Tuesday, July 25, 2006

but my heart, maria! but my heart!

I may have physically left the Entertainment industry, yet sometimes my fingers still clutch at the air where a copy of Variety should be and I thirst for utterly irrelevant information about movies. For example: we seem to have been inundated with "blockbusters" this summer, even worse than usual. As I haven't ventured out to spend $11 for Death By Superhero IV every weekend, from my perspective it's all been kind of a blur. Today I wondered, How have they been doing? Clearly none has tanked, or we'd know about it; which succeeded, though, and which were the kind of disappointments that get you fired while you're in the maternity ward?

In case you're as weirdly interested in these things as I am, I gathered the data. No, no, don't thank me. I'm increasing your dork quotient by .45 every minute you spend reading this.

#1) Surprisingly, despite its mediocre reviews and what I had thought was a lukewarm reception here in America, the record holder for 2006 is The Da Vinci Code. Closer examination of the numbers explains it: the stupid Catholic conspiracy movie that ended up pulling its punches only made $214 million at home. Its standing in the charts comes from the whopping $740 million it made from the Akiva Goldsman-loving hordes of people worldwide who were desperate to have their beloved religion challenged -- except not too much.

#2) Pirates of the Caribbean II, starring Keira Knightley's ribcage, Mr. Squidface, a translucent Orlando Bloom, and some promising young unknown fellow who's wearing a lot of makeup for some reason, has drawn a whopping $326 million so far domestically and HALF A BILLION DOLLARS worldwide. Some studio should really sign that newbie playing the pirate -- I think he's going places.

#3) X-Men: The Last Stand $232 mil here, $439 out there.

#4) Mission Impossible III: $133 domestically, $373 worldwide.

#5) Superman Returns: $179 domestically, $289 worldwide.

While these movies aren't done running yet, it's fair to say though that their momentums are set. Superman Returns is probably not going to stage a sudden, violent comeback to challenge Ron Howard's work of surpreme nonsense for first place, for example. To know more deeply who's a winner, who's a loser, though, you need more info. Making $200-some million dollars is a huge achievement, UNLESS you cost that much to make. Let's check budgets.

#1) Production budget: $125 million. That doesn't even include advertising which, as we all know, essentially rented out Times Square as its bitch/billboard for two weeks prior. Let's assume, oh, $40 million for that. That takes the budget up to $165, which means that domestically the film only eked out $49 million in profit. If not for those Frenchmen and Ghanains who needed their faith not so much shaken as lightly stirred, Tom Hanks would never work in this town again.

#2) Production budget: $225 million. Wow. Can we stop and think about that for a second? Wow. I've never heard of a movie costing that much to make. That's how much Catherine the Great would spend, maybe -- except, instead of the Winter Palace, you end up with 2.5 hours of celluloid pirate shenanigans. They've spent on advertising, too, but not as much as the Da Vince folks. Let's assume $25 million. That puts the domestic profit at $76 million.

#3) Budget: $210 million. Jesus! Those are still Marie Antoinette levels, and we saw what happened to her. Assuming $25 million for advertising, it actually LOST $3 million and was saved only by the grace of those spend-happy audiences abroad.

#4) Budget: $150. It only made $133 here! That means, even before you factor in advertising, MI:3 was in the red by a significant amount. Shameful.

#5) Budget: $260. Excuse me, I have to wipe off the monitor -- my head just exploded. Who decided to bet the farm on this dutiful, mediocre remake of what's considered a classic in the genre? Even factoring in worldwide grosses, this one has only barely broken even. Oops, wait -- factoring in advertising, it probably hasn't broken even at all. Astounding.

The last movie I saw in theaters, by the way, hasn't done too shabbily by itself even with competition from these monsters. Inside Man made $88.5 domestically and $185 worldwide, but only cost $45. Let's assume $10 for advertising. That comes out to a respectable $33.5 in domestic profit. AND it was good.

There's a moral to this story somewhere, kiddies. Let me know if you find it (and if you discover the name of that delightful up-and-coming swashbuckler! Let's just hope he doesn't get typecast as fey. Then he'll never get work, poor kid.)

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

this may be old news--but, the lyric is "but my heart, ANITA, but my heart". it's sung by maria.