November 23, 2002

It's a little late to be able to capitalize on the information, but I've discovered the formula for success in the 2002 movie market.

Consider some of the year's top earners: Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Two Towers (okay, it hasn't released yet, but we all know it'll succeed) and Eight-legged Freaks.

What do they all have in common? (I'll give you a hint. It is NOT David Arquette. )

It's giant spiders, of course (assuming, and I hope it's a safe assumption, that Shelob has not been cut from The Two Towers in Peter Jackson's excellent adaptation of Tolkien's masterpiece). Granted, you have to stretch the definition of "giant spider" just a little bit in the case of Spider-Man, where you have a small spider, and a person-sized thing (Toby Maguire) with spider-like attributes, but it's all there. Oh, sure, you might also have to stretch the definition of "top earner" a little bit to get Eight-Legged Freaks in there, but I'm sure our sample is large enough to allow for a statistical artifact or two if you're going to be all intolerant and stuff.

This leads me to wonder how well the new James Bond film will do. I can't picture the filmmakers reverting to the campy Bonds of the seventies and eighties and introducing some maniac with a giant robot spider bent on world domination. I also don't think Bond will be driving a Ferrari Spyder anywhere in the movie, and although Halle Berry is creepy, I can't stretch my definition of spider enough to fit her into it (Toby Maguire, yes. Halle Berry, no). Die Another Day may be doomed to Die On Opening Weekend...

Maybe there is still enough time for some independent filmmaker to strike gold with this information. If you're reading this, Mister Filmmaker, heed my advice: hurry back to post, paint in some giant spiders, and then book as many showings as possible before the end of the year. Or take your time with it, and hope that the spider thing will still be able to work its magic in 2003. After all, both the estimable Misters Potter and Baggins will still be in first-run theaters well into February (or June, in Idaho and eastern Oregon), so there could be some fringe effect.