Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Box-Office is a Cruel Mistress

I like a good horse-race as much as the next guy, and Box Office Mojo is a nifty site tracking the box-office successes of various films. According to this, Superman is doing poorly by just about any standard you'd like to track (including Batman Begins, my favourite summer movie last year). And this page is charting Pixar's Cars against earlier Pixar offerings.

I haven't yet seen Cars -- an anomaly, since I've managed to catch most of the other Pixar films on their respective opening weekends. My kids have been in the right demographic since Monsters, Inc., and, thanks to a cadre of geek friends, I've been in the right demographic since the original Toy Story. But this time, when opening weekend struck, my kids voted to see Over The Hedge -- the weekend's decidedly non-Pixar CGI offering. There's a simple reason for this, chaps: my kids are girls, and a movie populated by talking Dinky Toys held zero appeal.

So it surprises me to see that Cars has done as well as it has (making a very tidy profit and just trailing The Incredibles by a few paltry millions). So much for establishing a universal standard out my personal experience. But the real kick-in-the-pants revelation on this board is how incredibly poorly Toy Story 2 did. For my money, it's still the most emotionally compelling movie Pixar has done, and the best movie sequel to hit the big screen since The Godfather II. I'm sure I've seen the movie a dozen times already, and yet Sarah McLachlan's plaintive delivery of "When She Loved Me" (which finally scored a long overdue Academy Award for Randy Newman) never fails to get me blubbering into my shirt-collar, invoking as it does the disappearance of a child's happy and unswerving love for their parent.

If you follow some of the other links on this site, you'll come across "readers rate Pixar". TS2 falls in second-last as a reader favourite (just ahead of the slight charms of A Bug's Life). I'm usually among the first to sing the tedious "They were cool before they became popular" tune, but even so, the horse-racer in me is very much gratified when the money falls in with my aesthetic opinion. "Vindication", they call it -- an experience I've enjoyed only as precious exception. I guess that's just how the chips will fall this time, as well. Toy Story 2 is Pixar's best film to date, and I'm the only one who knows it.

6 comments:

dog of Dirk said...

Randy didn't win an Oscar for Toy Story 2 -- he did for "If I didn't have you" from Monsters, Inc.

Whisky Prajer said...

Wup - so it is (another indication of just how unappreciated this magnificent masterpiece is!). Thanks for the fact-check.

Rob said...

Nah, you're not the only one to know it -- Toy Story 2 is Pixar's masterpiece. All else pales...

paul bowman said...

Interested to hear your take on Cars, if you do see it.

Frankly, nothing about the ads for it appealed to me much, even though my experience, especially growing up, has been fairly representative of the 'American love affair with the automobile' — at least, by non-redneck standards — that the movie aims to tap. (Of course, a couple of decades of vehicle ownership on a modest income teaches one to understand them as burden as much as blessing.) But my 19-yr-old sister thought it would be fun to see, so I took her. Kind of wanted to see Over the Hedge, myself.

Scott said...

Nope, you're not alone. Those 'Toy Story 2' closet doors are straining against their hinges!

I loved the movie unreservedly and was astonished by my own emotional reaction to it.

And they got me again with 'Finding Nemo', the bastards!

PS: today's verification 'word' is vodkati, which sounds like a delightful evening drink...

Whisky Prajer said...

Ah, solipsistic me! It is gratifying to be in the company of others moved by Jessie's Story. As for Cars, I've no doubt it's tremendously entertaining - I should add that I made a desperate pitch to see it over Hedge. But I should also add that Hedge was much better than I expected. William Shatner's possum was especially funny.