Mamo #136: A Startling Sameness

Mamo!

As the Matts unveil their picks for the top 10 grossing films of 2009, a circumstance not seen in the history of Mamo unfolds. What’s up with the hardest-to-pick summer since event movies began?


CONTEST UPDATE:

Mamo!

Make your predictions of the top ten domestic grosses for the summer of 2009 in the comment section for your chance to win a dvd of your choice (max value $30). You have until Friday May 1st to submit your choices, and please make sure to include your email address. Affiliates of Row Three are disqualified from the contest, but may still play along for bragging rights. The Summer ends, according to our tabulations, six weeks after the last film picked by someone, but roughly sometime in September, at which time a winner will be announced.

A list of films coming out this summer can be found here

The nitty gritty of the tabulation is as follows:

A. 1-10 Points for film rankings. If you are bang on (your #1 pick comes in #1) you get 10. If you are 5 places away (your #8 film comes in #3) you get 5, etc.

B. 10 bonus points for every film who’s gross you have within 5 million of the actual gross.

C. 5 bonus points for every film who’s gross you have within 10 million of the actual gross.

D. 1 bonus point for every film who’s gross you have within 20 million of the actual gross.

E. 10 point bonus for every film you have ranked correctly AND within 5 million of the actual gross.

Good Luck!

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Matt Price
Editor

In written form, here are my picks for the top ten of the coming summer, with final grosses (in millions). Feel free to chime in with your own.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 350

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 320

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian 300

Star Trek 290

Land of the Lost 260

Wolverine 250

Angels & Demons 240

Up 235

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 220

Terminator Salvation 200

Let the inevitable deconstruction of this begin. Also, if yer gonna criticize, make sure you post your own list so we can see who's really right in the end.

Matt
Guest

And here's mine:

Night at the Museum 2 – $320

Harry Potter – $290

Transformers 2 – $280

Star Trek – $250

Terminator 4 – $240

Land of the Lost – $235

Up – $210

Wolverine – $200

Ice Age 3 – $190

Angels and Demons- $181

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I'm with M.Brown on the Pelham One Two Three. Why use that name if you are going to make what appears to be a completely different movie in tone and execution. Now I'm aware of what Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumier did with Starship Troopers, but they weren't remaking a film, the were adapting a book, and they did something very interesting (heck, even subversive) with inverting the message of that novel in Blockbuster form, but here you are making a movie that not too many people remember, and you are making it with a formula that was popularized in the 1980s (post-Die Hard which borrows so much of Pelham 123 and launched the elaborate heist and hostage as a blockbuster formula). Here what is obvious is that it is another Tony Scott film, why not use what you want and call it something else. Can there really be any 'wide' (i.e. non film buff) audience that remembers the 1970s version enough to want to see the spastic Tony Scott version?

What do I know, I liked Domino, but I'm mildly miffed at him remaking something as the original Pelham 123.

GEHale
Guest

Interesting list but I am not so sure Night at the Museum will gain enough from its predecessor to break the $300 million mark. I see it shaking out like this:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $400

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $320

Terminator Salvation $260

Night at the Museum: Battle of The Smithsonian $250

X-Men Origins: Wolverine $240

Star Trek $230

Angels and Demons $220

Up $215

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs $210

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra $200

Public Enemies $190

Mike Rot
Member

I think the big mistake you both made is underestimating UP. I am not much of a Pixar fan, but even I am interested in seeing this film. The trailer really works in the theater, the audiences I saw it with loved it, I think it will hit that James and the Giant Peach sense of fascination with young folks, and for me, I think it looks funny and I am looking forward to see what all the fuss with 3-D is, because not since the 3-D exhibition of Hitchcock's The Birds in Universal Studios have I been exposed to 3-D.

Here is my guesses

1) Harry Potter $320

2) Transformers $300

3) Up $290

4) Star Trek $250

5) Wolverine $204

6) Night of the Museum 2 $200

7) Terminator Salvation $190

8 G.I. Joe $160

9) Public Enemies $145

10)Land of the Lost $140

Mike Rot
Member

I love how this year has come down to: how stupid are audiences?

but you are right, Fast and Furious and Paul Blart set the tone of what is to come.

Rusty James
Guest

@ I think the big mistake you both made is underestimating UP. I am not much of a Pixar fan, but even I am interested in seeing this film.

Is that really a strike in the film's favor? Pixar's bread and butter is families and young kids not 30 year old art house types. The fact that it's something that interests you could very possibly be its undo-ing at the box office.

