Thursday, November 29, 2012

Direct Current #27/Box Office 1997

First, before I get to the usual business, let me acknowledge that I goofed yesterday.  It was supposed to be my first day of participation in the

Blogathon of Doom!  Instead, I did not do anything.  Theoretically, like all blogathons, it's supposed to help make more people aware of more blogs, and promote their books at the same time.  I made my book Monorama free that day in anticipation (because there's supposed to be a drawing each post for a free book, though my goal is to make mine free to anyone each day I participate) an' everything!

Anyway, I'll try to do better the next three Wednesdays (which I signed up to cover).  I will do better!


ITEM!  Tony Laplume - Yoshimi...?
I broke the news for my peeps in this post about the fate of the publisher in Texas that was going to make a legitimate bookman of me.  I wrote Yoshimi specifically for the occasion.  I don't regret that, now that the publisher no longer exists.  Anyway,

ITEM!  Star Trek Fan Companion - The Next Generation 1x4 "Code of Honor"
One of the legitimately embarrassing episodes of Star Trek, this stinker is so bad even the people who make fun of Star Trek fans would probably not even stoop to reference it.  That's pretty bad, right?

ITEM!  Star Trek Fan Companion - The Next Generation 1x5 "The Last Outpost"
Some fans never did get around to liking the Ferengi, even when they got awesome in Deep Space Nine.  This probably can't be blamed entirely on their first appearance, but this is not a bad place to begin looking.

ITEM!  Comics Reader - Reading Comics #84 "Natural Born Morrison"
Remember Morrison's super psychological Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum?  Well, Kill Your Boyfriend is sort of his version of that with really ordinary psychopaths, instead of people with strange faces and cape fetishes.

ITEM!  Comics Reader - Superman #13
Creative dynamos Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort are already a sensation, but they mean to emphasize the point by letting Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet.  Oh, I'm sorry.  Spoiler alert.

ITEM!  Examiner - Killing Them Softly opening this weekend
The new film from Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) is on my must-list.  Here I attempt to explain why it should be on yours as well.


Continuing our look at the year-by-year box office successes of the past, if you somehow don't know what ruled the roost in 1997, you were probably born after it.  In which case, thanks for reading!  Go Bieber!

1. Titanic ($600 mil)
The funny thing is that before it actually opened every prognosticator was absolutely convinced that Titanic would be one of the most expensive flops in movie history.  Instead it dominated for five months and allowed Leonardo DiCaprio to continue making whatever he wanted to do.  James Cameron, meanwhile, never had a hit again.  (Kidding!)

2. Men in Black ($250 mil)
Will Smith continued his box office success, but more importantly he proved to have exceptional chemistry with Tommy Lee Jones (how is it that people are constantly surprised by how awesome Tommy Lee Jones is?), which was proven once again this year, even though Josh Brolin played the latter for most of it.

3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($229 mil)
Well, they are talking about making another of these, but to me it still seems bizarre that there was ever another Jurassic Park.  

4. Liar Liar ($181 mil)
It was safe to love Jim Carrey again.  In this one, he kicks his own ass!  

5. Air Force One ($172 mil)
Is this Harrison Ford's last great action movie?

6. As Good As It Gets ($148 mil)
Speaking of audiences remembering that they love someone, this time it's Jack Nicholson.  He rode the wave of this new acclaim for years.

7. Good Will Hunting ($138 mil)
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, in the reason they became ubiquitous.  Damon is still working his way back to this kind of material, but Affleck's back and directing movie people increasingly love.  Also, Robin Williams.

8. Star Wars (Special Edition) ($138 mil)
Perhaps it needs reminding that everyone loved George Lucas, even his incessant tampering, until the prequels.  There are always re-releases populating these box office results.  This is the only time one hits the top ten.

9. My Best Friend's Wedding ($127 mil)
Another star people remembered they loved!  That was apparently a theme of 1997.  This time, of course, it's Julia Roberts.  I wonder how much of this movie's success is actually owed to Cameron Diaz.  It's all good.

