Looking on the Bright Side

As I predicted (and feared), Garry Marshall’s barely-a-movie “New Year’s Eve” topped the box office this weekend, but business was very, very slow — the number-one picture made just $13.7 million, while its closest competitor, the Jonah Hill comedy “The Sitter, earned just $10 million.

Now, before everyone starts wringing their hands about Hollywood facing its own economic meltdown — whoops, too late — I will provide a little anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I was just in New York, and the stores were thick with Christmas shoppers; perhaps it was the holiday feeding frenzy that kept people from flocking to one of the year’s worst-reviewed movies?

This is traditionally a pretty slow week for movies anyway; check out the links at the bottom of this page and you’ll find a litany of underwhelming openings. “The Tourist”, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, that remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “The Golden Compass” … they all arrived at this point in December, and they all stumbled.

Of course, none of them was all that good, so that probably had something to do with it as well. Perhaps the studios are scheduling their weaker projects in this window, so they can roll out the heavier hitters closer to Christmas … in which case, I’m starting to get excited about the new “Mission: Impossible”.

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