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Interesting Box Office Facts
by Christopher Stone

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Still King of B.O. World After All These Years

Still King of B.O. World After All These Years
Happy New Year, Match Flickers, one and all.

I've noted this before: Where new product is concerned, the box office is less exciting in January than during any other month of the year. However, January is an excellent month for catching up with all of the big holiday flicks you didn't see in November and December.

With January a decidedly new box office product sparse month, I'm kicking off 2008 with a column of interesting box office facts. You may be aware of a few; others will be new to you.

1. With $1. 845 Billion in worldwide box office receipts, James Cameron's 1997 Iceberg-Busting TITANTIC is the Number One Box Office Attraction of All Time. TITANTIC has been King of the Box Office World for an astonishing ten years. It might take another ten years before this record sinks.

2. Director Richard Attenborough's GANDHI (1980) is responsible for an interesting box office fact: the filmed biography featured more than 300,000 extras, making GANDHI the champ in the category, Flick in Which Most People Appeared.

3. Some of our favorite box office stars answered to very different names when responding to attendance roll call during their school years. For examples, Tom Cruise responded to Thomas Cruise MapotherIV; while Omar Sharif declared "Present!" when the teacher said, "Michael Shalhoub." Way back when, Alan Alda was Alphonso Joseph d'Abruzzo,
Bert and Ernie's  WONDERFUL LIFE connection

Bert and Ernie's WONDERFUL LIFE connection
and Kirk Douglas affirmed "Here!" when he heard the name Issur Danielovitch Demsky. During her reading, witing, and 'rithmatic days, Jane Seymour was known as Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankes, and GHANDI title-star Ben Kingsley was Krishna Bhanji when his teachers took attendance.

4. For many decades, actors have been cautioned, "Never work with animals or children!" They are so cautioned because, presumably, animals and children will steal the scene every time.

At the box office, actors are often compelled to work with both animals and children in the same motion picture. Last summer's laugher EVAN ALMIGHTY set a record by casting more animals for its re-creation of the Biblical Noah's Ark story than have ever before appeared in a major motion picture. The number of animals used was also a contributing factor in EVAN ALMIGHTY setting a box office record as the most expensive motion picture comedy ever made.

5. Over the recent holidays, Match-Flickers may have watched Frank Capra's 1940s' holiday box office classic IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Probably, most of you don't know that this big screen classic is responsible for the character names of two small-screen icon. The characters of Bert and Ernie on television's SESAME STREET were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

6. The Box office's most expensive attraction
85-hours of poetry reading cures anyone's INSOMNIA

85-hours of poetry reading cures anyone's INSOMNIA
of all time was one of last year's biggest motion picture winners. SPIDERMAN-3, released May 4, 2007, cost an astronomical $258,000,000. to produce. It went on to shatter box office records worldwide, eventually accumulating a worldwide gross of about $891 million.

But expensive production don't always mine box office gold. For example, in 1980, United Artists Pictures released Michael Cimino's R-rated western HEAVEN'S GATE. Produced at a cost of $44 million, making it a tie with 1963's CLEOPATRA, as the most expensive motion picture ever made up to that time, HEAVEN'S GATE grossed a scant $3.5 million domestically, and didn't fare any better internationally.

7. The longest motion picture ever made probably didn't play at a multiplex or art house near you. In truth, its distribution was so limited that it t never made a ripple on any box office chart.

The 85-hour-long THE CURE FOR INSOMNIA (1987) was written and directed by John Henry Timmis IV. Released on January 31, 1987, this forgettable, and virtually unwatchable, flick consisted of poet L.D. Groban reciting THE CURE FOR INSOMNIA, his 4,080-page poem. Intercut with the poetry reading were pornographic film footage, as well as rock music videos.

I'll conclude this pillar before I put you to sleep as effectively as the above-referenced 85-hour epic.

I'll be back, next time, with OSCAR BUZZ.

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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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