Saturday, November 26, 2005

DVD Release Schedule - December 2005

For those of you still with Christmas shopping left to do, here's a helpful list. Lists are courtesy TV Shows on DVD and Amazon. Note that the lists are NOT complete, but rather contain only those releases I find interesting. Click on the links to get complete release lists.

Now, TV shows coming to DVD in December:

December 6
24 - Season 4
CSI Miami - Season 3
Everybody Loves Raymond - Season 5
Full House - Season 2
Law and Order- Season 4
M*A*S*H - Season 9
MacGyver- Season 4
Roseanne- Season 2
Rockford Files - Season 1
The West Wing - Season 5

You can also pick up Rock Star - INXS, 6 new Red Green compilations and the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special

December 13
CSI Vegas - Season 5
Miami Vice - Season 2
Reba - Season 2
Simpsons - Season 7

It's also worth noting here that on November 29, you can pick up a single-disc release of CSI Vegas' awesome 4th season finale, Grave Danger, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

December 20
Amazing Race - Season 7
Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.0
E.R. - Season 4

December 27
The Shield - Season 4 (actually available December 26)
America's Funniest Home Videos - Best of Kids and Animals

On the movie front:

December 6
Cinderella Man
Dukes of Hazzard
Jules et Jim - for the artsies in the audience

December 13
The Island
Kronk's Groove - sequel to Disney's hilarious Emperor's New Groove
Simpsons - Season 7

There are also lots of two-pack movies being released to Amazon this week. Basically, we're talking two movies shrink-wrapped together (which should be fun from a shipping perspective). Some of the two-packs include Independence Day and I, Robot, Fever Pitch and Never Been Kissed and Flight of the Phoenix and Behind Enemy Lines.

December 20
Dark Water
Exorcism of Emily Rose
Four Brothers
Into The Blue
Toy Story 2 Special Edition

December 27
No movie releases, but A&E is releasing over 20 episodes of their famous "Biography" series and the History Channel is dumping about 30 new DVDs onto the market as well.

Last Week's Box Office Numbers

Still working on that editorial I mentioned. Seems to be turning into a dissertation. I may present it in parts. Anyhoo, last week I also promised a return to box office number updating. Courtesy, as always, of Box Office Mojo, here's last week's numbers:

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $102.6 million
2. Walk The Line - $22.3 million
3. Chicken Little - $14.7 million
4. Derailed - $6.5 million
5. Zathura - $5.1 million
6. Jarhead - $4.8 million
7. Get Rich or Die Tryin' - $4.4 million
8. Saw II - $3.9 million
9. Legend of Zorro - $2.4 million
10. Pride and Prejudice - $2.1 million

There are some very interesting facts hidden in last week's numbers, including:

This year's numbers indicate a 20% year-over-year improvement. That's still a rare event, as overall box office remains lower than 2004. Walk The Line did surprisingly strong box office, pulling in an impressive $7,547 per screen. Pride and Prejudice, playing on only 221 screens, did $9,690 per screen.

Also, as of last weekend, Chicken Little was about to become the 16th film of 2005 to crack the $100 million dollar mark (which it has since done).

All of this pales in comparison to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Money, though. The best opening yet for a Potter film, matching ticket sales for Chamber of Secrets and surpassing Prisoner of Azkaban's $93 million opening with a staggering $26,616 per screen avaerage. Surprising demographics, too, as the audience was 60% female and 58% over the age of 17, indicating that the audience for the movies is maturing in the same fashion as the audience for the books (just got Half-Blood Prince from the library, which apparently should come with a 14A rating for thematic elements). The $102 million opening ranks fourth all-time behind Spider-Man ($118 million), Revenge of the Sith ($108.4 million) and Shrek 2 ($108 million). It also immediately became the 15th biggest-grossing film of the year (and has since risen to #11).

Despite Harry's success, there are some really bad trends here. To wit:

** The fall season used to be a time where a mid-budget film that would get buried in the summer or winter had a fighting chance, with strong promotion, to at least break even domestically. There are a number of cases disproving that theory.
**** After a great opening weekend, Zathura dropped an alarming 62% in box office in week 2 and now seems unlikely to recoup its $65 million dollar production cost.
**** The two films below it in this week's top 10, Jarhead (70% of costs recovered) and Get Rich... (60% of costs recovered) also had substantial box office drops (59.5% for Jarhead and 63.2% for Get Rich) and are in the same danger.
**** Even worse is Legend of Zorro, with Banderas and Zeta-Jones and a successful first film, which had a 63.1% drop in box office and has only recovered 55% of its $75 million cost.
**** We can also now officially say that Nicolas Cage can no longer draw. After the ugly performance of God of War, The Weather Man grossed only $333,633 in its 4th weekend of release and has only recovered $12 million of its $22 million production cost. This film was being promoted as similar to The Family Guy, which was a huge film for Cage.
**** Other cases: Charlize Theron's latest, North Country, the action thriller Doom with Duane "The Rock" Johnson, the Gwyneth Paltrow-Anthony Hopkins-Jake Gyllenhall drama Proof and Cameron Crowe's very personal Elizabethtown with Kirsten (Spider-Man) Dunst and Orlando (Lord of the Rings) Bloom are all dying horrible deaths. North Country was pulled from 75% of screens and has not yet grossed 50% of costs. Elizabethtown has grossed 60% of costs and pulled in a meager $523 per screen (total weekend gross $121,372). Proof is a total dog, as it never had a chance to go really wide and looks to top out at $7.6 million domestic, a far cry from its $20 million production cost. Doom is the worst of the three. With a built in audience who loved the video game series and a name actor who is recognized among 18-34 year old boys (the target audience of this film), Doom's weekend total dropped 81.2% from the previous weekend to $118,780 ($539 per screen) and it has not even recovered half of it's $60 million price tag.
** Some niche films are not drawing interest in narrower release. Capote, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is drawing a mere $2,670 per screen. George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck, with David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow, earned only $2,078 per screen, but has grossed more than twice its production cost. Steve Martin's Shopgirl, despite good buzz, is also not a box office winner, as it seems unlikely to break $10 million. Finally, there's Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, which is grossing only $2,222 per screen in limited release and is highly unlikely to reach its $15 million production cost.

