The Costly Underachiever
Film: Angels & Demons
This $150 million dollar sequel has tons of action and special effects to keep you distracted, but in the end, it’s $132 million dollar gross is a disappointment. After you add in the worldwide box office plus the eventual DVD sales, it’ll definitely make money. Another installment is even in development. However, that pales compared to how The DaVinci Code (both as book and as film) caught all the right breaks, enabling it to become a once-in-a-lifetime worldwide success.
NBA: Orlando Magic
This team has increased it’s payroll by a ton by matching Marcin Gortat’s offer sheet, signing Brandon Bass, and getting Vince Carter. However, they also lost 3 starters (Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Hedo Turkoglu) from last year’s once-in-a-lifetime, catching all the right breaks, run to the finals. Yes, Carter can create his own shot unlike Hedo, however during the playoffs about 75% of the Magic’s offense was instigated by Hedo’s pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop), creating team movement and making them such a hard cover. Also, if the Magic use their two highly paid backup bigs with Dwight Howard on occasion, it’d move Rashard Lewis to the SF which would negate the huge mismatch that he caused as a PF. With the Celts and Cavs having seriously added to their core (& not losing anyone essential like the Magic have), this year’s version of the Magic seem unlikely to repeat last year’s amazing success. That being said, this team’ll definitely still be money.
The sole Canadian superhero who was pretty much the star of another franchise (the X-Men for those who’ve been locked in the basement) was given a shot to show he can do it on his own. The movie cost $150 million and has made $179 million, making it not quite the blockbuster that was hoped for (& certainly not as much $ as the X-Men films raked in). However, when you add in the worldwide receipts plus the eventual DVD sales, it’ll definitely have been worth it to make it.
NBA: Toronto Raptors
The sole Canadian team goes for the guy (Hedo Turkoglu) who was pretty much the star of another franchise. They’re paying him way too much money for what he’s worth, but no doubt about it, he’ll definitely improve them (even though there’s no way they’ll have the success of that initial franchise). To make it to the playoffs, the Raptors will have to use their sharp talons to claw their way to that minor success.
The Under-The-Radar Success
Film: The Hangover
Before the season began, no one thought much of this little film. It wasn’t some big sequel or action film — it didn’t even feature any big-name comedians. The story is about 3 guys, after a bunch of chaos, trying to find a fourth guy before it’s too late. The actors who portrayed those guys have had solid careers, but now they might be on the verge of becoming well-known stars.
NBA: The Atlanta Hawks
After being able to retain Mike Bibby, the Hawks still had the same three stars (Bibby, Joe Johnson & Josh Smith) that they’ve had through the last years of chaos. The ownership has been in limbo, the coach has had times he’s been on the verge of dismissal, and after losing Childress those who even cared said this team no longer had a bench. No one’s paid much attention to them, but they quietly found their fourth big guy (Jamal Crawford) who can be a scary-good option off the bench. All these four stars have had solid careers, but if they can come together, they might on the verge of finally getting some national attention.
Critical Fave, Commercial Failure
Film: The Hurt Locker
The average Joe hasn’t even heard of this tiny thought-provoking action film, but those in the know have raved about it. Currently it has the highest overall score on metacritic and the highest score for a non-documentary on Rotten Tomatoes. However, when it comes to the bottom line, none of that matters: the film has barely grossed over $2 million. The highly respected director, Kathryn Bigelow, has had much bigger commercial successes in the past (like the immortal Keanu Reeves’ undercover surfer flick, Point Break), but this is probably the best job she’s ever done.
NBA: The Houston Rockets
C’mon, has there ever been, or ever will be, a more appropriate movie title for Houston than “The Hurt Locker?” If you don’t agree, go ask gimpy Yao, TMac and 90-year-old Dikembe Mutombo. Those in the know have raved about the brilliant director behind this all, GM Darryl Moray, who crafted the perfect team that gave the eventual champs, The Lakers, their toughest battle. Moray’s use of statistics gets raves from everyone, putting him ahead of the pack in terms of critical fanfare, but this franchise has had much better commercial success (aka playoff success) in the past than it’s likely to have now.
Insanely Expensive, But Likely Worth It
Film: Harry Potter & The Something Or Other
With a budget of $250 million, yes, $250 million, this is one obscenely costly flick. It was supposed to come out in Fall 2008, but when it was unable to perform at that point, rumors ran rampant that this was a stinker. Truth is, the studio lacked a summer tent-pole, so they pushed Harry back. Although the film’s been open but a week, it’s made $160 million and is already on pace to do better than many of the previous installments of the franchise. Analysts worried that the film might have trouble since there are no more new books, but none of that mattered to Harry who’s come back strong.
NBA: The Washington Wizards
Is it too easy to link Harry Potter with Wizards? Who cares. The Wizards currently have the highest payroll of any non-playoff team (yes, even more than the Knicks right now). By adding Mike Miller and Randy Foye, they went even further over the salary cap, plus they shelled out the big bucks for underrated offensive wiz Flip Saunders, one of the league’s premiere coaches in the last decade plus. Flip should be able to wave his magic whistle (okay, I’m mixing metaphors poorly here) and easily return this team the playoff picture. People worried about the obscene salary given to Gilbert Arenas, but if he return to even 75% of the player he used to be, these Wizards could come back strong and make a run at the #4 seed.
Hope you enjoyed this series of blogs. If so, like any fan fave, there will be a sequel next summer…
General Note: I’m just learning this blogging stuff and how to build up traffic. Apparently one thing that would help a bunch is if you like an article, hit the little BallHype icon at the bottom (with the little upward arrow). Oh, and it seems that icon is only there if you’re on a single post, so you’d need to first either hit the title of that specific blog or you could hit the comment button which’d also take you to the specific blog (but you don’t have to then comment). Anyway, the initial time you hit the BallHype button you’ll have to create an account for the site. Then for all future visits you should just have to hit the upward arrow when you get sent to the BallHype site, so it’d take you 5 seconds top. The more BallHype votes I get, the higher it’ll appear on BallHype viewers lists and the more likely those new people might click over here to check out some FullyClips action. Any help y’all can provide, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!