Oscar History

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Box Office: Mission New Years

Your mission should you choose to accept is it to rate the Mission: Impossible movies. I'm not sure that I can since I've found all four so easy to watch, even thrilling intermittently, until I promptly forget about them the next day. That said, I think I like Ghostocol, aka. I Am Mission Four the very best. And given how well it held up after a pretty big opening weekend, perhaps other audience members felt the same?

I wonder if Tom Cruise chose the tagline himself "No Plan. No Backup. No Choice"? That might well describe this franchise for him in terms of mega-star survival if you smooshed it together. "No Backup Plan. No Choice". He needed this movie to work and it did. Well done. Extra points for choosing Brad Bird aka Mr. Incredible as your boss, Tom. 

Box Office Top Ten 3 Day New Years Weekend (Estimates)
01 MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 4  $29.5  (cum. $132.4)
02 SHERLOCK HOMES 2 $21.0  (cum. $131.0)
03 ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS 3 $16.3 (cum. $92.7)
04 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO 2.0  $14.8 (cum. $55.8) 
      ....whoa, Fincher's remake falling under the 3rd week of the Chipmunks regurgitation? Ouch. 
05 WAR HORSE 1 $14.3 (cum. $40.4)
06 WE BOUGHT A ZOO 1 $13.2 (cum. $40.6)
07 THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN  $11.4 ($47.2)
08 VALENTINES DAY 2: NEW YEARS EVE $6.3  (cum. $46)
09 THE DARKEST HOUR 1 $4.3 (cum. $13.2)

Talking Points
The Iron Lady was packing them in (extremely) limited release which just goes to show you that the Weinstein Co was setting fire to money by not opening it wider right away given that it's a) Meryl and b) the media is all up in that shit with Meryl profiles, 60 Minutes and the Kennedy Center Honors. That's free publicity that'll will wear off before the movie goes wide! Plus The Iron Lady is not the sort of movie that will benefit from word of mouth as it's not very good. A Separation and Pariah also opened to totally respectable if not earth shaking results which is too bad because they're both among the very best of the movies. This season is such a tough market for small movies. And yet they try to sell dozens of the best ones round about now every year.

Timid release strategies *can* work well for high quality hard to sell movies (The Artist, Shame) but you always run the risk of losing momentum... especially when you have major stars (Carnage / Dangerous Method) or brand recognition (Marilyn)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (up to $4 million) and The Artist (up to $5) both had their first million dollar weekends now that they're no longer quite so impossible for moviegoers to see. Wider please. A Dangerous Method and Carnage, which have much more improbable Oscar dreams, continue to do pretty well in super limited release. If they don't go wider soon they're totally going to miss a window since it's hard to imagine them scoring major Oscar nods.

New Year's Eve was up 92% this weekend. Gee, I wonder why! Expect it to vanish from the face of the earth next week despite being on over 2000 screens at the moment. Who gets those screens? Why is only one movie, a horror film, going wide?

Did you see a movie on New Year's or were you nursing a hangover?


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Reader Comments (19)

One can never write off Tom Cruise and MI I guess, that poster doesn't even look like him

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

After over of a month of not going to the theaters, I actually saw two films this weekend (Fri & Sat).

Finally got around to seeing Tarsem's "Immortals" which I thought was OK. Very beautiful visuals (as expected), and it was worth seeing the next Superman all hot and sweaty! LOL.

Second film I saw was "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1" which I thought was pretty entertaining. Probably ranks up there (well, in terms of the franchise) with "New Moon" since I found "Eclipse" boring and the first one only memorable for the line "Don't you remember Bella? You fell down the stairs and right out the second floor window!!"

But sign, no Lee Pace. I guess he'll just be in "Part 2" I guess.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

Saw Tinker Tailor, Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and MI4. Tinker Tailor was my favorite of the three, a brilliant adaptation of a notoriously knotty, complex book. Oldman is sublime. Thought some of Alfredson's choices behind the camera were a bit dodgy, but overall easily one of my favorite films of the year.

Dragon Tattoo is a first rate adaptation of second rate material. Way too long, but a solid, enjoyable ride, and a vast improvement in every respect over the Swedish version.

Mission Impossible 4 is the best action movie in at least five years. Brad Bird should be allowed to make anything he wants for the rest of his life. He can do no wrong.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Saw Ghostocol (LOVE that nickname!) on New Year's Eve and was very glad I paid the extra for IMAX. That Burj Khalifa sequence? HOLY SH!T. It was a lot of fun. I'd probably put it on a par with the first (which I haven't seen in a long time), and definitely above the second, although I haven't seen the third.

Why, oh why are Carnage, Tinker Tailor..., and Shame not playing at a theater near me?!?! Dangerous Method is, although God knows how long it will stay there, what with all the other films waiting in the wings for an opening at the local art house.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Shame isn't even out yet in the UK til the 13th annoyingly enough and it's a UK production, I really don't understand why we have to wait to get it, it's agonizing.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

Mission Impossible Rankings: 1 > 4 > 3 > 2. Though I have to give props to this latest one as I since the first film had the advantage of being fresh and having no baggage when it came to Cruise's public persona (relatively).

