News

'Miami Vice' Cracks Down on 'Pirates'

by Brandon Gray
Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx
in Miami Vice
July 31, 2006

Smuggling $25.7 million from 3,021 locations, Miami Vice was lukewarm in its opening but out-gunned the fourth frame of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to win the weekend. Since Pirates' debut, there hasn't been a breakout hit.

Miami Vice, Universal Pictures' big screen adaptation of the 1984 to 1989 NBC television series, captured about as much as director Michael Mann's previous picture, Collateral, out of the gate. With a production budget of $135 million, though, Miami Vice cost twice as much as Collateral, which had a similar release date in 2004 and went on to gross $101 million in total.

"The expectations were that Miami Vice would perform along these lines," said Nikki Rocco, president of distribution for Universal. "There hasn't been anything like it in the marketplace, and [Mann] brought something very different to it than just a recreation of the old show."

According to Universal's exit polling, 62 percent of Miami Vice's audience was over 30 years old and 51 percent was male. The "action" was the top reason moviegoers checked off for seeing the picture, with co-star Jamie Foxx at a close second and Colin Farrell trailing in third. Universal had no data on the audience's reaction to the murky affair.

Miami Vice's positioning was in the league of such recent high profile, late summer action pictures as the Farrell-led TV show adaptation S.W.A.T., the Miami-set Bad Boys II and Universal's The Bourne Supremacy, but its box office was significantly lower. Its marketing lacked a distinguishable plot, crackling character interaction and spectacle to get the job done. Instead, the ads boiled down to nifty music videos, with nary a note of Jan Hammer's famous theme music from the TV show.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest may have relinquished the top spot after a three-week reign, but it became distributor Buena Vista's highest-grossing picture on record, sailing past Finding Nemo, and now ranks 11th on the all time chart. The supernatural swashbuckler fell 41 percent to $20.6 million, and its treasure grew to $358.5 million in 24 days.

Among the weekend's openings, John Tucker Must Die was relatively the most successful with $14.3 million at 2,560 theaters. 20th Century Fox's teen comedy was produced for $18 million, and the studio's research indicated that 75 percent of the audience was female, 68 percent of which under 25.

A scene from The Ant Bully
Few picked on The Ant Bully, which posted the weakest start ever for a high profile computer-animated feature. Produced by Tom Hanks and featuring the voices of Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, the Warner Bros. release gathered $8.4 million at 3,050 sites, less than the second weekend of the modest Monster House.

With the number of computer-animated movies sky-rocketing, it takes a compelling story to stand out, not simply scattershot gags from anthropomorphized critters. The Ant Bully failed on this count and was further hampered by similarities to Antz and A Bug's Life, and the summer already had a C.G. feature with a neighborhood-creatures-versus-exterminator angle (Over the Hedge). Next weekend, yet another manic C.G. movie hits theaters with The Barnyard.

In limited release, Woody Allen's Scoop scraped up $3 million at 538 theaters, a step down from his last picture, Match Point, which was also set in London and featured Scarlett Johansson. Fox Searchlight debuted road trip comedy Little Miss Sunshine at seven venues and packed a promising $52,968 per site average. The distributor plans a nationwide release (around 600 theaters) for Aug. 18.

Overall, weekend business was up six percent from last year when Wedding Crashers emerged on top and Stealth bombed.

RELATED ARTICLES
Review - 'Miami Vice'
Review - 'The Ant Bully'
8/1/05 - 'Stealth' Bombs, 'Wedding' No Longer a Bridesmaid

RELATED CHARTS
Weekend Box Office Results
TV Show Adaptations
Computer Animation
All Time Domestic Grosses

NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, July 30 and was revised on Monday, July 31 with actual grosses.



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