Zoolander 2 Movie Review

2001’s Zoolander was an often uproarious novelty of a pic that showed Ben Stiller’s ability to essentially take a sketch character and stretch the premise out successfully for 90 minutes. The original took us into the incredibly narcissistic and dumb world of male modeling coupled with nonsensical international intrigue involving the attempted assassination of the Malaysian prime minister. It worked because of its star/director’s enthusiasm behind it and the fact it was a pretty original comedy at the time.

Most movies in this genre don’t need sequels. This is one of them. The novelty has worn badly. Zoolander 2 brings back almost everything and everyone that made us laugh fifteen years ago and has no clue what to do with them. Derek Zoolander (Stiller) is now a has been model living as a recluse. This is following a tragic accident involving his Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good that was erected in the predecessor’s conclusion. His family life is shattered as is his ability to lock down his iconic facial expressions at opportune moments.

Derek soon finds himself recruited (by Billy Zane no less) to return to the real world when gorgeous celebrities start being offed. An Interpol agent (Penelope Cruz) believes both he and Hansel (Owen Wilson) can be of service. The bonkers plot (so was Zoolander’s, to be fair) finds a way to bring back Mugatu (Will Ferrell), in addition to scores of celeb cameos from the music and fashion world. The Fountain of Youth is involved. Derek finds himself trying to connect with his estranged son. Oh and Sting plays himself as a somewhat mythical figure, which isn’t much of a stretch. And there’s Kristin Wiig in unrecognizable makeup as a designer.

Any picture with these performers will have a few funny moments just based on the odds. I will admit that Kiefer Sutherland (playing himself) and his relationship status with Hansel provided a smile. And yet they are truly few and far between. Zoolander 2 is a title in search of a reason to exist that doesn’t find it. It feels lazy, unneeded, and desperate. For a director like Stiller that has shown so much ability with part one and Tropic Thunder and others, it’s surprising to find No. 2 even looking and feeling drab. I was satisfied at the original when Derek flashed Blue Steel, that magical look. It’s here, but my advice is look away. There’s little magicĀ around.

*1/2 (out of four)


Box Office Results: Christmas 2013 Weekend

There was a whole bunch of new movies that opened Christmas Day, but numbers 1-4 were occupied by holdovers. The Wolf of Wall Street was the top newcomer while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty had a just OK opening and 47 Ronin, Grudge Match, and Justin Bieber’s Believe disappointed.

For the third weekend in a row, it was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at the top spot with $29.8 million – above my $25.7M estimate. The middle chapter in Peter Jackson’s Tolkien trilogy has earned $190 million in its three weeks of release so far.

Disney’s Frozen was close behind with $28.8 million, surpassing my $22.1M projection. The animated feature has grossed an impressive $248 million so far and should go north of $300 million when all is said and done.

Ron Burgundy and company were third with Anchorman: The Legend Continues earning $20.1 million in weekend #2, right in line with my $19.6M estimate. Anchorman has made $83.6 million so far, nearly matching the entire domestic gross of the original.

David O. Russell’s awards contender American Hustle was fourth with $19.5 million – beyond my $14.9M projection. Hustle has grossed $60 million in two weeks and is very likely to cross the century mark at some point.

It was Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street taking honors as top newbie. The three hour sex and drugs fest with Leo DiCaprio made $18.5 million over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the weekend and $34.3 million since its Wednesday debut. While this is below my respective estimates of $25.4M and $44.2M, this is still a solid opening. Where Wolf could soon falter is with its C Cinemascore average. Audiences are clearly not liking what they’re seeing and there could be rather substantial drop-offs in future weekends.

Saving Mr. Banks with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks had a big jump in its second weekend with $14 million for sixth, above my $10.6M estimate. It’s earned $37.8M in two weeks.

Ben Stiller’s comedic drama The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was seventh with $13 million over Friday-to-Sunday and $25.5 million since the Wednesday start, outpacing my projections of $11.7M and $19.3M. This opening could best be described as middle of the pack and it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up over the next couple of weekends.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was eighth with $10.2 million, above my $7.7M projection. Fire has made $391 million since its November opening, currently sits at #18 for all-time domestic grossers, and still looks to top Iron Man 3 as 2013’s biggest hit.

