$14 Million down—Another $50 or so million to go!

I saw Zathura this weekend and to my dismay the theater was more empty than full. Thankfully, across the country it made close to $14 million, so it stands a chance to break even. Once it comes out on DVD and onto the movie channels, people will get a chance to see what they were missing.

Why am I predicting that Zathura will only limp its way to the $50 million mark in the theaters? Easy. Because it’s a family picture.

“Oh, do you mean like Steve Martin’s CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN movie, or his upcoming CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2?”

No, I mean nothing of the sort. What I’m saying is that Zathura is a good family comedy, in the way that the Cheaper By The Dozen movies aren’t. Which is a bloody shame, because I think Steve Martin is one of the funniest men on the planet.

“I’m confused. Both Zathura and the Cheaper movies are family pictures. What’s the difference? The first Cheaper by the Dozen movie made hundreds of millions of bucks!”

The difference is that Zathura is a quality film, while the Cheaper by the Dozen movies, which will soon be joined by Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo’s remake of the 1960s classic, Yours, Mine & Ours, are little more than concoctions cooked up in a vile Hollywood laboratory.

The bulk of the ‘kids’ movies being released today follow the same formula to a ‘T’. The parents of a large group of diversely aged and racially different children discover that their parents are about to do something to disrupt the family unit, so the formerly separatist children band together to commit all manner of hi-jinks to demonstrate to their parents that they like things just the way they were before.

Before the truth behind their actions can be revealed, you can count on parents, babysitters, hapless workmen, and nosey neighbors to fall into vats of gooey paint and plaster, or getting trapped on a conveyor belt rolling through a gauntlet of glue guns, only to be dumped into a vat of chicken feathers.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are splashes of lightweight prater that happen in Zathura, and a splash of stereotyping and some cutout characterization, but there’s no need to check your brain at the door. Plus the movie has a big heart and a sense of wonder that makes going to the movies worth paying ten bucks for a bucket of popcorn.

“So you’re telling me that I should see Zathrua?”

No, you’ve seen it already. You’re my inner monologue and you’re helping me with this post. Remember?

“Nope. Can’t say that I do.”

Well, then, by all means, go see Zathrua. Go early and sit through it three or four times while you’re at it.

“Do you mean it? You won’t miss me?”

I’ll survive. You go on now.

No comments: