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AICN-Downunder: Batman Begins; Hot Stuff; Blacktown; Flick; Clara; Elise; LittleFish; TheCrop; Mr & Ms Smith; Vengeance

Back from the land of the dead it's ol'Father Geek with Latauro and THE downunder report, an app title since its (the column) been buried under a monsterious wave of trash-mail and the rotting corpses of castoff, outdated AICN programing code that left some of us useless in a dank, dark Romaroesque world of idle, powerless machines, uncontrolable twitching muscles, and intellectless brains searching hopelessly for some sort of input...

I'd give five bucks to see that cat take a sip of that soup.


A local multiplex down my way has a poster up for THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS. What's interesting is that it's a US poster, so we're treated to a small box in the corner courtesy of the MPAA which tells us that the film is rated PG for, amongst other things, "thematic elements".

I, like many others who attention I drew to the poster, was perplexed. What is a thematic element? Why is it so dangerous? Surely they couldn't mean "adult themes", or they'd just say it. "Adult themes" can't be un-PC, can it?

English professor Tom Eiland defines it thusly: "The tools an author uses to tell a story and get his or her message across are called Thematic Elements. Used alone or in conjunction with others, these literary terms refer to the devices which help the author to keep the story entertaining while adding depth and meaning to the work." (

So SISTERHOOD contains devices which keep the story entertaining? The film has depth and meaning? Children should be protected from this?

Doing more research, I discovered other films contain thematic elements. HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE apparently has them. So does BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and LEMONY SNICKET. CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN has both thematic elements and brief language. I would have thought coarse language would be more harmful, but apparently language of any kind, no matter how brief, is inappropriate.

Further research took me to the web page for Alberta Community Development (, which described thematic elements as referring to "the attitude, tone, and intention of the film". I'm so glad we cleared that up.

It seems that every day people are inventing new things that are dangerous to children; or, at very least, dangerous for them to see on-screen. See, I would have thought that there's violence, sex, swearing and drug use. I can't really think of any others. Maybe horror, but I'd count that under violence. Unless you start combining them in ways that would make Meir Zachi blush, there's really nothing new under the sun. People I've spoken to have been unable to think of anything new. I mean, nothing really changes, does it? Homosexuality is now supposed to be treated the same as heterosexuality; in theory, they're judged on identical merits. (Ben Stiller, however, claimed that he had to cut suggestive homoerotic stuff out of ZOOLANDER in order to secure the film's rating, although the mostly-heterosexual orgy later on was totally okay.) Cigarette smoking has also become a bit of an issue, with many (particularly in India) worried that kids will see their heroes puffing down the death sticks and want to emulate them, though all it really takes is seeing the slightly-cooler kid from next door light up. (My stance on this is that it's a valid concern, although people do smoke in everyday life so we can't really pretend it doesn't happen. Why not classify it as a low-level narcotic, therefore giving otherwise G-rated films a PG rating for "low level drug use"?)

Wow. Those mini-rants have been bubbling to the surface with disturbing ease lately.

Anyway, I've decided to invent a new thing. Rather than inventing vague terms to cover societal dangers that are constantly being redefined, I've turned my considerable talents towards creating something people have never seen or done before. Ladies and gentlemen, I present: phenting.

We now have violence, sex, swearing, drugs, and phenting. I came up with phenting a week or two ago, and so far it's been a big success. A mother slapped me in the street for phenting in front of her children. A guy cut in front of me at the local Boost Juice bar, so I phented him in the kidneys. The other night I noticed three phents on camera during Parliament Question Time.

At first I was going to try and claim some sort of copyright to it, but my luxurious lifestyle is already well-enough funded by my fat AICN paycheques, so I don't need any royalties. I want you guys to begin phenting whenever the opportunity presents itself. I want phenting to become such a horrible worldwide phenomena that the MPAA and the OFLC are forced to re-evaluate films based on the level of phenting they contain.

After all, I'd much rather see our children protected from the ravages of phenting than the horrors of "thematic elements".


(Special note: given how long it's been since the last AICN-D, consider this section less "news" and more a compilation of stuff that's happened over the past month. Y'know, like Elston Gunn, only with more Minogue jokes.)

It's about a five minute drive from my place to my girlfriend's. Directly in between us is a hospital, one that had a gaggle of reporters and cameras in front of it a week or two back. Later, I discovered they were there because that's where the Green Fairy was being treated for breast cancer. As many of you may know, national treasure and hot pants endorser Kylie Minogue has been battling the disease since it was discovered earlier last month. What you may not know is that in the midst of all this, she was also in negotiations with some broccoli stems for a role in CASINO ROYALE. Chalk it up to unfounded rumours (I know, shocking for a Bond production), but the Singing Budgie might just be following up on the promise displayed in BIODOME and starring as the next Bond girl. Latino Review got it from British tabloid The Sun, and I got it from "Shannon".

* Hey, speaking of Minogues and unverifiable rumours, a bloke in the UK calling himself "The Institution" sent me a bit of info he apparently got from a Lucasfilm rep. As the new STAR WARS TV series is going to shoot in Australia, they're looking at a bunch of local actors to fill the roles. AICN-D reported that Matthew Newton (son of Bert and one of the original contenders for Anakin) was being considered, along with Dannii Minogue and Joel Edgerton. Edgerton's an interesting choice, given he played Owen Lars in the prequels. Dannii Minogue is most likely up for the role of Tattoine's twin suns.

* In addition to that bit of info, "The" also dropped this nugget: "I also asked about those rumours on AICN last week about the 'Knights of the Old Republic' movie, and I think there might be something going on there. The word was "George Lucas isn't doing that one". I repeat HE isn't doing that one - but someone else is? YOU GUYS NAILED IT ON THE HEAD!" Personally, I would have emphasised the word ONE, or possibly DOING, but our scooper's way is interesting as well.

* The Michael Noonan novel DECEMBER BOYS is getting an adaptation, courtesy of screenwriter Marc Rosenberg and director Rod Hardy. The 1960s-set drama about four orphans who fight crime (that last bit is a lie) has just signed Harold Potter thesper Daniel Radcliffe, who will presumably have to pretend to have an Australian accent. So long as it's better than Meryl Streep's overrated attempt, I'll be happy. Or, at least, indifferent.

