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« Podcast: A Disney Double, "Frozen" and "Saving Mr Banks" | Main | Five Easy Linkies. Two First Images »

Box Office: The Secret Grudge of 47 Wolves

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report.

For those of us who write/read/talk/think about films year around, it’s hard to remember that the general public still goes to the theatre in late December for films that have no awards potential whatsoever. I had no idea that Keanu Reeves has a film called 47 Ronin opening, in which the well-known Japanese legend is butchered so that the Lebanese-born Canadian star of Portuguese, Irish and Hawaiian ancestry can play a half-Japanese, half-British person that never existed in the real life legend. Let’s all revel in a bit of Schadenfreude that this film failed to recoup even 1/10th of its budget. And while we’re at it, let’s do the same for Grudge Match, otherwise Sylvester Stallone will never learn that boxing films starring himself are of no interest to anyone anymore, except maybe Robert DeNiro and his wallet. This one will probably peter out somewhere slightly above half its budget, too.

01 The Hobbit 2 $29.8 (cum. $190.3)
02 Frozen $28.8 (cum. $248.3) Review | Jonathan Groff
03 Anchorman 2 $20.1 (cum. $83.6) 
04 American Hustle $19.5 (cum. $60) Ensemble | Podcast
05 NEW Wolf of Wall Street $27 (cum. $34.3) Review | Scorsese's Women
06 Saving Mr Banks $14 (cum. $37.8) Drinks w/ Emma & Colin
07 NEW  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13 (cum. $25.5) Capsule
08 Hunger Games Pt 2 $10.2 (cum. $391.1) Review | Podcast
09 NEW 47 Ronin $9.8 *new* (cum. $20.5)
10 Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas $7.4 (cum. $43.7)   
11 NEW  Grudge Match  $7.3 (cum. $13.4) 

Weirdly enough, it’s not Grudge Match that’s bringing memories of the glorious Raging Bull to life, but The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s latest film and his most controversial since The Last Temptation of Christ. Depending on whom you ask, this is either an absolute masterpiece or a bloated mess, but Paramount couldn’t care less. They’ve sold about $34m over the 5 day opening, which is better than most people expected for a nearly-NC17 film about America’s least likeable monsters. Wolf was able to crack the top 5 films of the weekend, which is more than can be said about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, though the latter has the advantage of being an easier sell overseas. The Hobbit stayed at the very top of the table, but Frozen is the film with really impressive figures. It made the best of the family holidays and despite losing theatres, bettered its own gross from last week by 50%. I wouldn’t be surprised if it slashes Smaug next weekend.

Among the smaller releases, August: Osage County and The Lone Survivor have the highest profiles. The former’s per screen average isn’t particularly promising, but the film was never going to have the appeal of highbrow auteur fair that usually results in massive numbers for the NY/LA crowd.

PLATFORM BOX OFFICE (under 100 screens)
01 Her $.6 (cum. $1.5)
02 NEW August: Osage County $.1 
03 Lone Survivor $.09 (cum. $.1) 
04 The Great Beauty $.07 (cum. $.7) 
05 All is Lost $.06 (cum. $5.9) 

But neither film is particularly concerned with sales at this point. These are only qualifying for Oscars. The business end of the story will unravel later in January.

I took a break from cinema this weekend, after a 4 day stretch in which I caught up with 12 films to close the book on 2013. They ranged from real gems like The Missing Picture to literally unbearable films like The Great Beauty.

What did you watch?

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Reader Comments (28)

The Great Beauty is one of the year's great movies.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Arkaan - It is only second to Pain & Gain as the year's worst for me.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. I like it. I don't hate others for disliking. But it's my favorite Scorsese since The Age of Innocence so..... yeah. I think it's pretty great.

I saw Saving Mr. Banks. I am not even sure it is the kind of piece of crap crappy enough to win stuff that will stick in our collective craw awards season. It's just poorly handled and not interesting. Thompson is hampered with too much flashbacks for her character. I just don't get why she is locked in of the nominees. Were Adams or Adele bumping off anybody, she'd be my first choice to bump- Streep in A: OC unseen.

I actually think Mary-Leo needed a movie that was as galvanizing and polarizing than agreeable, commercially successful. DeNiro and Marty had plenty of films that were not commercial successes and often quite polarizing. The movie is not at all safe, which I could not say about their collaborations prior.

December 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Saw the two big blockbusters of the final quarter, Frozen and The Hunger Games. Genuinely surprised by how much I loved them both!

