Saturday, May 20, 2006


Check out this article at Nikki Finke's website, which tells you all you need to know about how good business is at the theatres for The Da Vinci Code. Reports of long lineups everywhere, all over the world. According to the rival studios this movie is going to pull in an estimated $80 million dollars. BoxOfficeMojo says that on Friday this movie had the 12th biggest box office opening of all time.

This is more proof that the film critics do not matter. Very few critics are recommending that people see this movie; Rotten Tomatoes critics have pelted Da Vinci big time. It's getting fewer good notices than Poseidon, or R.V., even. But these film critics are all being ignored. So many of these polls of filmgoers say that people generally ignore what the critics have to say when it comes to movies. In fact, there are filmgoers out there who say that if the movie gets panned, they'll go see it, just to spite the critics! Then they'll try and convince themselves that the movie was good and that they actually had a good time at it, even when the movie sucked. No wonder, then, that we end up with such garbage at the local cinemas all the time, all these junk sequels and other such rubbish, but that's another story.


Some critics are being brave. In fact, both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper are bucking the trend and giving this Da Vinci movie two thumbs up.

How could these two be so out of touch with the rest of these film critics, 81% of whom are thumbing their noses at this movie? I think it could be because these two guys, in film criticism terms, are big populists. They don't review FILM, they review MOVIES! They don't go to the movies looking for "high art" or any of that; they just want to see good flicks! And if it turns out to be high art, well, that's a bonus with them. They tend to review from the ordinary filmgoer's perspective, if you will, and Ebert's former partner Gene Siskel was much the same way. It could well be that these two didn't watch this film in that same, miserable theatre in the south of France as their fellow critics did; so they didn't hear all the complaining and bellyaching. But I think Ebert and Roeper were fascinated by the story and were interested in the cinematography and the locations. I'm convinced this is why they saw something in The Da Vinci Code that most other critics didn't. Then again, they could be totally out to lunch on this one, because the cartoon Over the Hedge is getting rave reviews everywhere and stands to do reasonably good business.

Perhaps Ebert and Roeper know this movie is going to be a huge hit, and don't want to have to go through all the thousands of angry e-mails from all these people raking them over the coals for trashing this movie. So they simply said the heck with it, figured it wasn't that bad a movie anyway, and decided they might as well recommend it.

All in all this looks like a big weekend at the movie theatres and with XIII: The Last Stand coming out to huge buzz and a lot of hype, maybe this summer will indeed be a summer of big business at the theatres. For a change. The people at Sony will be saying "Thank God" about the weekend grosses. They will be praising the Lord as they count all their money and conjuring up ideas for a sure-fire cash-cow sequel.

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