The Number #1 Movie

beemoviegrove1.jpg
Above, Saturday night at The Grove; The Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles

Say what you will (and most of you have) about Bee Movie, but it’s being reported that it will take the number #1 slot this weekend at the U.S. box office, its second week of release. It’s on track to gross over $100 million by Thanksgiving weekend.

I’m not looking to start another thread bashing the film – I liked it and, yeah, I wrote the Art of book, so I’m a bit biased – but I tend to agree with Steve Hulett that success leads to more health in our industry, and hopefully to more diversity in subject matter and visual styles in future animated films. You can add my congratulations to all the artists involved.


  • http://www.storyheads.com David Smith

    Jerry – Bee Movie and all involved deserve due praise regardless of any negative reviews. Agreed … it’s success is our success.

    However it brings to mind your negative slant in a past CB post on the latest ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ … the same day I read of a young artist’s genuine excitement of her ‘first hire’ on the production. I did not have any involvement on either film but I suppose knowing people that did brings some amount of “bias.” As a professional community we all have our vastly differing tastes and sensibiliies, (I know I do.) You have an incredible amount of traffic at CB, veterans and particularly those that aspire in this industry. We appreciate your support.

  • Altred Ego

    The only thing this proves is that you don’t need original storytelling or compelling narratives to make money. You can slap a big name voice cast and some generic character designs and a big ad campaign and just rake in the bucks.

    You know they’re making a sequel to Madagascar right? And two MORE Shrek films? I wonder if that’s because of the great ‘health’ of the industry?

    I’m so very grateful for all the ‘diversity’ of films coming down the pipeline.
    Oh, what a time to be alive.

    AE.

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    Well, despite its awful marketing campaign, I’m glad the buzz for it paid off as it had a tough battle with “American Gangster” these past 2 weeks. And I’m happy it did better than Fred Claus which thankfully bombed.

    I think Bee Movie and Gangster will still battle next week. I don’t see Bewolf being a threat to it.

  • Daniel

    Despite my very, very low expectations for the movie, I gotta say I actually enjoyed it. The parts with the bees anyway. Once the story left the hive, the more ‘bland by comparison’ designs of the humans and human environments didn’t feel as warm and inviting as the hive world. But, laughs and genuine interest in the characters developed by the end of the film so I gotta say I was not dissapointed.

    Unlike Shrek 3, which actually put me into a mind numbing trance mid-way through and I had to turn it off before my brain fell out of my mouth.

    Oh and the art book was really neat. It’s always nice to see work from some of my favorite artists even if what they do isn’t always translated onto the screen.

  • Jerry Zeinfeld

    Whyyyyyyyy are they complaining about Bee Movie? What’s the deeeeeeeal with this?

  • http://thad-k.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    The masses have no taste.

  • Chuck R.

    “That success leads to more health in our industry.”

    Well said, Jerry! And I might add that with more and more animated films out there, the more power we have to choose one film over the other. That’s democracy in the marketplace. Does anyone remember the 70′s when it was “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie” or nothing?

    Pessimistic commentors need to look at the films coming to our theatres from other countries, the backlog of classic Hollywood toons getting first-class DVD treatment, not to mention all the bonus material on disks, ubiquitous “art-of books”, animation blogs, and festivals and conventions. Today’s aspiring artists live in a world Mike Barrier could only dreamt of when he started Funnyworld back in the early 70′s.

    My apologies if I’m monologuing again. Call this an animation fan’s Thanksgiving blessing.

  • Andrew

    I get Variety in my email box, and even THEY say this rarely occurs, if EVER. A movie that people have low expectations for does what they consider the impossible by beating out Gangster. I expect Bee Movie to fall down again next week, but my best congrats to them, anyhow.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Hey, I *liked* THE BUGS BUNNY/ROAD RUNNER MOVIE.
    I like barbecued road runner, too. Time to check that Burmese tiger trap I set outside…

  • Nic Kramer

    Hey, Jerry said not to make this a bashing thread. So could you lay off your lame sacrasism and bashing for this film? If you don’t like the film than don’t see it, but please Jerry asked kindly not to make this another bashing thread. If there is one thing I learn from animated films is that “If can’t type anything nice, don’t type anything at all” (okay, I sort of exaggerated that, but it’s the same thing.

  • Daniel Mata

    If success leads to diversity, why do you think this was 3D?