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Keanu is half Chinese.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKai

Saw Wolf of Wall Street, twice. I loved it the first time but was worried it wouldn't stand up to a repeat viewing, however I think the film felt better paced the second time around when I knew what was coming. If it weren't for The Departed it would be my favourite Leo/Marty collab

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterQueermyntcritic

Kai - 1/8th, I believe, which really doesn't help things with it comes to the 47 Ronin story when you think about it.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Thanks to visiting family, I've mostly been stuck rewatching family favorites - i.e, Jurassic Park and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Worse things in the world. We all went to see The Desolation of Smaug, which I'd already seen.

The highlight of my weekend, however, was watching Rhapsody in August, Akira Kurosawa's second to last film. It's a lovely, meditative reflection on post-war Japan, memory and family and I loved it.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I saw WOWS, I want to watch it again, but I don't want to go the theater for 3 hours. I just want it on blu-ray. I would think it will do very well ouside of America, as have all Scorsese/Dicaprio movies. Also most other countries do not think a bunch of sex is that big of deal as do most Americans. Heads getting blown up, no problem, but a lot of sex, it's so offensive.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which should win an award for least annoying/overbearing/eccentric Shirley MacLaine role in ages.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Saw American Hustle and loved it so much that I wanted to sit through it again, immediately...a reaction I've only had to a couple of films this year...including Frances Ha, which I rewatched on Netflix and fell under its spell just as much the second time around. Oh, how I wish that film was in the awards mix. (Writing! Editing! Cinematography! Greta! Mickey Sumner for best supporting actress!)

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I spent Christmas Day at the movies, seeing American Hustle, Walter Mitty, and Wolf of Wall Street. Hustle was my favorite - I just had this giant grin on my face the whole time. Yes, the NYFCC best film prize seems excessive, but it sure was a ton of fun, with great performances all around. I actually liked Mitty a lot more than I thought I was going to, but the ending stuck in my craw a bit - I'm just not sure how I feel about it. Wolf moved quite well for a bloated three-hour feature, and Leo gave easily one of the best performances of the year, but I just don't think it had to be THAT long.

Then yesterday I finally saw Nebraska, which I enjoyed. FAR better than Payne's last film. Great cinematography, too. Not sure I get the hype for Dern and Squibb. Both fine performances, but award-worthy? I'm not sure.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I saw Nymphomaniac vol. 1. I really can't give a fair opinion until I get to see vol. 2. The end is so abrupt. It really felt like a coitus interruptus. I really hate this new trend. All they want is to milk the poor moviegoers.

MVP: Uma Thurman. She gets the best character and the best scene. Brava!
Seriuous Miscast: Christian Slater
Downer: No Jamie Bell

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I'm with Arkaan. The Great Beauty is a highlight of the year for me.

Also, Paul Outlaw reminded me- I watched the Kennedy Center honors last night, which honored Shirley MacLaine with an amazing tribute featuring Sutton Foster (<3), Patina Miller (<3 <3 <3), Karen Olivo, and Anna Kendrick.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I saw 47 Ronin which was meh in almost every way - not awful (well, not all of it), not good, just sort of there. I found it surprising that the movie seemed to really be about Hiroyuki Sanada's character. If nothing else, hey, I'm always perfectly happy to watch Rinko Kikuchi.

I also saw American Hustle, which I found to be grossly overrated as far as Russell is concerned. The script was bloated (and in a few spots flat-out stupid), the tone weird, and some of the direction was so "look what I did there!" that it distracting. But I also found the love for Silver Linings Playbook completely incomprehensible, so maybe I just don't get what he's become (I loved Three Kings and Huckabees) and is now loved for. All that said - big thumbs-up to the costumes and hair and soundtrack, Adams, and especially Bale. I haven't seen some things (most notably All is Lost), but at the moment he'd be my pick for Best Actor.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Bieber doesn't even get a mention! Good thing my niece doesn't read this site.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Saw WOLF and HUSTLE on the same day. My butt hated me.

I probably shouldn't have seen HUSTLE after WOLF though. I liked them both well enough (and probably will like them more when I've had the time to think them over).

Saw MITTY the day prior with my parents. It was fine. Deserves a bit better from critics and audience I thought. Not a lot, just a bit.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

No movie theater excursions, but did finally see MAN OF STEEL. Boy, was that plot awful; decent performances and fantastic stunts/CGI/sound/etc.. But, how many people died in that attack on "Metropolis"? As hubby said, that's why superheroes were banned in THE INCREDIBLES.

But, my questions for Oscar historians are these:
1. How many superhero movies have won awards for sound, editing, cinematography, stunts, etc.
2. How many giant, tent-pole action flicks have won awards for sound, editing, stunts, etc.
3. Do you think they should have a special category for BEST explosion? ;)
4. The work required to make these types of films is massive, and employs a HUGE number of talented people. Is there some type of Oscar-like award for their efforts, comparing say, PACIFIC RIM to ELYSIUM to OBLIVION to MAN OF STEEL?
5. Why does GRAVITY get all the love for effects? And get to be in Oscar contention?