* The Rushmeister (who, according to tabloid rumour, makes everyone call him "Geoffrey" on set), looks to be joining fellow antipodean Eric Bana in Speilberg's VENGEANCE, or whatever it's called now. You know the one. 1972 Munich Olympics, etc. the new draft is written by Tony Kushner, and will presumably be shot by Speilberg during lunch breaks on his God biopic.

* This is a little fourth-hand, but there's some interesting news regarding the recently-decrowned Australian Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins. See, she's been doing some work on the TV travelogue "The Great Outdoors", but according to that program's Diane Smith, Hawkins won't be with them for long. Seems she's in-demand for a lot of film roles, including "a female Superman... Supergirl movie". This was revealed in an interview with a Perth radio station and passed on by an avid listener. Having read the painfully funny SUPERGIRL synopsis Akiva Goldsman did a few years back, I can say I find the prospect of a FEMALE SUPERMAN film far more interesting. Clark gets a sex change? Certainly more palatable than PARALLEL UNIVERSE BULLSHIT, AKIVA! Awesome. I used caps. Thanks to "Lennox" and "Jack".

* More likely than MS SUPERMAN coming to fruition (I say keep Brandon Routh and throw a pink ribbon on him), is Hawkins appearing in the new Adam Sandler high concept click, FLICK. Or high concept flick, CLICK. One of those. Sandler saw her during the Miss Universe ceremony and decided he wanted her. That's pretty much how I met my last wife.

* A lot of places are cottoning onto the idea of Australian actor Lachy Hulme as the Joker in BATMAN CONTINUES. Something about a rumoured invite to the US premiere that Mr Hulme was unable to attend due to shooting commitments for M, the Geoffrey Wright adaptation of Bill Shispeare's "Macbeth". No script has yet been written for the sequel, but so far the lanky Aussie is at the top of the list. Cheers to "Abba".

* Everyone who isn't Andrew Bolt loves Philip Noyce, as evidenced with Tim Robbins lovingly signing up to HOT STUFF, about a white man in apartheid-era South Africa. The flick is written by Shawn Slovo, daughter of anti-apartheid campaigner Ruth First.

* Natalie Imbruglia has become Terrance Malick. Ever since her powerhouse debut in box office smash JOHNNY ENGLISH, everyone in the film industry has been waiting to see which project she'd choose next. Finally, she's signed onto ELISE, where she will play a woman whose sister disappeared twenty years ago. Sounds like she'll be imbroigled in mystery.

* The Western Australian state government, returning from a lucky day at the track, is planning to empty its wallet into the state's film industry. AUS$8million has been pledged to film and television over the next four years. It sounds like a decent amount, but break it down a bit. Let's say they split it evenly down the middle, giving the film industry one million a year. That's enough to make one YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE per annum, only you'd have to hire Holly Vallance instead of Rachel Hunter and ditch that expensive final CGI shot. Go WA!

* Though it's dominated the news here (and, by the time it goes up, happened a number of weeks ago now), it's worth mentioning again. TV legend Graham Kennedy passed away on May 25 at the age of 71. Most critics and reporters have spoken of his TV work (he reinvented live comedy, so fair enough), but it's worth mentioning his film work as well. He appeared prominently in Bruce Beresford's adaptations of David Williamson's DON'S PARTY and THE CLUB, as well as the Australian-soldiers-in-Vietnam film THE ODD ANGRY SHOUT, and as "Dougal" in THE KILLING FIELDS. He defied convention and broke taboos, and few others have come close to matching him. Sincere condolences go out to his family and friends.



SFF will premiere BLACKTOWN (from ILLUSTRATED FAMILY DOCTOR helmer Kriv Stenders). The film's been getting a lot of positive press, and will also screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival and the Brisbane International Film Festival.


The premiere night of MIFF will feature LITTLE FISH, directed by Rowan Woods and starring Cate Blanchett. On the same night, the festival will play short film TAMA TU by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT).


Curiously, 2004 Australian film THE CROP, which sunk quite quickly amidst bad reviews, took out Best Feature Film at a ceremony in New York. Suggestions that those responsible for giving the award were treated to "special samples" from the film were quickly made up by me.


While there wasn't a staggering amount of success for Australian features over in the south of France, short film CLARA by Van Sowerwine got a Special Mention. It might have only been a special mention, but capitals make things more important.


Who took out top honour? Morgan O'Neill, who will get $1million to make his film SOLO. If anyone read the script while it up on the Project Greenlight website, feel free to post a review in talkback below. Come on guys, he won! Time to tear him a new one!


George's control of the box office is masterful.






(note: this was a lot funnier a four weeks ago. Blame the computers)


Wong Kar Wai makes the long-awaited sequel to Peter Hyam's 2010, Sean Penn gets uncharacteristically political, Colin Farrell engages in a threesome that sadly excludes Sydney-based webmasters, the Dark Knight continues his titular verbs, Kevin Bacon's agent does some expensive maneuvering to win a game of Six Degrees, DEAD POETS gets remade for Generation Diddy, Australia's most underrated fi lmmaker releases another brilliant film no one will ever see, Burt Reynolds plays one-upmanship and remakes MEAN MACHINE, Ashton Kutcher pretends to play a character with charisma, Mary-Kate Olsen auditions for BATMAN, DreamWorks craps out another moneymaker, Woody discovers two early drafts pasted together make a shooting script, then wonders why he wasn't hired to do a redraft for Doug Liman, then he gets angry that someone else made a film about Jews in New York, a new Australian film has its description placed out of alphabetical order so I can make some lousy Woody jokes, Peter Krause and company follow the example set by Alice, the bean counters bravely put a redhead with a gay best friend with Rupert Everett in a film with "Wedding" in the title, and the lamas keep on regenerating.





















I deleted the initial review I wrote for this film. I actually wrote it a week before its international release date, and the opening line was, "I'm going to recommend this film, even though it's not that good." I'd like to retract the first half of that statement.

I was recommending it as a date movie. I saw it with my Girl Friday, and there's something about seeing two impossibly beautiful people up on screen being cool and sexy that makes you feel a little like that as well. Normally, it would be the other way around, but, I don't know, we're a little delusional.