What does it all mean? First, there is very definitely an extreme glut of product on the market. The next 3 weeks will see over 20 films released wide in an effort to strike it rich at Christmas. This week (which is the American Thanksgiving) put 5 new films into wide release (John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton's black comedy/heist flick The Ice Harvest, Usher's new film In The Mix, the family comedy Yours, Mine and Ours with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, Ryan Reynolds' new romantic comedy Just Friends and the film version of Rent). Plus, Pride and Prejudice went wide as well. Charlize Theron's AeonFlux gets December 2 all to itself and The Chronicles of Narnia and Syriana (with George Clooney) come out on the 9th. Then the fun begins, as THE movie of the holiday season drops on the 14th. I refer to King Kong (directed by Peter Jackson). This will result in the ritual stomping of the romantic comedy The Family Stone, which comes out the 16th and will be lucky to have anybody find it. We then wrap up the month of December with 7 wide releases on the 23rd (Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and the Jim Carrey flick Fun With Dick and Jane, both of which open the 21st, the animated film Hoodwinked and the new Johnny Knoxville flick The Ringer on the 23rd and Rumor Has It (directed by Woody Allen and starring Jennifer Aniston) and the horror flick Wolf Creek on Christmas Day). By my count, that's 17 wide releases in 4 weeks, plus limited Academy Award runs of buzz-worthy films like Memoirs of a Geisha, Brokeback Mountain, 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut) and The Producers, and you've got a lot of stuff out there that is going to cost the studios money.

Second, there's not a lot of quality, either. Hollywood seems to be interested in either non-traditional storylines (Brokeback Mountain's gay cowboys will turn off a lot of mainstream moviegoers, as will Transamerica's focus on a transsexual) or cookie cutter stuff (Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Yours, Mine and Ours are basically the same movie, for example). There's no doubt that King Kong will be a goodie, given Jackson's track record and his obvious love for the subject, and Jim Carrey's presence should lead to decent numbers for Dick and Jane. Same with Woody Allen and Jennifer Aniston with Rumor Has It. Finally, Aeon Flux gets almost the whole sci-fi crowd to itself so that should lead to decent numbers. The rest? Underachievers and dogs all, desperate for an audience to find them and probably setting records for coming out on DVD. I'll track the month of December and see if I'm right.

Here's my predictions for weekly box office winners through the remainder of 2005:

Nov.25 - Nov.27 - Harry Potter
Dec. 2 - Dec. 4 - Harry Potter (although Aeon Flux will come very close)
Dec. 9 - Dec.11 - Narnia
Dec.16 - Dec.18 - King Kong by possibly 5x the 2nd place film
Dec.23 - Dec.25 - King Kong (Dick and Jane will be a close second)
Dec.30 - Jan. 1 - Dick and Jane

We'll see how I do.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sorry about the absence

Been a little busy lately. You can read about it here and here. Anyways, we'll get back to reviewing weekend box office results on Monday, but I have a few other goodies to share with you today.

First, I sent an e-mail to TV Shows on DVD in the hopes that they would put up an official announcement, but they didn't, so I has changed the release dates for CSI and CSI:Miami, pushing them back 2 weeks each. So, Miami will now be released in Canada on December 6 and Vegas will be released on December 13. Oddly enough, Future Shop and Best Buy continues to show November 22 and 29. Indigo, however, agrees with amazon and I think they're right. So, if you're planning on picking up either set for a Christmas gift, plan accordingly. BTW, amazon wins on pricing right now, as both can be pre-ordered for $48.97.

Next up, if you're interested in the latest trailers for upcoming flicks, go here for the first teaaser trailers for the new Superman flick, here for trailers for Peter Jackson's King Kong and here for the Narnia trailer. The Movie Box is a great place to get all the latest and greatest movie info on the net. I will be adding a link to it once I update the sidebar later today.

Finally, keep an eye out later today for an editorial written by me based on this article. Hopefully, you can get past the firewall to read it. If not, my editorial will cover it in exhaustive detail.