Monday, November 28, 2011

Hoping the audience for 'Hugo' grows

I can't help but be a little depressed that in its second week, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I did more business than any other film. That, of course, includes Martin Scorsese's masterful Hugo, which couldn't outdo the Thanksgiving weekend performances of The Muppets, Happy Feet Two and Arthur Christmas. A Los Angeles Times blog item wondered whether Hugo, which played on only 1,277 screens, might prove more successful in the long run. (Twilight Saga, by comparison, was playing on 4,066 screens.) Speculating about a movie's long-haul box-office prospects seems a bit unusual in these days of opening-weekend mania, but I'm definitely hoping audiences for the artful Hugo grow.

Here's a safe bet for you, though. In a decade, I think more folks will watch Hugo than will see The Muppets, Happy Feet Two or Arthur Christmas combined. That's no knock on those very kid friendly movies, each of which has its supporters. But Hugo qualifies as a classic.


There were sneak previews this weekend of Cameron Crowe's We Bought A Zoo, an adaptation of a Benjamin Mee memoir about a family that purchases a rundown zoo in the South West of England. The movie, which stars Matt Damon as Mee and Scarlett Johansson as a zookeeper, moves Mee's story to the U.S. That's probably a wise decision as far as box-office prospects are concerned, but I wonder what will happen when American kids who are enamored by We Bought A Zoo ask their parents to take them for a visit.

I noticed a large display advertisement for Saturday night's sneaks of We Bought A Zoo in The New York Times. I then checked the movie listings in the Denver Post, and discovered that We Bought A Zoo was sneaking at a number of local theaters. If there were any display ads in the local paper, I missed them. Maybe it was a sneaky sneak preview.

Anyway, I went, and will review We Bought A Zoo when it opens next month.

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