The more I've thought about it, though, the more my dislike of the film has come to the fore. It really sucks (though all of you know this now from having (a) seen it, or (b) avoided it because you knew it would suck). If you've heard the premise, you've seen the film. It's almost like they asked the marketing guys to make a two hour trailer. Oh, and two hours is *way* too long for this film, especially given nothing happens. I'm not at all surprised to see Akiva Goldsman's name in the credits given how little attention was given to the script. It's a car crash of a movie, and if Angelina's sexiness and Brad's charisma can't save it... I mean, Angelina is exceptionally sexy, and Brad is very funny, but they can't sustain the film's running time. A waste of money.


There's something pretty cool about going to a premiere. I've only been to two at time of writing, and am unlikely to have attended any more at time of reading, but there's a fairly unjustifiable air of excitement going in. I say unjustifiable, because it's really not the ideal viewing experience. The people you're watching the film with are, by and large, not film geeks. While press screenings may be solemn and quiet affairs save for the pen scratchings of nearby critics who presumably won't be able to remember enough of the film to fill a three hundred word review in their tabloid hack rag, they at least allow you to watch the film without all the usual distractions. At premieres, you're surrounded by people who are there to be seen, who really only care about how good looking the actors are and who they're currently dating, and who are unable to suffer through an entire film's running time without munching loudly on popcorn. This was exactly and completely the wrong audience for this film, because BATMAN BEGINS is a film for the geeks and the serious film goers.

I honestly don't know how this film got made. Perhaps there was a general feeling at Warners that the DC films had got such a bad rap lately that they nervously allowed indie filmmaker and fan favourite Christopher Nolan to do whatever he wanted in the hope that it would raise the repute of DC films. Consequently, we have a film that's more of a character piece than a blockbuster BATMAN film. This is - almost - as far away from Schumacher as you can get.

I love that Batman doesn't appear for something like an hour into the film. Practically the halfway mark. I love that the first sixty minutes of the film is about how fucked up Bruce Wayne is. This is truly a character study, more so than any of the films that have come before. None of the McPsychobabble from BATMAN FOREVER, but a genuine look at someone who is unable to control the fear they live with. Rather than trying to come to terms with what's inside, Bruce realises that he must create a person, an outer shell, for his insides to live in. It's the exact opposite of what someone would do to make themselves better, and both Nolan and Goyer have a good handle on that. It's why Batman isn't shown as a hero, but as a vigilante whose revenge motives only happen to coincide with the motives of the non-corrupted police (ie: Gordon).

What makes this film work is that they've hit upon the main thing that separates him from the Supermans and Spider-mans and Elongated Mans... er, Men... That is, his complete lack of superpowers. It turns him into an entirely different concept from the other heroes and gives the filmmakers an opportunity to ground him in reality. My absolute favourite element of this film is how real it all seems. Where does he get all those wonderful toys? It's explained. It's incredibly satisfying and avoid feeling obtuse or aching. All those lingering, back-of-the-mind questions about how he's able to be physically powerful and how he's able to get his hands on so many gadgets without anyone finding out... it's all there, and appears to make perfect sense.

It helps that the actors are the best the series - or, dare I say, *any* superhero film - has yet offered. Christian Bale leaves the others for dead. Of course, the script helps, but it's the character's attempts to play at being both Batman (comfortably) and Bruce Wayne (awkwardly) that make him interesting, and Bale nails it. I like Michael Keaton, but my feelings about his performance are the same as my feelings on both the Burton films (explained later in the review). Bale has just the right amount of pain, fear and humour. It's a perfect mix. His Batman is phenomenal; he takes a big risk with the deep, husky voice, but it pays dividends. His ability to mask his true identity is all the more believable.

No disrespect to Michael Gough, but Michael Caine is the best Alfred. Two things puzzled me when he was cast: why were the filmmakers seemingly going for a big and British name when he seemed so wrong for Alfred? And: what would attract Caine to a background "Yes, sir" role? Well, the answer is the same for both. Alfred is a different character here; he's passionate, he has his own motivations and beliefs, and has an incredibly rich history, though it's never revealed what it is. The chemistry between Bale and Caine is ten times better than I was expecting, and is the best love story of the film.

Morgan Freeman is also dead-on. It's not stunt casting. It's not Sam the Man with a lightsaber. He brings weight and trust to Lucius Fox, the gadgets man who becomes Wayne's second confidant. Like Caine, he's not slumming it for the paycheque (despite what he's said in interviews). He's putting in a real performance, and I'd rank this up with his work in SHAWSHANK, SE7EN and MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The one scene between Lucius, Alfred and Bruce is brief and expository, but exciting because you so enjoy these characters. If Christopher Nolan ever quits directing, he should go into casting.

Despite that one, brief ID4 moment (they really should have known better), Gary Oldman disappears and becomes Gordon, and, now I think about it, also shares a lot of chemistry with Bale. He's also spot-on, as is Linus Roache who manages to give real depths to Thomas Wayne in the brief flashbacks we're given. Liam Neeson is as good as always, but doesn't break the mould the way the other actors do. Cillian Murphy has never been as brilliant as he is here with the Scarecrow.

I'm talking about the phenomenal acting here because my biggest (and, really, only) problem with the film is the complete miscasting of Katie Holmes. After vaguely enjoying the first few seasons of "Dawson's Creek", and suffering through the last few, I was truly sick of Katie Holmes's *one* expression. It's the expression she uses to express both happiness and sadness, and it's used to full effect in this film. For all the (mostly unfair) grief that Goyer gets over his dialogue, there's one scene where Holmes is given some fairly meaty stuff. It should be a powerful moment, and instead it's delivered like a line reading. She's way out of her depth, and it drags the film down. Look, I don't hate Holmes. I respect her choice of films; I just don't think she's very good in them. Given the power of the actors on display here, Holmes seems like The Chick, and despite her predictable damsel-in-distress scenes, she's given enough to make it a meaty role. Unfortunately, she sleepwalks through it. Funnily enough, despite being the romantic interest, she shares zero chemistry with Bale. The romance subplot is never overwhelming, but it is thoroughly unnecessary.

