Tuesday, August 29, 2006

WB/Legendary Still Showing their Poker Faces

"Everything is going excellent, we have no weaknesses, endless sequels and virgins will be ours, the comic-reading infidels will be crushed!"

As Vincent Chase learned recently on Entourage, people in the business of Hollywood, often say one thing and do another, and never EVER admit to anything that doesn't put them in the best possible light. We've heard the rhetoric from Lord Singer, Alan Horn, Jeff Robinov, and now the people that co-financed Singerman, Legendary Pictures, are joining the "everything is a-okay" fray. In a recent Variety article, the trade paper speculates:
"If Legendary is unnerved, it isn't showing. Like Warners, Legendary insists it will turn a profit on "Superman Returns," and has given all indications that it's on deck to co-finance a sequel."
Some comic movie sites around the web seem to be putting a lot of stock in this statement, that it's the smoking gun for a sequel. However, they're not taking into account that Legendary is on the hook for half the cost of Singerman like WB, which makes this just as much "fluff" as WB's earlier comments.

While the film is still in theaters both here (just a few) and abroad, and with the DVD a few months away, they're going to say whatever they can to try and salvage their investment. They're not exactly going to say they're not on board for a sequel right now, it would be counter-productive to say about a project they invested in with the inclination it was going to be a feature film franchise. What they do in the boardroom come next year after the film and DVD are nothing but a bad memory, will tell you how they truely feel about things.

And like we said earlier, Singerman in the long run will most likely be "profitable." However, that's a relative term. If your revenue exceeds your costs by $.01, techincally it's "profitable," but the key is just HOW profitable will the film be? Will the profit margin justify a continued investment in this project? These are the decisions made by the money people in Hollywood, not the PR reps and spin meisters.
"Like Legendary, all the funds argue that they won't be made, or broken, by just one pic. By investing in a slate of pics over the course of several years, they're virtually guaranteed a return of 10%."
And I agree with this 100%, its whats called "investment diversification." You cover yourself by having your "eggs" in multiple "baskets." Although I hope for Legendary's sake they haven't been invested in the rest of WB's Summer 2006 slate, because that portfolio would be getting kicked in the teeth right about now. That being said, if you invest in something and it blows up in your face, do you dump money back into another project managed by the same people just because in the end you'll come out 10% ahead? Would the Enron stockholders have invested in Ken Lay's next business venture? I think you know the answer to that. NO! People adjust portfolios all the time, especially if they've made a mistake, they seek to minimize their risk and cut their losses. Don't be surprised if Legendary wants a little more input in any potential sequel discussions.

Dave Poland has an interesing take on all this in his Hot Blog. Ironically enough he finds an interesting analogy in the Tom Cruise/Paramount fiasco:

"Mission:Impossible 3 cost a lot (at least $50 million) less than Superman Returns and made more at the box office and should do similar numbers in Home Entertainment.

Paramount won't re-up thier deal with Cruise/Wagner.

Warner Bros. is claiming that they will make $50 million in Superman Returns

The difference in gross point dollars being paid out is about $40 million.

Who do YOU thnk is lying?

Oh, but wait... it's about jumping on couches and arguing with Matt Lauer. My bad.

Or to put it in Anne Thompson terms... who would you rather have fronting your next $250 million (including P&A) investment, Tom Cruise or Bryan Singer?"

Is Tom Cruise available to direct? At least we'd get something "original."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Box Office Update: Too Little, Too Late

A few weeks late, a few million short.

In it's 9th weekend at the domestic box office, Singerman surprisingly showed a little life, or at least it did as compared to it's previous efforts. In weekend 9, Singerman grossed $780,405, or only about 8% less than it took in last weekend, good for 20th place. Not bad considering it only lost 72 theaters from the prior weekend, but not good either, considering this movie should've still been grossing in the million dollar plus weekends at this point in time, not barely edging out movies like Cars that has been in theaters for 3 weeks longer. Even with this current weekend's gross, the cumulative gross sits at just $195,388,237.

And what would a box office article be without a comparison to Batman Begins? In it's 9th weekend at the domestic box office, Begins took in $1,050,497 or about 25.8% higher. At this point in time, Begins cumulative domestic take was $201,149,986, or about 2.9% more than Singerman. Look for Singerman to finally peter out somewhere around $197 million.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare

It doesn't take a genius or a friendship with Jeff Robinov's personal secretary to know that Warner Bros. was hoping Singerman would be the number one film of 2006. When they greenlit the film back in 2004, they were hoping Singerman would see "Spider-Man numbers." They in fact needed that. But reality kicked in before Singerman opened and most execs realized it not only wasn't going to make huge dollars, it probably wasn't going to be the #1 film either.

Early tracking indicated POTC:DMC was going to be a monster. Warners pushed up Singerman's release date to give the film a better head start. When Warner's own tracking data showed an ambivalence among general audiences, they rushed a new version of Singerman's broadcast trailer into circulation, recut to emphasize more action beats and to bury the retarded woe-is-me characterization that dominated all previous versions. They also needed to "butch" him up a bit.

Basically, they put lipstick on a pig and hoped audiences wouldn't notice.

It's almost poetic justice to see the one film that had Warners in such a reactionary tizzy for the last four months accomplish what they so wanted and needed from Singerman: become the #1 film of the year. As of August 25, 2006, 50 days into its release, POTC:DMC has grossed more than $404 million dollars at the domestic box office, effectively breaking Spider-Man's record for the same. Not only did it double Singerman's domestic sales, it beat its combined worldwide tally with just its domestic box office sales alone. We're talking a slaughter of epic proportions here folks.

