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Overheard @ Box Office: "You can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss"

Overheard on Friday:

Woman#1: (Defeated sounding) I have to take my son to see The Lorax
Cheerful Female Friend: Ohhh, you can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss!"  

Cheerful Female Friend has clearly not registered the atrocities Hollywood has often made from the good doctor's work. And when one thinks of the colorful wit and profound whimsy of Dr. Seuss surely mainstream heartthrobs like Zac Efron and Taylor Swift pop immediately to mind! What a, uhhhh, perfect vocal match.

But Cheerful Female Friend speaks for all of America. So testifies the box office!

BAKERS DOZEN (Estimates)
01 THE LORAX  $70.7 new  
02 PROJECT X  $20.7 new  
03 ACT OF VALOR $13.7 (cum. $45.2)
04 SAFE HOUSE  $7.2 (cum. $108.2)
05 TYLER PERRY'S GOOD DEEDS $7 (cum. $25.7)
06 JOURNEY 2 THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND $6.9 (cum. $85.6)
07 THE VOW  $6.1 ($111.7)
08 THIS MEANS WAR  $5.6  (cum. $41.6)
10 THE ARTIST $3.9 (cum. $37)

11 WANDERLUST  $3.8 (cum. $12.4)
12 GONE $3 (cum. $8.9)
13 CHRONICLE  $1.9 (60.8)


Talking Points

Reese, Amanda, and Jen have seen better box office days

• BLONDE BUT BANKABLE? Reese Witherspoon's movies are generally expensive to make but that return on investment these days. Yikes. This Means War is still a long way from recouping its budget. Jennifer Aniston movies have always had schizophrenic box office performance but Wanderlust is definitely on the weak side of her ticket-selling. How on earth was that sperm-switching comedy more attractive to moviegoers than this one? Meanwhile Amanda Seyfried hasn't been able to scare up crowds from Gone which is weirder. It's a genre flick and can't those usually open even without a name? $8 million for a serial killer picture after two weeks? Ouch. I'm sure it doesn't help that the ads totally make it seem like something Ashley Judd was making in the early 90s.

• EXCUSE ME, BUT WHO IS PAYING TO SEE GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE? I mean, besides our masochistic Michael C. It's already made more money than 2011's "Best Picture"... which had a big uptick post Oscar of course (The Artist's co-nominees took falls but Hugo fell only 14% despite also debuting on DVD so maybe its constant name-checking on Sunday night convinced some holdouts?)

• A SEPARATION more than doubled its screen count and had its first million dollar weekend, bringing its total to $3.7 million at the US box office. That there is a big big number for a non-genre subtitled picture.

What did you see this weekend? Was it worth the money? I was having an offline recuperation weekend so I went to see a Norwegian band at The Bitter End that one of my friends recommended called Mhoo. They're so good. Have a listen! 


They told me they're going to SXSW so if you're heading to that festival check them out.

Even when I'm at non-film events I can't stop thinking of movies. While the girls were singing I kept thinking "Kiki Dunst and Leelee Sobieski should play them in a movie!" 


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Reader Comments (23)

I saw The Passion of Joan of Arc based on a film blog's recommendation I saw a few weeks ago that I can't remember now - was it this one? Maybe Nick's Flicks Picks? The movie was pretty amazing and Falconetti was stunning. I love how 50% of the movie was just a close-up of her face. What a face! No wonder he wanted to get so close and stay there. A haunting, uniquely beautiful film.

So glad The Artist saw more business, but i wonder if people who see it now will have high expectations after the Best Picture win and will end up disappointed. I hope not. It deserves to have a bigger audience.

So happy A Separation saw a big boost, too.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Saw This Means War at an early matinee and for 5 bucks it was okay. The premise is silly and a little creepy but all three of the stars are charming and beautiful, the settings very slick and it moved along at a good clip with a brief enough running time not to bore. It's horrifying however that a great actress like Angela Bassett is reduced to a stick figure role as Chris and Tom's boss, as well as wasting Til Schweiger in a nothing role as a villain.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

We were going to see The Lorax but it was completely sold out at our hometown theatre. So we drove a ways and saw Chronicle instead. The ending was pretty silly (although that sounds weird, because really, the whole thing is pretty silly) but it was a lot of fun. The effects were pretty great.

