FH: Brody and I decided to sit down and retread this summer’s box office. We figured this was our last shot at brainwashing our readers into thinking the way we do about this Summer’s semi-successful season. As usual, he was all facts and figures. But since I’m the boss, I get to say whatever I want.

Box Office Winners

X2: X-Men United

MB: “X” marked the spot as the summer movie season started with a bang, when X2: X-Men United had an opening of $85.5 million, making it the fourth largest opening weekend of all time (until The Matrix Reloaded made it the fifth ) and finishing off with a very impressive $214.8 million. It also became one of only two films over the summer to hold the #1 spot for two weeks straight, the other being Freddy vs. Jason.

FH: I still want to know what the heck is up with that title. If you’re not going to use it in the movie, don’t stick it in the advertisements! I hear the commercials for X3 will feature Gambit, even though he won’t be in the actual film… just because he’s cool. Still, X2 remains my favorite movie of the year thus far. Bryan Singer can go on making these things forever if it is up to me. Maybe we could make a Bryan Singer robot that does nothing but make X-Men movies. And then maybe he could start trying to register mutants and Wolverine could fight him! Where was I going with that again?

Daddy Day Care

MB: Eddie Murphy recovered from a trio of spectacular duds in 2002 (Showtime, I Spy, and the immortal Pluto Nash) with this hit family comedy. After opening with a somewhat expected $27.6 million, Daddy Day Care stuck around until it hit the century mark, with $102.7 million, $26 million more than his last three films combined.

FH: Unfortunately, the only thing really memorable about Daddy Day Care for me was the fight I got into during the previews. That and the screaming children, and the smelly bikers, and the rednecks sporting the latest in garbage pail fashion wear. Who knew trailer parks held so many Eddie Murphy fans? Oh and there was that kid in the Flash costume. One of the best superhero movies of the year after X2.

The Matrix Reloaded

MB: The Matrix Reloaded amassed fifty percent of it’s gross in only five days of release with an extravagant $134.2 million, then quickly tumbled, petering out with a less-than-predicted $278.9 million. While it soon became the highest-grossing R-Rated film of all time (Beating out Beverly Hills Cop, which held the honor for nineteen years), it did not cross the $300 million mark as everyone hoped. Most embarrassingly, it held the #1 spot for only one week, and lost it to Bruce Almighty.

FH: Matrix Reloaded was able to do in a weekend what takes most movies weeks to accomplish. It made a helluva lot of money. Who needs a consecutive number one weekend? Besides, losing to Bruce Almighty isn’t really so bad. Had it been Rugrats Go Wild, now that would have been bad. Reloaded wasn’t quite what I expected and it didn’t truly deliver on the tantalizingly cool promises held out by the original. It’s still a great sequel though and one of my favorite movies of the summer. If anything, these movies have only gotten smarter. Rumor has it that you may have to pass an IQ test in order to see Revolutions in November. And Brody wanted to classify this thing as a toss-up! You can't be the highest grossing "R" rated movie of all time and not be a box office winner.

Bruce Almighty

Let there be boobs!MB:Jim Carrey truly was god when he scored a huge hit with this religion related super-comedy. Exceeding even the highest expectations, Bruce Almighty opened with $85.7 million over the Memorial Day weekend and held on strong to finish off with an almighty $240.5 million

FH:He very nearly did the talking ass thing again in this movie, which shows how sad his humor has become. That having been said, I liked this movie a lot and might pray more were Morgan Freeman actually God. Yes, I’m contradicting myself but that’s what I do. You can’t help but like a movie where Jennifer Aniston gets spontaneous orgasms. There’s just something right about that.

Finding Nemo

MB:In the midst of the superhero and sequel craze, who would have thought that the highest-grossing film of the summer (by far) would be about…a fish? As if it weren’t enough that Nemo scored the record for largest opening weekend ever for an animated film (with $70.2 million), it also held on for so long and so strong that it was able to reclaim the top spot in its third week of release and knock out the previous week’s winner, 2 Fast 2 Furious. Its very grand total of $332.3 million also makes it the highest-grossing animated film of all time, a record that The Lion King (another Disney summer movie) held on to since 1994.

FH:Yeah, I was betting on Neo to rake in the cash. Eh, what do I know. I do know that people like watching relaxing things. Nothing lowers your blood pressure like watching fish… or a movie featuring nothing but fish. Finding Nemo was the movie to go to when you and your friends couldn’t agree on anything else. It’s innocuous. The kind of movie you go see with your parents when they drop in for a surprise visit, interrupting what could have been a romantic weekend with your girl. It was also the best movie to see if you like gummy bears stuck to the bottom of your shoes.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

MB: The curse of the so-called “pirate movie” was put to rest as Disney raked in another surprise mega-hit with this sea-faring epic. With a surprise take of $46.6 million on opening weekend, the film shivered everyone’s timbers with a golden haul of $274.4 million.