Although it was a mixed bag critically, audiences are still eating up POTC:DMC like the cannibals in the flick itself, and the film is still pulling in million-dollar days at the box office. As of this writing, it is the sixth highest grossing film of all time on the domestic charts (Singerman is #75), and it's expected to become only the third film in history to break a billion dollars worldwide (behind "Titanic" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") within the next few weeks.

We here at Singer's Superman Sucks would like to remind our loyal readers that "Pirates of the Caribbean" is what Hollywood would call a successful film franchise. Despite the protestations of film critics everywhere, audiences don't seem to care if a film is based on an amusement park ride or a comic book, provided it has a charismatic cast in a compelling or entertaining story that tickles their fancy. Singerman apparently had none of the above, which is unfortunate considering it was a film supposedly about Superman.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mailbag: August 25th

Well the blog seems to be getting around the Net, and we've been getting email feedback from both sides over the past few weeks, and thought that instead of emailing readers back and forth, we'd just address the most common comments/questions here on the blog every so often for all to enjoy. Its also been brought to our attention that the blog isn't setup for readers to make comments. Apparently in our haste to get this thing setup, we skipped that step. So we've now gone ahead and changed that so that now everyone can share their input on our articles, even those of you who are too scared to own up to your comments can now input those as "anonymous."

So now let's get on to the mailbag (user names and emails have been erased to protect the innocent):
"Why "Singerman"?"
It's simple and I'll refer you to one of our initital rants HERE.
"I really enjoy reading your blog, and the way you cut through WB's and Singer's bullshit and rhetoric about this film and its shortcomings. As a longtime Superman fan I was extremely disappointed by the rahashed crap Singer gave us."
I appreciate the comments, but all in all it's not a very hard thing to do. It's simple math really when you take a look at the film and its numbers, and weigh those against what its expectations were from fans, investors, etc. Then again, Singer and Co. make it like shooting fish in a barrel with some of the commentary they've given us over the last few months. More or less, we've just been putting the spotlight on the painfully obvious.
"Why do you constantly compare Superman Returns to Batman Begins? Are you just some lame Batman fanboy with too much time on your hands? Besides "Singerman" as you call it, will most likely outgross Batman worldwide anyway."
Well I do like Batman and always have, but I've always been a much bigger fan of the Man of Steel. I've got just about every significant Superman TPB from the past twenty years, and would've gladly given them to Singer if it would've meant getting a better film. Trust me, if we didnt care so much about Superman, we wouldn't have started a blog to point out how badly Singer screwed him up.
And actually I wasnt the one who started the Batman Begins comparisons, those started from certain people in the media, and a lot of fans who were using that as some kind of barometer for the film's early success. Now that the "worm has turned," you rarely hear it anymore from anyone looking to try to put a positive spin on the film.
As for the gross amounts, Singerman may indeed outgross Begins worldwide (although it wont happen domestically), but revenue is irrelevant in a profit driven business. Would you rather spend $100 to make $500? or spend $300 to make $600? I rest my case.
"Your just an idiotic Smallville fan and Brandon Routh hater who's jealous cuz Tom Welling didn't get the part in the movie."
Oh boy, these are some of our favorites. Apparently you've been able to extract the fact that we're jealous Smallville/Tom Welling "lovers" from the what? The two whole posts on this entire blog that reference the show and the guy? You're deductive reasoning skills may need a bit of sharpening. Of those two articles, one was used to show how there was a lack of character empathy in Singerman, which was one of our myriad of issues with the film. We also, btw, pointed out there that Singerman wouldn't have been any better with Welling or anyone else in the lead role. The other article where Welling was mentioned was more about Routh looking bad, and the irony of Welling looking sharp and presenting Johnny Depp an award than anything else. We know it was only the TCA's but the situation is still amusing. Like it or not with Singerman still in theaters across the globe and the DVD and video games yet to start hitting the market, anytime Routh goes to a public event he's "selling" the film. He's the face of a $200+ million franchise. For anyone who hasn't seen the film (and let's face it. that's A LOT of people) if they see Routh for the first time and he looks like an elongated Tom Cruise in kick-around clothes, they're not exactly going to be motivated to check him out as Superman.
And yes we do enjoy Smallville for what it is, or at least the 11 or 12 decent episodes of it that come out each season. It's not a bad show when they're not blowing up babies or ripping off the plots from the popular films of the day, and Welling has grown into his role. However, they're merely a speck on the rich history of the Superman character. A history, which has seen tremendous growth in the past 25 years, most of which was largely ignored by Bryan Singer. Therein lies a good deal of our problems with him.
As for Routh, we've stated before we don't dislike the guy, and have nothing personal against him, he just seems to have an uncanny knack of taking unflattering photographs and can apparently be a bit of a diva, which at times seems to run contrary to what WB is trying to get across with the film, which in turn makes it more humorous. While we do think he left a little to be desired in the lead role, with a better director and writers in place (not to mention a better publicist), he may have been a lot better.

Well that's it for the mailbag. Feel free to email us HERE with any comments, questions, suggestions, death threats, etc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

OK, OK. We'll talk about the TCA's

Although it doesn't have all too much to do with the problems plaguing Singerman, due to overwhelming request, we wanted to talk about what went down at the Teen Choice Awards that aired on Sunday Night on FOX. Fresh from the worldwide reclaimation project, known as the international Singerman marketing tour, a noticeably thin Brandon Routh showed up at the TCA's resembling a young Robert Carradine from his "Revenge of the Nerds" days, sporting a t-shirt that said "You Are Here" (how philosophic of him). The people at WB's marketing department must've been trying to find the nearest cliff to jump off of (assuming Singer didn't already push them off). After all, they've spent the past few months trying to show how "masculine" this guy is, yet he shows up on national television dressed like a frat boy and looking like he's been following the Kate Bosworth diet. Routh, to a mild smattering of applause (I mean how many teens actually saw Singerman anyway?) presented some mindless award to Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, from his seat for some reason. I guess they didn't want him up on stage dressed like he works at a summer camp.