But on Sunday, we went to see ONCE on Broadway. Possibly even better than the film, which is saying something. Joyous and heartbreaking in equal measure, and everyone involved really captured the spirit of the film. HIGHLY recommended, even if you don't particularly like musicals.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

*Finally* saw Hugo (on DVD), which was so-o-o uninvolving to me. I love the Golden Age of cinema, LOVED The Artist but just couldn't get into Hugo to save my life. Anyone else find it, third act side, totally lacking spark?

P.S. Chloë Moretz is a demon child.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Hugo: Just saw it this weekend and I thought the movie was charming overall, if a little...Studio Ghibli...in pace and tone, a very unusual choice for an American live action film that's appropriate, content wise, for most ages, such films usually leaning for Spielberg-style speed and up-front sappiness.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I finally saw Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- I've been meaning to see it since it came out but there's always been something else more interesting on. Not really a fan of the book so it was just out of Fincher duty. I thought the performances, cinematography, sound were all great but it felt kind of bogged down by the story. A pity that they did not use the fact that there was a previous adaptation as license to shake it up a bit more.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

Finally got to see A Separation and wow am I glad I did. That man knows how to write an argument.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrady

Caught up with Warrior on Blu ray. I'll be seeing Beginners in the next couple days, but, plus or minus Mr. Plummer's no doubt excellent performance, it sure seems to me that Nick Nolte was robbed of a well deserved supporting actor Oscar. the film as a whole is slightly more problematic - it feels like a much longer film compressed to 140 minutes, with the plot moving in odd fits and starts and entire major plot points taking place entirely off camera. I was impressed, though - much of it has that Friday Night Lights vibe, pure community based transcendent bliss in amongst all the personal pain.

I also tried to get through 50/50 for the third or fourth time and had to turn it off early on. Cancer movies freak me out. Can't take them at all.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

This weekend I watched Breakfast At Tiffany's for the first time. I liked it, especially Audrey Hepburn's performance. I was surprised that she didn't win Best Actress for her performance. The only thing I didn't like about the movie were the scenes with Mickey Rooney as the Asian neighbour. Those scenes were painful to watch.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

went back to see Tinker Tailor a second time; even with the "whodunnit" suspense removed the movie stands a beautifully constructed, performed and written piece.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermatt

DJDeeJay. I saw that same site sometime this past week. It was one devoted to lists, and I got to the Silent Films list on the sidebar of another one. Well. I can't remember where that was. However, a few weeks ago I stumbled upon this, which is quite cool since it has links to complete versions of the films (YouTube):


In any case, I started looking and I also found these additional lists:

Hope this helps!

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

After reading Mark Harris' Oscarmetrics column in Grantland this season, I finally got around to reading his book, Pictures at a Revolution, about the 1967 Oscars. The obvious thing is how meticulously researched it is, but I also liked how it's so non-judgmental and doesn't tell you what to think.

The part that really got me was the part about Sidney Poitier. He starred in 2 out of the 5 Best Pictures and had a 3rd box office success that year, making him one of the year's biggest draws. Yet he was nominated for nothing. He knew his career was over. As the ONLY high profile black actor, one person alone couldn't bear the weight of expectations, conflicting demands, and vitriol that came his way. So sad. (I loved that he turned to directing and directed a string of humane, funny and sweet movies with black actors).

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Meghan: The Mickey Rooney scenes in Breakfast at Tiffany's are painful for EVERYONE. They're not enough of the movie for me to say that it's outright bad, but it turns what is, to me, an otherwise A level film into a B+.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Adri -- i LOVE that book. I keep meaning to interview Mark about it now that we're well acquainted.

Meghan -- i've always assumed she might have won for it if she hadn't already won Best Actress. But instead it was Natalie Wood vs. Sophia Loren that year.

Brady -- so happy people are going to it. I keep telling everyone to see it and so far nobody has been mad at me for taking the recommendation ;)

Mareko -- agreed. and agreed.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

DJDeeDay -- I've talked about that movie a few times yeah, but so has Nick. It's my favorite silent .

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This weekend, I finally saw "Tiny Furniture" which is now streaming on Netflix, and I was truly impressed! I've rarely seen such a real depiction of post-college confusion and the identity crisis that follows. I can only think of The Graduate as something comparable. I'm happy to hear Lena Dunham will continue to channel her creativity and 20s angst in the upcoming new HBO show "Girls."

Also, I had the opportunity to see "Free Men" (about Algerian immigrants joining the French resistance) at the Rondezvous with French Cinema Film Festival with director Ismael Farroukhi and Tahar Rahim (of 'A Prophet' fame) speaking after. I would definitely recommend the film when it opens in wider release!

