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2007: The First Half of the Box Office Year
by Christopher Stone

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Bana: No Fortunate Son in LUCKY YOU

Bana: No Fortunate Son in LUCKY YOU
Time flies when you're Match-Flicking. Believe it or not, the first half of the 2007 box office year is already in the rear view mirror. It's been a very entertaining year at the movies: SPIDEY, SHREK, PIRATES, EVAN, etc. The box office has even yielded its yearly dose of social relevance via Michael Moore's SICKO. In SICKO we learned that American health care is in the crapper, and that the Canadians, French, Cubans, and almost everyone else on our globally-warming planet, has it better.

In my book, the biggest surprise of the box office year thus far was 300. This late winter release pulled in $455 million globally. Starring Gerard Butler, title-star of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, 300 will be available on a widescreen, Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, July 31. Baritone and bleak in PHANTOM, Butler was buff and brave as Leonidas in 300.

300 is a ferocious retelling of the ancient battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fight to the death against an effeminate Xerxes and his massive Persian army. An earlier generation of Match-Flickers would have dismissed 300 as a "sword and sandal
And Nancy Drew was clueless at the B.O.

And Nancy Drew was clueless at the B.O.

That moniker was bestowed upon inexpensively-made ancient or Biblically-themed movies of the 1950s and 1960s, characterized by the weapons (swords) and the footwear (sandals) of the period. But 2007's update of the "sword and sandal saga" was a lush production with the best CGI money can buy, and the result was almost one half billion dollars of box office booty.

The year's other box office surprise was the almost $170 million domestic gross of WILD HOGS. The popularity of this John Travolta-Tim Allen trifle took almost everyone by surprise.

Of the Top 20 films of 2007, more than half of them were released in the Winter and Spring seasons, long before SPIDERMAN 3 kicked off the early start of Summer on May 5.

Most probably it surprises no one that the biggest box office star of 2007's first half is SPIDERMAN 3. Breaking multiple box office records worldwide, the planet's most celebrated web-spinner has already grossed $335 million domestically, with a worldwide tally of $885 million. And DVD sales have yet to come. The year's second biggest box office luminary is an animated chap named SHREK THE THIRD. He's
300's Gerard Butler: A Box Office Surprise Hit

300's Gerard Butler: A Box Office Surprise Hit
already joined the $300 million club domestically ($310 million). Globally, the box office's not- always-Jolly Green Giant has gobbled $645 million in receipts.

On the other end of the 2007 box office chart, the producers and distributor (Warner Brothers) of the Eric Bana-Drew Barrymore-Robert Duvall starrer LUCKY YOU had the misfortune of being released the same weekend as SPIDERMAN 3. Given a choice of seeing SPIDEY spin his web, or watching Bana play cards with Duvall, Match-Flickers overwhelming opted for Peter Parker and company. Consequently, the Curtis Hanson-helmed film earned a paltry $5, 758,000., not even enough to pay the stars' salaries.

With only $25 million domestic gross, Emma Roberts' NANCY DREW drew in only about enough Match-Flickers to pay its title-star's aunt, Julia Roberts, sufficient dinero to show up for work on THE MEXICAN. The NANCY DREW filmmakers had their high hopes for launching a profitable new motion picture franchise dashed after the teen detective epic received low marks at the summer box office.

Stay MatchFlick-connected for the latest and greatest box office news for the second half of 2007.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

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.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
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.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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