Compounding the humorous factor to this was the fact that about three minutes later, the "other Superman," Tom Welling, comes out to present an award looking built like a brick shithouse, and well groomed in a stylish sport coat, and they actually let him up on stage to give it. The crowd seemingly goes nuts, with the typical "We love you Tom's" echoing all around.

Now for the REALLY good part...who does Tom Welling wind up presenting an award to? Routh? Uh no. Spacey? yeah right. He winds up giving an award to JOHNNY DEPP for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2, and Welling noticeably dwarfs not only his co-presenter Kristen Bell, but the 6' tall Depp as well. For one time at least this summer, Captain Jack Sparrow actually looked up at Superman. You've got the big screen "multi million dollar" Superman sitting in the audience looking like a $2 tool, while his contemporary is up on stage looking like a million bucks giving an award to the guy who's film just kicked the ever-loving crap out out of the other guy's movie. Is that your daily recommended allowance of irony or what?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Box Office Update: Can you smell the failure yet?

The "Man of Steel" continues to plummet like he's made of lead.

It only took until its 8th weekend at the domestic box office for Singerman to fall below the million dollar mark. Though it wasn't as bad as it could've been, taking in just $848,255 in weekend #8 is embarrasing none the less, considering the scope of this picture for the once proud icon. Singerman came in 20th place for the weekend about $460K less than box office contemporary The Devil Wears Prada, and now sits at a not-so-impressive $194,165,746 domestic total.

How does that compare to Batman Begins you ask? Well, in Begins 8th weekend at the domestic box office it raked in a cool $1,822,445 or 54.5% more. At the end of its 8th weekend the cumulative domestic box office for Begins was $199,088,386 or 2.5% higher. The gap once again widened between the two films, and Singerman still remains on track to peter out somewhere around the $196-$197 million mark domestically.

Friday, August 18, 2006

WB and Singerman's Bad Summer

An article in today's LA Times, shows just exactly how bad of a summer that Warner Bros. Studios is having. Pretty much everything they've put out this summer has flopped or been a "disappointment." (Hey, there's always Beerfest) In it they talk to Studio head Alan Horn who seems to be doing a bit of damage control, at least when it comes to Singerman :
"Horn declined to divulge figures, but a person familiar with the studio's internal projections said Warner's cut of the "Superman Returns" profit was expected to be $50 million to $60 million. The film cost $209 million to produce and more than $100 million to market worldwide."
Well there's yet another confirmation of Singerman's astronomical $100 million marketing budget that we've been saying for weeks. As for the "expected profit," this cost $309 million to make. Assuming it somehow makes $400 million worldwide, the Studio only sees 1/2 of that, the other 1/2 goes to the exhibitors. They've still got another $109 to cover before they're out of the red. Can they really be projecting another $220+ million in ancilliaries with the film's disappointing box office? Remember half of the profit for Singerman goes to co-financer Legendary Pictures, so for WB to see $60 million in profit, the film's got to make $120 million in profit.
Horn expects "Superman Returns" to eventually gross about $400 million worldwide, more than last year's hit "Batman Begins."
OK, so Horn says he's expecting the film to gross $400 million worldwide. My question is, where the hell is that figure coming from? It's basically a done deal the film won't cross $200 million domestically. A fair estimate has the film ending up with around $196 million. Therefor, you'd need to get over $204 million from the international box office. Currently Singerman is sitting at $155 million international. The only major territories it's set to open in are Germany, Japan, and Italy.
Using Batman Begins as some kind of gauge, we can see that it made $166 million internationally in its run. Will Singerman beat that like Horn says? Probably. Will it beat it by almost $40 million to get to $400 million worldwide? Very doubtful. In Germany, Italy, and Japan, Begins made $24.8 million. Add that to Singerman's current worldwide total, and that puts you only at $179.8 million, or $24.2 million short of the mark they'd need internationally to make it to $400 million worldwide. I can see another possible $10 MAYBE $15 million over that for Singerman based on how it's trending internationally but that's at a maximum. Our best guess? Singerman ends up around $191 million internationally, and about $388 million worldwide.
"Nonetheless, "Superman" fell at least $100 million short of his expectations.
"I thought it was a very successful movie, but I think it should have done $500 million worldwide," Horn said. "
Now let's look at the comments here. In one sentence Horn admits the film fell AT LEAST $100 MILLION SHORT of his expectations. In the very next one he says its "very successful." Umm okay Alan so what you're saying is in the best case scenario, the project is bringing in 20% less revenue than expected, but it's still somehow considered a success?? Do your shareholders feel the same way? I don't. This is reminiscient of the Iraqi Information Minister saying that the US Army was getting crushed by Iraqi forces, as Baghdad was crumbling behind him. Companies tend not to set unrealistic revenue expectations for themselves. They tend to do a bit of research on these things, and set attainable goals for themselves. Otherwise they look bad in front of their stockholders. If they miss their mark by $100 million (roughly 20% of their expected take), no one is going to consider that a success.
"We should have had perhaps a little more action to satisfy the young male crowd."
Ah! Now we're on to something here! Horn seems to recognize one of the many flaws of Singerman, though it's in a real non-committal way. But will he really do something about it? Like say, get a hold of a director who can do an action movie?? One who's initials arent "BS" perhaps? God I hope the WB lackeys that are forced to read blogs like this, pass some of this stuff along.
"Still, he's betting Warner has firmly reestablished the "Superman" franchise and is planning another installment for summer 2009."
Ugh, just when you thought we were making some kind of progress with this guy. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call "damage control." Horn sort of, kind of recognizes a weakness in the film, but then follows it up with the "everything is a-okay, nothing to see here" line. The truth of the matter is with Singerman still stinking up a few theaters in the US, and set to open this weekend in places abroad, Horn still has to present the movie in the best light possible, since it's still being "sold" to various publics. If he has any hope of this film hitting $400 million WW, he can't come out and say anything other than "the franchise is strong" and "sequels are coming." No one wants to support a dying franchise. We heard the same thing from Universal Studios execs when The Hulk was in theaters back in 2003. We'll find out how Horn and Co. truely feel about the financial viability of this "franchise" when it's not in theaters any longer, and they've had time to assess the actual return on investment. In the meantime, file this one under F for "Fluff."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Singerman is Flat-lining


Time of death? Most likely somewhere around August 31st.

