• A Tale of Two Movies – Updated

    by  • May 29, 2014 • Movies • 6 Comments


    The summer movie season rolls on with two major releases this coming weekend, Maleficent and A Million Ways to Die in the West.

    Maleficent is Disney’s reimagining of the villain of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty fame, and while the trailers indicate there may be some fantasy violence, it promises to be a film that attracts a wide family audience.   The reviews of the movie are somewhat uneven, but mostly positive.  Tim Evans at Sky Movies writes, “ … the story speedily soars towards an impressive finale and is sure to enchant a legion of youngsters ready to move on from the original Sleeping Beauty.”

    On the other end of the spectrum is the latest from the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane: A Million Ways to Die in the West.  USA Today says,the reliance on raunch seems unnecessary and its gross-out gags off-putting.”  Film critic Matt Pais of Red Eye Chicago labels the film this way: “diarrhea-into-a-hat feels like a metaphor for what MacFarlane’s doing with the movie.”  Variety writes that it “aims to be a modern-day “Blazing Saddles,” with more raunch, gore.”

    So guess which film is predicted to do more business this weekend?  Variety predicts a box office gross of about $60 million for Maleficent, and only about $25 million for MillionThe Hollywood Reporter agrees, and notes that Million will debut considerably behind Seth MacFarlane’s last big screen release and will likely only finish in 3rd place over the weekend.

    We always hear that Hollywood produces raunchy, violent fare because “it’s all about the money.”  At the movies this weekend, families will, in all likelihood, put the lie to that.   I’ll update this post on Monday after the actual box office numbers are in.


    UPDATE: Monday, June 2 – 10:15 AM ET –  The box office numbers are in and Maleficent did even better at the box office than expected,  Box Office Mojo reports that the film took in better than $70 million.  Nearly half of the audience for the film was made up of families.   A Million Ways to Die in the West, was a flop and did even more poorly than expected, taking in about $17 million.  The report continues:

     Months ago, it seemed like A Million Ways to Die in the West could be a solid hit: the redband trailer had plenty of solid jokes that aligned nicely with the movie’s memorable title. In the final run-up to release, though, advertisements became more focused on the Ted brand, and failed to really deliver the kind of laughs that are needed to open an R-rated comedy. MacFarlane’s decision to step in front of the camera almost certainly turned off some prospective moviegoers as well.



    6 Responses to A Tale of Two Movies – Updated

    1. Rita Hummings
      September 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Me and my family watched Maleficent and it was terrible and very bland. Me and my partner watched A Million Ways To Die In The West and it was one of the best comedy movies I’ve seen. Seth himself, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, everyone was amazing.

    2. Bruce Carter
      June 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      The only thing I will say about Seth McFarlane is that he seems to be capable of putting out quality entertainment. His re-imagining of the science series Cosmos is completely devoid of objectionable content – although a bit of propagandistic about global warming. Creationists will probably not like Cosmos, but the content itself is family safe, which frankly came as a very pleasant surprise to me.

    3. Marcia M Weeden
      June 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      My 21-year-old son informed me that he refuses to watch any Seth MacFarlane movies because Mr. MacFarlane thinks he can do comedy when all he does is re-hash the same tired jokes over and over again. My son’s summary was that there is nothing funny in a Seth MacFarlane movie. So much for appealing to the demographic.

    4. William Warfield
      June 2, 2014 at 5:01 am

      The Catholic News’ Service’s movie rating system rated “A Million Ways to Die….” O, meaning morally offensive.

      Which seems to describe MacFarlane to a T.

      On the other hand, the CNS rated “Maleficent” A-II, meaning for adults and adolescents. Apparently they felt some scenes in this film might frighten very young viewers.

    5. May 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      My family and extended family members and some friends will be seeing “Maleficent” this evening. However, we will NOT be seeing “Million…” because I could tell by the previews that although sure to have some funny scenes, I could tell it would not be clean enough for approval for my family.

    6. Pat Giles
      May 30, 2014 at 6:48 am

      I can’t actually review A Million Ways to Die in the West, because I would never watch anything that has Seth MacFarlane’s name even remotely attached to it. He is a sad and pathetic man who needs a lot of prayer and some in depth, long term counseling. It saddens me when a man is so hardened that he can rationalize his immature behavior and lash out towards concerned parents by spreading filth via the entertainment industry. It’s a shame that some people are willing to equate success with making money, no matter the cost to our society. I feel sorry for Mr. MacFarlane. He’s actually a very talented man, but evidently not talented enough to succeed without attempting to garner attention with behavior equivalent to shock jock Howard Stern. Howard’s fame has been fizzling for years. Seth’s success will fizzle too. It’s just a matter of time.

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