Great film weekend!

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Adri - You refer to Sidney Poitier not being nominated in 1967 in spite of having starred in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night (both Best Picture nominees) and also To Sir, With Love. He missed out, yes. His costars Hepburn (won Best Actress), Tracy, Cecil Kellaway, Beah Richards and Steiger (won Best Actor) all received recognition.
But the reason why Poitier was not nominated is not the color of his skin. Just like now, an actor could only be nominated for one performance. Votes are not added up. Poitier -with three outstanding performances- was actually his own worst enemy! He cancelled himself out. I guess three performances were one too many. What usually happens in these cases is what Weinstein does so brilliantly. They would/should have tried to campaign for only one of his roles (I guess, In the Heat of the Night). If this happened today, I'd even dare say they would campaign for Best Supporting Actor in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner!
Look at the Lead Oscar winners for 1977. Richard Dreyfuss was in The Goodbye Girl and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Diane Keaton was in Annie Hall and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. If these films had been released in different years, all four performances would have probably been nominated. Fortunately, Dreyfuss and Keaton had good campaigns and both were nominated and ultimately won the gold.

Nat: I posted something like 3 hours ago (a reply to DJDeeJay's comment about Silent Films). I don't know why I was required to enter a capchta (or whatever the name is). The post has not yet been uploaded.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

That cumulative box office for the Vow is pretty stunning, I wonder if she will gain Oscar traction for the Malick film she shot once its released, she's at just the right moment in her career for it.

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

Rachel McAdams that is.

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

@DJDeeDay & Nathaniel - agree and agree (about the Passion of Joan of Arc.) I saw it once - on a very tiny tv screen at home, many years ago, after a complete print had been located (that Dryer had loaned to the head of a mental hospital in Norway or somesuch and was found under his bed years later - isn't that always how the story goes with these lost prints?) It blew me away. I was reading film history in college and a lot of early films I read about couldn't quite live up to the breathy prose of the historians (I found Todd Browning's "Freaks" underwhelming after everything I'd read about it - but I fault the historians, not the filmmaker)

But Joan - and Falconetti's performance specifically - lived up to expectations and then some.

I'd love to see it again - I'm sure that x number of years later the prints have been cleaned up (or a surely hope so - the new cleaned up copy of Metropolis I saw recently was stunning, and Joan deserves that at least. Joan is a masterpiece, whereas Metropolis is influential, sure, but for it's visuals, not storytelling or characters - it's more of a curiosity piece IMO.)

@Marcos - I re-read adri's post, and he does NOT say in it that Poitier didn't get nominated because of the color of his skin, if I'm reading correctly; but that skin color did affect his career and moreover, his career prospects and the "window of opportunity". (We've talked a lot this season - obviously - about Oscar and women of color this season, but it seems to me that men have fared little better.) Not that there was a conspiracy, but that there was a "strike while the iron is hot" momentum that came and went, and Poitier knew it.

I know that a LOT of factors play into who gets nominated and doesn't, who wins and doesn't (and yes we've seen over and over again how much having the driving force of a Weinstein behind someone helps - I doubt that campaigns worked that aggressively back in the day?) But I'm not sure how your example of Keaton and Dreyfuss in 1977 disproves David's point? It seems to me it does the opposite, unless I'm not understanding what you meant; you say that in another year "all four performances would probably have been nominated". But that's speculation, isn't it? (For instance, I don't see it at all likely that Dreyfuss' performance in Close Encounters would have been nominated, in a "genre" sci-fi film.)

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

I saw "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory". Well done HBO. Once again... I guess "Undefeated" must be really moving to win over this one and "Pina".

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Haven't seen The Lorax because the trailers look like its tone is way off-base from what Dr. Seuss intended-- The Lorax wasn't funny; he was practically begging.

Nathaniel, speaking of Scandinavia (although pop, not folk), you should check out this song "Euphoria" by the singer Loreen. There's a version sung at the Melodifestivalen that is not only awesome, but the performance is superbly arranged. Here you go:


March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Nat & Adri - You are right Nat. I knew Adri was not saying Poitier was not nominated because he is black. I just thought it was a good opportunity to speak about Poitier's case in 1967. I now re-read my own post and realize I shoud not have said "BUT the reason..."

Janice - Saying all four performance would have been nominated of course is speculation. As to Dreyfuss' chances with Close Encounter, you may very well be right. Out of the four, Dreyfuss' CE is the less Oscary performance.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos
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