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There was little surprise that Will Smith’s I AM LEGEND was the #1 movie at the box office this weekend — apparently the sight of the world’s most popular movie star and his lovable Alsatian wandering through a destroyed New York City is just what the public wants, to the tune of a record smashing $76.5 million.

However, what audiences WEREN’T expecting was the shock twist behind the destruction of the human race as shown in the film: the box office success of the CGI ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS, which brought in a stunning $45 millions, shattering all expectations and setting the human race on a collision course with doom. :

“Alvin,” based on another property dating back to the 1950s, also made box office history and could easily be spawned into a new Fox film franchise. Pic is a Fox 2000/New Regency co-production.

Showing strength across all age groups, “Alvin” enjoyed the second-highest December opening ever for a film rated G or PG after Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which opened to $65.5 million in 2005. “Alvin” is the eighth highest-grossing December film ever, and places in the top 20 of all-time best openings for family friendly films.

“Alvin and the Chipmunks” were created by Ross Bagdasarian as a novelty musical recording group before being adapted into a TV toon. Feature film adaptation cost less than $60 million to produce.

Scientists and pundits alike were gloomy with the prognosis for humanity after ALVIN’s triumph.

“It is a dark day for humanity,” warned Dr. Otto von Rocketship of the Cornell University Astrophysics lab. “Will future generations look back and say that we did nothing to stop ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS? Or will there even be future generations? We may have reached the tipping point.”

“Despite all the overwhelming evidence of the danger, we have unleashed ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS,” agreed Dr. Linus Itoldyouso, a professor of Symbology at MIT. “Humanity’s been on a slow rise for centuries, but this has dealt a tremendous setbeck from which we may never recover.”

Von Rocketship believes the success of ALVIN will not be an isolated incident. “This has tentpole franchise written all over it,” he predicted. “The studio is already planning sequels out the kazoo which will take a slight concept which might have been funny for about five minutes and drain it of all life and charm for movie after movie. As I AM LEGEND’s doomsday scenario showed, mankind has basically sealed its fate, and dumb CGI movies about cute little farting animals who talk with speeded up voices will rule the earth for the next five hundred years.”


  1. I knew Jason Lee was in this, but I was suprised to read that David Cross was in this movie. As the villian no less. Oh well I guess everyone’s got a price. Still not seeing it.

  2. As the father of two preteen children, I was required to see Alvin over the weekend. I’m not quite sure how to put this, but the farting chipmunks were the best thing in the movie, the rest of it being a heavy-handed satire of the music business, something my children know nothing about.

    I am not surprised at its success — the advertising campaign has been tremendously effective. My wife works at a school and says she heard kids quoting lines from the commercials all week long before the movie opened. Given a choice between this and the turgid, unsatisfying Golden Compass it doesn’t surprise me that kids went for the singing chipmunks.

  3. As much as I, too, hate the Chipmunks, I think the success of the movie is a testament to how starved families with young children are for some relatively harmless family films younger children can enjoy. Believe it or not, not every family jumps for joy whenever the latest Harry Potter wannabe hits the theaters. Sometimes parents and kids just want cute animals with high voices, and not eyebrow-arching English actors promising certain doom while hunting down the latest in a long line of messianic pre-teen heroes.

  4. Simply put, Todd and Mark hit the nail on the head. There’s just no solid family entertainment left for this holiday season. I mean…. Alien vs. Predator, Sweeny Todd, Charlie Wilson’s War? It’s obvious. Even Fred Claus saw a boost. Sadly, this will spell doom in the form of a Chipmunk sequel.

    Meanwhile… the poor Golden Compass may not see a sequel with such a poor showing. It’s on Eragon level at this point (which was also set up as a ‘trilogy’). But if they’re following the book so closely they should’ve expected as much since nothing really gets going until the end of the second book. I was seriously hoping this time that a film version would actually HELP tighten up a book story. Didn’t happen.

  5. As someone who grew up watching the Alvin and the Chipmunks in the 80’s, listening to the Christmas song etc. I WOULD have gone to the movie(or rented it) for pure nostalgic curiosity–much the way I HAD to see Transformers even though it looked horrible to me. But the Alvin movie posters (gangsta) and trailer (too gross) keep me away for the time being.

    I agree that a there aren’t a lot of movies for young kids these days since even all the YA fantasy stuff tends to skew scary. And yeah horror movies on christmas seems to be the new trend. So I won’t be surprised if the new Veggie Tales movie does really well.

  6. As someone who grew up with Alvin and the gang in the 1960s (!), I’d say I haven’t fully recovered from my sister sitting on–and breaking–my Chipmunks’ Christmas album.

  7. I don’t know if this signals the end of the world, as the success of “Kangaroo Jack” appeared apocalyptic a few years back – but we survived.

  8. Street Buzz tells me that Legend will have a sharp downturn next week. The book has been selling well all year long, but I haven’t checked his other books.
    I agree about family films. Disney should rerelease an animated feature that isn’t available on DVD, and make that tradition.