Theater counts were released today for the upcoming weekend of August 18th, and once again Singerman took a big hit in screens losing 367 of the 750 it had last week (roughly 49%). This leaves Singer's mess in only 383 domestic theaters, in this just it's 8th weekend at the domestic box office. We're guessing those remaining theaters are run by desperate exhibitors looking to turn some kind of revenue out of the mess they got from WB. Everyone else seems to have given up and wants to clear out as much cinematic garbage as possible for "internet phenomenon" Snakes on a Plane.

Comparatively, Singerman is only in 28 more theaters than the film Cars which has been in theaters for 3 weeks longer. Singerman's contemporary, The Devil Wears Prada, is still in 824 theaters, losing only about 27% of it's theaters from the weekend before. In it's 8th weekend at the domestic box office, Batman Begins was still in 1,192 theaters or 68% more, meaning that Singerman has about as much "legs" as those reptiles on the plane with Sam Jackson.

It will be a minor miracle if Singerman makes more than $800,000 this weekend.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Reasons Singerman Sucks #4,512: The Score

In going through all of the excruciating detail of just how bad Singerman actually was, one of the things that I think we haven't discussed much here is the movie score done by Singer cronie, John Ottman. Like his writing pals, Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty, Ottman is another one of "Singer's guys," who has been working with him since The Usual Suspects back in 1995. And just like Harris and Dougherty "borrowed" aspects of Donner's Superman in writing Singerman, Ottman based his score around John Williams' theme that we all know and love from that same film. Unfortunately for Ottman, the best parts of his score were the parts that were originally written in 1977 by the "Master of the Movie Score" John Williams. Everything Ottman did was derivative and unmemorable, with all the originality of the latest New Found Glory song.

Knowing that Singer is an absolute control freak, I'll probably put some of that blame on him as well. I'm sure Ottman was given some "guidance" to include Williams' theme. Now dont get us wrong, we LOVE the Williams' theme, but like the film itself, the score needed a fresh start. This movie with a completely new cast needed to stand on it's own in story, look, and feel. Tying it to the Donner films just reminded everyone of just how good those films were, and just how bad this one was by comparison. Singer did that in story, score, and even the look of the lead actor. You didn't see Christopher Nolan mandating that Hans Zimmer use Danny Elfman's theme from the Burton Batman films in Batman Begins did you? And guess what? Zimmer and James Newton Howard produced a memorable and moving score that stands on it's own.

I'll stick just as much blame on Ottman though. He doesn't exactly have a track record of writing moving scores. Looking at the guy's resume there's not a lot of memorable work there. I couldn't identify the first 2 X-Men film's scores if you played me the first 30 notes of them, and I've seen each of those films well over a half-dozen times. And did Fantastic Four even have a score?

Singer should've moved out of his personal, comfortable "circle of friends" and gone for the guy who's one of the best in business, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer's work recently has been fantastic, and his scores are all very triumphant and heroic. And guess what other films Zimmer's worked on? That's right, the Pirates of the Carribean films. I've heard those films are doing pretty well, but I could be mistaken. Zimmer also did the score for the TV show The Contender. Take a listen to it, the score is fantastic, and it's just for a boxing reality TV show. Imagine what he could've pumped out for a $260 million epic... How awesome and fitting would something like that have been for a true Superman film? Unfortunatley, like most other things with Singerman, we're left with "what if's."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Poland wins; Wells recants; Chud.com rules!

Way back before The Great Embargo, diametrically opposed reviews of Singerman - as written between sworn film critic enemies Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere, and David Poland of The Hot Button and Movie City News - kept Superman fans more entertained than Singerman.

For those who missed the party, Noel Murray summed it up best in his A.V. Club Blog:

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the game of assertion and retraction going on among the industry pundits, and one of the most entertaining pastimes of the summer has been following the sniping between David Poland and Jeffrey Wells, both of whom would probably dispute being dubbed "industry pundits," even though they spend as much time reporting (and debating) "the numbers" as they do acting as critics or trendspotters. Anyway, Wells came out early for Superman Returns, which he found grand and relevant, while Poland found it plodding and needlessly sober. Poland was more turned on by Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which he thought was thrilling and fun, while Wells found it a soulless amusement park ride. Needless to say, they've both been reporting the box office returns and Rotten Tomatoes scores with a pronounced partisan tone. When Poland initially underreported the Superman numbers, Wells jumped on him; and Wells has been flooding his site with snippets of negative Pirates reviews by heavyweight critics.

Wells went on to gush more about the film, but ultimately, Poland "won" the debate before the film ever unspooled. Evidence his opening comments in his first review of Singerman, dated June 15, 2006:

Where to start on Superman Returns? It's terribly cast, poorly conceived, extremely light on action, features a romance that is not remotely romantic, doesn't feature a single memorable, "gosh, that was great" repeat-to-your-friends moment in a positive way (the blunder bits start early and often), will be crushed by Pirates of The Caribbean II and played out completely before August 1.