  • Joe

    The only thing the success of this movie will bring, is more movie stars out of the woodwork to create the next big animated feature. The more these lame big name movies get made the good movies written by actual animators will be passed up. And more and more good voice actors will be out of jobs. So not only do you have to sit through a bland movie for an hour but you have a splitting head ach from Chris rock screaming the whole time.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto González

    Hey, I did write a pretty possitive review of it (and it was sincere too!).

    I’m happy it’s a success, I thought it was very funny and it had good story, dialogue and voice acting (what Renée Zellweger’s performance did for the character was amazing).

    I quite liked the visuals too (loved the caricature of Ray Liotta), but if I had to change something it would probably be in that department.

    Anyway it probably should be the third movie to be nominated along with The Simpsons Movie and Ratatouille (though Persepolis should win the best foreign film award). Actually the four films are good enough to win some sort of award and that can’t be said about the movies selected in previous years. It had been a pretty good year for animation.

  • Daniel Mata

    Its been a pretty good year for foreign animation.

  • Bobby D.

    Thad Komorowski says: “The masses have no taste”. But, but, but…the “Rat” movie is making gazillions! Can’t have it both ways…actually you can, it just sounds bad. As stated…it’s all good…people are working. You don’t have to love everything, just be glad your peers are experiencing good fortune. But, what do I know…I have no taste, I liked the film.

  • Fishpants

    Jerry, with great humility I’d like to point out the fact that your use of the number sign (#) in this post is superfluous since you’ve already used the word “number” within said post.

    Sticklers unite!!!

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    and i just came back from the film minutes ago! I laffed SO hard throuought i have to see it twice to catch the laffs i missed!! It is damn funny….plain old FUNNY!!! Kudos to them AND Seinfeld!!

  • Joe

    While I agree that this leaves the door open for more CGI films relying on voice-over star power (Jack Black’s the next in line), it also leaves the door open for any other CGI film to make a splash in Hollywood.

  • joecab

    Sorry, but I’m way too spoiled with Pixar to get into anything from Dreamworks, much less anyone else. And, really, insects? Again?

    And what’s the deal with airline food?

  • Grumpy

    I agree with Joe. A lot of good movie scripts are being passed over because they are original and innovative. All I’ve seen lately is rehashed animation and stories with big name stars, who don’t have the voices to carry a movie. Much of the dialog from the “B” movie is dialog straight out of a dozen other movies. When are these studios going to do something truly original.

  • ChowderPants

    Just a reality check:

    Bee Movie beat American Gangster by about $1 million.

    AG is rated R so it has a smaller audience.

    AG is 70 minutes longer so has fewer plays per day.

    AG was in 3000 theaters to BM’s 4000.

    Hardly a big win.

  • Matt Sullivan

    The thing is, a bad movie is a bad movie. And a lot of people, myself included, think this is a bad movie. There’s no doubting the talent that made it…some of the best in the world. But by now, a lot of people see it as “just another animated animal movie”

    From what I know, they were working on another animal movie about kangaroos called OUTLAWS, but it was cancelled. i’d be interested to know just how many animal themed movies they cancelled. I honestly believe they only reason BEE MOVIE wasn’t cancelled was Jerry Sienfeld, and his celebrity that got it through. Because alot of these animal movies draw upon a familiar formula ( including hiring Patrick Warburton to do the same voice he does in every movie and cartoon show )

  • Kris

    I liked Bee Movie, too. I went to see it solely because of Seinfeld’s involvement but didn’t expect too much (the look of the movie kind of put me off). As a result I was very pleasantly surprised at how genuinely funny it was–a lot more of Seinfeld’s sense of humor got into this than I expected. I came out very pleased even in spite of the film’s flaws.

  • http://akikbucket.blogspot.com akira

    sorry that movie SUCKED! it was painful to watch! at least the stuff on cartoon dump isn’t so freaking bland! it’s really sad when stuff like this gets made while stuff like El Tigre and Ren and Stimpy Adult Party get cancelled!

  • Steve Gattuso

    I thought it was a fair movie, and if it’s doing well, that’s okay by me. After being exposed to “Happily N’Ever After,” it takes a lot to upset me.

  • Mike

    WOW!

    How refreshing to hear a mature respectful industry conversation. This has certainly not been the norm at this site (bashing GOTJ remake to mention one thing, then the Flash Bashing by Amid recently)

    I hope this is how the discussion will be from now on at CB, but I have fears that as soon as the next movie comes out that nobody at CB was affiliated with we will be back to bitter bitter business as usual.