Ended up seeing Dragon Tattoo over the weekend and enjoyed it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I kind of imagine The Iron Lady might get good word of mouth. I haven't seen it, but it kind of seems like the frothy type that people eat up even as the critics aren't that into it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

I saw "A Dangerous Method," which was thought-provoking and good for post-movie conversation, however I found it choppy and otherwise disappointing. It meandered and often seemed quite aimless despite strong performances.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I finally saw Marilyn (gosh, it was 30 minutes away from my house). I wasn't impressed with the movie. I wish that the singing dancing has more screen time. I love Michelle Williams however I feel like watching her instead of Marilyn.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchand

Brad Bird isn't Mr. Incredible, Ethan Hunt is. Whether he's blown up with the Kremlin, jumping shirtless on a van and hitting the ground, smashing into the world's tallest building, jumping out of a cars at full speed, or crashing them: Ethan Hunt is the most indestructible man in the world. He barely has a scratch and never shows any signs of pain. Obviously, a cartoon character was a natural fit for Brad Bird. But oddly enough, the only one who can give Mr. Hunt a run for his money is an old mad scientist. Nevertheless, I accept the mission.
MI: B; MI2: D; MI3: C+; MI4: C-.
That franchise deserves to self-destruct in five seconds.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

I wonder why A Dangerous Method is not getting wider release or expansion seeing it’s average per theatre in its 6th week is still strong. Plus it’s triple combo of Power Puff Psychoanalysists: Knightley + Fassy + Mortensen!

Who would’ve thought that a NC-17 film, a tougher sell, would gross more than a Knightley-starring movie and a movie starring Winslet and Jodie Foster?

Sony Classics is being lazy.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikhael

Mikhael -- yeah, they've been asleep at the wheel. They had a potential critical awards breakthrough in A SEPARATION and waited until new years to release it? they had surprisingly strong results for A DANGEROUS METHOD which nobody really seems to love (indicating interest was there for either the subject or the stars) and yet they didn't expand it. i can't figure them out. they got so hung up on MIDNIGHT IN PARIS that they seem to have left all their others to fend for themselves.

January 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Re: Sony Classics, this is an unfortunately old (and mostly valid, IMO) complaint against them. For every movie they handle with TLC and knock out of the park, like Midnight in Paris, there are four or five more (at least!) that are allowed to die in entirely too slow platform style limited release. I remember the fanboys were up in arms when SLC couldn't get Moon past $5 million back in 2009. It's a bummer, but it's how SLC does business, unless something gives them a reason to depart from the playbook, as Midnight in Paris did with its nearly $100k opening weekend per theater average.

There's really no excuse for holding Carnage and especially A Dangerous Method so close to the vest, but I don't so much fault them on A Separation - SLC has a long tradition of releasing high profile foreign releases - especially ones favored for the Oscars - in the first quarter of the year, and that's basically what releasing A Separation on December 28 is. Besides, I don't know that the movie would've done any better had it come out in October or November or September. At least now it'll be in theaters and ready to expand if it gets the Oscar nomination.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I finally caught up on a bunch of movies...

Young Adult - loved Theron and Oswalt, I want them to do more together. Overall really enjoyed it. Her quest was a little thin but the portrait of a narcissistic, alcoholic, sarcastic bitch pursuing a losing porposition was funny and fascinating.

The Descendants - kind of disappointing but I'm still not sure why. The actors were all good, the setting was lovely, but I think it comes down to a few points Nathaniel made in his review: Clooney's character is pretty bland and some of the beats just didn't work for me (Clooney's angry rant at his wife, the weird scene where he spanks his teenage daughter, etc.). Maybe I would have liked it better if I saw it before all the hype.

The Artist - LOVED this. So charming and well-made and great to look at and unpredictable. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I live in a town that has one cinema with eleven screens. We get mainly mainstream movies, so when "My Week with Marilyn" showed up I went to see it on New Year's day. Enjoyed Branagh and Williams' portrayals of Olivier and Monroe. I'm glad I saw it as it's last day is Thursday. We then get "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which may also stick around for only one week. I'm glad I saw "The Artist" while down in Phoenix for the holiday, as it may never show here in Flagstaff.

Okay, I'm done with whining and trying to make all of you feel guilty for your easy ability to see independent and foreign films on the big screen. I want your sympathy! I'm just a poor little movie lover shivering outside looking in watching you all feast away seeing great films. Sniff, sniff.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Erin -- i feel for you. I remember the days of living in Detroit and then Salt Lake and waiting and waiting and waiting for movies. Scarred me forever! ;)

January 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Mission Impossible rankings: 1, 4, 3, 2. I'm not sure if 4 is better than 3, but this is a franchise that barely sticks in my mind beyond - 1 was great and 2 was crap.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Gow

There are 15 movies (I counted) out in theatres here in Toronto that I still need to see but I'm broke and procrastinating because I still have to write about all the other movies I've seen for the past few weeks. My list starts with HUGO. I don't deserve to live in this city. Some of yous who are more deserving can take my place.

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I saw Hysteria on New Year's eve (I'm in Paris, France - don't know when you'll get that... i am still waiting for more than half the movies you're discussing here, including Jane Eyre which has now no set date for a French release...) and MI Ghost protocol on New Year's day. I thought MI was a lot of fun, i love Brad Bird.
Haven't seen MI 3, don't remember much about the first two except that I liked the first one enough to see the second one, and disliked the second one enough to decide not to see the third one. I guess the ranking would be 4>1>>2.

Happy new year to you Nathaniel, I rarely comment but still read faithfully :-)

January 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterstarfish
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