Now You See Me *Cheesy Puns In Its Debut; Fast & Furious *Cheesy Puns To First

From Box Office Mojo Now You See Me *made magic over the weekend by grossing well over its expected return. Despite that surprise, and a steep 65% drop from Memorial Day weekend, Fast & Furious 6 avoided *spinning out by managing to remain in first place. The Smith Family sci-fi home video After Earth rightfully came in third with a take on par with recent genre stinkers. 1. Fast & Furious 6 It looks like the majority of people who were going to see FF6 did so last week as the automotive caper sank to a weekend gross of $34M. Don’t cry for Vin Diesel just yet because with a worldwide total of $480M, FF6 is on pace to (sigh) speed past its predecessors’ total with relative ease. Given the trend of each successive Fast & Furious sequel out-grossing the previous one, I’ve already got my headline for the seventh installment cued up:   “Fastest Fast 7 Vroom Pew Pew 7 Kaboom Crossed The Finish Line First This Weekend”   2. Now You See Me With a Tomatometer score of 44% and the fact that Americans tend to ignore films based on illusions or magicians, Now You See Me’s $28M was a surprise to everyone. That being said, with a production budget of $75M (before P&A) and a slate of high profile releases approaching, its going to be interesting to see if NYSM can make its money back. Unrelated true story, my wife and I were having dinner the other day and a gentleman came up to our table holding a wallet. He asked if I had dropped mine by chance. As I was checking to see if I had, he said, “wait, no, this looks like mine” and pulled a deck of cards out of his pocket. Both my wife and I looked at each other with “sonofabitch” in our eyes. We had to sit through ten minutes of card tricks. Well played table magician. Let that be a lesson to the beginning illusionists out there. Like all decent people who don’t want to be bothered while we’re eating, we’re going to say no. Your best trick is not letting us do that. I didn’t see either Fast & Furious 6 or Now You See Me but I hope that America enjoyed watching them as much as I enjoyed skipping them.   3. After Earth Scratch that. I would’ve happily sat through both FF6 and NYSM instead of this stillborn effort from the loins of Will Smith and the butt of M. Night Shyamalan. Thankfully this turd is all but flushed with a meek $27M opening. We get into the ins-and-outs of its ineptitude on tomorrow’s F&N Podcast so I’ll be brief here and say that $27M is still way too much.       4/5. Star Trek Into Darkness & Epic Star Trek Into Darkness fell to 4th and 5th place this weekend in a dead-heat with the low-key animated flick Epic. Both took in an estimated $16.4M. At this point, STID not only trails the 2009 entry, but looks like it could finish below it when all is said and done. There isn’t much time to match the first one’s $257M domestic total but its possible, unlikely but possible that the foreign market will save the day. I’m having a hard time explaining this as anything other than a marketing blunder. Or maybe global warming. I don’t know or care about Epic but if you saw it last weekend and enjoyed it, you had a better time at the theater than I did. Don’t get cocky...

Fast and Furious 6 *Cheesy Puns To #1 [Weekend Box Office]

Shizz went Kablewie this Memorial Day weekend as Fast and Furious 6 *crashed into first place at the box office with $120M. FF6‘s take dwarfed Fast Five‘s handsome score of $86M back in 2011. Though it had the benefit of both opening over a holiday weekend and a cache of good will from its predecessor, Universal should probably thank the mishandling of The Hangover 2 more than either.   Given the choice between a reliable, cliche action/adventure and a potentially depressing “comedy,” America voted with its feet and chose Vin Diesel’s engorged forearms over Zack Galifianakis’ distended belly. Having picked against America this week (normally a safe bet), I can easily admit I wish I’d seen FF6. Something I never thought I’d say. I am, however, proud to say I took in Richard Linklater’s and that more than turned around the depression The Hangover 3 left me with. Let’s see how much Before Midnight made this weekend…$247K…oh God…depression returning. Deep breaths. Wait, only 5 theaters for a per screen average of $49K, best of any release? Depression subsided. Phew. came in second place with a weekend total of $63M, proving the audience cared a hell of a lot more than anyone involved in making it. That’s down from the $103M total it racked up over the same three day weekend in 2011. The movie is awful for more reasons than I want to go into here but suffice it to say that word-of-mouth should smother this rooster to death within a few weeks. Good.     gained a little ground in its second week, earning $47M. I say it gained ground because it opened a little below the first one but caught up to be in a virtual dead-heat. Both made around $155M after their first 12 days in release. Over lunch today at Stout, a friend of mine put it best about the marketing of STID. “It’s kind of like The Dark Knight if they didn’t tell anyone The Joker was in it.” Why would you hide that? I don’t understand the decision but it doesn’t look like Paramount will have to consider it too long anyway since STID is guaranteed to…I’m sorry about this…”live long and prosper.” Epic happened too. Enough to squeeze into fourth place at $42M. I don’t have kids so I’m not even going to pretend I know anything about this flick. Here’s the trailer just in case:     Rotten Tomatoes has it at a 62%, which for an animated feature is a little on the low side. With a production budget of around $100M (w/o P&A), unless the foreign market picks up the slack, this one could have trouble making its money back in the theater.   Rounding out the top five is a movie you’ve already seen, possibly twice, . The Shane Black directed Marvel juggernaut grossed another $24M to add to its domestic total of $372M. If you add up the entire bundle from over seas, you’re looking at a grand total of $1.14B. That’s BILLION. Much like The Avengers last year, it’s nice to see a solid effort clean up instead of an Alice in Wonderland or a Transformers style spectacle.   The cheapest thing to do, solidify your script, is too often the one thing these hyper-budget flicks can’t seem to do right. Fortunately, Iron Man 3 isn’t one of them. From Box Office...

That’s Not a F*cking Word! [Hyperbolic Tendencies]

Like virtually every other aspect of American culture, our language has been corporatized; poisoned, convoluted, and robotized – all in the name of “efficiency”. Whoever first uttered the phrase “think outside the box” deserves a big bonus. However, the next person I hear use it will get my foot up their ass. While it’s initial appeal as a simple metaphor with a bit of a twist was undeniable, it’s been so overused that it’s now an “executive summary” of someone’s entire capability, tacitly implying the person in question hasn’t had an original idea in years. Even if the topic at hand has no need for an original idea. I mean, if you’re working at a McDonald’s, how far out of the box does your thinking need to be? Does the corporatization of our language really matter? You bet your ass it does. Language is the only way we truly know each other. Without it, we’d be just another species picking insects out of one another’s hair and feeding on them. Contrary to popular belief, this poisoned well is not a recent development. All the way back in 1916 Teddy Roosevelt declared that the “tendency to use what have been called ‘weasel words’ is one of the defects of our nation.” He clarified with this example, “You can have universal training or you can have voluntary training, but when you use the word ‘voluntary’ to qualify the word ‘universal,’ you are using a weasel word,” he said. “It has sucked all the meaning out of “universal”. Words that suck the meaning (and life) out. Yep, that’s what’s happened to our language. But with technology, it now happens at blinding speed and the idiotic linguistic offerings pile up like cars on a ice-covered freeway. As 2011 drew...