I’m not Batman
Here I am talking about box office again.
The buzz among box office types this morning is that, despite coming in #2 on Friday, The Dark Knight edged ahead of The Mummy: Tomb of Dragon Emperor in the final stretch to claim the #1 spot for the third weekend in a row, $44.8 million vs. $42.5 million.
Meanwhile, all the weirdoes who sent hate mail to all the anti-Dark Knight critics are taking time out from speculating over ***SPOILER*** the true fate of Maggie Gyllenhaal in the film and whether she might return as Cat Woman in the inevitable-but-unofficial sequel that may or may not have Cat Woman in it ***END SPOILER*** to masturbate furiously in celebration because, you know, movies are a competition not an art form and Batfans are winners.
Don’t lose any sleep over The Mummy, however. Perhaps buoyed by international stars Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li, the sequel is doing quite well overseas and you can probably count on a fourth installment whether you want one or not.
To all that I say, “Yeah, whatever, but what the hell happened to Kevin Costner?”
It turns out that Costner’s latest film Swing Vote didn’t even crack the top 5, bringing in just over $6 million. For a little perspective, Brendan Fraser had two films that grossed more: The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth in its 4th week. Of course, they weren’t really Brendan Fraser films; they were special effects that happened to have Brendan Fraser standing in front of them waving his arms and shouting.
If we can’t credit Fraser for the success of his films, is it fair to blame Costner for the failure of his? Granted, Costner was once a bigger star than Fraser has ever been, he’s got producing and directing Oscars for crapsakes, but was he ever a Will Smith type where people turned out just because he was in the movie? Perhaps briefly in a two-year window after Dances With Wolves (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, JFK and The Bodyguard), but for the most part I don’t think he was.
So, if people don’t show up for movies because Costner is in them, they don’t stay away because of him either. Therefore, I think this snarkily dismissive charge by Nikki Finke that Costner is “box office poison” isn’t really fair. It’s simplistic thinking that makes for juicier blogging, and nothing more. What do you think? Is Costner box office poison for you? Where did he go wrong? Will he bounce back?
Sidenote: Midnight Meat Train, the film that was dumped in 102 bargain theaters by distributor Lionsgate Films, managed only an estimated $32,000. That’s a lowly $313 per theater.
Filed under: Miscellaneous