Despite Holmes, and Ra's Al Ghul's motives not being 100% clear (I got them, I just don't think they were clear enough), this is one of the best superhero films ever made. It's up there with SUPERMAN and SPIDER-MAN. It also knocks the previous instalments out of the park. See, I really like BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS, I don't really mind BATMAN FOREVER, and appreciate BATMAN AND ROBIN as a cautionary tale, an horrific train wreck, and an unintentional homage to the Adam West series. The first two films of that series are not particularly good Batman films. They're just not. I love them as Tim Burton films and enjoy them on that level, but Burton paid little regard to who and what Batman actually was. Also, there's no fucking Prince in BEGINS.

This should be the first of many films. I don't mean a trilogy, I mean many. They've set up the universe so well that they have a chance to introduce recurring villains into the world (I'd love to see Scarecrow and Joker enjoy reappearances, as well as, I don't know, Penguin set up as a crime boss in place of Falcone), and if Warners can pull of the unenviable task of trying to continually woo back Bale, Caine, Freeman, Oldman, Goyer and Nolan, this is a series that really, genuinely deserves ten films, each of this quality.


- Nick Broomfield to make a documentary about the untimely death of Ashton Kutcher in TRIUMPH OF THE WILLIS

- Jewel Staite's brother Garden sues Zach Braff

- Peter Segal to direct a biopic of Alan Moore, with Martin Lawrence signed on to play the Harlem-based graffiti artist who discovers a magic spray-can that makes him rich and famous... but also turns him into a dachshund!

Happy 30th, Paul,


Readers Talkback
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  • June 18, 2005, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Too bad he aint in a wheelchair

    by ChileanSeaBass

    then that would give me a reason to see this movie..does anyone else think superman is about as fun as falling off a horse?

  • June 18, 2005, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Batman Bombs (The Return)

    by adambalm

    I posted on the Batman talkback on thursday about the anemic opening that BB had (15 mil) and was assured by many that 15 mil was not a bomb. In fact the number would increase during the weekend. Well, friday's numbers are in and it's exactly 15 million. The three day weekend projections are in and Batman Begins has been projected to have taken in 42-46 million. While this was fine for a movie like Hitch, which cost almost half what Batman Begins did, this is highly disappointing for what is supposed to be a tent-pole franchise picture. As you know, the Hulk took in 62 million its first weekend and was hailed to be a flop. Most likely this will be attributed to a weak summer season (Sith being a fluke, of course) and most likely they'll do their best to blame piracy as best they can. Either way, Lucy has some 'splaining to do.

  • June 18, 2005, 4:11 p.m. CST

    the fuck is this shit


    eh decent batman review but leave out the rant-ey bullshit next time

  • June 18, 2005, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Batman Bombs????

    by Brundlefly

    Who gives a fuck what the box office return is? (well besides the studio!)What's your point? That it's a bad film because a majority of filmgoers watch shit? It's a GREAT fucking film! I'll be seeing it again.

  • June 18, 2005, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Jason Lee for Joker

    by JizzLemon

    I'm getting behind the suggestion of Jason Lee for Joker that's been circulating recently. He's got more acting chops than Glover. Check out these two rough photoshop pics. and Just imagine him looking slightly more manic in the eyes department.

  • June 18, 2005, 5:20 p.m. CST

    OMG it's a GREAT fucking film??!?!?!!!

    by adambalm

    And U will totally see it again?????!!!!! Good for you(!!!!), see it again a hundred times if it blows your hair back, each time telling yourself that every other filmgoer watches shit, each time feeling a little better about yourself. My point was, as I pointed out over in the Batman Talkback #1, is that if this movie bombs, then less comic adaptations get made in the future. Hollywood gets timid and declares the tights craze over. Those who are fans of the genre, have a vested interest in the possibility of this not coming to a complete grinding halt. If you'll see my post in the original post(you might be disappointed, I don't use seventeen exclamation points after every sentence), I specifically said that fanboys are unusually obsessed with the pissing contest that is the box office take of movies. However, seeing one after another fail as we have been seeing, can get somewhat troubling for someone who enjoys a certain type of entertainment, and might just want to continue to be entertained in the future. I like space SF movies, but I don't get to see that many of them these days because they are not cost effective. They don't make money. The only reason we have Batman Begins is because Spider-Man and X-Men opened the door and made Warners relaunch the franchise using the same formula. Like it or not this 'GREAT FUCKING FILM!' owes it's existence to the financial gain of previous movies. The only question is whether quality comic book based movies will continue. It's probably too early to see what the fallout will be, but there's going to be some. It may mean the shelving of Goyer's Flash project, or a deep freeze of Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman.

  • June 18, 2005, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Yeah, the "thematic elements" description in movie ratings is ma

    by Osmosis Jones

    However, the funniest MPAA description is still the one for Twister, which was rated PG-13 for "intense depictions of very bad weather".

  • June 18, 2005, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Boxoffice Returns

    by Waspo

    It's important for a movie like Batman Begins to make a crap load of money because not only is the existence of a sequel on the line, but the existence of other comic related products are on the line as well. I don't think it's a pissing contest to check the boxoffice returns for a movie, because knowing that a movie like Batman Begins is going to make around 200 Million domestic would make me sleep easier at night. Because that means the coked out idiots and bean counters over in Hollywood would just let good films be made without the studio interfering with the film making process. Yes, I think Batman Begins is a fantastic movie, and one of the best I've seen this year, but that won't mean crap to the coked up people in charge unless it comes back with that 200 Million in ticket sales that it needs so more quality movies can get made. That's why it's important to check out the returns on monday morning, not because it's a pissing contest, but because it really does mean something in the grand scheme of things.

  • June 18, 2005, 6:39 p.m. CST

    "Thematic Elements" is nothing compared to what Charlie's go

    by Tubbs Tattsyrup

    PG-13 for, among other things, "Quirky Situations". I mean, what the fuck, rated PG13 for being weird?! As an aside, I'm really excited that the two things WOTW is rated PG13 for contain the words "Frightening" and "Disturbing". Harharhardeharharhar, motherfuckers.

  • June 18, 2005, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Wait and see...

    by Baron Anchovy

    It's too early to right Batman off. It's a great film, and it'll get good word of mouth. I'm predicting a low drop off next week. BTW, I love this column. LET THE MAN RANT, DAMN YOU!

  • June 18, 2005, 7:16 p.m. CST


    by adambalm

    Sorry, what I meant was that sometimes you have in the talkbacks a bunch of people posting inane shit like 'King Kong will gross 800 million domestic, bitches!' or 'If Daredevil sucked so bad, morons, why did it make back 5 times the money it cost to make it???!!' I agree with your point 100%, that's what has me worried about BB. But in the past, fanboys obsession with one movie making more money than another, amounts to the level of 'my cock is bigger and straighter than yours'. I'm not referring to Batman Begins in this case, because the concern here is the future of this genre, not mere egotism and machismo.

  • June 18, 2005, 7:27 p.m. CST


    by adambalm

    Also you have people posting things like 'Superman Returns will kick X3's ASS at the BO' or 'Serenity will make 20 mil AT MOST its whole run, guaranteed. All you sad cunts will be crying into your mom's arms when this thing flops'. Despite Brundelfly's complete utter lack of an intelligent way to express it, he does have a point.

  • June 18, 2005, 7:33 p.m. CST

    I am really sick and tired of people saying BATMAN BEGINS is "bo

    by zikade zarathos

    We won't know until the third weekend morons, and attempting to extrapolate a movie's entire box-office run after two and a half days -- not even including the weekend -- is beyond stupid.

  • June 18, 2005, 7:53 p.m. CST

    box office......schmox office!

    by thanner

    yes, box office can determine whether sequels get made. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad. DONT YOU CLOWNS BUY INTO THIS CRAP TOO! It's a part of life for the suits in the business to have everything revolve around box office. For us.......was Oceans Twelve better than Donnie Darko? Is Meet the Fockers funnier than The Big Lebowski? We all know marketing, star names, internet news sites, box office takings/popularity, affect what most of us see. But NONE of these things have anything to do with how good a film turns out to be!

  • June 18, 2005, 8:25 p.m. CST

    It's 'beyond stupid...

    by adambalm

    Maybe for everyone except the 'Hollywood bean counters' to use Waspo's apropo term. The problem is, that's who's watching this the most closely, and that's who ultimately makes the decisions. The studios are increasingly relying more and more on opening weekend, because as the weekends progress, theatre chains start taking a bigger and bigger cut of the profits. (Don't believe me? Look it up.) One figure I heard was that studios expect to make back no less than half the initial budget on a movie back the first weekend. That would be 60 million. The latest estimates I've seen are for Wednesday-Thursday-Friday are $39,682,000. A 33.8% shortfall. It only made two thirds what they would have hoped. Batman Begins opened up on 3,718 screens, a record number for Warners and still made few waves. And the number of screens will be cut each successive week afterwards, to make way for the next releases. Now all in all, that's not apocalyptic. However, couple this with the recent trend of movies being front loaded, i.e. movie attendance drops off I think 60% on average the second weekend, and with all this put together, you start to have a problem. Yes, I know someone's gonna pop up and say 'But, strong word of mouth will make more people come out and see it next weekend!'. Unlikely, but possible. Batman Begins already had a massive amount of advance screenings to try and build positive word of mouth, and that didn't help it this weekend. Ultimately, this is a case though, where I hope to be proven wrong.

  • June 18, 2005, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Hitch made over 200 million and only started out with like 40 or

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    Because for the love of god, it needs to survive. I seriously wonder what the execs are saying to themselves right now... And I pray that word of mouth gets out there.

  • June 18, 2005, 8:38 p.m. CST

    If Batman Begins makes 177 million...

    by adambalm

    ...which is what Hitch made, precisely, it will have barely covered its cost + marketing budget. BB had a production cost of 120 million, its marketing budget has not been disclosed (Although Hulk had a 35 mil marketing budget, Spider-Man had 50 mil. Judging from the 50 tv spots and the Smallville specials we've seen, I'd say 50 million would be conservative.)

  • June 18, 2005, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Why Begins is good, but not great...

    by Blood Simple

    Don't get me wrong, I really liked BB. BUT I had major problems with certain elements. Here they are in no particular order: 1) Katie Holmes is crap. Not a good actress, totally overwhelmed by all the other fantastic performances. 2) The "Batman Voice" that Bale picked is laughable. It sounds like a bad impersonation of Alec Baldwin's "Shadow" character (which isn't a good thing). 3) The editing was terrible. I understand gritty, I understand real...but at least show us what's going on. The super-quick cuts, and super-close framing gave me a headache. 4) The music wasn't very good. Zimmer brought this score down. Everything he's done since Gladiator has sounded the exact same, and I don't like his cheap electronic-symphonic style. James Newton-Howard on the otherhand is always fantastic. The parts of the score that I liked were Howards. 5) The suit. Not terrible, but could have been so much better. I'm not a nylon or spandex fan, but this suit just didn't work. So there you go. Nitpicky? Maybe. But that's the way I see it. Sure as hell beats Spider-man 1 & 2, but doesn't hold a candle to the original Batman's ass.

  • June 18, 2005, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Marketing Cost

    by Waspo

    I've heard that the marketing cost are upwards of 100 Million. While that's insane, it is possible. Nevertheless, 15 million on Friday with almost 3,900 screens doesn't scream out "Blockbuster" to me. I'm not sure why people aren't flocking to this movie, maybe it's because the Burton Movie is still fresh in so many people's mind. Maybe it's because this movie lacks The Joker, maybe it's because it's too scary for kids under 12, but whatever the reason people aren't flocking to this movie the way that they should. Sadly, it will not probably cross the 200 Million Domestic mark, but it's a great movie nonetheless.

  • June 18, 2005, 9:30 p.m. CST

    why begins is a muddle

    by speed

    MOVIEMACK WAS SPOT ON! the script! PLEASE save me the cliche agony. especially the first 30mintues. good god man! WE GET IT! fear this, fear that. isn't of talking about it, why not show it and speed the film up.and i know it's called begins but how much exposition is too much? the thing i thought i would hate most i actually liked. i liked the car, expect for the rooftop parts. and that's the entire problem with this flick. they go for this realism angle from the beginning yet half the movie is filled with OTT stuff. and katie holmes is just a write off. she and her two nipples hopefully won't be in the 2nd flick. and at the end when her character is having yet another cliche ridden over the top important dialogue with bruce wayne she has a nipple hard on. it's pretty hard to take anything she says seriously when her nips are poking out like that. i like looking at nipples but there is a time and a place, like the beach or the internet.

