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« "They call this war a cloud over the land..." | Main | Happy Easter. The Ten Greatest Bunnies in Cinematic History »

Box Office: Christians Are For Real!

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. It’s Easter weekend and we have proof of it in the box office top ten. When was the last time three films with such strong religious overtones as Noah, God’s Not Dead and Heaven Is for Real were simultaneously in the top ten best selling pile?  The latter film was the new entry this weekend and shockingly grossed more than $20m, helping itself to the third spot behind holdovers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. Can you think of any film with a more unappealingly on the nose title? The 3-minute trailer is an excruciating exercise in patience in its own right but I understand I’m not the target audience. I’m sure the people who saw it in droves enjoyed it. Right? Maybe. Possibly. Fuck, seriously? Is this film for real?

Yes, Greg Kinnear. Your son sees dead people (in the afterlife)

01 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $26.6 (cum. $201.5) Review
02 RIO 2 $22.5 (cum. $75.3) 
03 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $21.5 (cum. $28.5) 
04 TRANSCENDENCE $11.1 *new* 
05 A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 $9.1 *new*  
06 DRAFT DAY $5.9 (cum. $19.5)  
07 DIVERGENT $5.7 (cum. $133.9) Review
08 OCULUS $5.2 (cum. $21.1)
09 NOAH $5 (cum. $93.2) Podcast &  Jon Stewart on Noah - a must-see icymi
10 GOD’S NOT DEAD $4.8 (cum. $48.3) 

Transcendence was a failure of epic proportions and managed a 10% return on investment, which is disastrous in any industry. This is either due to the fact that the film’s title is only subtly religious or because Johnny Depp is no longer a draw. The latter is most likely the case and I can’t help but indulge in a bit of schadenfreude. In the 11 years that have passed since Depp delivered something resembling a performance, he’s made billions of dollars and the box office returns of Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger weren’t nearly dire enough to be considered punishment.

At the arthouse Under the Skin edged past the million dollar mark and The Grand Budapest Hotel is now a single day away from beating Moonrise Kingdom as the top grossing Wes Anderson. Only Lovers Left Alive, however, has failed to draw in audiences, though its screen average is the third best behind Heaven Is... and John Turturro’s weird, Woody Allen-starring passion project, Fading Gigolo.

I spent my weekend cozying up to some Cannes classics, but I will be out soon to catch Disneynature’s Bears, because those things look cute as buttons. What have you watched this weekend?

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Reader Comments (21)

Easter weekend viewing:

New stuff at the cinema: did CHINESE PUZZLE (a good third part of the trilogy), THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (not bad, but am quickly forming the opinion that Felicity Jones, once you get past her irresistible cuteness (and I think I have), may not be all that great an actor) and ONLY MY MOTHER (fantastic Australian documentary about family, secrets and how both of these shape who we are).

Old stuff: the local (soon to be closed) arthouse cinema is running a season of pre-"New Hollywood" African-American pioneer movies. Saw ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW, which is well worth a look if you ever get the chance. Also (at the prompting of your April Showers) got around to LIKE CRAZY which was great once I ot my head around the fact that the man couple weren't supposed to have chemistry (although it was another piece of evidence for my Jones theory).

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Travis - i support your theory but then i was never wowed by / unable to get past that exterior (though i am usually not remotely not immune to cuteness)

Amir - it's weird to feel schadenfreude about Depp but i totally get it. I don't think there's a single actor i'm more disappointed in. I had such missionary zeal for his gift for so many years back when people didn't truly believe and i was so happy the world signed on with Pirates. But then Depp signed off. such a waste.

April 20, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@Travis C I LOVE Odds Against Tomorrow. It's Robert Wise's best movie. I love every second of it, specially when Gloria Grahame is onscreen in her short but breathtaking performance. I get shivers when I remember how much she gets turned on when Robert Ryan describes to her how it feels like killing a person. Now THAT was a brave actress. I love the cinematography (even by noir standards) and the jazzy style (perfect for those late 50's noir, like Sweet Smell of Success, the French masterpiece Elevator to the Galllows or, some years before, The Man With the Golden Arm.

I wish more people could see this movie. It's damn perfect!

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

It was an all sequel weekend for me - Cap 2, Muppets Most Wanted and Rio 2. I enjoyed all three but Cap 2 is the only one that made me do cartwheels afterwards.

