Me and My Nine Iron

July 30, 2010

Illumination Entertainment

More on Despicable Me. It was the first feature film produced by Illumination Entertainment, which should be a name you see quite often in the future. Founded by the President of 20th Century Fox Animation, he recruited some other key players at Fox and DreamWorks and has a deal to produce one to two films per year.

Future project on the list: Despicable Me 2. I can’t see how that can be a franchise and probably shouldn’t be one like The Last Airbender.

I was told by a friend that this was made to be a trilogy from the beginning, and I told my friend that Paramount should pull the plug on this money-losing flop, although disappointingly, you probably want to make your money back with smaller budgets in the next two movies, as is speculated.

The math?

$150 million budget for first film
+ $130 million marketing
– $152 million at the box office
= $128 million loss (not including future sales)
+ $100 million budget for next two films

And, you’ll need the next two to make well over $400 million just to break even, which I don’t see happening. I would have  thought twice about handing M. Night Shyamalan a blank check even before this movie because if you break down his resume, you’ll find a shaky one with plenty of misses in between his hits. This is his third consecutive critical failure (Lady in the Water, The Happening) and at the very least, he should get back to what he’s best at: mystery thrillers.

Or maybe, they should’ve cast an actual Asian as the male lead in a pan-Asian world. That’s about as sad as Tom Cruise purportedly to have been the real Edwin Salt, before the character underwent a gender change and became Evelyn Salt, played by Angelina Jolie.

Dinner for Schmucks comes out today, thankfully, because that was one of the most heavily-commercialized movies I can remember. I’m talking every single commercial break during my Friends re-runs. It seems to fall short on the comedy level from critics, but then that’s how you want to market a movie because I think it looks hilarious (like Death at a Funeral).

This is the third collaboration between Steve Carell and Paul Rudd (Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and while Carell is one of the funniest comedians around (and my favorite comedian), Rudd plays almost the same annoying smartass that you would hate to hang out with (see Role Models).

I was also disappointed to find out that it’s a remake of a 1998 French black comedy (I love that genre) named The Dinner Game, which did well both critically and financially. It’s one thing to remake an old film (The Karate Kid) to update it, if you will, but to just re-do a foreign film is lazy and kind of pathetic (see My Sassy Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Speaking of the latter, which is expected to come out Christmas 2011, it was in the news the other day about who was in the running to nab the female lead; Ellen Page among the at least half-dozen still in contention. I find that topic usually not in the news, especially for a non-comic book movie (Mark Ruffalo is the new Hulk!) that was made in Sweden just last year!

It’s like they saw this $13 million movie overseas make over $100 million and in the words of Gru say, “Light bulb.” The American version of the first part of the trilogy (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest) should see, if stayed true to its original, Daniel Craig (Sorry, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt. It’s about time you didn’t get what you want.) going to third base, home and whatever rape is to the lucky female.

I’m rooting for Natalie Portman.




  1. The humor with Ferrell and Sandler are in the characters — or caricatures — they play. Less so, now, with Sandler. I do think comedic actors like them are on the way out. The new wave of comedy, I think, is in dialogue delivered by sarcastic actors like Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, etc. (pretty much everyone under the Apatow umbrella). I also like Craig Robinson.

    Maybe I’m wrong because people Ken Jeong and Galifianakis and Sacha Baron Cohen, who seem to be the natural evolution of “actors who play crazy characters.”

    Comment by Chris Le — August 4, 2010 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  2. Will Ferrell’s had a great past decade of hits: “Old School,” “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers.” And, he’s still very much among the top comics in the game. That being said, “The Other Guys” actually looks awful from the previews, but Mark Wahlberg looks funny in his second comedy this year and maybe, should continue to be involved in that genre (loved him in “Date Night”).

    Adam Sandler, who has had an arguably better decade than Ferrell? Are they slowly being replaced? Seth Rogen? I expect a lot from “The Green Hornet.” You hear of this movie? Interesting cast with another “Funny People” story.

    Comment by Bryan — August 3, 2010 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  3. For me, Will Ferrell’s peak was during his stint with SNL and shortly after. He’s waned a bit, but “The Other Guys” looks like a winner.

    Rudd is easily in my top 3 funniest (on screen, excluding stand up), if not at the top, along with … hmm … probably Zach Galifianakis and Steve Carrell (Kristen Wiig and Tina Fey deserve mention, if including television). Maybe I like Rudd because, according to you and Hyung, I’m a sarcastic bitch too?

    Comment by Chris Le — August 3, 2010 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  4. I didn’t know the extent of Shyamalan’s name had gone to that point already.

    I don’t dislike Rudd, and I’ll admit he has good on-screen presence. He’s definitely among the top guys right now, but top 3? That’s a short list. Is Will Ferrell nowhere near the top for you? And do you mean nice guy in real life? He looks like he carries over his personality completely, which to me is a sarcastic bitch.

    Please don’t google the ending. You’re out of control, like my friend who reads the entire synopsis before he watches the movie.

    Comment by Bryan — August 2, 2010 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  5. Shyamalan has become a joke. Literally. People laugh at the very sight of his name, like they did during the trailer for his upcoming “Devil”:

    I’m shocked you dislike Paul Rudd. Naturally funny in a way that’s not so obvious, effortless delivery, and you can tell he’s just a nice guy. He’s one of top 3 comedic actors today – easily.

    I’m super intrigued by “Catfish.” I’m trying REALLY hard not to google the ending.

    Comment by Chris Le — August 1, 2010 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  6. Illumination Entertainment…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by World Wide News Flash — July 30, 2010 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

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