You can tell that Oscar campaigns are in full swing when you see front-page articles like this in the New York Times:
Mr. Moore of Paramount stopped short of making Oscar predictions. But he noted that only two western dramas, “Dances With Wolves” and “Unforgiven,” had been major hits in the last 20 years.
“And both won best picture,” he said.
The article asks the burning question: “As a Hot Ticket, Will ‘True Grit’ Sway the Oscars?” Good for the Coens that they have their top box office success evah! Asked if he had any idea why, Joel Coen said, “None at all.” But it’s not as though the season’s more critically acclaimed films have been flops.
Case in point:
Domestic: $89,292,295 (13 days)
The Social Network (95 days)
And there’s this:
Inception (172 days)
Besides, wasn’t the question about any box office/best picture connection answered last year?
The Hurt Locker
I don’t recall James Cameron thanking the Academy on Oscar night.
On a separate note, anyone associated with a system that calls True Grit a PG-13 film (killings left and right, dismembered fingers, other bloody behavior) and The King’s Speech an R (one brief flurry of mild cursing that wouldn’t make a nun blush) should be locked in an asylum. It’s ratings madness.
I know this is the first place most people check for the all-important box office results, so let’s get to it. Here are the “winners” of the weekend:
I still don’t understand why anyone except the people who make a movie should care how much money the movie makes at the box office, but that’s where we are. Somewhere along the way the Sunday news shows got it in their heads that the weekend box office is IMPORTANT NEWS, and every week we get to know who “won the weekend” even before the weekend is over. Not to mention, who lost. Winners and losers. That’s what it comes down to. (Hey, where’s Avatar this weekend? Yesterday’s news: Loser!)
That said, I am heartened to know that a movie called Valentine’s Day is the No. 1 movie on Valentine’s Day weekend. What would it say about us if a horror remake like The Wolfman beat it out? I can’t say which is a better movie—I haven’t seen them—but I’ve yet to read a good review of either.* That doesn’t matter, though. Movie reviews will never be IMPORTANT NEWS.
Now that Valentine’s Day is a certified winner, I would suppose that the smart folks in Hollywood will soon be coming out with other holiday-themed movies. If they hurry, they could open St. Patrick’s Day next month, and Memorial Day should be just around the corner. In fact, few holidays have a well-known movie title commemorating the occasion. There’s Independence Day, of course. The best of the lot is Groundhog Day (which opened, coincidentally, 17 years ago this weekend, exactly two years after that heart-warming lovefest called The Silence of the Lambs). Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Boxing Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day are titles still waiting to be taken. (If Hollywood ever runs out of holiday titles, don’t worry. Those geniuses at Hallmark will come up with a new one.)
* I rather liked this part of Roger Ebert’s review: “Valentine’s Day” is being marketed as a Date Movie. I think it’s more of a First-Date Movie. If your date likes it, do not date that person again.