CAN `BATMAN' RESCUE THE YEAR'S BOX OFFICE? SUPERHERO SEQUEL SWOOPS INTO NEARLY 4,000 THEATERS CHARGED WITH GARGANTUAN TASK.Byline: Greg Hernandez Staff Writer
Today's return of the caped crusader in ``Batman Begins'' could not be better timed: Hollywood has never needed the help of a box office superhero su·per·he·ro
n. pl. su·per·he·roes
A figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime. more than now.
Warner Bros BROS Brothers
BROS Benefits and Retirement Operations Section (King County, Washington)
BROS Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society (London, UK) . opens its tent pole tent pole n → mástil m
tent pole tent n → montant m de tente
tent pole n → Zeltstange f summer feature in a studio-record 3,858 locations at a time when 2005 movie attendance lags behind last year by a troubling 8.57 percent. Audiences, with only a handful of notable exceptions, have been rejecting much of what the studios have had to offer so far this summer.
``Hollywood is too much of a damsel in distress right now for even Batman to completely save the day,'' said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo Box Office Mojo is a website that tracks box office revenue in a systematic way. Brandon Gray started the site in August 1998 and claims to now receive over one million monthly visitors. . ``We are at such a deficit at this point that a lot is riding on the upcoming movies to even break even compared to last year.''
Gray and other box office experts believe the highly anticipated revival of the Batman franchise can at least snap the movie industry's near-record 16 consecutive weekends where ticket sales have come in lower than 2004 totals.
``The question is, will it be an average blockbuster block·bust·er
1. Something, such as a film or book, that sustains widespread popularity and achieves enormous sales.
2. A high-explosive bomb used for demolition purposes.
3. or an uber-blockbuster?'' Gray said. ``It's not a slam dunk for $250 million.''
Box office analyst Robert Bucksbaum, president of Reel Source Inc., believes ``Batman Begins'' will make its money over a longer stretch rather than open with blockbuster numbers. He estimates that the film will make somewhere north of $65 million over the five-day period starting today through Sunday.
``Word of mouth will be exceptional and I think it will end up outgrossing the most recent two `Batman' movies, which were very stale stale
horseman's term for the act of urination by a horse. and formulaic,'' Bucksbaum said. ``It's going to appeal from ages 8 to 80. It's just a great story and I think that's what some of the films lately have been missing.''
Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution, agrees.
``The (good) reviews speak for themselves,'' he said. ``(Director) Chris Nolan has done a fabulous job reinventing Batman. We are very proud of the movie and we certainly expect it to do well at the box office.''
The new version of Batman comes eight years removed from Warner Bros.' original franchise, which came to a crashing halt after four films.
The critically lambasted and only marginally popular ($107.3 million) ``Batman and Robin'' starring George Clooney George Timothy Clooney (May 6, 1961) is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter who gained fame as the lead doctor in the long-running television drama, ER and Chris O'Donnell put a premature nail in the coffin coffin, closed receptacle for a corpse. Its purpose is usually to protect and to aid preservation of the body, although in the past some have believed that it may confine the spirit of the deceased. of a series that had begun spectacularly with 1989's ``Batman'' starring Michael Keaton. The first film grossed $251.2 million domestically.
Keaton was in the title role again three years later in ``Batman Returns,'' which proved less popular and earned $162.8 million. Then in 1995, Val Kilmer took over the superhero role in ``Batman Forever,'' a movie that took in $184 million.
``The first 'Batman' movie, even though it's 16 years old now, is still very fresh in people's minds,'' Gray said. ``Unfortunately, 'Batman and Robin' is, too, and that was only eight years ago.''
A sampling of moviegoers interviewed in front of the AMC (Advanced Mezzanine Card) See AdvancedTCA. Promenade promenade
Public place where people walk (or, in the past, rode) at leisure for pleasure, exercise, or display. Promenades are pedestrian avenues pleasingly landscaped or commanding a view, often located along waterfronts and in parks. Vehicular traffic may or may not be restricted. 16 in Woodland Hills on Tuesday afternoon showed mixed levels of interest in ``Batman Begins'' with the previous quartet of films indeed still in the back of their minds.
``I'm open-minded,'' said Ken Green, a 40-year-old produce manager from Woodland Hills. ``But it really depends on how they put it together.''
El Camino Real High School El Camino Real High School (also known locally as "ECR" and by some more recently as "ELCO") is a public secondary school located in the Woodland Hills district of the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, California. seniors Dave Rockman and Jesse Novotny, both 17, had a half-day of classes and decided to head straight to the Promenade for an afternoon showing of ``High Tension.'' The pair said they plan to return to the multiplex See multiplexing. after school today for ``Batman Begins.''
``It's been about 10 years and this one looks really good,'' Rockman said. ``Christian Bale and the rest of the cast looks great. I think it's a great idea to bring it back.''
``I've always enjoyed the Batman series,'' he said. ``The premise is already there and they are just explaining things that haven't been explained before.''
But not everyone will be there on opening day.
``I'm waiting for `War of the Worlds,''' said 42-year-old Baron Bailey, a school bus driver from Compton. ``I've seen enough Batmans in the past, way back in 1989. I'm just not that hungry for it, but I might check it out a few weeks from now.''
``Batman Begins'' will attempt to seize on to fall on and grasp; to take hold on; to take possession of suddenly and forcibly.
See also: Seize the slow-building moviegoing momentum built in recent weeks by ``Mr. and Mrs. Smith,'' ``Madagascar,'' ``The Longest Yard,'' and, of course, ``Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.''
``Sith'' has been the summer season's brightest spot with a cumulative gross of $333.8 million as of Monday. Meanwhile, ``Smith'' far exceeded industry expectations last weekend with a three day gross of $50 million. It added an astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. $6.2 million to its total on Monday suggesting stellar word of mouth on the picture that stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
``A strong indication of how well a film is holding are the weekday grosses,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. ``The $6 million on a Monday indicates the movie will hold very well in its second weekend and even serve as effective counter-programming to `Batman Begins.'''
But Fellman believes the caped crusader will be most people's first choice.
``I hope people are waiting for us,'' he said. ``We are in a cyclical cyclical
Of or relating to a variable, such as housing starts, car sales, or the price of a certain stock, that is subject to regular or irregular up-and-down movements. business that is product-driven. In the next three or four weeks, I honestly think we will see a turn, starting this weekend.''
Greg Hernandez, (818) 713-3758
(color) no caption (``Batman Begins'')
SOURCE: Box Office Mojo