by Randy Muselman
Street Date: November 5, 2004
The year 2004 is slowly fading away into memory. It's been an interesting year for movies. With the cost of theater tickets rising, families are staying home and renting more often (some industry experts would disagree with me). It's comfortable, and less expensive. Lets take a look at what you the consumer are currently renting, and what's left to hit video shelves before the end of the year.
All data and movie summaries supplied by the professional version of The Internet Movie Database
As of October 10, 2004, here are the current lists of what you, the consumer is renting on home video. These statistics are comprised of both DVD and VHS rentals.
I think that many people, especially those with families are staying away from the theater more often than not. The exception may be the big block buster that people can take the kids to. Viewing at home is more relaxed. You don't have to worry about an obnoxious idiot sitting near you munching away loudly on popcorn and slurping soft drinks. Then there's the real moron of the theater experience. The individual that has to give an ongoing narrative during the entire film. You can discuss your movie going experience, including the idiots you encounter in our forums
Face it. Unless it's just a film that I must see, then I myself prefer the home video experience. If I want to pause the film and get a drink, or see what the kids are up to, I don't have to miss a thing, and it costs me much less. I have three children. If I plan on an outing to the theater with the family, I can pretty much figure on spending about fifty to sixty bucks. At home, I can grab the video for about $3.50 at my local video store. Economically, I can't go wrong.
Coming in at number 10 for the week is The Punisher.
After his wife and family are killed, G-Man Frank Castle (Jane) takes it upon himself to rid America of crime by acting as judge, jury and executioner.
So far, this film as grossed about 33 million at the rental counter. About the same as it grossed during its theatrical run. Even though it wasn't a major success at the box office, it's still made lots of cash for the studio.
Coming in at number 9 is Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers.
An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as a band in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting landlord: a sharp old woman.
The studio invested about 35 million in the making of this film. While making 22 million at the box office in the USA, worldwide, the tally comes in at just about 65 million dollars. At the rental counter, it's just shy of grabbing 23 million.
Dropping in at number 8 is the box office bomb The Alamo.
Based on the 1836 standoff between a group of Texan and Tejano men, led by Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and Mexican dictator Santa Anna's forces at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
The studio invested 95 million in this film during production, and the best it could do during it's theatrical run was 22 million dollars. It's not even making it's money back at the rental counter as thus far, rents have accounted for 8.3 million.
Number 7 at the home rental counter is the comedy Envy.
Ben Stiller and Jack Black star as Tim and Nick, best friends, neighbors and co-workers, whose equal footing is suddenly tripped up when one of Nick's harebrained get-rich-quick schemes actually succeeds: Vapoorizer, a spray that literally makes dog poop, or any other kind for that matter, evaporate into thin air.
Envy is rather silly at times, which may account as to why it did poorly at the box office, taking in only 12 million dollars after a studio investment of 40 million. Rentals as of October 10, 2004 have accounted for an additional take of 8.1 million dollars.
After twelve days in release, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind arrives at the rental counter in our number 6 spot.
A couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
During my day to day encounters with video rental customers, I've had many tell me that this film was so bad, they couldn't finish watching it. To be honest, those opinions have kept me from watching it myself.
I must be talking to the wrong folks, because the numbers show this film as a success for the studio. With an investment of around 20 million, the studio received a return just shy of 49 million at the box office. Now, after only 12 days of release on home video, the film continues to make good money with an 8.1 million take in rentals.
Number 5 at the rental counter is Saved!.
When a girl (Jena Malone) attending a Baptist high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her.
This film is turning into a surprise for many. I myself didn't know if this film would rent well or not, but at my video store, I can't keep it on the shelf.
With an estimated investment of 5 million dollars, and a short run at the box office, Saved! took home just shy of 9 million dollars. Home rentals have accounted for 4.5 million dollars, and that after only five days of release on home video.
Number 4 at the rental counter is Mean Girls.
Raised in African bush country by her zoologist parents, Cady Heron thinks she knows about survival of the fittest. But the law of the jungle takes on a whole new meaning when the home-schooled 15-year-old enters public high school for the first time and encounters psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today.
