Early January is the perfect time for Match-Flicking. Holiday pressures and seasonal responsibilities are in the rear-view mirror. You've already exchanged, or collected refunds for, unwanted gifts.
HAIRSPRAY has Travolta dancing, padded - and in full drag
Tickets for most of the big, splashy holiday releases are still at a box office near you. The time has come to play Match-Flick catch-up with all of the movies that you've been wanting to see since Turkey Day.
By the end of January, the holiday movies will be fading as quickly as an Indian Summer tan, and Hollywood will be dumping its waste product at the box office - movies that should have gone straight to video, will be polluting multiplex screens near you.
Fortunately, I've had the time – because it's my job – to see the 2006 flicks, and so I'm anticipating Box Office 2007. Here are a few of the trends, flicks, and performances to which I'm looking forward.
In 2006, total box office receipts were up by about 5% over the 2005 slump year. I look forward to seeing the box office comeback continue in 2007. And it should. The economy is good. Product should be as good as in 2006 – perhaps, better.
I'm also eager to see exhibitors continue making the movie-going experience more satisfying for audiences. In some cases, that means digital projection, or a better sound system. For others, it comes down to less expensive, self-serve concessions, or more available parking. Still other exhibitors are trying to get legislation passed to
block cell phone calls from their auditoriums. (They already do this in France.)
Daniel Radcliffe will show stage audience THE FULL MONTY
I'm looking forward to this year's wide-open Oscar race that begins in earnest when the nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 23.
I'm eager to see HAIRSPRAY (JULY): When John Travolta sang and danced in 1978's GREASE, he set the motion picture screen afire, and box office cash registers everywhere benefited from his Greased Lightning moves.
When a more mature Travolta took to the comeback trail and to the dance floor with Uma Thurman in PULP FICTION (1994), the sparks of his waning career were fanned into another box office flame. His star has been in orbit ever since.
Is Travolta still the one that we want? I can't wait to see how Match-Flickers respond to a 55-year-old Johnny singing and dancing in yet another motion picture adaptation of a big Broadway hit – and, in full drag, no less. No predictions as to the outcome. All I can say is that I, and my friends, literally danced out of the theatre after seeing the Original Broadway production of HAIRSPRAY, four years ago.
I'll be a Royal Pushover for SHREK THE THIRD (May 18). A cynical acquaintance of mine is already deriding this three-peat as DREK THE THIRD. But I really enjoy these sometimes wickedly funny, ironic adventures. All of the usual voices return as Movie-land's all-time favorite ogre again eases down the road to self-acceptance.
SPIDERMAN 3 (May 4): I love a good joke and a
good comic-book super hero as much as the next Match-Flicker. In SPIDERMAN 3, the big-screen's Webbed Wonder fades to Black, literally. The 21st Century's Favorite Movie Super Hero will be in a Basic Black costume when he spins his third box office web this Spring/Summer. Tobey Maguire returns in the title role.
Most looking forward to small gems like THE QUEEN
Like most of you, I look forward to PIRATES 3 and the next HARRY POTTER. Before POTTER hits screens this summer, its title star, Daniel Radcliffe, will bare the full monty nightly, and twice on matinee days, for stage audiences in a West End revival of EQUUS.
More than anything else at the box office, I live for the year's wonderful, quirky independent releases: What movies will prove to be 2007's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SHORTBUS, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, SIDEWAYS, THE QUEEN, THE HISTORY BOYS, or even BORAT? Overblown, over-budgeted Hollywood productions most certainly have their allure, but there's nothing that pierces my Match-Flicking heart like a strong, character-driven flick that relies on plot, performances, and pithy dialogue, rather than on superstars, special effects, or a $100 million budget. More than anything else, I love the small gems that sparkle with a luster and humanity that the glossy, slick, soulless CGI flicks can't possess. Of course, I'll enjoy the glossy, slick, soulless epics, too.
The preceding represents some of what I'm looking forward to at the 2007 Box Office. Please let me know what you're eagerly anticipating.
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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