  • June 18, 2005, 9:37 p.m. CST

    more on marketing costs

    by adambalm

    That's interesting. All movie marketing costs are displayed at boxoffice mojo, I don't recall seeing anything around 100 million. I think it's possible that that expense shown just refers to the advertising expense alone. Perhaps the 100 million you heard refers to the advertising costs, plus the print and shipping costs, plus screenings, premiere, junkets, etc. I may be wrong though. Anyone more familiar with this, please feel free to weight in. In that case this bodes even worse for Begins. A ray of hope however, the numbers so far are just for domestic BO. Although I may have read this wrong. Foreign box office for big budget summer films are usually about 90% that domestic, so that should take a little bit of the sting out.

  • June 18, 2005, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Batman Begins is a headscratcher for me

    by Thirteen 13

    I wasn't suprised at 15 million on Wednesday, because its well, Wednesday. But I expected slightly higher numbers on the weekend. Especially with all the rave reviews this movie is getting and everyone I know loves it. Powermetal1 has a good point. ROTS is coming to the end of its run so that may help. Then again, Batman Begins is PG-13 and word is out that this one has a much darker tone, so parents may be keeping their kids from seeing it, seeing how these soccer moms flipped out over the deaths of the younglings in ROTS. Then again there are some hollywood execs that think if a movie doesn't gross 250 million in 5 days then its officially a bomb . I plan on seeing it a third time because its such a damn good movie. DVD sales are gonna help a lot too because every fanboy will want to own it. It would be a shame for this new Batman franchise to come to a halt. Like a few here already said, this is still way too early to tell. It will for sure remain number one next weekend before War of the Worlds hits screens.

  • June 18, 2005, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Good points Powemetal1. I think you nailed it.

    by Thirteen 13

    I'm still holding out hope though. As much as I love George Romero's living dead series I don't think that will open up at number one (however that had a modest budget and will easily make money regardless), Herbie:reloaded wont put a dent in the top ten and Bewitched isn't going to do anything special, so I still think think Batman Begins will still retain number one next weekend, and fall into second behind War of the Worlds once that opens. So this may not be a five day journey to 200 million rather than a slower walk towards it, if it makes it. Then comes DVD sales with all the fanboys wanting to own it, and the Foreign box office receipts. I remain hopeful and optimistic.

  • June 18, 2005, 10:39 p.m. CST

    BATMAN BEGINS Was A Good Start, But...

    by ZombieSolutions

    it wasn't a classic. and it still stands below SPIDERMAN in terms of superhero movies. it gets major points for being the first good BATMAN movie, and i'd could see it getting better as the series continues, but, meh. it didn't blow me away. maybe that's because i don't have a personal connection with the character like hardcore Batman fans do. i just wish they would make Miller's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. howabouta Rodriguez and Miller collaboration? hmm... that could be a classic. (oh and in terms of summer movies, ROTS stands head and shoulders above BB. both in terms of delivering the goods, and making big bucks. but i would hardly call Batman a bomb. it's a good movie and it's doing decent business. i imagine the sequal will be more "meaty." you know, what wit' the Joker and all. Now, who to play the Joker?... hmm...)

  • June 18, 2005, 10:57 p.m. CST

    One thing I keep being reminded of...

    by adambalm

    I first began to worry when the superbowl commercials aired, and the Batman Begins was rated the dead lowest by those interviewed. Behind every single commercial, and there were at least half a dozen. But again, I think the biggest factor is gonna be the DVD. Not only do superhero movies that underperform at the box office debut huge on DVD (Elektra, Daredevil, and Hulk all waaaay exceeded expecations when they went on sale.) but horror movies do better on DVD as well. This Batman movie definitely appeals to the horror crowd, from what I'm hearing. Also, word of mouth sometimes takes longer than a theatrical run to take hold. I'm thinking Shawshank, I'm thinking Swingers, I'm thinking the Notebook, which all only found their audience after the home video release. So there is hope, but that means that would mean, best case scenario, alot of projects are could be frozen in the meantime while Hollywood waits and sees.

  • June 18, 2005, 10:58 p.m. CST

    now that grammar made no sense in that previous post...

    by adambalm

    I must be getting tired.

  • June 18, 2005, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Vengeance... upon you!!!

    by MrNelson

    If Spielberg is depicting the Palestinians as terrorists and not as FREEDOM FIGHTERS, fighting for their land, I think we should avoid this film like the plague. FREE PALESTINE!!!

  • June 18, 2005, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Free Palestine?

    by adambalm

    For everyone? Are you buying? Cool then. Free Palestine all around! (BTW, this topic has just been officially threadjacked.)

  • June 19, 2005, 12:06 a.m. CST


    by Dr Uwe Boll

    Can anyone tell me what the id4 element is in batman begins? Being a comic book fan i loved the film. What troubles me is this; something has gone very wrong in the marketing department. I teach media at a boys school and not one of the students is interested in batman begins. This should be a huge slice of the target audience. What went wrong?

  • June 19, 2005, 12:21 a.m. CST

    Burton made a classic, classy, awesome Batman Film.... I don&#39

    by TheGinger Twit

    Yes I do.... It's boring!

  • June 19, 2005, 12:34 a.m. CST


    by Shan

    I had to think about it for a minute but my guess would be when Gordon drove the bat-car.

  • June 19, 2005, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Batman Begins should be renamed Boring Boring

    by TheGinger Twit

    Yes I'm sure it's a great as you all think it is. But damnit it... the screening I was in I just wanted the movie to end. And when the film suddenly paused and a hole burned through the film I thought it was the most exciting part of the night. If this was Burtons Batman... shit even Batman Forever I would be screaming and throwing pop corn at the screen. Batman Begins is not making any money because it's crap. It's crap. Sheer and utter crap. Bale sucks. What a boring un charismatic fuckstick. Katie holmes is one of those cute, but actually wierd funny looking people. And my God.... How boring was this film. I really dislike it.... hear me people. i am the spoiler free audience member

  • June 19, 2005, 1:28 a.m. CST


    by projectredlight

    I am writing this because I have information about illegal activity effecting the decision making process of Project Greenlight Australia. I am writing this here because I have worked within the Australian industry for years and have no wish to be blacklisted by going public with this information. I cannot say how I have received this information as I run the risk of exposing myself by doing so, however the right amount of research can reveal that everything I am about to say is true. Sam Worthington, one of the judges of Project Greenlight Australia, has been friends with series winner Morgan O'Neill for years. The two studied at NIDA together and are very, very close. This in and of itself presents enough of a conflict of interest to indicate that Worthington had no business as a judge of the finalists. However what I am about to say goes well beyond this. SAM WORTHINGTON, PROJECT GREENLIGHT JUDGE, CO WROTE THE WINNING SCRIPT! This is a fact. Though uncredited, Worthington had significant input into O'Neils screenplay before judging it as winner and ensuring it a one million dollar budget. In an industry already week at the knees this sort of corruption is unacceptable. Project Greenlight was presented to the public as an opportunity for a film to receive financing on the merits of its script, but the reality is that the film was selected for personal reasons by the judges. In a perfect world I would be able to present this information myself in a courtroom to expose this fraud for what it is. But in reality I would have a hard time putting food on the table for my family afterwards... so I can't. All I can do is to write this here and elsewhere in the hopes that someone will read and investigate and bring this injustice to light.

  • June 19, 2005, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Stop the inane diatribes...

    by RetroActive

    This isn't a political blog, a hate-mongering forum, or an excuse to post page long "reviews" you think are worth everyone's time. Sorry. None of us are that interesting. It's a talk-back for conversing opinions about a movie. You didn't like it? Fine. You loved it? Cool. You's like to share the belief that endangered rhinos should be granted political asylum through a congressional mandate in 1000 words or less? Beat it. And why do people always feel the need to justify their own accomplishments within long, drawn out posts? Look. Make your point then move on. Quit asking for respect. You've got. And nevermind who you are, whether you bag groceries or write $2.5 mil a year in widget sales...It's all good. That's what makes this interesting. Anonymity. And the usual attempts at mutual respect that it can offer all of us if quit all of the grandstanding b.s.

  • June 19, 2005, 1:42 a.m. CST

    LIked Batman Begins

    by RetroActive

    Saw it twice. And do agree with others concerning DVD sales adding to additional profits and the future of the franchise. I also think the scene in Spidey II with the arms killing all of the doctors in the OR was more intense for kids than almost anything they'd see here.

  • June 19, 2005, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Liked Batman Begins II...

    by RetroActive

    ...though this movie isn't very kid friendly for anyone under 10. I did read the Pirates of the Carribean had almost the exact same opening for the first 3 days, so maybe word of mouth will continue to grow the audience...we'll see.

  • June 19, 2005, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Was it something I said?

    by RetroActive

    Or my ineffective deodorant has made its way through the DSL connection... Well, g'night empty talk back.

  • June 19, 2005, 2:04 a.m. CST


    by TheGinger Twit

    This is nothing new in the australian film industry. Corruption is rampent right throughout. It's the sole reason why we have a funded film industry but no films being produced. The governent gives out it's cash to the 'agents' and then the agents make it impossible for films to get made... unless they have all the creative control and the pay checks. You can see it in film festivals. Anyone can submit their film, but chances are the magority of films chosen for screening will be films made in part by the film festivals organisers. Not only that, the awards given have NEVER been recieved by independent productions. Well, not the cash awards anyhoo. I'll go one step further... Independent productions with independent financing will have the rug pulled out from under them by government funding bodies. The Australian Film industry is fucked! so is batman begins. It owes it's entire look to Burton. But everything else is just no better than second rate trash like the Shadow. But even the Shadow had a score. where the fuck is the batman theme?????? huh?

  • June 19, 2005, 3:12 a.m. CST

    The ID4 thing...

    by Latauro

    Yeah, that wasn't clear. What I was referring to was Gordon looking at the Batmobile and exclaiming, "I have to get one of those!" or words to that effect, similar to Willy's "I have gotta get me one of these!". It was a little lame. Projectredlight: if you're genuine, email me.

  • June 19, 2005, 3:27 a.m. CST

    Welcome back, Latauro

    by moviemaniac-7

    It's been too long. "Jewel Staite's brother Garden sues Zach Braff" Fucking genius!

  • June 19, 2005, 4:45 a.m. CST

    So BB is too much for kids to handle yet.....

    by mwhelan67

    In Burton's, Nicholson fries a guy to a charred corpse w/ a joybuzzer and that's kid- friendly?! I handled that fine when I was 7, and I would've been able to handle this one as well, nothing in Begins is as gruesome as that. Kids are alot more durable than we give them credit for

  • June 19, 2005, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Sign the Crispin Glover for THE JOKER Petition

    by RIVERO

    Here ya go. If you know anything about the comics then you'd know that Glover is the perfect choice, no question:

  • June 19, 2005, 7:55 a.m. CST

    As a concerned party I too am interested to know more about the

    by Regicidal_Maniac

    I expect a full investigation, and if needs be a Royal

  • June 19, 2005, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Umm, memo to TheGingerTwit...

