Sad box office facts

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Quiz: What two things do the following films have in common?

“Doom”
“The Fog”
“Transporter 2”
“The Dukes of Hazzard”
“Fantastic Four”
“Monster-in-Law”
“The Amityville Horror”
“The Pacifier”
“Diary of a Mad Black Woman”
“Boogeyman”
“Are We There Yet?”

Answer: First, they’re all really bad.

Second, they were each the No. 1 film in the country for at least one weekend apiece.

That’s right, there was one weekend this year when people would rather watch “The Pacifier” than ANY OTHER MOVIE. Doesn’t that make you sorta ashamed? Especially considering that on that very same weekend, good movies like “Million Dollar Baby,” “Sideways,” “Finding Neverland,” “Hotel Rwanda” and “In Good Company” were also playing. Heck, even “The Incredibles” was still on a few hundred screens. And instead, everyone went to watch Vin Diesel being bit in the crotch by a duck.

There was a general bemoaning of Hollywood’s inferior product this year, just as there is most years. But as long as people keep going to watch the crap that comes out, why should Hollywood make anything different? If you paid money to see “Are We There Yet?,” let’s face it, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I’m looking at the films liable to make my Top 10 list for the year, and I see quite a few that were box office disappointments. Is it because they’re movies that only film critics like, and that regular audiences find boring? Yeah, a few of them. But most of them are accessible, regular ol’ crowd-pleasers — that is, they would be crowd-pleasers if they could attract a crowd to please.

The fact that “Monster-in-Law” grossed $82 million while “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” has petered out around $4 million is a terrible injustice. (Maybe if Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda had kissed each other and then shot each other….)

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