  9. i teach special ed at a high school in northern california. although every year’s class is different, generally speaking i can cut my class into two groups: kids in and out of jail with little parental support, and kids who have developmentally arrested because of too much parental support. both groups were pretty fucking pumped to see “alvin and the chipmunks.” i’m not sure what that means, if anything, but it feels meaningful.

  10. Torsten, almost all movies suffer huge declines in box office sales the second week. It has become the norm for movies these days.

  11. I’m still waithing for the CGI major motion picture based on the barking dog Jingle Bells song.

    Come on, you know they’re greenlighting that one.

    “Street Buzz tells me that Legend will have a sharp downturn next week. The book has been selling well all year long, but I haven’t checked his other books.”

    If the movie was actually like the book (though I loved the book) next week’s audiences would be nil.

  12. I find the success of The Transformers movie more disturbing than Alvin and the Chipmunks doing well.

    BTW, Pip the Chipmunk in Enchanted was great.

  13. Torsten, almost all movies suffer huge declines in box office sales the second week. It has become the norm for movies these days.

    Movie studios prefer it that way, actually. During the first few weeks of a movie’s run in theaters, the majority percentage of the profits goes to the movie studios. After that, the majority percentage of the profits goes to the actual theaters themselves. Thus, movie studios would prefer to make a movie that makes less money, but makes it more quickly, because otherwise, the studios are actually losing money, even if the movie itself is making more money.

  14. Richard you ask if the film is like the book?
    It is… until you hit the 3/4 mark, then it takes a left turn in the woods.
    Which, for the book, is where it got *very* interesting.
    The film has a different ending which does not respect the namesake “I Am Legend”.
    When I walked out it was more “I Am Too Lazy To Leave My House.”

    There’s no ‘Legend’ here… but it’s still a fun movie in other ways.

  15. Meanwhile… the poor Golden Compass may not see a sequel with such a poor showing.

    To make matters worse, they decided to chop off the ending and hold it until the beginning of the next movie. Instead of an intense finale, we got a bland “Oh, yeah, we’ve got to go find so-and-so now.” scene. The ending is critical to a movie, because that’s the impression that sticks with viewers when they finish. The last think you want is to bore people to death in the last 2 minutes.

    I suspect if they’d gone through all the way to the end, even though it would have been a cliffhanger, audiences (and reviewers) would have had more of a sense that yes, this is going somewhere.

    Maybe if they never get The Subtle Knife to the screen, they’ll edit the scenes into an extended DVD version?

  16. Alvin & the Chipmonks are gangsta! They had that harmonizer on smash before Missy and Timberland. You MFs wait: this starts an Alvin trilogy.

  17. I have no problem with Cross and Odenkirk doing some cheezy films because they use the money to let them do sketch work that I really like.

    I saw Compass and it was really annoying. The pacing was just frantic. You never got to relax and relate to the characters. The violence was over the top and if you went to see Daniel Craig well he’s barely in the thing. Hey there’s Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lee and… now they’re gone. But we’ve got a creepy romantic relationship between a girl and a polar bear.
    It felt like a comic book where by the end you go, “I’ll just wait for the trade”.

  18. The family audience is different than the hardcore audience. Families are wanting to enjoy fun films like this. I am an Alvin and the Chipmunks fan, but I will not be seeing this film. I have grown up from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

  19. Everyone knows people don’t watch GOOD movies when they’re in the theatres. They catch it two years later and say to themselves, “That was great! How the hell did I miss this?!”

    The answer is that you were paying to see crap like Alvin and the Chipmunks, ya moron!

    Good alternatives to I Am Legend and Apocalypse and the Cataclysms: Juno, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and I’m Not There.

  20. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not a single person posting here is the target audience for “Alvin.”

    Now me: I watched and loved the original cartoon series when I was the age of my daughter who was dying to see the film since we saw the trailers. So I took her. She loved it. She laughed at the Chipmunks and was dancing to the songs. That is, frankly, all I could have asked from the admission price. Plus I appreciated the little touches, such as that Dave’s house number was 1958, the year of the release of the first Chipmunks record.

    Personally, I was fascinated by the closing credits which showed the album covers throughout the years.

    And if the sequels come, I’ll be there with my munchkin.


  21. Jimmie,

    I didn’t ask if the film was like the book, I’ve read the book several times. What I was trying to say was if they had made the film like the book, that it’s ending would have never gotten past the test audiences. You know Hollywood, gotta make those endings as happy as possible.

  22. I’m surprised that no one pointed out that perhaps the inflated box office take was probably due to the Dark Knight trailer – or the seven minute prologue clip that was showing in all IMAX theaters???

    OR that no one pointed out that I AM LEGEND was a poster product whore for WISHFUL THINKING unproduced DC movies such as the Wolfgang Petersen aborted SUPERMAN/BATMAN film – the Teen Titans, or Green Lantern?



  23. “OR that no one pointed out that I AM LEGEND was a poster product whore for WISHFUL THINKING unproduced DC movies …”

    I am not understanding this. I AM LEGEND was produced because a DC movie wasn’t produced?