Despite the title of his latest film epic, Oblivion, Tom Cruise shows once again why when all is said and done, he’s still good box office and is not about to fade into oblivion himself. Oblivion blasts its way to a $38.2 million dollar opening. This after his previous film, Jack Reacher, was declared dead on arrival although I don’t quite concur with that forensic analysis.
Was Jack Reacher a gigantic box office bonanza on the level of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol? Of course not. There are only so many Ghost Protocols, War of the World’s, or Minority Report’s that any actor can conjure up. But if any other film a big name star takes part in doesn’t match their biggest successes, it’s labeled a failure. Consider this.
Jack Reacher was up against some stiff competition in The Hobbit. Another entry in the seemingly never ending Tolkien saga being milked for every cent Hollywood can squeeze out of it. And although Reacher only grossed just over $15 million opening weekend, it did go on to take in $80 million domestically on a $60 million dollar budget. Hardly a total disaster. Stir in an overseas box office take of $136 million, and suddenly the film is well into profitability. And once it reaches DVD and Blu-ray in a couple of weeks, those who haven’t seen it will find out just as I did that it was in fact, a damn good action, espionage, thriller.
I almost made it to see Oblivion this weekend, but my girlfriend Wilma wasn’t particularly keen on the idea. She probably would have gone if I had been an obnoxious prick about it, but instead I decided to be Mr. Nice Guy.
Wilma had me run down the list of movies playing, what they were about, and where they were showing. Any theater except those owned by Regal would do. I’ll never step foot in another Regal cinema, but that’s a story I’ll try to get to later in the week. We decided on The Place Beyond The Pines, a film that we knew little about but from the plot synopsis sounded very interesting. We never made it there.
We had lunch at a place called Logan’s Roadhouse Grill (great meatloaf), then afterwards we decided to go to Burlington Coat Factory which was in this small strip mall that also housed one of those second run, admission only $1.00 theaters called the Starplex Cinema. It was a perfect candidate to do one of my Road Trip reviews, that is if I could squeeze it in. In other words, don’t look for that to happen.
Back when it was originally released, and because Wilma is a romantic kind of gal, she had wanted to see the Julianne Hough movie Safe Haven which was another straight from the heart romantic dopuses from writer, now producer, Nicholas Sparks. As for myself, I can only get into these types of films if they are the Romantic Comedy classification (they better be damn funny), Romantic Suspense classification (better keep me on the edge of my seat), or perhaps even just Romance Drama’s (better be damn meaningful) if the drama part is laid on thick and heavy. Straight romance movies bore the heck out of me and are fodder for Hallmark and Lifetime.
So since we were already there, because the next showing was just 30 minutes away, and most of all because it was only a buck, I decided to be Good Guy Clyde, and escort her to see it. Two other things worked in her favor:
1. The fact that it was an adult oriented romance film that meant the chances of there being a bunch of noisy rug rats running around the theater were pretty slim, even on a Saturday afternoon.
2. It was only a dollar so what did I have to loose? And we had just eaten lunch so there was no need to buy the popcorn or soft drinks which were just as overpriced as any other theater showing a first run film. On the other hand, they are the Marge Schott of movie theaters and you can get a hot dog for $1.00 anytime. I have to admit that I did fill a twinge of guilt for not purchasing anything from the concession stand since I know the theater makes nothing from the $1.00 admission. But that only lasted a millisecond. Next time I’ll be sure to get a wienie or two.
As for the film itself, since every thing I watch is always a candidate for future page filler, all I’ll say is that the first fifteen minutes were intriguing, and the last fifteen minutes were fairly decent despite the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing at the ludicrous plot twist tacked on. But everything in between was an exercise in never ending tedium. Never has there been a romance that was as uninteresting and developed as slowly and as boringly as what happens between Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. I wanted to take a nap in the worst way but managed to somehow stay awake. Then again, what do I know? Except that Wilma concurred with my opinion and this is a woman who likes practically everything she’s ever paid admission to. Maybe the book was better, especially since it have a lofty rating of 4.6 stars from those on Amazon who have read it. Count me out though. I’ve been working on the same romantic/mystery/suspense trilogy for about three or four months now.
I had thought Safe Haven, like Jack Reacher, was a total bomb at the box office. But that perception of mine must have come from the way the critics had savaged it (13 percent at Rotten Tomatoes). The film managed to rake in $70 million domestically and over 16 million overseas on a shoe string $28 million dollar budget, so if profitability is the name of the game, Safe Haven achieved that goal. I’m sure that my two bucks helped tremendously in that regards. All I know is I still haven’t seen Jurassic Park 3D, and time is running out. But the weekend is almost over, and unlike Reese Witherspoon, most of us had a pleasant enough time.
Here are your Box Office totals: