The NBA versus Hollywood. What’s the difference? Both center around overpaid stars (although usually these stars do have talent & work hard at what they do). Each requires a strong hand (be it a director or coach) to guide the talent to success. Many of the main honchos (studio presidents or team owners) care more about the bottom line than giving the public a high-quality product. Certain times of year, viewers pay more attention (for film during the summer and Christmas season, for bball during the playoffs and when big trades are made during the off-season). Here now we compare this summer’s box office results with this summer’s big bball trades/moves. Of course as the summer goes on, more movies will open and more players will be signed, so for all we know we may not yet have seen the Big Kahuna.
The Big Kahuna
Film: Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen
In just 2 weeks, Transformers:ROTF has become the highest grossing film of the summer, already pulling in $293 million. That being said, the critics have savaged this sequel.
NBA: The Lakers acquire Ron Artest.
Not only is Artest definitely the Fallen, but one look in his eyes and you know he wants blood and nothing will stop him. The Lakers already won a championship, and now for their attempted sequel they add Artest as their #4 player when he’d likely be the #2 on any other contender. Of course, like with The Transformers, just ‘cuz you can’t wait to see what will happen, that don’t mean what happens will be good.
The One Sequel Too Many
Film: Terminator Salvation
This is not only the 4th installment in the series, but there was also the recent tv series. The film has been out many weeks already and is struggling, making 72% less than it even did just a week ago. Even though non-tentpole films would be thrilled to have grossed $120 million, fact is that this IS a tentpole so it’ll be lucky to recoup it’s huge bloated budget of $200 million.
NBA: Shaq to the Cavs
Similar to the original Terminator and T2, at Shaq’s first two stops in the NBA (Orlando & LA) he was unstoppable. By the time he hit his third city, Miami, he wasn’t able to be The Man but he was still productive on a smaller scale (similar to Terminator 3 which didn’t have a huge budget and only attempted to be a B-movie and thus succeeded). The average man on the street probably didn’t even realize he had a brief stay in Phoenix for a year and a half, much like the average joe probably never watched The Sarah Connor Chronicles for the year and a half it was on. Now he returns, still capable of making his presence known, still better than most centers in the league, but nowhere near worth his huge bloated salary of $20 million. No matter how the Cavs do, he can be sure that he’ll never be given this big a budget again.
The Smart, Savvy Perennial Winner
Film: Pixar’s Up
The #2 film of the summer so far has made $264 million. Once again Pixar has quietly gone about its business caring about the quality of the product, not the star-power (Ed Asner voices the lead?). Every year critics assume that THIS will be the year Pixar has a dud, but they keep producing without needing a flashy persona in the center (last year Wall-E had a nearly non-verbal robot and this year Up had an elderly male widow).
NBA: The Spurs get Richard Jefferson. [UPDATE:] And they also just picked up Antonio McDyess.
Every year we say they’re done, every year they come back, and here they’ve done it again with their acquisition of Richard Jefferson for aging spare parts (that could conceivably be waived and return to San Antonio). The lead (Tim Duncan) who holds it all together isn’t about flash or trying to give the people what they want: he just quietly continually produces great product. [UPDATE:] And as if that isn’t enough, they also just snagged quiet, unassuming, but extremely productive McDyess. It’s beginning to look like Christmas in Texas (which is probably when “Up” will come out on DVD, so it all fits together).