Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD

"Great post and comments. Yes, Streep had to navigate the rough waters of being in her 40's! I do think she smashed through the glass ceiling for women since she persevered and then became an even bigger star in her 50's." - Sister Rona

"One of my favourite movies from my teen years - I'm shocked at how long ago this was released. It was Meryl that sold this movie for me and is the reason I saw it. At the time, and I still feel this way, she is the reason to watch and believe this film." -Filmboymichael

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Box Office: "Budapest" En Route to Becoming Anderson's Best?

Amir here with the weekend’s box office report, or the interesting part of it at least.

As expected, 300: Rise of Even More CGI and Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Non-Stop topped the charts, so we’ll skip right past them and get to the interesting stuff. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel entered the all time top ten list for per screen average on an opening weekend. On four screens alone, the film has raked in $800,000 dollars already and will probably pass the one million mark later today. That’s an incredible coup for the director and Fox Searchlight already, but can we gauge anything about the film’s final box office performance from this number? Well, maybe...

To put things in perspective, Budapest is only one of two non-animated films in that top ten list. The majority of the list is comprised of children’s films like Toy Story 2, which opened on a single theatre before going wide, therefore skewing what the list really means for independent films. The other live action film is Kevin Smith’s Red State, which opened with $204k and barely made $1m by the end of its run. On the other hand, Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom was catapulted to a $45m finish by taking advantage of a great opening weekend per screen average (13th on the all time list). The important thing to remember is that sometimes, though not always, the studios get it right by releasing their properties on a limited scale. Certain films just do not have a mainstream appeal, irrespective of how well they perform on a concentrated circle of theatres. The Master, which was on the top ten list until Budapest displaced it, could not have sold a whole lot more than it did despite what many considered an ill-advised release strategy. Nevertheless, P.T. Anderson’s fans are passionate enough to frontload its sales figures on the first weekend on five screens, therefore creating unrealstic expectations for its performance upon expansion.

That being said, The Grand Budapest Hotel certainly has what it takes to outsell Moonrise Kingdom and even The Royal Tenenbaums – Wes Anderson’s biggest hit yet. The critics are over the moon for it; the overall design looks delicious – literally – and the marketing strategy has been wise to emphasize that design and the humor. And while none of the actors are box office sensations on their own, their ensemble should prove irresistible for the mainstream audience. Anderson’s record at the box office is a bit patchy. Fantastic Mr. Fox, despite rolling out on more than 2000 screens and being an animated film with superstar voice actors, petered out at half its production budget. Moonrise Kingdom, without reaching 1000 screens at its peak, managed $45m. My guess is that enthusiasm for his newest film will eventually place it somewhere closer to Moonrise territory.

Anderson's 2 biggest hits: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Budapest is not yet open in my neck of the woods (Toronto), so along with most of you, I’m impatiently waiting. In the meantime, I spent Sunday with Ernest Lubitsch’s peerless classic The Shop Around the Corner, which you should get on immediately if you never have. (You can always follow my cinematic diet here, or follow me on twitter!) What did you watch this weekend?

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Reader Comments (7)

I saw "Grand Budapest Hotel" and it was delightful. I think Wes Anderson has reached a great balance between his stylistic idiosyncracies and storytelling. I want to see it again just to appreciate the visuals, but I also want to marvel again at the terrific comic performance from Ralph Fiennes. "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" are still my favorites, but "Grand Budapest Hotel" joins "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" as strong runners-up.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

The Budapest numbers are great and, for Anderson super fans like myself, who had to endure the winter years following The Life Aquatic, quite gratifying. He has reclaimed his coastal audience, and hopefully can maintain the inroads he made across the rest of the country with Moonrise.

I wanted to see The Wind Rises with my bf yesterday but that didn't work out, so I stayed home and watched The Escape Plan. Yes, the Schwarzenegger/Stallone prison break movie. It was fun. They have good chemistry and play off each other nicely, and Arnie actually speaks in German, which is a hoot.

The rest of the weekend was spent getting caught up on tv. Arrow, True Detective, Hannibal, Scandal, New Girl, etc etc.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

i feel so guilty. i have fallen into my usual oscar season fatigue of not going to movies. but starting to miss them so gotta get back.

March 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Budapest is not open here yet (MA), but as a huge Wes fan, I can't wait!

Finally saw Short Term 12. Many, many thanks to Nathaniel and TFE, along with Filmspotting and The Dissolve, and a couple other film sites, for championing such a wonderful indie. It definitely became my #2 film of the year, after 12YaS and in front of Her. I had only seen clips, but Brie Larson should have been nominated.

Also watched Sweeney Todd again because I couldn't get to NYC to see Emma Thompson with NY Phil.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Grand Budapest was sold out when I saw it on Friday night (in central London, in a pretty big cinema!). It was so, so good. I was so in love with it that I didn't feel like watching anything but Wes Anderson movies and saw Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums again this weekend. I'm definitely seeing Grand Budapest again soon!

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I watched 300: The Rise of More CGI. Not exactly impressed by it, not even the usually reliable Eva Green.
And I think once I say this, many in The Film Experience team will kill me in jealousy LOL. I have also watched Snowpiercer. It opened here quietly two weeks ago and understand it doesn't open in US until June. It's good, though some of the characters felt under-developed. The design of the train is worth an Oscar nomination. The music too. Besides Chris Evans and Jamie Bell, now I have a new favorite hunk: a shirtless Luke Pasqualino. Though in a show like this we don't really need a "Best in show" I still think Goddess Tilda won it despite a little over-acting here and there (the over-acting is actually not a bad thing for her character). Not really a Best Picture material, but the result is still better than if someone from Hollywood, say Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich directed it. It would be catastrophic (pun intended). When I did the research online, I realized that Harvey Weinstein and Bong Joon-ho collided over the length of the film and this final product is a compromise between the two. Now I'm waiting to see if the DVD will feature a director's cut.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

What did I watch? Well, the local French Film festival started here this week, so I binged on many over a three-day weekend. Ranged from the great (A CASTLE IN ITALY, CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915 and 2 AUTUMNS, 3 WINTERS are all worthy of your attention when you get your first chance to see them) to the painful (WRESTLKING QUEENS continues the French tradition of making the type of broad comedies that Hollywood got out of it's system in the 80s).

Also did a couple of King Hu films at the local arthouse cinema retrospective (COME DRINK WITH ME and A TOUCH OF ZEN), which only reinforced to me how much I am not really a fan of either Hu as a director or wuxia films in general.

March 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

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