I spent the rest of my viewing time catching up on the first season of Orphan Black. Three episodes in and I'm hooked. Felix is adorbs.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Nat- Exactly. If he wasn't talented I wouldn't so negatively about him, but the fact is that he tasted the money and got complacent.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

"Oculus" which was a major disappointment. Director Mike Flanagan last film was the superior indty horror "Absentia" which was both creepy and scary- too ingredients missing from his new film about a demonic mirror .

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Johnny Depp has never been a draw if he has not wearing makeup and playing eccentric charismatic character. But maybe people do not see even that from him since Lobe Ranger didi not of well. But Depp is not to blame alone for Transcendence´s box office, the film was not appealing in any way.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChinoiserie

Orphan Black is back, Season 2, Episode 1. I think I liked binge watching season 1 more than having to wait for the next episode.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

There's three!?! I seriously thought "Heaven is for real" was the tagline for God's Not Dead (or maybe vice versa.)

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

Marsha -- and that's not all. "Son of God" was also a hit a month or two ago. Expect a ton more of these movies soon.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

While your Depp schadenfreude comments are mild compared with much of the venom out there, it seems unkind to me. Did you see anything of a performance in say Sweeney Todd or The Libertine which weren't done for money films? (The latter is a dull film but some Depp fans consider it one of his best acting performances.)
Depp was good at characters who are sensitive, disconnected, vulnerable, misunderstood young men (characters that might have resonated with many film reviewers) but now he is too old to be cast as such.
I don't think he is being deliberately lazy or uncreative. I think he really has lost his edge and it is not something that can be brought back just by trying. Maybe his time has past and we should just be a bit sad but then we all move on to something new.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVaus

@NATHANIEL R: and in an interesting coincidence, I am also binge-watching four seasons of DOCTOR WHO so I am ready for the great Peter Capaldi..... and Jones pops up in one of the episodes!

@cal roth: yes, I agree. The only (tiny) thing that I thought didn't work perfectly - Robert Ryan did fine, as usual, at playing Robert Ryan, but I don't think Harry Belafonte was quite as successful at playing Robert Ryan.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Saw Under the Skin which was... completely unlike anything I have ever seen. My pull-quote would be that it is "uniquely unsettling", and I think I mean that in a good way. Like, I almost wanted to walk out during that pre-title sequence, and then I was mostly okay, but I was practically crawling out of my skin for most of it. I'm REALLY glad I saw it, even if I'm not sure I liked it. My man, on the other hand, hated it even more than he hated The Tree of Life, which means I will probably lose movie-choosing privileges for the next month or so.

And then yesterday I saw Blue Is the Warmest Color via Netflix Instant. My reactions went like this: French teens are SO MUCH COOLER than us! This sex scene... is that how they... how does that... REALLY? WOW Adele is AMAZING. LEA LEA LEA! Is this the messiest film to win the Palme d'Or? It's good, but it's not THAT good... or is it?

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I haven't watched many movies lately because I finally jumped on the 'Friday Night Lights' bandwagon. So good.

"Right? Maybe. Possibly. Fuck, seriously? Is this film for real?"

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Didn't make it to the cinema, but rewatched a favorite, The Night of the Iguana--Richard Burton and Ava Gardner showing us all they got. Both deserved Oscar noms. Huston wove a hypnotic atmosphere and kept the absurdist tone consistent yet believable.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

rebecca -- how far are you? Goodness that show is a pleasure

April 21, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"The Royal Tenenbaums" is still the highest grossing Wes Anderson film (for now) at $52 million. Adjusted for inflation, though, it's unlikely "The Grand Budapest Hotel" will surpass it.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Raul - You are correct. My apologies. I was aware of that but my sentence structure is poor.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Nathaniel - I just finished Season 4. So good to have a well-made show about daily life, and people who are trying to understand and treat each other well (Landry murder plot aside).

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I watched Under The Skin which might be the best film i have seen thus far this year. I also watched War Horse as it was the Best Picture nominee from 2011 that I hadnt seen. In all honesty, it wasnt a bad film and had some really good acting but for some reason horse movies dont do much for me. kind of surprised to see it show up as a Best Picture nominee.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEli

I watched Under The Skin which might be the best film i have seen thus far this year. I also watched War Horse as it was the Best Picture nominee from 2011 that I hadnt seen. In all honesty, it wasnt a bad film and had some really good acting but for some reason horse movies dont do much for me. kind of surprised to see it show up as a Best Picture nominee.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEli

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