But what's this we see? Has Jeffrey Wells grown a pair? Errr... maybe he's just become a little more critical over the last couple of months? And well he SHOULD!

As posted today on his blog, it looks like he's doing some backpedalling:

Honestly, truly -- if you were Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov at Warner Bros., would you greenlight a second Superman film? Would you want Bryan Singer to "go all Wrath of Khan-y" on it or would you hire someone else of his general calbire? [sic]

If it was my call I'd say yes to Singer but under the following conditions:

(a) He has to bring in a two-hour film -- no ifs, ands or buts;

(b) Kate Bosworth is dimissed as Lois Lane and Rachel McAdams replaces her in a no-big-deal way, like it was when Val Kilmer was suddenly the new Batman;

(c) All major plot turns and occurences in the script would have to be submitted to a three-person Logic Review Board made up of Superman movie geeks who would ixnay stuff like Superman falling back to earth from gravity when he's well beyond the earth's gravitational pull;

(d) No special effects sequences that make you want to go for a bathroom or popcorn break the second time you see the film; and

(e) Singer doesn't get his sign off on marketing.

Wells' list of "fixes" are quite interesting, to say the least.

Also note the link to chud.com. Devin Faraci does a great job of summing up the big picture based on Variety's article from yesterday. Excerpt:

The problem there is that no one has figured out why Superman can't fly. Is it because of Pirates? Is it because the character is hokey? Is it because the film just isn't that good? If it's the first one, the DVD could do very well. If it's the second two, there's trouble in Metropolis. Everyone keeps comparing Superman Returns to Batman Begins, but besides the fact that their budgets are very, very different, Batman had legs, which indicated good word of mouth. That later materialized as good DVD sales. Superman has legs like Christopher Reeve, and that could mean a poor showing at the video store.


Singerman is one heck of a money pit for Warners. Too bad the parent company doesn't have a circus shingle as well. With films like Singerman, Poseidon and Lady in the Water, they certainly have enough white elephants to frolic with the studio's newly appointed big blue and maroon clown.

Box Office Update: The Train Wreck Continues

<-- Singer re-enacts just how exactly he derailed the film. Box Office weekend #7 is in the books for Singerman, and like the 6 before it, it wasn't a pretty sight. This past weekend Singerman limped home with a whopping B.O. of $1,242,461 good for 17th place at the domestic box office, falling behind cinematic juggernauts like Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (what??) and The Night Listener, and finished over $600K behind summer surprise The Devil Wears Prada which was also in it's 7th weekend. Singerman's cumulative domestic take now resides at a disappointing $192,594,159.

Just how does that matchup against the film everyone loves to compare it to, Batman Begins? In it's 7th weekend at the domestic box office Begins grossed $2,448,225 or over 49.2% more. At the end of it's 7th weekend Begins cumulative domestic box office was $195,875,532 or 1.7% higher. The disparity between these two films grows by the day. Begins didnt break $200 million dollar until it's 9th weekend at the domestic B.O. At it's current rate of decline in gross receipts and theaters, Singerman wont see that until weekend 15 or 16, and at this rate it probably wont be in theaters that long to see it.

Singerman mentioned in the New York Times

Normally a mention in the Times would be a good thing, but I'm not sure this particular article is one that Singer will be proud of.

Today, the New York Times published an article by David Carr that skewered Hollywood for its portrayal of the Fourth Estate. That kind of essay may not really matter to most people but the readers of this blog might find it a little more interesting since the article chastises Singerman in particular.

It seems that Lois Lane's behavior is something less than Pulitzer worthy....

This summer, even Lois Lane, the archetypal female journalist, not only beds her source but has his child. She is rewarded not with professional ridicule, but with a Pulitzer.


In news that isn't at all related, BJ Routh got a mention in today's LA Times.

Well, sort of.

William Shatner, it seems, is looking for a few good spokespeople.

In the LA Times article, Shatner says this about the winner of the spokesperson search that his DVD Club is sponsoring:

"...This is a chance for passionate fans to be the first to discover the next M. Night Shyamalan or Brandon Routh, and help propel them into stardom..."

If becoming as famous as BJ is part of the prize, I say aspiring actors should probably look into other ways to be discovered.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

POTC2: Voodoo to Singerman

Even Voodoo dolls can't stop "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" slow but methodical assault on the worldwide box office.
Posted: Sun., Aug. 13, 2006, 6:00am PT

Hero seeks his place in the world
'Superman' struggles o'seas against 'Pirates'
By Ian Mohr

Now that Warner Bros.' "Superman Returns" has flown around most of the world, the question is: What was the factor that proved kryptonite to weaken the superhero's results?

Was it the studio's marketing campaign? A character too steeped in Americana, at a time when "truth, justice and the American way" is under fire? An inability to update the wholesome Man of Steel for the "Grand Theft Auto" generation? Or was it just the film itself?

Certainly Superman had one key blockade this summer: Johnny Depp's flouncing antihero from Buena Vista Intl.'s "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Overseas so far, the Bryan Singer-directed "Superman" has earned $146.5 million. In English-speaking turf alone, "Superman" is running a full $56.6 million behind "Pirates" in the U.K., and more than $15 million off pace in Australia.

"Superman" still has his laser vision set on 13 remaining territories, including key upcoming bows in Japan, Germany and Italy.

Some international studio pros point to "Superman's" issues even before "Pirates" came on the horizon.

"Some hardcore fans thought, 'This is the way it is supposed to be,'" says one international vet. "But others thought it was old-fashioned. Maybe Singer was too much of a fan?"

"Superman" isn't the only victim of "Pirates' " plundering: Last weekend, in its fifth frame, "Pirates" grossed more than double the combined takes of the next four films in the charts -- "Superman," "Miami Vice," "Cars" and "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties."

