestic Gross: $57 million

Baz Luhrmann’s postmodern musical with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor scored 8 Oscar nominations and has its legions of fans that have endured over the past two decades.

Sexy Beast

Domestic Gross: $6 million

This crime drama is mostly known for its menacing supporting turn from Sir Ben Kingsley, who was rewarded with an Oscar nod.

Ghost World

Domestic Gross: $6 million

Terry Zwigoff’s dark comedy (based on a late 90s comic book) earned raves for its screenplay and for costars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi.

And now for some pictures that did not meet expectations:

America’s Sweethearts

Domestic Gross: $93 million

Yes, it may have approached $100 million, but this rom com starring Julia Roberts and featuring John Cusack, Billy Crystal (who cowrote), and Catherine Zeta-Jones didn’t come near what her previous blockbusters like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, and Runaway Bride managed.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Domestic Gross: $84 million

Disney’s animated sci-fi adventure was a letdown that didn’t recoup its reported $100 million budget domestically. A hoped for franchise with TV spin-offs and Disneyland ride attraction never rose to the surface.

Scary Movie 2

Domestic Gross: $71 million

This rushed horror spoof follow-up to the 2000 surprise smash couldn’t get close to the $157 million of the original. However, this didn’t stop several sequels from following that achieved greater success.

Evolution

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Director Ivan Reitman and supernatural comedy sure worked well in 1984 with Ghostbusters. Not so much here in this DreamWorks flop with David Duchovny which earned less than half its budget in North America.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Domestic Gross: $32 million

Tomb Raider was an example of a video game adaptation that made money. Not so here with this rendering of the popular role playing fantasy series that didn’t score with audiences.

Ghosts of Mars

Domestic Gross: $8 million

It wasn’t a good day at the box office for this science fiction flop from director John Carpenter and Ice Cube.

Pootie Tang

Domestic Gross: $3 million

Moviegoers didn’t turn out for this comedy written and directed by Louis C.K. that originated from a sketch on The Chris Rock Show (who costars). Despite the failed run at the box office, it has since become a cult hit.

And that does it for 2001, folks! Look for my post about summer 2011 in the coming days…

Oscar Watch: No Sudden Move

The wildly eclectic filmography of Steven Soderbergh peaked with awards voters in 2000 when two of his pictures (Erin Brockovich and Traffic) represented 40% of that year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees. While Gladiator took the big prize, Soderbergh took gold for his direction of the latter. Half of the 2000 acting contenders came from his work with Julia Roberts as Best Actress for Brockovich and Benicio del Toro in Supporting Actor with Traffic.

Since then, the Academy has failed to nominate any of Soderbergh’s many efforts that followed. This weekend, No Sudden Move premiered on HBO Max. The 1950s crime thriller, in addition to costarring del Toro, features a large cast including Don Cheadle, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Noah Jupe, Julia Fox, Ray Liotta, and Bill Duke.

Reviews are solid as this sits at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet this appears to be another genre flick that is unlikely to make an impression with the Academy. Bottom line: it’s been over two decades since Soderbergh was in the Oscar mix and don’t look for Move to suddenly change that. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Summer 1991: The Top 10 Hits and More

It is officially summertime 2021 and that brings my annual seasonal three-part series where I take a look back at the top ten pics, flops, and other notable selections from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. That means I’ll begin with 1991 at a time where Arnold Schwarzenegger said hasta la vista to all competitors.

Let’s count down from #10 to numero Ah-nuld along with other entries worthy of discussion (both good and bad).

10. Doc Hollywood

Domestic Gross: $54 million

Michael J. Fox had a midsize hit with this fish out of water comedy about an uppity surgeon stuck in the rural south. It marks the star’s last solid performer that he headlined.

9. Boyz n the Hood

Domestic Gross: $57 million

John Singleton had one of cinema’s most memorable directorial debuts with this coming-of-age drama set in South Central. He would become the youngest filmmaker ever to be nominated at the Oscars and the critically hailed pic kickstarted the careers of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube.

8. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 

Domestic Gross: $60 million

Disney re-released their 1961 classic three decades after its release and picked up a cool $60 million for it. Later in 1991, the studio would begin another renaissance with Beauty and the Beast becoming the first animated film to nab a Best Picture nomination. Five years later, Glenn Close would headline the live-action version and another reboot, Cruella with Emma Stone, is currently in the top five.

7. What About Bob?

Domestic Gross: $63 million

Bill Murray had one of his signature roles as the multi-phobic patient tormenting shrink Richard Dreyfuss on his vacation. Apparently this comedy was a bit dramatic behind the scenes with the two leads having an actual antagonistic relationship.

6. Hot Shots!

Domestic Gross: $69 million

Spoofs were a hot commodity in the early 90s following the success of 1988’s The Naked Gun. Jim Abrahams, one of that film’s writers, created this sendup of Top Gun and many others that starred Charlie Sheen. A sequel would follow two years later.

5. Backdraft

Domestic Gross: $77 million

Ron Howard directed this firefighting drama that heated up the box office with Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, and a creepy Donald Sutherland as a pyromaniac. There was even a sequel released in 2019 with Baldwin and Sutherland that went direct to streaming and that I frankly forgot existed.

4. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

Domestic Gross: $86 million

The spoofing love continued as Leslie Nielsen reprised his role as doofus detective Frank Drebin in this sequel to the 1988 classic. It couldn’t hold up the original, but it was better than part 3 which followed in 1994. And, needless to say, this was a simpler time for costar O.J. Simpson.

3. City Slickers

Domestic Gross: $124 million

As New Yorkers learning life lessons on a cattle drive, Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and Bruno Kirby starred in the comedy smash of the summer and costar Jack Palance even ended up with a Best Supporting Actor victory. A less regarded follow-up would come in 1994.

2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Domestic Gross: $165 million

While his accent was spotty at best, Kevin Costner parlayed his Oscar success from the previous year’s Dances with Wolves into this blockbuster about the robbing from the rich and giving to the poor hero. The highlight was Alan Rickman’s sublime work as the Sheriff of Nottingham while critics mostly turned up their noses.

1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Domestic Gross: $204 million

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s android went from being the bad guy in the 1984 original to the good robot in James Cameron’s sequel that gave us eye popping and revolutionary special effects and a dynamite Linda Hamilton returning as a buffed up Sarah Connor. There’s been four more entries in the franchise and none have matched the potency of this one.

Now let’s turn the focus to some other notable releases:

Thelma & Louise

Domestic Gross: $45 million

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis both scored lead actress Academy nods for Ridley Scott’s now iconic tale of feminism and revenge with an unforgettable ending. This also marked audiences falling in love with a then unknown actor by the name of Brad Pitt.

Point Break

Domestic Gross: $43 million

Patrick Swayze starred in the previous summer’s high earner with Ghost. This surfing action pic from director Kathryn Bigelow paired the actor with Keanu Reeves and has amassed a deserved cult following. An unnecessary remake wiped out in 2015.

Dead Again

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Kenneth Branagh’s sophomore effort after the acclaim of his Shakespearian Henry V was this Hitchcock homage costarring his then wife Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, and Robin Williams. As tributes to the Master of Suspense go, this is one of the best.

Soapdish

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey, Jr., and Whoopi Goldberg are part of the ensemble in this comedy set in the world of the afternoon melodramas that populate the airwaves. Not a big hit at the time, its reception has since grown.

Jungle Fever

Domestic Gross: $32 million

Spike Lee’s tale of an interracial couple played by Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra received critical kudos. The two most memorable performances come from Samuel L. Jackson as a crack addict and Halle Berry (in her feature debut) as his girlfriend.

Madonna: Truth or Dare

Domestic Gross: $15 million

As she often is, Madonna was ahead of the cultural curve with this documentary set during her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour. This was reality programming before it exploded.

Barton Fink

Domestic Gross: $6 million

The Coen Brothers pitch black comedy was the darling of the Cannes Film Festival, winning Picture, Director, and Actor for John Turturro. It would land three Academy nominations including Michael Lerner in Supporting Actor.

Now it’s time for the pictures that either didn’t land with audiences or critics (or both):

The Rocketeer

Domestic Gross: $46 million

Disney was hoping for a new franchise with this comic book based property. Yet the period adventure underwhelmed at the box office. This was a different era for the genre before the MCU changed everything. Director Joe Johnston, coincidentally, would go on to make Captain America: The First Avenger 20 years later.

Dying Young

Domestic Gross: $33 million

This seems hard to believe now, but Premiere magazine predicted this romance would be the largest grossing feature of the summer. Not so much. However, Julia Roberts was just coming off her smash breakthrough Pretty Woman. This didn’t land with audiences in the same way.

Only the Lonely

Domestic Gross: $25 million

Chris Columbus was basking in the box office bonanza that was Home Alone. This rom com with John Candy and Ally Sheedy that followed six months later didn’t cause many filmgoers to leave their homes.

Mobsters

Domestic Gross: $20 million

1990 was gave us lots of mobster fare such as GoodFellas, The Godfather Part III, and Miller’s Crossing. Crowds and critics didn’t take to the Christian Slater and Patrick Dempsey versions of Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, respectively.

Hudson Hawk

Domestic Gross: $17 million

Bruce Willis’s vanity project is considered one of the gargantuan flops in history. Grossing only about a fourth of its $65 million budget, it was awarded the Golden Raspberry for Worst Picture of the year.

V.I. Warshawski

Domestic Gross: $11 million

Based on a series of successful novels, audiences didn’t take to Kathleen Turner in the title role for this detective action comedy. It made less than half its budget.

Delirious

Domestic Gross: $5 million

Also set in the world of soap operas, this marked another dud for John Candy in the same season.

Another You

Domestic Gross: $2 million

Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder are a classic combo with well-regarded comedies like Silver Streak and Stir Crazy. Even See No Evil, Hear No Evil in 1989, despite critical scorn, performed well. That’s not the case with their last collaboration (which reviewers also drubbed).

And that concludes my look back at summer 1991. Next up is the sweltering season of 2001!