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« Free Association: "Sandy" & The Impossible | Main | November Oscar Updates! »

Box Office: Wreck-It, Denzel!

A very strong weekend after a quiet one. Wreck-It Ralph's big showing isn't a surprise given the track record of noisy colorful animated films for kids (i.e. they always open big) and its use of nostalgic characters  to hook parents. Denzel Washington, one of the last true movie stars, can also be counted on for strong openings and Flight is no exception. What did you see this weekend?

Box Office Top Ten
01 WRECK-IT RALPH  $49.1 *NEW* 
02 FLIGHT $25 *NEW* 
03 ARGO  $10.2 (cum. $75.8)
05 TAKEN 2  $6  (cum. $125.6)
06 CLOUD ATLAS $5.2 (cum $18.2)
07 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA $4.5 (cum $137.5)
08 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 $4.3  (cum $49.5)
09 HERE COMES THE BOOM $3.6 (cum $35.5)
10 SILENT HILL REVELATION $3.3 (cum $13.9)

I saw Flight on Friday night in a crowded theater (review tomorrow) and though the audience seemed to be with it the whole time -- reacting big in all the key places -- as I was leaving I overheard the following conversation between two 20something girls.


Girl #1: That was not at all what I was expecting.
Girl #2: I know. It was... [unconvinced] good. I think I need a little more feel-good in my movies.

Curious comment since Flight works overtime and some would say inelegantly in its finale to hurdle its feel-bad problem. But, then again, they have been marketing it with the crash and Denzel's ace flying that's only the beginning of the movie so maybe the audience was expecting something more action-packed and heroic? 

Speaking of heroic feats: Ben Affleck's Argo is losing so little of its audience from week to week that he'll totally have his first $100 million blockbuster soon (The Town came close). And all that from a "prestige" movie, too. His ascendance is nearly complete. All that's left on the road to being a wildly overrated filmmaker (he's good don't get me wrong) is another Oscar. Do you think he'll win it?

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Reader Comments (26)

I'm still playing catch up. Saw Looper (finally) last night, and tonight seeing Wreck-It Ralph, with Flight tomorrow night. I'm super excited, based on all the positive word of mouth I'm hearing for both.

Right now, I think it's Affleck's to lose. His only major challenger, in my eyes, is Russell, if AMPAS falls hard for SLP. I don't think they'll give it to Hooper again so soon, even if Les Mis is an unqualified success and walks away with Picture. Lee and Spielberg have been rewarded already, PTA and Haneke too difficult film-wise (i.e. not warm and fuzzy enough for Oscar). Bigelow's film is a mystery right now, Zeitlin too green for the win. Denzel is sucking all the buzz away from Zemeckis.

Right now, it looks to me like Affleck, Hooper, Lee, Russell, Spielberg, with a two horse race between Affleck and Russell for the win. PTA and Haneke are right on the margins but need critics wins, and Bigelow is the dark horse.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

I, as well, saw "Flight" on Friday night, and although the film itself is a kind of hodgepodge effort of incongruous parts, there is no denying that Denzel Washington has awakened from his decade-long slumber.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

An overrated filmmaker winning an Oscar wouldn't come as a surprise, if you ask me...

I guess some would include Sam Mendes in that category, but not me. I saw "Skyfall" this weekend, my first Bond at a movie theatre since "The Living Daylights", and I had a lot of fun. The man knows his craft. Plus I had the pleasure to watch some of my favorite actors together in action (Bardem, Dench, Fiennes).

