Box Office Column
by Brandon Gray
November 13, 1998
The battle of the blanks commences today.
First off, there's the remake of Death Takes a Holiday. Brad Pitt takes on the Fredric March role this time. In a way, it's perfect for him. After all, Pitt usually comes off as dead behind the eyes.
Meet Joe Black is the third supernatural love story this year after City of Angels (the remake of Wings of Desire) and What Dreams May Come. It looks like it will perform at about the same level, however it will take a long time for it to get out of the red (if it ever does). The picture cost an astounding $90 million. Add to that a marketing campaign that is so incessant, it must have cost around $50 million.
Pitt seems to be making a career of pictures that are long sits. Last year there was The Devil's Own and Seven Years in Tibet (which actually felt like seven years), and now Meet Joe Black, which, at nearly three hours, is twice as long as the original.
Another thing, has anyone else noticed Pitt's voice lately? Just as Madonna went from a New York accent to a British one, Pitt now speaks with an affectation. It sounds like he's attempting a Mid-Atlantic accent (a la Cary Grant but not clipped). Perhaps he or his managers think this will make him appear more intelligent, but they're wrong. He still has trouble saying anything coherent, and the affectation makes him look all the more ridiculous.
But enough of the Brad bashing, it's time to bash the even more vacuous I Still Have a Ridiculously Long Title. It's the latest in the recent inundation of homogenized slasher flicks. The first one took its clichéd self so seriously it committed the ultimate sin: being an utter bore. On top of that, it was rather mean spirited just like the rest of its brethren. The new one just looks worse, or, rather, like more of the same.
An odd thing about its release though is that it's opening on fewer screens than the first one. Usually, a sequel opens on more. Perhaps this means Sony doesn't expect to make as much this time.
At any rate, both pictures should be no match for The Waterboy zeitgeist.