After watching B.O. slump sorely in 2005, foreign cinema operators were hungrily predicting this summer's sesh would be a potential knockout thanks to a potent one-two punch: "Dead Man's Chest" and "Superman."

They were also sure that BVI's "Cars" and DreamWorks' "Over the Hedge" would make for some serious gravy, following the overseas rolls of recent CG animated successes "Madagascar" ($335.2 million) and "Ice Age: The Meltdown" ($449.6 million).

Well, it has been a haymaker of a summer, but "Pirates" has taken the wind out of everyone's sails.

"Pirates" has set its course to pass "Finding Nemo's" world take of $865 million; that will make it BVI's top combined domestic and international grosser.


Meantime, Warner Bros. is left with the consolation that "Superman" will still beat the $166.5 million that its dark "Batman Begins"' lassoed in overseas coin last year.

"Who would have predicted this a year ago?" asks one overseas distribution topper. "I would have loved to have had 'Superman,' which has universal awareness. And Warner Bros. is so bloody smart and great in their marketing. But it was a lost opportunity."

He feels the character is old-fashioned and the marketing seemed similarly retro, invoking images from "Smallville" and the films from the '70s. And, unlike most of this summer's other blockbusters, there wasn't a single Euro star in this film.

And who would've thought that a pirate who runs like a girl would shoot down the Man of Steel? One international vet explains that Depp happens to be a uniquely potent star with overseas auds.

"Johnny Depp is loved around the world in a different way than Tom Cruise or DiCaprio," she points out. "Audiences admire the roles that he picks because they are not all big moneymaking films, and he plays characters that are quite appealing to young audiences around the globe."

And, as compared to Sparrow, Brandon Routh's Superman ended up looking pretty tame: These days, would you rather be an obtuse savior figure in tights or an island-hopping, shambolic rock star?

After Japan, Germany and Italy, most analysts believe Singerman's last hope will be the Galapagos Islands. We understand it has a good shot of leading the box office in that market's two and half theaters.

Singerman blows, yet WB still ruminates a sequel?

Singerman is dropping theaters like prom dresses, yet Warner Bros. is still mulling sequel options?
Posted: Sun., Aug. 13, 2006, 6:00am PT

WB mulls 'Superman' redux
Word is studio trying to lock down Singer for a sequel
By Pamela McClintock

Will "Superman Returns" return?

Warner Bros. Pictures execs are mulling whether to go ahead with a planned sequel and ink another deal with director Bryan Singer.

The film is not such a blockbuster that a follow-up is inevitable -- but not such a disappointment that a sequel would be ludicrous. After all, the first "Austin Powers" pic was a modest hit that begat two huge grossers.

Word on the Warners lot is that the studio is trying to lock down a deal with Singer for a sequel.

Many speculate that WB has invested too much time and money to walk away. What's more, the film fuels a number of Time Warner outlets, including homevid, ancillaries and merchandising -- even subsid DC Comics.

Warners and co-financing partner Legendary Pictures have a shot at breaking even (?!!!) on "Superman" once all the revenue streams are accounted for, but it's going to be a long, tough haul.

Warners and Legendary -- which splits all profits with the studio down the middle -- are counting on strong home entertainment sales to make up for slower-than-expected box office. (WB's 2005 "Batman Begins," whose B.O. was comparable to that of "Superman," earned $167 million in DVD sales, according to estimates by Variety sister pub Video Business.) Then there are the various TV windows.

There's no doubt that with Legendary as a partner, Warners has a far easier time justifying big-budget efforts like "Superman." At the same time, Legendary has investors to answer to.

Officially, Warners says it's premature to talk about any sequel, since "Superman" has yet to open in certain key international territories.

Last month at the fanboy gathering Comic-Con in San Diego, Singer enthusiastically predicted the second film would bow in 2009. He promised fans more action, saying he used the first pic to "lay the foundation" for the relaunch of the franchise.

Singer said he'll "go all 'Wrath of Kahn'" on the next installment -- a reference to the fact that Paramount's long-running "Star Trek" film franchise really kicked in with its second installment, which was tighter, faster and better received than the original "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

Negotiations between Singer and the studio would get delicate if Warners wants to include over-budget penalties. Warners certainly can't wrest control away from a director like Singer, but it can try to make sure the budget stays under a certain level.

Word is that WB and Legendary will want to keep the budget of the next one at $200 million or below, but the studio denies any such cap.

Sequels are generally costlier than the original pics, since they need more action and more special effects to tempt auds. In theory, a "Superman" follow-up could be cheaper, since expensive sets are already built, and some CGI experimentation is out of the way (e.g., how does his cape look when he flies?).

On the other hand, Universal threw in the towel with the Hulk after the first pic in the potential franchise failed to wow.

But is the character too retro? While "Superman Returns" received better notices than nearly all of the other 2006 summer tentpoles, some reviewers questioned whether the superhero is too stolid for modern-day fans, who favor darker, more complicated characters, such as Batman or Spider-Man.

Warners had believed that Superman, because of his good-beats-evil mythology, would appeal to a broader audience than Batman.

WB's "Batman Begins" grossed $203.5 million domestically and $166.5 million overseas. "Superman Returns" could edge past its predecessor. It has grossed $190.5 million in the U.S. and $146.5 million overseas, where it has yet to open in several key territories. Conservative estimates are that the pic will gross at least $170 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to about $360 million.

But "Superman" was far more expensive than "Batman," whose sequel, "The Dark Knight," was just announced by Warners. Pricetag for "Superman" included a production budget of at least $223 million, offset by $20 million in Australian tax breaks. The P&A budget was well north of $100 million.