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I also saw the Kennedy center awards. I thought the Santana and Hancock segments were the best. Phenomenal performances and musicians. I thought the editing of the MacLaine segment sucked. Far too much Shirley with a look on her face that said "I did that so much better" and not enough of the girls. I saw MacLaine on stage in London years ago. She was fantastic. And I love the story of how she was discovered.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

The Great Beauty is also a highlight for me this year. But no one can beat Her. That is a phenomenal movie, with 12YAS as a close second.

This weekend I watched Wolf of Wall Street and Frozen. DiCpario gives his best performance since Gilbert Grabe in an uneven movie. But WOWW is the best Scorsese movie since Casino, according to me. Jonah Hill is rapidly getting as annoying as Joe Pesci was

I will never understand the American reactiion to nudity on film. But as long as the body is covered with bullets, blood and honey, that is okey or what? Absurd

WOWW will do better overseas because of the humor, energy and boobies

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

We liked Saving Mr. Banks a lot.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Henry- The Santama segment was pretty awesome, wasn't it? He was having a great time. And didn't you fall in love with Martina Arroyo? She had the biggest smile on her face the entire night.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict no nomination for Meryl. She was worse than the leftover ham bone i have boiling in water today. Hammy to the max. Terrible movie. Supporting - possibly Juliette Lewis. that's about it. if the movie were to get a best actress nod - it should go to roberts.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

Evan--agree 100% on all counts.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Saw August: Osage County, Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Her, and Philomena this past week:

August: Osage County: great performance by Julia Roberts. Great ACTING all around, weak direction. (3 STARS)

Wolf of Wall Street: One of Dicaprio's best performances, but the film stays on high gear even when the film was desperately calling for a five minute break. It is a major testament to the great director and to the fine performance by Leonardo Dicaprio that the film remained watchable. Very Disappointed (2 and a half STARS)

American Hustle: Uneven throughout. Film focuses on Adams and Bale the first half of the film until it dumps them to highlight Lawrence and Cooper. Uncharacteristic for David O'Russell who is usually good with ensembles. (2 and a half STARS)

Saving Mr. Banks: Tom Hanks was pretty good. Emma Thompson was just fine- overrated performance, if you ask me. Felt that the movie wasn't able to fully connect emotionally as it should have. (2 STARS)

Her: This is one film that I really wanted to love, because the look and feel of the movie brings me back to moody master works, such as "Lost in Translation," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Yet, there was an element missing for me that I couldn't exactly point out until a week after seeing the film. While Joaquin Phoenix was fine in playing Theodore, I just didn't find him convincing enough playing a happy man prior to his divorce. The main element of the story is to feel Theodore's current state of loneliness, compared to his past full of joyful memories, as seen in the film's flashbacks. Yet, I can't imagine Phoenix playing happy. He plays Theodore with more emotional stability than what the role requires. His character comes off more bored than fragile. Still, everything from the innovative story and the magnificent supporting actors (especially Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson) down to its cinematography and editing is top notch. (3 STARS)

Philomena: Judi Dench was sublime! Who knew that the film that I was least looking forward to was actually the most satisfying. (3 STARS)

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

The thirteenth time was the charm for Disney (or, perhaps, the unlucky number for Pixar): the twelve preceding Pixar-Disney Studios faceoffs at the domestic box office (beginning with Toy Story vs. Pocahontas). It's now clear that Frozen will make more money than Monster's University.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I saw "American Hustle" which is a lot of fun once is gets going- that great soundtrack helps enormously . Bale and Cooper were good but it was the women who steal the picture- the amazingly sexy Adams and Lewis who is not just a great actor but a true star- the camera just loves her. The film is a bit long- but there so much to enjoy I didn't mind

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I came down with a nasty cold, so the only trip to the cinema again was to see American Hustle for the second time. Jaragon is right; the soundtrack is fantastic. ("Jeep's Blues" is my current earworm.)

When I was trying to get to sleep last night, in between bouts of blowing my nose, I had a really crazy thought: What if you switched Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence? What if you made Amy the batsh*t-crazy wife? What if you made JLaw the mistress with British banking connections? I guess it came to mind because there have been so many comments and reviews saying the JLaw is once again cast in a role that's too old for make her the (presumably younger) mistress. I'm not sure if that version of AH would be as good as the present one, but it certainly would be interesting, to say the very least.

December 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

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