Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

August 20, 2013

CALLERI: 'The Spectacular Now' is a small picture with large potential

Niagara Gazette — The summer movie season, which is limping into the sunset, is notable more for its failures than for its successes. Audiences have mostly rejected the mega-budget blockbusters that seem dropped from the same mold.

The unexpected winner will be the fright film “The Conjuring,” which was made for $20-million and has collected $127-million at the box office in North America alone and is still playing worldwide and has a global take of $193-million. The biggest blockbuster is “Iron Man 3,” which tops the North American list with $408-million and has snared $1.2-billion when you include its foreign results.

Combining North American and worldwide interest, there was also positive reaction in terms of ticket sales to “Despicable Me 2,“ “Man Of Steel,” “Monsters University,” “Fast & Furious 6,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “World War Z,” “The Heat,” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The biggest disaster was “The Long Ranger,” a flop that affected The Disney Company’s bottom line. With production and marketing costs, its budget was around $375-million. That money is not seen on the screen. Where it went is anyone’s guess. The movie eked out $87-million in the U.S. and Canada. When adding its foreign take, it scraped up a weak $217-million.

Other epic duds include, ironically, an animated feature called “Epic.” Also failing were “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” (they are essentially the same movie), “Pacific Rim,” “R.I.P.D.,” “After Earth,” “The Hangover Part III,” “Turbo,” “Red 2,” and “Elysium,” which was supposed to rescue Sony Pictures from its dismal box office showing of late. However, “Elysium” is so similar to every other Earth-in-crisis movie, that it could run as a preview for recent science-fiction, robots-among-us, clash and clang action efforts.

As happens every summer, small distributors and major studios hoping to catch a wave fill the end of the season with a slew of entries.

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