There is an added $40 million in previous development costs for earlier aborted attempts to resurrect the superhero. The studio wrote off those costs in previous years.

Top studio execs, along with Legendary, insist they will make money on the pic when all is said and done.

But some have speculated that -- based on box office alone and just counting the production budget -- Warners and Legendary could each be out more than $20 million. Those losses could rise sharply when factoring in marketing costs.

Strong DVD sales could lessen the gap. In it deal with Legendary, Warners also gets a theatrical and home entertainment distribution fee.

In "Superman Returns," the question is posed: Does the world still need Superman?

The answer isn't clear, at least in the real world. But the world -- along with Warners, Legendary and Singer -- may have another chance to find out.

They're mad. MAD, I tell ya! Any company silly enough to think "sequel" and "profit" belong in the same sentence as applied to Singerman must be nuts. Somebody throw them one of those neoprene Singerman costumes before they drown in their own stupidity. We hear they make decent personal flotation devices.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Theaters Realize Singerman is a Turd

Listen closely and you can hear the FLUSH!

Theater counts for the weekend of August 11 came out today on Box Office Mojo and the news isn't good for Singerman. It's going to lose 960 theaters this weekend, or over 56% of it's remaining theaters. Singerman will now be reduced to being in just 750 theaters in this it's 7th weekend. That's now 385 LESS than The Devil Wears Prada (which opened the same weekend) is in. So much for those arguments about the film having "legs."

Since everyone loves these comparisons so much. In it's 7th weekend at the domestic box office Batman Begins was still in 1601 theaters. That's 54.2% more for those of you scoring at home. When you keep in mind that Singerman started out in 207 more theaters than Begins to begin with (4065 vs. 3858), the discrepancy becomes even more glaring.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Singerman's first sub-million dollar weekend.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Singer: "The Pirates Plundered my Booty."

Proving once again that "denial" ain't just a river that flows backwards in Egypt, "Quint" at Ain't It Cool News posted an interview today with "Lord Singer" that was done back at Comic Con. If you can sort through the rear-end kissing, Singer seems to basically be sticking to the same story, although this time he's got some new culprits. (We're guessing the Studio told him to knock off the digs at the marketing department.)

QUINT: So, what'd you think of the overall reaction to the film? I know it's really hard to find anything positive online. People seem to be quick to call anything that's not a record breaker a failure. I saw that happen with KONG.

BRYAN SINGER: Well, there's great affection for the picture and I feel... You know, it comes in all different ways. Sometimes it comes with the domestic box office, sometimes it comes in the international box office. Sometimes it comes in letters from your idols who have never written to you before and from their families. Sometimes it comes from coming down here and having a few people say, "Why didn't you do this?" and a few people who say, "Thank you so much." I can only make a movie I think someone will watch 10 years or 20 years from now and say, "Oh, I'm affected by it!" Or a movie that maybe a woman who doesn't come to these kinds of movies will actually watch and get choked up about. That's kind of the idea here.

Where to start? There's "great affection" for the film because of the domestic box office? Nope. The international box office? No not quite, considering your still tracking $20 million behind Batman Begins internationally (though we're SURE it'll be HUGE in Japan). So that leaves personal letters from Singer's idols and some geeks at the Con who wouldve been happy with any piece of terd they were given so long as it had the "S" on it? If that's not evidence of mass appeal, I dont know what is. We're also glad to hear he made the movie so that some woman who doesnt go to superhero movies can go cry like she's watching Beaches. I mean, why make Superman the blockbuster action-adventure extravaganza he should be, when you can make female stereotypes cry?

QUINT: And it seems that across the board people agree on Brandon Routh as Superman.

BRYAN SINGER: Well, that was the key. That was the key. I had to introduce this guy and if that didn't work... And sometimes it takes a certain kind of movie.
And by the way, in terms of people's perceptions on domestic box office, this is going up in the face of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, a sequel, but secondly... the last time a SUPERMAN movie was out was a long time ago and its cumulative domestic gross was $15 million.

First off, the box office questions must be bugging him since he stopped dead in his tracks on a question about Routh and went back to it. Secondly, he turns fanboy and pins the movies issues on POTC2, even though it was flat out of the gate for 9 days before POTC2 debuted. Then, like a drowning man he gets desperate and pulls out the box office gross of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace from 1987??? He basically felt that film was so bad he wrote it out of existence with his "pseudo-sequel" to Superman II, but now he wants to quote it for explaining the box office issues of Singerman???

QUINT: I've also noticed this trend in box office that is pretty different from how things used to work. Back in the day, even great sequels usually didn't match, much less surpass, the box office of the original. Now, I'm noticing that box office on sequels tend to reflect more on the film that came before it. Look at the box office for the MATRIX sequels (RELOADED was huge, REVOLUTIONS was half as big) and LORD OF THE RINGS, with each successive film making more money than the one before it. The box office seems to be genuinely affected by the film that came before it. Look at PIRATES and X2...
BRYAN SINGER: And X3! Look at the opening of X3! Jesus!

In a court of law, they'd call that "leading the witness." Singer seems more than happy to agree. Unfortunately for Quint, he's forgotten about a tiny film franchise called "Spider-man" that flies in the face of his supposed "trend" of sequels grossing more. He also seems to forget that sequels tend to "up the ante" which means bigger budgets, especially in the cases of the films he listed. Has Singerman really warranted a bigger budget sequel like X2 did? What's Singer going to do if WB brings him back (let's hope that's NOT the case) with a $150 million budget? He couldnt put enough action in a film with $204 million at his disposal, what the hell are we gonna get with less?

QUINT: I think that once you have that audience in place you'll hit it big. That why I keep telling people that a SUPERMAN sequel only makes sense for Warner Bros. It's a good time to have franchises right now... SUPERMAN RETURNS will make its money back no matter what...

Christ Quint can you unattach your lips from his rearend long enough to finish the interview? Usually I love your stuff , but c'mon man... "Superman Returns is the bestest in the world! Bryan Singer Rules! YAY!!!"
BRYAN SINGER: It already has!
Uhh no, no it hasn't. It still hasnt made it's money back considering the studio only sees about half the WW box office. It hasnt made it back now, and it surely hadn't done so at Comic Con. Perhaps sometime after DVD release the film will pass the breakeven point. You're living in a dream world, where Studios get 100% of the ticket revenue and Superman movies are for making lonely women cry.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Box Office Update: Falling Behind the Bat

"You thought you could beat me you skinny punk?"

Well in it's 6th weekend at the domestic box office Singerman continues to fade further from the collective consciousness of the American public like a pungent fart on a windy day. Despite losing only 295 theaters it netted a whopping $2,158,227, good for 14th place! Singerman's total domestic take thus far is $190,176,570. (POTC2 hit that amount in less than a week BTW.)

For the people who like to point to Batman Begins' box office figures, and say "look! Singerman is doing good, it's doing better than Batman Begins did." (while totally ignoring little things like total production costs and marketing budgets), let's look at some comparisons. In it's 6th weekend at the domestic box office Begins made $4,727,469 or more than 55% higher than Singerman's. At the end of it's 6th weekend, Begins had a total domestic gross of $191,105,194 or .5% more than Singerman. Begins ended it's run at just over $205 million. If the downward trend that's been in effect since Singerman's second weekend continues, the film should die out somewhere around the $196 million mark. Not only will they be about $9 million short of that mark, they'll also have about $100 million more in expenses to pay off. Those DVD's better come with free beer or something.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

With Great Budget, comes Great Expectations

Hot enough for ya?

Yesterday's L.A. Times has an interesting article that talks about how movies open at the box office and how they fare versus expectations in the industry. In the article, they explain why Singerman is viewed as a large disappointment in the Hollywood community.

"As much as studios say they don't like the expectations game, they play it like political strategists spinning poll numbers behind the scenes. That's because moviegoers often use box-office performance as a filter in deciding which movies to watch. Wall Street also pays close attention to perceived success on an opening weekend.

The Devil Wears Prada" opened to $27.5 million in June, the same weekend the more heavily hyped "Superman Returns" drummed up $52.5 million. The couture comedy was pronounced a surprise hit, but the latest superhero installment was labeled "unspectacular" and "disappointing" in articles.

"Prada," which cost a relatively modest $35 million to produce, was deemed a hit partly because it would yield a juicy return on investment for 20th Century Fox. But it quickly became clear that "Superman Returns," which cost $209 million, wouldn't bring the profit that Warner Bros. was hoping for in reviving the Man of Steel as a franchise.

This article just goes to prove our previous statements that while making $190 million at the US box office is nothing to really sneeze at, except when you spent $209-$260 million to make the film. We expected more from Singerman in quality as well as box office, Warner Bros. sure as heck expected a bigger box office, and obviously the movie industry did as well.

Friday, August 04, 2006


A reader submitted to us yet another "flattering" set of photos of "BJ" Routh.

Now, I'll reiterate that our major issues are with Bryan Singer's hack work though we did find Routh to be less than convincing in the title role, but did this guy ever take a photo doing anything masculine?? This is like the "prequel" to "The Story that just wont go away."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

One of the "10 Big Mistakes of the Summer"

Dave Poland of MovieCityNews.com has put up his weekly article reviewing the summer box office. This week's article takes a look at the "The 10 Big Mistakes of Summer." And of course our favorite piece of celluloid toilet paper shows up prominenlty in his article, as being one of the "Big Money Losers" of the summer. Poland writes:
"It's still not clear how much money Superman Returns will lose and how much of that will be eaten by WB's financial partner, Legendary Pictures. Assuming a $400 million gross (which this film could come up short of or, perhaps, pass with a strong push in its last few foreign markets), the return to the studio would be about $220 million. Figuring a generous $150 million in profits from Home Entertainment and other ancillaries, they're still almost $100 million short of black ink. It won't be a record, as that ignominy belongs to films like Pluto Nash, which paid interest for more than a year after completion and then grossed less than $10 million worldwide."
Poland basically just confirms what we've known all along about the financial shape of Singerman. In case you're looking to doubt Mr. Poland's insight on the subject, we'll direct you to this piece of foresight.

Speaking of "Marketing"

Oh boy.

Anyone else see this little doozey of a banner ad floating around the net?

It's promoting a website called "Starware Entertainment" that wants to install a nasty little toolbar on your browser so you can easily access celeb photos and gossip. Now there's an original idea!
What's more interesting is this banner ad appears to be popping up on sites like Superhero Hype! and Comingsoon.net which are allegedley "pro-Singerman" sites, and they add even more fuel to the fire of the "Story That Won't Go Away" that we reported a few weeks back.

Play BALL, not PLANE!

Every week, ESPN asks its readers to vote on questions relating to the latest sports news and controversies, often soliciting over 20,000 votes per poll.

During the week of July 21, 2006, sports fans voiced their opinion on what they felt was the biggest disappointment. These were the results.

Looks like even sports fans thought landing a big ass plane on the pitcher's mound while a game was in progress was a bit cheesy.

We sympathize with our MLB brothers; what was Singer thinking?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Singerman products?

Saw these posted by a user who calls himself (or herself) "Paradoxium" on the Superhero Hype! Forums. Looks like WB is marketing some new products in response to Singerman's awful plot lines.
With products like these on the market, perhaps a sequel wouldnt be in doubt. I mean, who WOULDN'T want these?