The Dark Knight surprised no one by performing impressively at the box office. We all knew it would win the weekend. It had everything working toward that end: a talented star who died too soon in his final full performance; film number two in a hot franchise; and the adulation of pretty much every critic out there. There was no way this movie was going to open at anything but number one at the box office.
According to no less than Mr. Darcy himself, Colin Firth, the sequel to Mamma Mia may not feature the music of ABBA. It may have something to do with ABBA co-founder Benny Andersson refusing to grant permission, but also, how many more great Abba songs are left besides "Fernando"? Both Firth and Andersson have floated the idea of a new musical artist's back catalog providing the film's soundtrack, so we looked at five artists who didn't already have their own musicals (sorry, Billy Joel and the Beatles) to see what sort of plot we could put together from their songs.
New Line is getting musical-happy. The studio, who just announced they were planning a sequel to last year's hit, Hairspray, have won a studio bidding war for the rights to the rock musical Rock of Ages, an off-Broadway show that pairs '80s rock ballads with an on-stage love story (a la Mamma Mia!) that's currently rocking out in New York.
It seems that I owe MWoP blogger Odie Henderson a dollar. Odie swore to me that Pineapple Express would not beat The Dark Knight at the box office this weekend, that in fact Batman would stay perched on his high gargoyle until Tropic Thunder came along. While that latter part remains to be seen, it does seem like my estimation of Seth Rogen and James Franco as Bat-breakers on a par with any of Arkham Asylum's inmates was incorrect.
I need to start by saying that I am not an inordinately rabid fan of ABBA, nor am I a musical theater acolyte -- in fact I hate musicals for their campy, over-the-top cheesiness. Needless to say, I did not see Mamma Mia! on Broadway. I went to see an early screening of the film adaptation of said Broadway musical with a fair amount of trepidation. And I was pleasantly surprised by my lack of homicidal feeling once the closing credits rolled.
Riddle me this, riddle me that -- who can possibly defeat the big, bad Bat? Not Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, three yetis and an army of zombies, that's for sure. The Dark Knight topped the box office for the third week in a row, bringing in an additional $43.8 million, for a grand total so far of 394.9 million in the U.S. alone -- plus $200 million overseas. And the film has yet to open in Germany and Russia. That's Bruce Wayne folding money, son! Sadly, Batman will be defeated next weekend by the combined forces of the Green Hornet (Seth Rogen) and the Green Goblin (James Franco) in the stoner action flick Pineapple Express. C'est la vie!
Who would have thought Mamma Mia! would have this kind of steam overseas? Well, it certainly does, as it stayed on top at the foreign box office for the weekend, taking in another $14.1 million, increasing its total haul to $377.2 million. Add that to its domestic take of $142.7 million, and it's brought in more than $500 million worldwide -- no small feat, especially when you consider its genre: musical comedy. Not exactly the type of film that usually fares quite this well. [At least, not in America. Three of the top five all-time movies at the Indian box office are musicals. - Zach]
In a week of low-wattage premieres, the thrown-into-the-spotlight Tropic Thunder has topped the box office once again. Between Ben Stiller going "full retard," Robert Downey Jr. going "full blackface" and Tom Cruise going "full fat, Jewish guy," the buzz and controversy translated into another $16.1 million this weekend, racking up a total of $65.6 million since its debut on August 13th. Which left new films The House Bunny and Transporter Thr-- er, Death Race in second and third place with $15.1 million and $12.3 million, respectively (if not respectfully).
Over the past few years, fast-food joints have gotten into major trouble marketing their fattening products to children, but when summer arrives, the movie and food tie-ins kick into overdrive and children beg their parents for the toys. I still have my stuffed Tazmanian Devil in Space Jam doll, courtesy of McDonalds circa 1996. While contemplating how disturbing a grown man buying a kids' meal just so he can get the toy is, I thought of a way the fast food places can avoid being harassed by child obesity groups: Market this summer's movie tie-ins to adults. Who gives a crap if the over-18 crowd eats itself to oblivion? They should know better. Taco Bell tried this once, with a Demolition Man tie-in, and while that failed miserably, I guarantee that these will sell.