Oscar History

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Box Office Playbook: Jessica vs. Jennifer

As if doing battle like Best Actress Gladiators both Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence are all over the nation's theaters. They'll be horns locked for the next 5 weeks in the media, I'll bet. JLaw was joking about beating JChas to the Oscar on SNL -- too gently? -- but it was Jessica who won the box office. And twice over. The last time I remember that happening was Leonardo DiCaprio at Christmas 2002 I think (Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can?)  [UPDATE: Sharp-eyed TFE Reader Brian Z actually reminds us that it happened in 2011 too... also with Jessica Chastain for The Help and The Debt]

On a related side note: I just know I'm going to start calling them Jessica Lawrence and Jennifer Chastain before long; name slippage is coming!

Box Office Top Ten
01 MAMA $28.1 *NEW* Jose likes the wig
02 ZERO DARK THIRTY  $17.6 (cum. $55.9) Top Ten List  
03 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK  $11.3 (cum. $55.3)  Beau's Review
04 GANGSTER SQUAD  $9.1 (cum $32.2) 
06 A HAUNTED HOUSE  $8.3  (cum. $29.9)
07 DJANGO UNCHAINED $8.2 (cum. $138.3) More on Django
08 LES MISERABLES $7.8 (cum $130.3) Top Ten List
09 THE HOBBIT $6.4  (cum $287.3)

In other movie/money news: Skyfall became only the 10th movie to break the $300 million barrier in the US box office this decade (Alice in Wonderland and The Hunger Games are the only non-sequels in that list... though both are franchisey in that remake or kick-off kind of way); Two very expensive movie gambles Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians will inch over the $100 million mark in the next few days which must be a relief even if it doesn't quite spell "big profit!"; Chasing Ice, a nominee for Best Original Song, crossed the $1 million mark which is a big deal for documentaries; Sony Pictures Classics are still being really conservative with Amour -- it's only in 36 theaters despite 5 Oscar nominations last week though they grossed nearly ½ a million this weekend; And despite nobody caring about it or talking about it whatsoever Tom Cruise's latest actioner Jack Reacher crossed the $75 million mark this weekend... Oscar season always makes it easy to forget that a huge portion of the moviegoing public never even thinks about "Oscar Season".


Speaking of the public -- though the specific and not the general --  what did you see this weekend?

the three most popular movie musicals since Cabaret. Les Misérables is nearing their lofty box office heights

P.S. Les Misérables only needs a few more weeks of heat -- which Oscar season will surely provide -- to pass Mamma Mia! and become the third most popular movie musical of the modern era stateside (after Grease & Chicago). Of course the atrocious Mamma Mia! has the absurd distinction of being so popular around the globe (over ½ a billion) that it's actually the most successful modern musical if you include the entire world in your overview. Usually we prefer to be international but Mamma Mia!? Blargh!


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Reader Comments (19)

I actually think the praise at the end of the insult was part of the comedy, poking fun at the fact that they are all competing against each other and yet they still have to shower endless praise on each other while doing so. That's how I interpreted it at least.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I caught up with two films this weekend, both of which had some good points and some bad points. "The Impossible" was pretty harrowing, to say the least. I preferred the sections following Naomi Watts and Tom Holland to those following Ewan McGregor and the two other boys. I'm not sure that I would have given Naomi Watts a Best Actress nomination for this...though she certainly did "deglam" for the role. I would perhaps have given a Best Supporting Actor nomination to Tom Holland, though. One other thing: I really disliked the use of the music on the soundtrack, disappearing for long stretches and yet soming up loud and sappily sentimental at others. (The use of music, though, wasn't as bad as in last year's "Footnote," not by far.)