Rusty James
Guest

I guess the rules are I have to offer my own predictions. I'm just spit balling it.

Transformables 350

Night at the Museum 250

Terminator 250

Harry Porter 220

Up 200 (More than GI Joe)

GI Joe 200 (less than UP)

Star Trek 180

Dilinger 150

Land of the Lost 130

Wolverine 130 (Less than Land of the Lost)

Mike Rot
Member

Me + a theater audience going crazy for the trailer was my argument.

The families are pretty solidly sold on Pixar from what I gather, so it is how well it will do in other quadrants to push it over the edge.

That said, I have no idea what Pixar normally grosses, if $290 million is significantly high or not… and I think you need to add into the equation 3D, and is it IMAX then?

Mike Rot
Member

Harry Potter fans have been denied a film for a long time now, they are about to bust a nut, and while I don't particularly care for the franchise I think the delay will translate into serious money.

Mike Rot
Member

and I don't even know what Land of the Lost is, I am just going on the title. now that is spit balling.

Matt Price
Editor

The good news is, I'm scoring everybody brave enough to put their picks up here. C'mon, Andrew, Kurt and the rest of the Row Three crue, let's see how brave you think you are.

🙂

Kurt
Guest

Not a function of bravery, more a function of zero interest in box office. It only depresses me that something like Adventureland or Pontypool make 1/100 of Paul Blart or Beverly Hills Chuahuahua.

rot
Guest

we should concoct a prize for the winner, then people will come out of the woodwork

rot
Guest

yeah but I say again, its not just kids seeing Up, whereas I would say Nemo was probably predominately kids, UP has potential for crossover, and the spectacle element of 3D could also be the tipping point.

with Transformers, as many fans of it there were detractors, and I am thinking it will not do better than its predecessor because the original had a nice looking trailer to bait people with.

Kurt
Guest

I'm thinking at this point, Adults comfortably go to PIxar films without kids in tow. Certainly Wall-E was a cross-over movie.

I think Rot is right in that UP will find its audience by virtue of being a bit different than the usual animated fare.

On Transformers, in my experience, more people tend to flock to the first sequel of this type of movie expecting things to be bigger, then lose interest by the 2nd sequel. So like it or not, TF2 will make Bank. They will not be seeing a penny of my money though.

rot
Guest

of the ten summer films I am calling grosses on, I will at most probably see four of them.

Mike Rot
Member

quite randomly I had a dream of Angels and Demons last night… even in the dream it was boring.

Ashley
Guest

I really wanted to put a chick flick in here, or anything for an audience other than teenage boys and families, but there didn't really seem to be any strong contenders. Oh well, here are my picks:

1 ) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen — $307

2 ) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince — $294

3 ) Star Trek — $268

4 ) Night at the Museum: Battle — $253

5 ) Up — $216

6 ) Angels & Demons — $205

7 ) Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs — $182

8 ) Wolverine — $151

9 ) Terminator Salvation — $143

10) Land of the Lost — $139

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

@ Ashley
I would say for this summer that choice would be Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, based on a book about food and blogging. The Time Traveller's Wife is another possibility. Both are August 09 releases.

@Kurt – Adventureland made & placed about the same as Crank 2 on their respective opening weekends if you can believe it.

Ashley
Guest

Shannon, I considered Julie & Julia, as well as the Proposal with Sandra Bullock, but I didn't see either of them as major box office contenders. J&J will probably be very successful, but I think it comes out too late in the summer to draw the numbers by Labour Day. And Bullock's appeal hasn't been tested in a mainstream romantic comedy for several years now. I think the movie looks cute and I'm rooting for it, but considering Mamma Mia and Sex and the City didn't even make the top ten last summer, I decided to play it safe with my predictions.

Mike Rot
Member

had there been a Twilight sequel made in time for this summer it would own that demographic…

I happened to catch Twilight over the weekend (not my choice) and while I think the script is on the whole bad but I guess serviceable for a teen movie, the film was for the most part less horrible than I suspected, and the actors despite the outcry from fans I thought were well cast.

They do however steal unabashedly from the score of The Fountain. and Radiohead during the closing credits, they still have teen cred I guess.

Marina Antunes
Admin

My heart raised a little reading that Rot didn't think Twilight was total shite. As for the score – I didn't think it borrowed from The Fountain but will have to listen to both again to make that call – on that note, it was recently announced that Desplat would be scoring New Moon.