    I agree, for the record, that more movies means more work to choose from, so I am glad that Bee Movie is doing well.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    It’s #1 because there’s not another kid’s movie out now; Fred Claus doesn’t count because no child wants to see Vince Vaughn. My guess is that Bee Movie will linger in the top 5 ’til after Thanksgiving and will probably be out of the top 10 by year’s end.

    And it baffles me to read Mr. Beck state that “(Bee Movie‘s) success leads to more health in our industry, and hopefully to more diversity in subject matter and visual styles in future animated films” in reference to Dreamworks’ third star-studded CGI feature/McDonald’s tie-in about wild animals with individual personalities (and the 2nd one with Renee Zellweger). What’s gonna happen when there are no more animals to animate? I guess we’ll start seeing that “diversity” come shinin’ through then, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • http://geritopiablogspot.com GeeVee

    OK, I haven’t seen Bee Movie but what is it about seeing that title on a marque at the Grove that seems like the perfect marriage? I’m slipping into my cynical self again, better just leave it at that.

  • Matt Sullivan

    LOL! yeah. I’d rather see Bee movie a thosand times than watch a sleepy-eyed Vince Vaugh slog his way through another cynical role in which he pretends to be a human being.

    Then again, Paul Giamatti is my favorite actor. WHY LORD? Why must i endure Vince Vaughn in order to see Paul out-act everyone else?

    *draw draw draw*

  • Zep

    “What’s gonna happen when there are no more animals to animate? I guess we’ll start seeing that “diversityâ€? come shinin’ through then, but I won’t hold my breath.

    “Diversity in subject matter”, the man wrote.
    The issue for a film is never what animal species but what STORY and mood and style a particular film has. Hopefully what matters is what the film’s about, not whether it’s “another” rat or fish. To write as if the type of animal is all there is to a film is to buy into the same wrongheadedness a lot of people decry in executive thinking in animation: “animal films aren’t doing well–so NO MORE non-human stories-what the plot is is irrelevant”. That’s just tossing every potential good movie out with one or two failed films whose failure had zilch to do with the fact that they had animals in them.

  • Richard

    I personally thought “Bee Movie” was a pretty good movie.

  • Nic Kramer

    sorry that movie SUCKED! it was painful to watch! at least the stuff on cartoon dump isn’t so freaking bland! it’s really sad when stuff like this gets made while stuff like El Tigre and Ren and Stimpy Adult Party get cancelled!

    Thanks for the review. Just for that and the fact that you disobeyed Jerry’s wish, I will never visit your blog.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    It was cute. Everyone whining it’s the worst movie ever are just sticks in the mud who have yet to see a truly AWFUL FILM. Jerry’s voice is a dash grating, but the movie had the best design and art of any Dreamworks film thus far.

  • Matt Sullivan

    It’s certainly not the worst movie. But it feels like there were an awful lot of cooks in the kitchen. Dreamworks executives are very hands on, and you have to wonder how many cool ideas they forced the artists to take out…that could have made Bee Movie a better film.

  • John Tebbel

    For the purposes of this thread, all persons named Jerry will be called Bruce.

    Now that I’m alone, I’ll report from the other end of the telescope that it’s interesting that Dreamworks has created a thingie that can respond to the marketplace in a relatively short amount of time and release a more than credible animated feature with all the trimmings.

    Makes Walt look like Stanley searching for Livingstone.

  • KatNS

    Let’s put Bee Movie in perspective. Yes, it’s the no. 1 movie this week, but its numbers are only landing in the middle of other 2nd-tier CGI movies like Over the Hedge, Chicken Little and Robots (http://boxofficemojo.com/showdowns/chart/?id=cgaverage.htm). It seems to have been lucky to have come out at a time with little competition for the family audience.

    With its huge cost ($150 million) and huge promotion and hype, I don’t think it has that much to crow about. Unless something spectacular happens, it’s highly doubtful it’ll even gross its own budget domestically.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that despite my criticism, I’d rather see even a mediocre movie succeed, because it keeps animation artists ( both Cg and traditional ) employed.

  • James

    While the relative success of Bee Movie may be a feather in the cap of any producer trying to secure financing for another film, it’s equally it’s downfall – those same executives and distributors wooed by the numbers and bankable celebrity presence will likely demand the same formula and work quality so as to best protect their investment in any future endeavour.

    I didn’t mind the movie, it had some good chuckles in it despite the hideous human designs, it’s a shining example of well orchestrated mediocrity.

    It’s better than nothing, and it keeps us employed, and for now we’ll swallow that bitter pill for the hope of a more fruitful future.