10. Tomorrow Never Dies ($125 mil)
Pierce Brosnan's second go-around as Bond (remember the rule: it's now true of every James Bond film that each one makes more than the last).

Other notable films: Face/Off ($112 mil; John Travolta agrees to participate in Nicolas Cage's craziest movie), Batman and Robin ($107 mil; I unabashedly enjoy this one), Con Air ($101 mil; in some ways the true start of Cage's run as an action star), Hercules ($99 mil; I think this is one of Disney's most inspired animated efforts), Conspiracy Theory ($75 mil; Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, and Mel Gibson having a legitimate reason to freak out?), I Know What You Did Last Summer ($72 mil; by shifting the paradigm to the young cast rather than the psycho who kills them, the '90s finally figured out the horror genre), L.A. Confidential ($64 mil; this was pretty much the Usual Suspects of 1997, but I think it has been forgotten today), In & Out ($63 mil; Kevin Kline's last great movie?), The Fifth Element ($63 mil; I love this movie, too), Spawn ($54 mil; the fate of Image Comics rested on its ability to not only change the course of comics, but of the general public perception of them; this may be an indication of why Image eventually settled below the popular consciousness), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery ($53 mil; people realized how much they loved this character only after his first movie appearance), Speed 2: Cruise Control ($48 mil; Sandra Bullock could not salvage a movie that probably should not have happened), G.I. Jane ($48 mil; Ridley Scott and Demi Moore attempt to make female action heroes cool), Alien Resurrection ($47 mil; they did not apparently know that the female action hero would not be popular that year), The Full Monty ($45 mil; though naked British gents were), Cop Land ($44 mil; Sylvester Stallone's last great movie?), Amistad ($44 mil; making John Quincy Adams into a movie star, among other things), Donnie Brasco ($41 mil; made the mob movie cool again), Jackie Brown ($39 mil; another Quentin Tarantino instant classic, at least as far as I'm concerned), Selena ($35 mil; the last time people took Jennifer Lopez seriously, and also the reason they stopped), Out to Sea ($29 mil; Brent Spiner in something notable other than Star Trek), Grosse Pointe Blank ($28 mil; with all due respect to Romy & Michelle, this was the best high school reunion movie of 1997), Boogie Nights ($26 mil; Paul Thomas Anderson puts filmmakers on notice), The Postman ($17 mil; Kevin Costner continues to strike out with his epics, although I love this one, too), Rosewood ($13 mil; turning Ving Rhames into a legend), Gattaca ($12 mil; one of the great sci-fi movies of the decade), Chasing Amy ($12 mil; Kevin Smith continues to make movies), U-Turn ($6 mil; Oliver Stone proving that he doesn't need Tarantino to make violence look cool), Steel ($1 mil; I liked this, too), The Van ($700 thou; Colm Meaney concludes his Irish Trilogy, which is great because he's Irish)

Notice that I'm slightly cutting back on the number of movies I slightly mention...

Source: Box Office Mojo


MOCK! said...

Another year wher not only did I see ALL of the top 10 in the theater, I saw 85% of the others, too! I saw Postman because the Northeast had been hit by an ice storm and my neighborhood had no power...I needed to go somewhere warm!


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

What a surprise you'd like Batman & Robin and The Postman! My sister and I paid a combined $1.50 to see Batman and Robin and we still felt cheated. Kind of a shitty year for superhero movies with that, Spawn, and Steel. No wonder it took 3 years for one to be successful.

I will admit that I actually cried when I saw Titanic the first time. I held it together right up until the end when the old lady dies and they show everyone by the stairwell again. It was so sad to think what happened to those poor people.

Michael Abayomi said...

I kinda liked Batman & Robin too, although, admittedly, I was just a kid at the time. I'm sure it would be pretty cringe-worthy by today's standards.

1997 was incidentally the year I started following the American box office, and I'm happy to say I saw everything in the Top 10. Yay for me. :)

@PT Dilloway, I really loved Spawn at the time. Haven't seen it since then, but I'm pretty confident his cape would look just as jaw-dropping today as it did back then.


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