And yes, I am a wealth of Twilight information.

Mike Rot
Member

yeah that's my review quote: "not total shite"

having watched the Fountain five or six times now, I am very certain about this… its this two note maybe-brass sound and its even the same interval, the punch note of the songs are the same… there may be different ditherings around it but they both come back to this same wa-wahhhh sound.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Dude, you gave the movie more of a chance than some. For that, I thank you.

Will have to check this out. Hadn't noticed the similarities in the two but will listen for them.

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Interesting point Ashley about J&J – I'm sure the August release date will make it nto so much of a pull for the Labour Day deadline. Funny, I wouldn't have considered The Proposal.

I don't think the Twilight and Fountain music… oh, we talking soundtracks here or scores? I have both the scores and I don't think they are similar but I do love both of them. Will have a comparative listen to ponder it. Twilight soundtrack on the other hand is a very different pace/tone with the exception of "Bella's Lullaby".

Mike Rot
Member

The Twilight/Fountain score overlap can be heard in this clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seYICrKnAEE

its road to awe lite slowed down a bit.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Listened to both and you're definitely on to something though I think the differences are enough that it has its own sound. They certainly don't remind me of each other when I listen to them separately from the films – they create different moods. Burwell's score is much more playful than Mansell's which feels much more demure and timeless.

I'm rather impressed you picked up on Twilight's score at all on one viewing. There really isn't enough of it in the film to give you a feel for it – other than Bella's Lullaby.

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Wow, there is a strong similarity there. Interesting. I still love them both though 🙂

The scene and music for I Know What You Are from Twilight is the exact reason I bought the score. It's a great sequence, musically & visually.

Marina Antunes
Admin

I'll admit I have a Burwell soft spot but regardless, I like the score.

ralph
Guest

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 325

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 310

Star Trek 300

Wolverine 260

Angels & Demons 240

Public Enemies 210

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian 210

Up 210

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 210

Terminator Salvation 200

nicole
Guest

Are we talking about worldwide gross or just domestic gross?

Mike Rot
Member

domestic

nicole
Guest

I don't know all that much about these movies coming out this summer, so I did a little surveying of the target audience(the two 35 year-old video-game playing guys I live with and my friends' 4 1/2 year old son). With their input, I came up with this list:

1. Transformers – 330

2. Harry Potter – 295

3. Up – 240

4. Terminator – 230

5. Star Trek – 220

6. Wolverine – 215

7. Night at the Museum – 200

8. Angels and Demons – 185

9. Ice Age – 180

10. Public Enemies – 160

If Transformers isn't #1 I will be shocked. My roommates watched the first one about 30 times and this one looks a lot more aggressive.

Sameer Vasta
Guest

Two things I'm not good with: money, and numbers. Apologies in advance if I fail miserably.

Harry Potter – $314

Transformers – $302

Night at the Museum – $294

Star Trek – $272

Wolverine – $256

Up – $239

Angels and Demons – $221

Ice Age – $216

Terminator – $204

Land of the Lost – $198

Don't laugh at me. Stop. really.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

So mid-way through September is when the snapshot of grosses will occuree?

I just ask, as movies released later in the summer could still be picking up the last couple of million in the September. Hell, Batman Begins was re-release this January on IMAX picking up several more million.

Not that it's going to change my guestimation, but when the final snapshot takes place could affect someone's score.

rot
Guest

I think I put Wolverine too high, I watched that trailer again tonight and it is shit, you can see it, right there smelling up the screen… even the diehard fan is going to see that.

on the other end holy shit is the Star Trek trailer incredible in the theater, I wanted to see it yesterday. this has got serious momentum, according to me.

Mike Rot
Member

Matt can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe he will look at what is the latest film in the summer season selected by someone in the contest and add six weeks from that point to determine an end date for the contest.

This is to make it fair for picking August films which could make significant money.

Andrew James
Admin

So towards the end of the show you guys mention how 09 has been kind of a lackluster year so far. I was all ready to get on here and go ballistic, but it turns out you're pretty damn right. Aside from Adventureland or maybe Coraline, there hasn't been much yet. It feels better than it really is though because I just recently caught up with all the leftover AMAZING stuff from last year (Waltz/Bashir, The Class, etc). Plus recently saw Moon and a few great festival titles. But in terms of true '09 releases… meh.

Ashley
Guest

Sugar is easily the best flick of the year so far, every Row Three reader and contributor needs to get out and see this one ASAP.