(Summary written by Sujit R. Varma)
As silly to me as this film was, the studio is laughing all the way to the bank. After an investment of 17 million dollars to make the film, it grabbed 121 million dollars at the worldwide box office. After 19 days on home video rental shelves, Mean Girls has grabbed 17.2 million dollars.
Staying steady at number 3 is Man On Fire.
A wave of kidnappings has swept through Mexico, feeding a growing sense of panic among its wealthier citizens, especially parents. In one six-day period, there were twenty-four abductions, leading many to hire bodyguards for their children. Into this world enters John Creasy, a burned-out ex-CIA operative/assassin, who has given up on life. Creasy's friend Rayburn brings him to Mexico City to be a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos, daughter of industrialist Samuel Ramos and his wife Lisa.
During the theatrical run for Man On Fire, the film made 77 million at the box office. That's after an estimated investment of 70 million to make the film. Not bad, the studio made money. The 30 million that the film has made on home video is nothing but icing on the cake. Just imagine how much additional revenue will be made when you take into account the number of copies that were/are being purchased.
Holding steady as a "rock" at the number 2 slot is Walking Tall.
When a former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces returns to his small home town in rural Washington State to revive his family's lumber mill business, he discovers that much has changed, as the normally tranquil town is now besieged by drugs, outbreaks of violence and a general feeling of malaise and terror, with many pointing a finger at the influence of a crooked casino where his ex-girlfriend now works as a dancer.
After an investment of 56 million to make the film, Walking Tall took home about 45 million at the box office. As of October 10, 2004, home video rentals have accounted for another 11 million dollars in the coffers.
While the film was fun to watch, I still prefer the original version from 1973 with Joe Don Baker. Maybe it's just my age.
Now it's time for the number 1 film on home video. I'll bet you can guess what it is before I even tell you. With five days of home video rentals under it's belt, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 takes the top spot.
In this film, muckraker Michael Moore turns his eye on George W. Bush and his War on Terrorism agenda. He illustrates his argument about how this failed businessman with deep connections to the royal house of Saud of Saudia Arabia and the Bin Ladins got elected on fraudulent circumstances and proceeded to blunder through his duties while ignoring warnings of the looming betrayal by his foreign partners. When that treachery hits with the 9/11 attacks, Moore explains how Bush failed to take immediate action to defend his nation, only to later cynically manipulate it to serve his wealthy backers' corrupt ambitions.
This film cost only 6 million dollars to produce, and worldwide, during it's theatrical run, Fahrenheit 9/11 took in 167 million dollars. So far, after just 5 days in release on home video, this film has added an additional 7.3 million dollars to it's bank roll.
I do have to wonder that if this hadn't been a year for the presidential election, if this film would have done this well. Let me be the first to admit I know zero about politics. I don't want to know about politics. I'm just guessing.
So there you have it, the top 10 films in release on home video. Surprised by what you see? What's in store for you for home video rentals for the rest of the year? Let's take a quick look at what's coming up.
In November, the following titles arrive for you to take home.
Dawn Of The Dead
Chronicles of Riddick
Around The World In 80 Days
For December, which is one of the biggest months of home video, you can grab the following titles.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Bourne Supremacy
The Princess Diaries 2
The titles I've just listed are the big money makers. There will be many others that aren't quite as well known, not to mention all the TV series that are sure to be hitting the market.
One final note. Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King arrives for you December 15th in the extended edition. It will feature about an hour of additional footage that you didn't get to see in theaters. Peter Jackson has stated in an earlier interview that you could purchase any of the extended editions as they were released as they should be the ultimate incarnation of each film. I know some folks are waiting for the deluxe boxed set. So if Jackson holds true to his word, you can spend your cash and not worry about getting smacked again in the wallet for yet more features in a box set.
I hope you've enjoyed my rants and raves, if you have comments, do send them, I love hearing from you. Good or bad, I like to read them all. You can drop me a line at by clicking here
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1210
originally posted: 10/14/04 14:22:24
last updated: 10/14/04 14:28:58