FH:No one believes me, but I’m certain that this is the performance Johnny Depp will most be remembered for. No doubt he’ll start hating it some time next year. Like it or not though, he was completely brilliant and earned every penny of whatever that total was that Mike just quoted. There were other people in the movie too, but they can all be classed as “dirty pirates” or “window dressing”. The only bad thing is that I can’t make any more jokes about movies based on theme park rides. Unless of course Haunted Mansion really sucks. Haunted Mansion has Eddie Murphy in it, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Seabiscuit

MB: All bets on a darkhorse proved to be a winning formula with this annual mid-summer drama, Seabiscuit. Following in the galloping footsteps of Road to Perdition, Seabiscuit took off the track with $20.8 million and raced past the finish line with $104.6 million.

FH:I was hoping for a talking horse. Barring an appearance by Mister Ed, a horse movie with a horse that I could actually care about would have been nice too. Seabiscuit doesn’t have that, but it does get smartly out of the starting gate with some killer performances from Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, and Toby Maguire. All the lame attempts to give it a historical perspective bored the hell out of me though and made me wish I’d gone to see Gigli, where at least I’d have been guaranteed a good laugh.



Box Office Winners

Hollywood Homicide

MB: Was the title an indicator of what would happen to Harrison Ford’s second annual turkey in a row? Out-flopping K-19: The Widowmaker and Random Hearts, Ford’s high-concept pairing with young star Josh Hartnett turned into the superstar’s biggest flop since The Mosquito Coast, with a disappointing $30.2 million take.

FH: I didn’t see this movie and don’t think I’m any the lesser for it. Pairing Harrison Ford with Josh Hartnett is sort of like having Duran Duran’s lifetime achievement award presented by Kelly Osborne at the MTV Music Video Awards. Hey… that happened! Next to Harrison Ford being in this movie, that’s probably the most humiliating and insulting thing I’ve ever seen. Maybe next Ozzy Osborne could feed his vile little dogs the rotting corpse of Harrison Ford’s career.

Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

MB: A prequel to a Jim Carrey movie directed by The Farreley Brothers without Carrey or the Farrely Brothers turned out to be dumb idea when Dumberer opened lightly with $10.8 million (behind fellow losers Rugrats Go Wild and Hollywood Homicide) and dumbed down at $26.2 million.

FH: The soundtrack to this movie, which supposedly takes place in 1986, features Vanilla Ice. That’s the sort of lazy man’s effort that went into making it. I mean how hard is it to dig up some crappy 80’s tunes for Lloyd to dance to instead? Annie Lennox was pretty prolific back then. How did Lloyd get a copy of Vanilla Ice to play over the school's intercom in 1986 when Ice Ice Baby didn't exist until the 90's! It boggles the mind. Boggling is about the best this movie can do.

The Hulk

MB: The comic-book craze died down when Hulk opened with a perfectly respectable, but slightly disappointing $62.1 million and tumbled faster than humanly imaginable (including a -70% dip it’s second weekend) to pull in $131.7 million, which comes to around $7 million less than the last big green monster turkey, Godzilla.

FH: Dinosaur’s, and by extension also Godzilla, are theorized to have descended from birds. But the Tokyo Crusher is hardly a turkey! Watch out, or he’ll come to your house. Maybe even bring Hulk with him! As much as I planned to hate Ang Lee’s Hulk, it turned out pretty good. The cgi, which looked disastrous in the previews, turned out fairly sharp. Granted the ending was a huge cluster-bomb (literally) but the cool comic book editing, action sequences, and of course the always lustrous Jennifer Connelly, sold me on it.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

MB: If it were not for the extravagant cost ($120 million for production and $40 million for marketing), Full Throttle would be a toss-up. But the public’s boredom with rehashes was made clear when this film tanked from the get-go, pulling in a not-strong enough $37.6 million opening weekend and barely crawling past $100 million.

FH: Toss-up? Did you see the part where Demi Moore flapped her robe and flew around like the Wicked Witch of the West? McG took the silliness too far and didn’t give us enough Crispin Glover. He’s lucky he broke 10 million with this stinker, let alone 37.6 million. Am I the only person who thinks Bernie Mac actually does look exactly like he could be Bill Murray’s brother? Is that crazy?

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

MB: Just because it grossed more than expected with a modest $64.7 million, it’s still a disappointment for a film, even without the baggage of six months negative buzz, and it’s also one of the lowest-grossing “tent pole” films of the summer. These Gentlemen will not re-team.

FH: You can’t fool me Brody, I’m convinced that LXG was your favorite movie of the summer and you’re just trying to hide it. The League has more in common with 1999’s legendary flop The Avengers than just Sean Connery and lackluster box office. For instance neither film features the comedic styling of Tom Green. Sadly, they were both able to suck pretty bad even without him.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

MB: Someone in market research over at Paramount should have warned the execs that few people even liked the original Tomb Raider, let alone hoped for a sequel. Negative backlash from the first film and general tire over sequels that no one asked for rocked the $95 million Cradle to sleep with a life-less $21.7 million opening and a glum-total of $63.9 million.