The martial arts flick with Keanu Reeves 47 Ronin opened at ninth with $9.8 million over Friday-to-Sunday and $20.5 million since Wednesday. It earned under my predicted three-day estimated (I said $11.4M) but over my five-day estimate ($17.8M). Look for it to fade fast.

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas rounded out the Top Ten with $7.4 million (I didn’t predict it would be in the top ten).

This left the Sylvester Stallone/Robert De Niro comedy Grudge Match at #11 with a very poor opening well below my expectations. Match grossed $7.3 million from Friday-to-Sunday and $13.4 million since Wednesday. I thought it would do much better and predicted $13.9M for the three-day and $24.5M for the five-day. Oops. This is Stallone’s third bomb of the year after Bullet to the Head and Escape Plan.

Finally, Beliebers totally failed to turn out for his documentary Believe. It sputtered at #14 with $2 million from Friday-to-Sunday and $4.2 million since the Wednesday start. I predicted it would do $5.8M for the three-day and $10.3 million for the five. Oops again.

Whew. And there’s your Christmas weekend box office results! Be sure to check the blog later today for my prediction next weekend’s only newcomer, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

Box Office Predictions: Christmas Weekend 2013

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and, at multiplexes, by far the most crowded time of the year! On Christmas Day, five pictures enter an already crowded marketplace. They are: Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, the boxing comedy Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller’s fantasy drama The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, martial arts flick 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves, and the Justin Bieber documentary Believe. You can read my individual posts on all five at the following links:






By my estimates there will be nine – yes, nine – movies that gross double digits over the weekend. And there may well be a fierce battle for #1. In this same holiday weekend last year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fell only 13% in its third weekend and I expect current #1 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to fall no further than 20%. This should put it in a neck and neck race with my prediction for Wolf of Wall Street.

Disney’s Frozen stands an excellent chance of gaining audience from last weekend and it too has an outside shot at the top spot. Another title I expect to post gains: Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks which had a rather middling opening this past weekend at $9.3 million but should benefit from positive word of mouth.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues had a solid opening ($40 million over five days), but it was at the lesser end of expectations. Still, the holiday time frame should prevent it from suffering a large decline. The same can be said for American Hustle, which started strong out of the gate last weekend with $19.1 million.

One thing is for sure: the film calendar doesn’t get more crowded than this. After that, many things are highly uncertain but here’s my best guesses for the Christmas 2013 Top Ten:

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Predicted Gross: $25.7 million (representing a drop of 18%)

2. The Wolf of Wall Street

Predicted Gross: $25.4 million ($44.2 million predicted for five-day opening)

3. Frozen

Predicted Gross: $22.1 million (representing an increase of 13%)

4. Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million (representing a drop of 26%)

5. American Hustle

Predicted Gross: $14.9 million (representing a drop of 22%)

6. Grudge Match

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million ($24.5 million predicted for five-day opening)

7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Predicted Gross: $11.7 million ($19.3 million predicted for five-day opening)

8. 47 Ronin

Predicted Gross: $11.4 million ($17.8 million predicted for five-day opening)

9. Saving Mr. Banks

Predicted Gross: $10.6 million (representing an increase of 15%)

10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million (representing a drop of 12%)

These predictions would leave Justin Bieber’s Believe out of the top ten and likely in the #12 slot behind the second weekend of Walking with Dinosaurs.

And there you have it! My predictions for Christmas 2013. Of course, I’ll have updates on the blog’s Facebook page throughout the week with final results Sunday. And have yourself a Merry little Christmas, my friends!


Justin Bieber Believe Box Office Prediction

Nearly three years after his Never Say Never was a box office hit, Justin Bieber is out with a new documentary Believe. In February of 2011, the aforementioned doc earned $29.5 million in its opening weekend.

This will not be the case with Believe. While a good percentage of Belieber nation could turn out, here is the key difference: Never Say Never was released on 3105 screens. Believe is coming out on approximately 1000. That fact alone guarantees a considerably smaller opening. Add to that an extraordinarily crowded Christmas marketplace and Believe may be lucky to reach double digits over its five-day debut. I think it’ll get there, but just barely.

Believe opening weekend prediction: $5.8 million (Friday-to-Sunday), $10.3 million (Wednesday-to-Sunday)

For my prediction on the other four Christmas openers – The Wolf of Wall Street, Grudge Match, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and 47 Ronin – click here: