24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Date Night

The Shawn Levy streak ends. But what did it all mean?

April 12, 2010 |  4:29 pm

Levy
The sports world has Joe DiMaggio and Sugar Ray Robinson. The modern film world has Shawn Levy.

Or had him.

As readers with an interest in the business side of Hollywood know, Levy has owned one of commercial filmmaking's more impressive streaks. Coming into this weekend, the "Date Night" director had seen his last five films win the top spot at the weekend box office, a streak that dates back to 2003 and includes one of the more potent comedy franchises around, "Night at the Museum."

The streak was cited enviously by filmmakers not named Shawn Levy and touted proudly by executives at companies that released his films (for the last few pictures, that's been Fox, where Levy and his production company have a deal). The streak, critics and supporters agreed, suggested that Levy was attuned to the American zeitgeist in a way that few directors were. In a profile last week, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed that the run was enough to provide Levy "grounds for sainthood" in Hollywood.

The streak appeared to continue this weekend, when Fox estimated that "Date Night" would earn $27.1 million, good enough for No. 1 over the holdover "Clash of the Titans," which grossed $26.9 million. Levy, it appeared, now had six straight No. 1s.

But several rival studios privately doubted Fox's number. And today it turns out they were right. According to The Times' box office guru Ben Fritz, Fox cut themselves a rather generous break in its estimates. "Date Night" in fact grossed $25.2 million -- still solid for a mid-budget comedy, but a number that's nearly $2 million lower than the original estimates, which usually miss by a few hundred thousand dollars at the most.

Needless to say, the final "Date Night" total was not good enough for No.1, a fact that provides grist for rival studio executives to ask whether Fox had been so generous because it wanted to allow Levy's streak to live on, if only for one more (press-heavy) day.

But as the streak ends, it's also fair to ask what it meant in the first place.

Continue reading »

Los Angeles Times week in Hollywood (April 9)

April 10, 2010 | 10:50 am

Whether it's the comic stylings of Tina Fey and Steve Carell or the highbrow heat of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," it's an unusual weekend at the box office, capping an unusual week in Hollywood. The Times' John Horn and Steven Zeitchik put their own dragon stamp on the body politic.

RECENT AND RELATED:

Highbrow films generate high hopes

Can 'Iron Man 2' beat 'The Dark Knight'?

For Tina Fey and Steve Carell, 'Date Night' rings true

Movie Review: 'Date Night'


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