I'm sure it looked good on the calendar: three sure-fire hits for the holiday movie season. First, a 3-D animated Christmas film from award-winning director Robert Zemeckis, using the same motion capture technology that Zemeckis used to create "The Polar Express." Instead of Tom Hanks performing multiple roles, it would now be Jim Carrey performing in "Disney's A Christmas Carol." Next, a broad family comedy reuniting the director of the surprise blockbuster "Wild Hogs" with star John Travolta and adding Robin Williams for "Old Dogs." Last, a triumphant and long-anticipated return to hand-drawn animation and classic fairytales, "The Princess and the Frog." Now on the cusp of the new year, Disney instead has two disappointments and an outright bomb. What happened?
"Old Dogs" -- I don't have much to say about this. I have not seen the movie, but from the early trailers onward this looked like a lazy, tired, formulaic comedy that aimed squarely for mainstream audiences and apparently mainstream audiences completely saw through it. The marketing conveyed nothing but uninspired gags, the movie title and poster were confusing (is this a "Beethoven" type of comedy about dogs?) and it's been over a decade since Robin Williams toplined a successful movie. What were they thinking? The movie has grossed about $46 million since it's debut a month ago and its box office run is essentially over. A total dud.