I don't care how bad Wolverine looks, Hugh Jackman can take my $4 for any movie. My intentions are completely shallow for this one, and I'm fine with that. It might be the only one among these blockbusters I see in fact, I have zero interest in any of the others, save for maybe Star Trek, if reviews are good.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the contest was officially over on Labour Day weekend, and the Matts were going to use the total grosses up to then to calculate our scores. If that's NOT the case, may I make amendments to my selections?

rot
Guest

you can make amendments, and I will re-edit your choices in the original comment. but you only have until the day before Wolverine starts.

I thought he was going to go with Labor day, that is why I wrote it in the contest spiel but his reasoning makes more sense.

As for Sugar, I saw it at TIFF last year, and while I thought it was a solid film, it really didn't stick with me in any strong way.

kevin d
Guest

1 Night at the Museum $263.9

2 Xmen $260.5

3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince $234.6

4 GI JOe $215.6

5 Star Trek $194.3

6 Terminator Salvation $189.4

7 Up $179.3

8 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 178.5

9 Transformers $176.4

10 Public Enemies $160.5

Ashley
Guest

Thanks Rot, I'll take a look at my picks and be sure to have my changes in by Thursday if I decide to make any.

I'm a hardcore baseball fan, that may have had something to do with my love for Sugar, but I don't think you necessarily have to know or like the sport to appreciate the movie, it doesn't get too technical. For some reason I'm on a real kick with movies about the immigrant experience lately. The Visitor was one of my favourites last year and I recently caught up with God Grew Tired of Us. Boden and Fleck are a great team, I loved Half Nelson too. And the lead actor, Soto I believe his name is, brilliant, especially considering he's not even actor.

rot
Guest

oh I am sold on the Boden and Fleck team, much like Joe Wright, they have earned my audience for at least the next couple films.

Matt Price
Editor

To officialize – Yes, the contest will be calculated six weeks and one weekend past the opening day of the last movie picked by anyone. Closing it on Labour day would be unfair to a couple of later releases, especially Basterds if anyone winds up picking it. I'm going to leave it up to Rot to send me the final tabulated guesses, as he will need to filter out R3 staff into a separate category for me.

GL all!

Mad Percolator
Guest

Here goes:

Harry Potter $300M

Angels and Demons $275

Up $250

Ice Age Dinos $225

Land of the Lost $210

Terminator $205

Wolverine $175

Transformers $170

Star Trek $165

Night At the Museum II $150

Mind that I'm not a numbers person and will find a way to gloat if they're in the correct order

rot
Guest

Perc, I think your picks are upside down.

Star Trek is going to be big.

Ky in Boston
Guest

My Predictions:

1.Star Trek 320

2.Transformers 2 $300

3.Harry Potter $282

4.Night at the Museum 2 $255

5.Angels and Demons $240

6.Up $235

7.Wolverine $232

8.Terminator Salvation $215

9.Ice Age $170

10.Public Enemies $155

Sleeper Hit: The Proposal

Matt Price
Editor

YES!! WE GOT KY OVER TO ROW THREE!!!

Seriously, though, it's good ta see ya!

Matthew Fabb
Guest

Here are my last minute, late night picks:

1. Transformers – $325

2. Harry Potter – $300

3. Night at the Museum – $250

4. Terminator – $240

5. Up – $220

6. Ice Age – $215

7. Wolverine – $190

8. Angels & Demons – $189

9. Star Trek – $180

10. G I Joe – $120

I've put Star Trek further down the list, as despite a number of cool trailers, as I still see a lot of people having a negative opinion of the franchise and think of it as "too nerdy".

rot
Guest

Ok I think Matthew Fabb is the last one, the contest is officially closed. Keep up with Row Three through the summer as this dog race comes to a close in September.

Ashley
Guest

Just out of curiosity, which site is R3/Mamo using to officially tally the numbers? IMDb and Box Office Mojo are off by a few bucks, not that it will probably matter, but I want to keep track myself week to week.

Matt
Guest

We slave to Box Office Mojo as a general practice. Thanks for asking the question Ashley.

Ashley
Guest

Thanks Matt! May the best man or woman win. 😉

rot
Guest

"Up" has 100% at rotten tomatoes, so what if there are only four reviews.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/up/?critic=creamc

Andrew James
Admin

It doesn't matter what other critics said. The masses are always wrong. You can't go by what other people say. You can only trust and understand what you yourself put to paper. If pointing to other people's thoughts is a way of making an argument, you're an ignorant fool.