    by Wonder Man

    I respect your opinion and all, but have actually seen the Burton Batmans lately? I have, and let me tell ya, they're not the same films I saw when I was 15. Batman Returns is fun, weird and wicked, but Batman -- while visually and physically impressive for 1989 -- is a stilted, prosaic, lumbering, clunking robot of a film with some horrible performances (Ms Basinger is worse than Katie could ever be) and features some surprisingly poor direction. Burton, while massively talented and generally inspired, is not an action director's arsehole and never will be (as his soporific Planet of the Apes remake continued to demonstrate). Thus, the action scenes are clunky and unconvincing. Keaton looks like he can barely move in the suit, much less fight. Nicholson, whom I love and respect as the Hollywood legend he is, shamelessly swallows the scenery whole. But most damning of all? The one reason why Nolan's Batman makes Burton's look like a tired joke? Well, Latauro hit it on the head: Burton has NO understanding of the character of Batman. Zero. Burton has admitted in subequent interviews that he was never a fan of the character or the comic book, and that he was more drawn to the psycho-circus imagery of a guy dressed a bat going mano a mano with a man dressed as a clown. His film's weakly anaemic stab at getting into the "psychology" of Batman (bruised rich kid childishly adopts the mantle of the Bat and beats up crims) reflects this attitude and is woefully misguided and undeveloped. Nolan's picture, on the other hand, totally takes us through Bruce's mindset, shows us the progression from bereaved child to vengeful young man to disturbed but morally charged hero in a way that's plausible and tantalising. As for Burton's ridiculous take on Bruce Wayne as an addle-brained geek who doesn't seem to know where he is half the time... please. Anyone who's read two Batman comics would know this is a gross misrepresentation of the character. As for the Joker being the guy who killed Bruce's parents... my god... could one invent a more half-baked, pat and stupidly artificial movie plot device if you tried? And don't get me started on Batman killing the villain, or the Batwing getting shot out of the sky with a longass pistol(?), or the inane and thoroughly redundant Prince soundtrack... Seriously dude, grab the thing on DVD and take a look at it with new eyes. Burton can be a great director (Ed Wood is a modern classic, Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow are hugely freaky and enjoyable), but revision will show you Batman was not the man's finest hour. Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins -- true to the character, reverent to the source material, chock-full of brave choices in our current climate of frenetic, MTV-driven, bring-the-explosions multiplex fodder -- makes both the Burton and Schumacher Batman films look like jokes, and challenges the masterful Spider-Man 2 for the title of The Godfather of superhero films.

  • June 19, 2005, 8:32 a.m. CST


    by JizzLemon

    Crispin Glover would be way too OTT for the role, an opinion I had before I saw Batman Begins and now that I've seen it I'm even more convinced. The flick needs someone with proper acting chops to bring enough pathos to the character. Just because someone looks a bit like the Joker doesn't mean he'd be perfect for the role. I'm backing Jason Lee, 'cos he has the look, is a damn good actor and would fit the tone of the new Batman flicks better.

  • June 19, 2005, 8:37 a.m. CST

    Bring the Brody

    by Wonder Man

    Acting chops, intensity, pathos, menace AND the look... Adrien Brody would make a fabulous Joker. It'd be a blast to see him face off against Bale.

  • June 19, 2005, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Project Greenlight... so little odds of actually getting "chosen

    by JDanielP

    And my wife wonders why I'm so pessimistic. This problem with the overseas Project Greenlight is a shinning example of why I'll spend my free time (and make time) to create some fantastic paint jobs on "FORZA MOTORSPORT" for the XBOX... rather than hammer out one of the many original screenplays I have zooming around in my head. It's an example of why I never followed my dreams of going to "film school" (rather than "art school")... and goes to show that the movie industry requires a great deal of luck just to get a REAL opportunity. Research how Steven Spielberg managed to get his own "foot in the door", if you don't believe me.

  • June 19, 2005, 10:20 a.m. CST

    What is Joker's origin in the comics?

    by Trevor Goodchild

    Was it the same as Burton's shot in the cheeks and fall into a vat of chemicals? And Justin Theroux for Joker.

  • June 19, 2005, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Wonder Man's right, you know

    by IAmLegolas

    Well. He is.

  • June 19, 2005, 11:44 a.m. CST

    $71 million 5-day estimate according to

    by IAmLegolas

    Doesn't sound like a "bomb" to me.

  • June 19, 2005, 12:40 p.m. CST

    5 day estimates

    by adambalm

    It's interesting that when it looks like it's not making enough money for the three day, people such as hainesrs are clamoring to use its five day run, comfortable with the double standard of comparing 5 day weekends to 3 day weekends, desperately hoping that the numbers will then somehow work themselves out. All movies, no matter whether they open on friday, tuesday, thursday or wednesday, all have always had the same standard applied to them so that none have an unfair advantage. Maybe that's not what Legolas was referring to, if not, please clarify. But as it stands now, 71 million for 5 days is not entirely a bomb. But that would still mean 15 million per day. (the magic number that it opened with, and the number that talkbackers assured me was only that low because of the wednesday opening) These new numbers simply reinforce the conclusion that when taken into consideration with the agressive advertising camptaign, the record number of screens this opened on, the fact that this is a franchise movie, this may have come in on the low end of expectations. Someone mentioned Pirates of the Carribean, though, which is a great model for predicting this movie. It was also a summer opener, a PG-13 movie, had a similar budget and marketing cost. It also opened at 40 million, and went on to gross 300 million domestic, 350 overseas. But there's one important difference. Pirates faced little competition after it opened on July 9. Hulk had already opened weeks earlier and was winding down, X2 over a month before that. All the big movies opened earlier. Batman Begins faces some stiff competition in War of the Worlds and Fantastic Four in what is already season that's hitting movies pretty hard financially. I know everyone at AICN has already decided that Fantastic Four will flop, and in a just world maybe it would. However, I am seeing alot of people posting talking about seeing kids already 'playing Fantastic Four' shouting 'Flame On!' and 'It's Clobberin' time!'. It's hard to interest kids in this grimy, visually uninteresting, and very thematically adult Batman. But on the other hand a silly, fun, brightly colored movie with people who can catch on fire, become stone, turn invisible, and I don't think it's going to be too hard keeping kids away from this one. You see, Pirates of the Carribean also did well because it was viewed as a family movie. Batman Begins isn't. Fantastic Four is. I guess time will tell.

  • This movie is awesome but people I know won't go see it because they are sick of the whole Tommy Cruise and Kate Holmes show. Too bad....this is the best movie of the year so far. Even with Katie "I talk out of the side of my mouth" Holmes.

  • June 19, 2005, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Kate Holmes.

    by adambalm

    You know, I just got back from seeing this thing, and I honestly don't see what the deal is. She was believable in the part. Did she save the movie, no. Did she derail it, no. I, too, wish I could go see a movie without hearing everyone and their retarded sister talking about 'Tom and Katie'.

  • June 19, 2005, 5:57 p.m. CST

    I'll probably take alot of heat for this but....

    by mwhelan67

    I thought katie holmes did just fine, and feel that most are complaining simply b/c of a bias against her reputation as a "WB starlet'.

  • June 19, 2005, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Projekt Greenlichgt Austria!

    by Dr Uwe Boll

    Please to be posting more details about perverted Austrian film industry. I am liking very much. What other corruptions are filthy Austrians up to today? Hoot!!!