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Caught up and saw CLOUD ATLAS (flawed, but too ambitious to put down too much) and ARGO (almost perfect). Was also going to see WRECK-IT RALPH but perhaps next week.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

"Flight" was definitely not what I was expecting. I was prepared for like a courtroom drama and then it turned into a character study about this alcoholic pilot. I really enjoyed it and I thought Denzel and Kelly Reilly were superb.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Affleck isn't overrated. He's THAT good. Get that "whatever it is" out of your bum.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthatone

I saw The Sessions and Cloud Atlas. Thought the former was hard to dislike but also hard to love, and thought the latter was magnificent though confounding. Hope to see a review on here for Cloud Atlas.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

The way actors go all sorts of gaga over Affleck's movies as a director, I'd be very surprised if he didn't win this year. And honestly, any director would love to have Affleck's three on their filmography at any point in their career. I've always felt that the only reason The Town didn't make the cut is because of that hellaciously awful "Dear Claire" letter at the end. And he's got his popular best buddy Matt Damon out there stumping for him (after deriding the Academy for "snubbing" The Town).

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjtagliere

I saw three movies this weekend: Flight on Friday; then, on the following day, the 7:15 showing of Wreck-It Ralph followed by an indie cinema screening of Tommy Wiseau's 2003 masterpiece The Room.

Looking at the box office charts, that's a very strong top three films.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

Saw SKYFALL. I was surprised in how much I ended up liking it. I thought Judi Dench was aces, as was Bardem and even Whishaw in his brief scenes. Craig is meh (but then again his acting talents are, in my opinion, far overrated - I HATED him in DEFIANCE and I really liked the movie itself). And I thought Sam Mendes delivered at least cinematically (not many Bond movies look THAT gorgeous and artful; thank you Roger Deakins). The action bits were... messy.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Ben will be nominated, but I don't think he'll make it to the win.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I finally caught up with Ruby Sparks. Ruby Sparks! Every time a new character came on, it was an actor that I already liked or that I liked immediately. One of my favorite casts of the year. Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, and Elliot Gould haven't been this warm and charming in ages. Writing, casting, directing, and acting, were all just right.

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan are such a pleasure to watch (the last thing I saw them in was them trudging discouragedly through the dirt in Meeks Cutoff). I think Zoe Kazan deserves a nomination for her screenplay. Yes, it's a little like Stranger Than Fiction meets 500 Days of Summer, but it's my favorite parts of those, plus something new and original.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I'd bet a lot of money on Ben winning that Oscar this year. Argo got spontaneous applause from my audience more than once.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

To Rome with Love.

I have very little to add to what's been said. I can't understand why some takes are in the movie when they clearly should've been left in the editiing room (the first Baldwin-Eissenberg exchange, or the one where Pil doesn't even know where to stay, and it shows). Still, I found it better than Whatever Works which was not only bad, but infuriaringly bad. Probably what I found most unbearable was the continuous use of the incidental (70's?) music which was really annoying after the second time, and the Woody Allen character himself. it's probably one of the few times I wish the characters could have left the movie and gone to a better one by themselves in protest for having nothing to do.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I want Denzel to win again so much. In my opinion je is one of the best actors of all time and I always get thrilled to see his movies. He is so damn good, and his charisma is beyond overwhelming. So magnetic!

I'll always stand by his Oscar for Training Day. He was terrific, scary, intense, brutal, in a major megawatt star turn, like Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce, Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich or Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry.

I can't wait to see Flight!

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I didn't care for Flight or Denzel's performance in it. What upsets me is the Day-Lewis machine and the two-time Oscar winners fighting for their Meryl moment of false modesty while the once in a career nominee has to suck up the loss—Davis and this year Phoenix. I want Joaquin to have the Oscar, Denzel can take SAG since he's never won, and Day-Lewis has taken it twice, the Globes have no importance whatsoever. Shamelessly bought and star-fucked this year for Harvey. I love it when they don't satisfy his needs. The continued dismissal of The Master not only by the public and pundits but by our own Nathan.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

UGH. Had to open a play this weekend so despite not having work (downtown NYC) I was entirely too busy to get to the movies, which made me very sad. I really want to see Cloud Atlas before it disappears (which could very likely be very soon given its relatively weak box office and the large number of big films opening) and I LOVE me some Denzel and thus really want to see Flight. Hopefully I'll find a weeknight this week to treat myself.

