Movies

Ooo, Ooo, That Mel…

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Mel Gibson's well-reviewed Apocalypto took home box office honors this weekend, posting about $14 million in ticket sales during its opening stint, enough to push surrealistic romantic comedy The Holiday (surrealistic because Jack Black is one of the love interests) into the back seat.

Apocalypto's take is significantly smaller than the opening weekend of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which hauled on the order of $84 million [*] when it first appeared. But still–and despite all the insanity and strangeness that goes along with Gibson–it's still surely a sign of a weirdly rich and diverse culture when a Mayan-language movie outdoes Casino Royale, Happy Feet, and the latest Leonardo DiCaprio joint (not to mention various Christmas-themed flicks such as Santa Clause 3, Deck the Halls, and Unaccompanied Minors).

More here.

[*]: Corrected (and rounded up to nearest million) as per comment below.

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  1. The Passion opened with $83 million, not $38. Source? The article you linked to, and I have read it elsewhere.

  2. Settle down there sport. The man made a typo for Christ’s sake.

  3. it’s still surely a sign of a weirdly rich and diverse culture when a Mayan-language movie outdoes Casino Royale, Happy Feet, and the latest Leonardo DiCaprio joint

    Or it’s more likely a sign of the power of celebrity and marketing in our culture. Does the same movie made by a no-name even get released in theaters?

  4. Done well, a film without dialogue – or at least, without dialogue that the viewer can understand – is a case of addition by subtraction. You’re more aware of everything else, and the direction and writers have to think up ways to express plot and character without talking. It can be a real spark to their creativity.

  5. Does the same movie made by a no-name even get released in theaters?

    You bet. In fact, taken for what it is — a really well done exotic adventure movie (about which I have a few more comments here), I think a case could be made that it would have done even better if it hadn’t been Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.

    (Oh, and just in case there are people shunning the film because of Gibson’s, um, interesting world view, there is no hint whatsoever in Apocalypto that the Jews were behind the whole thing.)

  6. I was considering to go see the movie until I read the reviews. They may have been positive, but I’m not fond of movies described as “ultra violent” and “super-bloody”. Happy Feet was much more fun.

  7. No fan of Gibson, but I’d still like to see this one.

    Regarding Christmas movies…

    A producer I once knew told me that if I ever wanted to make an exploitation film “Don’t make porn. If you want to make a truly profitable exploitation movie, make a Christmas film. It gets re-released on television and put on the shelves for sale once a year.”

  8. there is no hint whatsoever in Apocalypto that the Jews were behind the whole thing

    But there are villainous Brits, right?

  9. I hate going to the movie theatre, and go about once a year. Last year I saw the brilliant “King Kong,” and this year, Saturday night at 11:15, I saw “Apocalypto” in an almost empty theatre on 64th and 2nd in Manhattan.

    The movie is like a well-crafted Conan story: every adventure story cliche you can think of strung together, plus lots of amazing coincidences. Mel Gibson adds to the usual Conan formula his family-values schtick; Conan is fighting to save his wife and kids, not to get rich or save a princess. It’s like if Robert Howard had family values.

    Gibson, it appears, is a good director, and has a good cinematographer and costume designer; the movie takes all those adventure story cliches and makes them flow very well and look very good. The characters and actors are pretty good, too. If you like action movies, this is like one of them, but done very well, so you should definitely see it.

    I have to admit I closed my eyes a few times, but the violence is not as bad as some critics (the guy in the Wall Street Journal, for example) had lead me to expect. And the gore is telegraphed, so I had time to shut my eyes when I felt the need.

  10. That’s odd – I wasn’t particularly interested until I saw it described as an ultra-violent gore-fest.

  11. People who describe Mel’s movies as violent/bloody have never sat through a Lucio Fulci movie.

  12. Conan is fighting to save his wife and kids, not to get rich or save a princess. It’s like if Robert Howard had family values.

    Conan without sexy princesses running around topless? Well, what’s the point of that???

  13. lucio fulci film gore never looked that realistic. it looked cool but not realistic.

  14. Oh wow! A headline with a Lynyrd Skynyrd reference! That is to say, a musical reference that I can recognize! Nick must have been listening to the oldies or classic rock station.

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