FH: Mike has deluded himself into thinking that the original Tomb Raider has some sort of massive , secret, underground fan following. Sort of the way John Travolta has tricked himself into actually believing that Battlefield Earth is actually a huge cult hit. I should point out that John Travolta also believes Scientology is a really really good idea. Tomb Raider 2 however, was not a good idea, and the box office accurately reflects that. Neither better nor worse than the already shoddy first outing, maybe the sequel will teach Angelina Jolie a good lesson… stop making bad movies.

Gigli

MB: It came. It went. Who cares? Still, credit must be given where credit is due: Gigli valiantly broke the records for biggest 2nd and 3rd weekend drops (-81.9% and -97.2%, not-so-respectively) Now there’s $6 million that should keep “Bennifer” off the cover of People magazine.

FH: Roger Ebert likes this movie. The rest of us just like to make fun of it. Maybe someone should actually see it. Nah, I’d rather just make fun of it by thinking up catchy new names to call Affleck. I’ve heard Bennifer… how about Jaffleck? No?

Rugrats Go Wild

MB: The Rugrats and Wild Thornberrys cancelled each-other out at the box-office with this Nickelodeon team-up. The Rugrats went nowhere with a disappointing $39.1 million, almost the same take as the Thornberrys’ debut film, but half what the previous Rugrats grossed in late 2000.

FH: The Rugrats and Wild Thornberrys also cancelled me out of their box office with their team-up. Not that I’d watch them separately either. For the record, I also don’t watch Blue’s Clues, nor do I still eat Captain Crunch. I’m a Frosted Flakes man. That tiger is so cool.



Box Office Toss-up

The Italian Job

MB: The Italian Job is the type of performer that defines the term “breaking even.” While the film cost a modest $60 million and a further $25 million to market, it scored a healthy $19 million opening and kept on going to a $100.7 million finish. While it stuck around much stronger than expected (even stronger than Finding Nemo), it is hard to figure out if this Job will profit the studio much.

FH: Funny, my interest in this movie broke even too. On the one hand, Edward Norton gives the worst performance of his career and Mark Wahlberg gives his most wooden. On the other, Charlize Theron is positively glowing with babalicious sheen and the supporting cast is irresistibly hilarious. Anyone who went to see this purely for the chases though was sorely disappointed.

2 Fast 2 Furious

MB: What can you say about a film that performed almost exactly as many people had expected, earning $50.4 million in its opening weekend and losing gas at $126.7 million? Not much. Other than that Universal should be grateful it performed better than the last clearly un-needed, original star-less sequel with a pun its title, Speed 2: Cruise Control.

FH: Tyrese saved my life. If I had been forced to watch nothing but Paul Walker for 90 minutes I don’t think I’d have made it out of that theater alive. Tyrese is great though and almost made it enjoyable to watch Paul Walker act like a total boob. Is there any way we can get him shipped to the moon? We could tell him it’s a community outreach program trying to help extremely suburban youths. You know he’d buy it.

Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines

MB: With an estimated $175 million price tag and additional $40 million in marketing, Terminator 3 had a lot of work to do to break even. While the film will make a profit overall, and the $148.6 million finish is still the highest-grossing film for star Arnold Schwarzenegger in almost a decade, the five-day take of $72.3 million over the July 4th weekend proved to be a small disappointment. And it is still hard to say if this help will green-light a proposed Terminator 4.

FH: I don’t care what the numbers say this was one of the best sequels of the year. Who was that guy who directed the first two movies again? Mostow blew the doors off and did an amazing job with the Terminator franchise. I’d still want to know how Arnie can possibly look that good at his age. A man who can work miracles like that can be my governor any time. Or at least he could if he wasn’t running against Gary Coleman. Gary wins with a pity vote. I hear Gary Coleman is a eunuch.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

MB: Reese Witherspoon’s hot streak slowed down a little after the back-to-back hits Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama. The total of $89.7 million for a summer “chick-flick” is modest, but it failed to gross more than Alabama or even the original Blonde.

FH: I see pink! She didn’t slow down, she hit a brick wall. The only thing Legally Blonde 2 had going for it were some gay dogs. You just can’t make a good movie about lawyers, politicians, and sorority girls. You can however make a good presidential scandal.

Bad Boys II

MB: Like 2 Fast 2 Furious, this hard-hitting action sequel did the business that was expected. After an opening of $46.5 million and a final cop-out of $134.0 million, the success of Bad Boys II remains up in the air thanks to an elephantine cost of $130 million and an additional $40 million for marketing. Whatcha gonna do?

FH: I’m going to wish I’d gotten to see it. That bit in the trailer with them making fun of the Klan was pretty good. Come on now, was it really that bad?

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