I did have TCM to keep me company during the storm, though (thankfully we never lost power), so I saw Judgment at Nuremberg and From Here to Eternity (both for the first time), so the week wasn't a total loss, movie-wise.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Jorge: Have you seen Layer Cake or Enduring Love? If you have, give your thoughts on those perfs. If you haven't, please reserve full judgment.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Loved the hell out of "Flight," and Denzel should get an easy Oscar nod for this performance. The audience seemed to love it, and all of this too sentimental ending talk didn't phase this audience at least, who were quite diverse in ages and races (more male than female). Get it, Denzel!

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulian

I think Affleck is a likely nominee, but I don't think he'll win for Director or Best Picture. Still, that first Director nod is all you need to be in the club, and I think they may be ready to welcome him. Oscar's Director club can be very odd in their choices though, so in a year with so many past winners playing with seemingly solid films (Speilberg, Lee, Bigelow if she gets the reviews, Hooper if he gets the reviews, Zemeckis if Flight becomes a big hit). They will still have to earn their places, but I expect several of them to show, maybe even all five.Then you have Russell, Haneke (who directors may want in the nominee club), Anderson, Affleck, Tarantino, and that's not even counting potential surprises for Academy pet favorites. Nothing is solid at this point, but some of these will have to fall out.

As for Actor, I think The Master may be a little too odd for some actors to award major prizes. Hoffman feels more likely to win since Supporting Actor is a weaker category, though I think both men will be nominated for that film. Hawkes has his movie stolen by Hunt, so I don't picture him taking it. The problem with Washington is he has barely been mentioned in races since Training Day (OK, he was for a minute in American Gangster, but that wasn't happening), so will they want to give him a third when Day-Lewis is chasing a third while his marketing team names him the greatest actor of our time? Three Oscars is a big deal. I need to see Lincoln before commenting with authority, but it does sounds like Spielberg may break his string of Oscar losers. Jackman could sneak to the top out of nowhere though. Who knows?

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Just saw The Master. What a horrible experience. I kept waiting for some forward momentum, anything, some small sign of plot development. But the narrative void took over. Relentlessly pretentious, dramatically pointless, The Master finally collapses under the wait of its own ponderousness. Anderson's worst film.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

eurocheese: Do you really see DDL's winning this year considering how long it usually take most actors of legend to win a third trophy? The Academy clearly LOVES Meryl, yet look at how long she had to wait.

I do think people have a propensity to overpraise both Ben Affleck and his films primarily because everyone expected so little from him for so long. "Argo" notwithstanding because I have yet to see it, I've found his movies to be solid but flawed efforts with performances that surpass the stories that contain them.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Volvagia: I saw both of those and while I can even enjoy him in LAYER CAKE, I really don't care for the actor. I just don't think he's that talented, sorry.

But that doesn't mean other people can't like him. Hey, I'm one of the few who thinks KStew is actually talented (and yes I've seen her "act" in Twilight :P)

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Jorge: Okay. It's just mentioning Defiance as an "I can never get passionate about Daniel Craig" is a weird choice from my perspective. If you don't feel passion about Layer Cake or Enduring Love, I can't do anything else to change your mind.

November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I say this as someone who enjoyed all three of Affleck's films as director (especially Gone Baby Gone)...
The notion of Affleck and Haneke potentially being up for the same prize.. with Haneke *losing*... the mind... she boggles.

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Watched "I Am a Ghost" and "Ace Attorney" due to the San Diego Asian Film Festival happening here. I really liked the former, while I found the latter to be just good (and also truthful to the videogame series). Hoping to catch so many movies in theaters ("Hope Springs" "Silent Hill 2" "Wreck-It Ralph" "Cloud Atlas" "The Master" "Dredd" "Pitch Perfect" "Seven Psychopaths") though but I'm not sure when I'll have time.

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

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