"Django Unchained" had its moments, too, particularly in the interplay between Walts and Foxx. I liked them both; I was less crazy about DiCaprio, though. I must admit to perhaps getting a bit too old for Tarantino's shoot-em-out scenes, so I'd have to say I preferred the first two-thirds of the movie to the last part.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

"Life of Pi" is a big hit internationally. It looks like it will gross over $500 million worldwide, which is quite great for an adaptation of literary fiction starring an unknown actor. I think the producers are breathing a big sigh of relief.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I checked Life of Pi's foreign sales on Box Office Mojo to see if it's made its budget back, which it has. The foreign total's passed the 300mil mark so they're good, but the weird thing is that its biggest sales is in Colombia, ahead of France and Germany and even India.
Any Colombian readers can tell us why it's so incredibly popular there?

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Last time I've been able to find an actor being in the top two movies at the box office was...2011. The person...Jessica Chastain when she was in The Help and The Debt.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Saw Zero Dark Thirty, Anna Karenina, Smashed

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Hopefully the strong showing of Amour in its still very limited release will encourage Sony to continue expanding it. I would really like to see it soon, preferably before the Oscars.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

Amir -
As of this weekend Life of Pi is actually at $393 million overseas, which makes it about $493 worldwide, with Japan still to open. The Colombia breakout is really weird and must be a mistake, given the previous biggest hits - Ice Age 4 and Avatar could only muster around $14 million. It did manage $91 million in China which is pretty impressive, given that they only had a 5 week release. The India total is really deceptive as its $17 million makes it the biggest Hollywood hit of 2012 in India but ticket prices are really low there.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterreds

What the rest of them said about Life of Pi - it is making its money, and then some, internationally.

I caught The Impossible on Thursday, Rust and Bone Friday, and will be seeing Les Miserables in about an hour. I really liked both The Impossible and R&B. Both of them are pretty standard melodramas, but both are also elevated by very strong acting and direction.

Anyway, once I see Les Miz I will have pretty much officially wrapped up 2012. And what a year it has been!

And then it's on to 2013 movies!! Mama and The Last Stand, I'm looking at you!

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I saw Lincoln. I was solemnly bored. Huge disappointment.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

reds -- i knew it was doing well overseas but knowing Japan is still to open i guess they will see big profits there after all.

January 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

On a side note, that monologue was not well-delivered. At all.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm calling it for Chastain.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKurtis O

Saw Searching for Sugar Man this weekend. Not a perfect documentary (like, say, How to Survive a Plague), but a great story on a winning subject.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Weekend -

Friday: JACK REACHER (silly fun), THE ADVENTURES OF SHARK BOY AND LAVA GIRL on TV (young Lautner!)
Saturday: THE FOURTH WISH (local arthouse cinema screens70s Aussie melodrama, from the director of CHARLEY ONE-EYE, a film that has apparently influenced Tarantino for UNCHAINED), THE INVASION on TV
Sunday: MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (good Kidman, to wash away the bad Kidman of THE INVASION), DREAMS OF A LIFE (UK doco about death of a young woman whose body wasn't discovered in her flat until three years later)

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWellington Sludge

I watched Silver Linings Playbook. I enjoyed it and was disappointed at the same time. I love David O. Russel movies, but Silver Linings Playbook may just be my least favourite from him.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMingy

Saw Les Mis, to close out my weekend. It's a deeply flawed film in a lot of ways - Hooper's much discussed aesthetic choices account for many of them, though I think the source material proves deeply problematic in the first half as well. Second half is often pretty glorious though, and personally Eddie Redmayne just completely bowled me over. How that guy didn't get an Oscar nomination - hell, how he isn't the frontrunner to win - is utterly beyond me. And here I thought I couldn't have a bigger crush on him...

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Saw Amour today. Wow are these actors amazing. And so not show-y or Oscar bait-y about it, which makes me all the more impressed that Oscar voters recognized Riva's work. They're both so engaged and present and reactive to each other, and make it look so easy. Yet she shows so much of what's going on on this inside with so little dialogue and with major physical limitations (that she pulled off flawlessly). I still have to see Chastain and Watts, but so far if Riva wins I would be very happy.

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

"Zero Dark Thirty" which like almost every current movie is too long- the best sequence is the raid. I don't understand the controversy about the torture scenes which are presented like everything else in the film as matter of fact. Chastain deserves her Oscar nomination but Bigelow was robbed.

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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