Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Box office battle could be interesting

The NBA Finals are almost done, pending a late Laker miracle.
The Red Wings put a Penguin uprising to rest with a strong Game Six
Hillary finally accepted reality and bowed to the Obama storm,
leading to a lull before the late-summer and autumn showdown between
John McCain and the Illinois Democrat.
Now comes what may prove to be an interesting showdown between two
major Hollywood figures — Marvel comics versus the genius behind "The
Sixth Sense" and "Signs."
The build up has started this past week, particularly during the
before-mentioned Celtics-Lakers shootout, as a wave of movie
advertising entices potential viewers to two movies that could flop
or battle for summer supremacy.
Marvel Entertainment has put its money up, financing two movies this
summer. First, "Iron Man," with newly minted A-lister Robert Downing
Jr. and a first-run film superhero, surprised critics and box office
analysts with a strong showing. "Iron Man" has been a success,
earning nearly $300,000,000 in the U.S. and another $250,000,000
abroad, according to It crushed "Speed Racer,"
which was assumed success because it came from the minds behind "The
Matrix" and was remake of a popular 70s children's show.
Now comes a battle that is up in the air.
Marvel returns the "Hulk" to the screen, only five years removed from
a major Hollywood flop when director Ang Lee's vision for the popular
comic fell flat with critics and viewers alike. It's a risk dragging
this out again so soon, considering it cost $137 million in 2003 and
brought in $132 million in the U.S, reports.
But it's top opponent, "The Happening," is another uncertain venture.
It comes from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, whose 2006 labor of
love, "Lady in the Water," likewise fell flat, earning only $42
million in the U.S. and achieving only $73 million worldwide, barely
recovering production costs, again according to
While the superhero movie is the expected winner this opening
weekend, will it be a success by the end of summer?
Will M. Night avoid another flop or have a strong build-up with "The
Or, will Indiana Jones continue to avoid pitfalls and find more
treasure and the four ladies talk more sex in the city?
Both "The Happening" and "The Incredible Hulk" have been running
significant ad campaigns. My guess, Marvel's gamble pays off and its
inaugural summer of self-financing proves a success.


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