Under normal circumstances, when a movie's box office drops 50 percent in its second weekend, Hollywood panics and gets ready to start dropping screens by weekend three.
"Spider-Man 3" was down more than 60 percent but nothing normal about these circumstances. "Spidey 3" did $60 million, and though it's just the fourth biggest second weekend of all time ("Spidey 1" is the winner) and the fourth-fastest to $200 million domestic ("Spidey 2" holds that record), it has already become the year's box office champ, and it's going to be tough for "Shrek" and "Pirates" to beat it.
One reason? "Spidey 3" will still be in theaters when the other threes open.
It's good to be first.
Lindsay Lohan Alert
According to blogger Nikki Fink's deadlinehollywooddaily.com exit polls from "Georgia Rules," 53 percent of the few folks who did go see the movie went to see Jane Fonda.
Thirty-four percent went to see Lindsay Lohan.
Serious casualty: "Lucky You."
Drew Barrymore, Eric Bana, Curtis Hanson. Nobody went. Not a bad movie, but a movie whose time had come (and gone) whilst the studio waited to release it. I hope Hanson, who directed one of the best movies about movies (one of my favorite genres), "L.A. Confidential," recovers quickly.
Time Marches On, but Where?
Little clip on the cover of this week's Time magazine: The "Shrek" Effect. Why fairy tales have changed forever and ever.
The premise of the three-page piece is "Shrek's" success parodying fairy tales has become the rule: "parodied, ironized, met-fictionalized, politically adjusted and pop-culture saturated."
"The strange side effect," the writer goes on, "is that kids get exposed to the parodies before, or instead of, the originals."
Fascinating, even frightening. Worth three pages in Time magazine -- if it were true.
"Shrek" is a great film. Watching "Shrek 1," half an hour in, I made a note "if this film ends the way it has to end, it's one of the best movies of all time."
The ogre doesn't become a handsome prince, the beautiful princess becomes -- an ogre. A piece of genius. Brilliantly executed. But has "Shrek" changed the rest of the fairy-tale world?
Come on, Time.
The writer's two film examples "Hoodwinked" and "Happily N'Ever After" couldn't draw an audience. "Hoodwinked," a "Dragnet"-"Little Red Riding Hood" parody, did $51 million here.
It may eventually make money but Granny Hollywood doesn't have such big eyes for another like it. "Happily N'Ever" was a huge flop.
And Barbie is still selling dolls and American Girl is a huge success around the country, as are Disney's Princess Parties.
Other cited examples: "The Fairly Oddparents" -- good TV, but kids know the joke; "Wicked" is a great Broadway musical but nothing subversive or apocalyptic about it, just a little bit of stage genius. With some pretty good songs.
And the traditional fairy tales, the Disney versions at least (the title of an excellent book by another Time film critic Richard Schickel), dominate DVD sales and are still the way kids learn about Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Bambi.