Sports movies haven’t much ignited the box office of late. The last to strike out was Kevin Costner’s recent DRAFT DAY.
And in the ever more important international movie market football and baseball films have an even worse chance of succeeding. After all, countries with even the slightest hint of interest in American baseball and football—well, let’s just say they’re sparse.
Even Brad Pitt’s MONEYBALL only garnered just 31% of its total take overseas.
So hats off to the Mouse House for periodically developing ‘small’ pictures amidst its Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilm powerhouses and dropping them smack dab in the middle of major summer tentpoles.
That’s what Disney is doing this week with MILLION DOLLAR ARM.
Produced on a reportedly minuscule budget by Hollywood standards of just $25 million, this baseball-themed outing is really more a story of relationships and a fish-out-of-water, than a sports movie.
It’s based on the true story of down on his luck sports agent J.B. Bernstein (played by Jon Hamm) who, after losing his best prospect to a rival agency is in desperate need of new hitters and comes up with an intriguing scheme.
Why India? Because those cricket players over there have a pretty wicked arm and could possibly be trained to become great American pitching aces.
Not so much, since the story is based on how Rinku Sigh and Dinesh Patel were discovered and brought to this country for a culture shock introduction to our America’s pastime, Major League Baseball.
How was it done? Did it work? You’ll have to watch the movie for the answers.
Suffice it to say, you’ll have a good time along the way as Bill Paxton and Lake Bell join the adventure.
And especially Alan Arkin as a retired baseball scout who’s never lost it.
So will MILLION DOLLAR ARM make it as it’s being dropped between GODZILLA, SPIDER-MAN 2 and next week’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST?
Who knows? But good word of mouth from those who’ll venture out to see it may just give the picture the boost it needs to succeed.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM. Think JERRY MAGUIRE meets SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. It’s counter programming this weekend with a grade of B-
(Reviewed at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas)
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. on NewsRadio KMBZ FM & AM.