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« Link o' the Morning To You | Main | First Oscar Predictions of the Year, Complete! »
Sunday
Jun012014

Box Office: Jolie's Star Continues to Shine

Amir with the weekend’s box office report. One of the things that has always fascinated me about Angelina Jolie is how she ranks among the greatest film stars in the world – possibly the biggest female star of this century? – without having ever been in a great film. Her off-screen life makes it really hard not to love her, but on screen, she’s mostly been better than her films, none of which are memorable in any way. Maleficent won’t change that at all, but it has become her biggest debut by a wide margin. Make of that what you will, but it is clear that four years away from the silver screen hasn’t taken the shine off . Will this financial success lend a hand to Unbroken in its chase for Oscars? My guess is that the answer is a yes.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
01 MALEFICENT $70 *new* 
02 X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST $32.6 (cum. $162) Review
03 A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST $17 *new* 
04 GODZILLA $12.2 (cum. $174.6) Review & Podcast
05 BLENDED $8.4 (cum. $29.6)
06 NEIGHBORS $7.7 (cum. $128.6) Review & Podcast
07 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $3.7 (cum. $192.7)
08 MILLION DOLLAR ARM $3.7 (cum. $28)
09 CHEF $2 new (cum. $6.9)
10 THE OTHER WOMAN $1.4 (cum. $81.1)  

The weekend’s other big opening also had an Oscar connection with the pairing of former host Seth MacFarlane and former winner Charlize Theron at its centre. A Million Ways to Die in the West seemed to be targeting MacFarlane’s demographic though, and it was hard to find anything appealing for the crowd that doesn’t find his brand of crude humour appealing. The promotional material did nothing to prove the opposite and the film crashed with a disappointing $17m at third place behind X-Men. I’m interested to see where he takes his career from here.

On the limited front, Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves opened in select cities this weekend. Despite the presence of three recognizable faces, distributor Cinedigm Entertainment has decided against opening the film on more than two screens. It’s a baffling strategy to me, given that the genre elements of the film could have been emphasized in advertising leading to a much bigger opening than $24k but a slower rollout seems to be the plan. Critics are comparing this to Reichardt’s previous films and calling it her weakest. I seem to be in the minority on this one, but I resolutely believe this is the director’s most accomplished work. It made my top ten list of 2013 after I saw it at TIFF. Take my word - watch it!

What did you see this weekend?

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Reader Comments (22)

Who told Seth MacFarlane he could be a movie star though? I guess when you're that successful, your ego makes you believe anything.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Watched Maleficent and Edge of Tomorrow. I consider Maleficent the sister of Snow White and the Huntsman, where an Oscar winner redefined a villain in a fairy tale (and became the best thing in the film), an up-and-coming actress bored us to death with her princess performance, a prince played by an actor we can't remember the name, and a few prestigious veterans played the sidekicks (dwarves or fairies). I prefer Charlize's evil queen though.
As for Edge of Tomorrow, it's subtitled A Million Ways to Kill Off Tom Cruise in a Film. I didn't expect it to be a comedy too. Few of the ways he got killed was hilarious. But Nathaniel probably will be disappointed to find out that, yes, Emily Blunt stars in another mainstream film that will be quickly forgotten or headlining gigs that don't really work in some crucial way.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I saw "A Million Ways To Die in The West " and no it's not "Blazing Saddles" it's not even "Ted".

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I am so looking forward to seeing Night Moves whenever it comes my way. I will be patient though- I feel that Kelly Reichardt demands this of me.

I've been laid up in bed for the past few days and it hurts to laugh so I decided to watch the US version of The Killing on Netflix. Mercifully, it proved to be laughter-free but my eyes were in danger of rolling out of my head at a few points during the first 2 seasons.

I'm on the third now and my god there is such a leap in quality. I really loved the Danish version so it's been fascinating to see an adaptation actually adapt and shed parts of the original in order to work with a different set of ingredients. I've just watched the episode directed by Jonathan Demme (Jonathan Demme!!!) and just... so good. I've had to take a break because it was so good. Joel Kinnaman!

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

I saw A Million Ways to Die in the West. It had a lot of good parts but just did not come together. Way too many stories without enough pay off on any of them. Charlize Theron, Sarah Silverman, and Giovanni Ribisi sold what they had to work with. Loved the closing credits song. Loved the first bar scene with the commentary on how terrible the West was. The carnival scene was solid. The dog was adorable. That's about it.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Saw BELLE. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is so beautiful.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Angelina Jolie, the biggest female film star of this century?? My knee-jerk skepticism to this sentence provoked me to wonder about this further. I mean, it's been only 14 years. Isn't a little early to make such claims? But it's not a bad question. I would love to see a post on who would be a candidate for this title and what are the parameters to consider the candidates. Who would we have as candidates? Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence? Besides La Jolie, obviously. Do we include things like the Kardashians or Hilton? Probably not. It would be an interesting article for discussion.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

@Jones

Roberts and Lawrence are polarizing. Bullock and Streep have near universal likability. Jolie is cool even when she's not. Consider her choosing film projects and her directorial career being about her earnest political leanings -- so fucking boring.

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Finally saw Godzilla this weekend. It was ok. Cool monsters, some smart/beautiful visuals, but I was 100% weirded out by how apathetic it was to the people. No, the real story of my weekend was that I saw my first Isabelle Adjani movie and promptly went on a three day Adjani spree. Queen Margot, Possession, and Quartet and I loved all three of them.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I completely agree with Nat... She is the biggest female movie star of THIS century. Her most formidable rival would be Julia Roberts, but the peak of her popularity took place in the late '90s. Sandra Bullock is still pretty popular.. Meryl Streep is a legend.. Jennifer Lawrence is the most popular current movie star right now. But if you're gonna think of one actress who will be immortalized in posters, stamps, pictures, and talked about generations from now like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe- it's hands down Angelina Jolie. A memorable face that will last for all of eternity.

PS. Before the Meryl Streep fans jump on me, her star will be immortalized in a Katarine Hepburn kind of way- will always be remembered within the confines of her art.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel

Jolie wouldn't be nearly as famous if she weren't Brad Pitt's wife and, to a lesser extent, Jon Voight's daughter. She's defined by her relationships to men.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Ok then of each decadae start with the 30's who were the top female stars
30's - joan Crawford,cludette Colbert,bette davis,norma shearer,jean harlow
40's - bette davis,jennifer jones,olivia de Havilland,joan crawford,ingrid bergman
50's - Katharine Hepburn,grace Kelly,audrey hepburn,marilyn Monroe,elizabeth taylor
60's - Julie Andrews,julie Christie,anne Bancroft,audrey Hepburn,elizabeth taylor
70's - jane fonda,faye dunaway,barbra Streisand,ellen Burstyn,liza Minnelli
80's- meryl streep,bette midler,kathleen turner,jessica lange,sally field
90's Julia Roberts,sandra bullock,meg ryan,sharon stone,demi moore
00's - drew Barrymore,cameron diaz,angelina jolie,,Sandra bullock,reese witherspoon
10's - Kristen stewart,cameron diaz,sandra bullock,melissa McCarthy,jennifer lawrence

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

mark: Bullock, McCarthy, Diaz and Lawrence I will give you for the 10s, especially right now. But K. Stew doesn't really seem to want to be a star and hasn't been that successful outside of Twilight. I'd probably place it as a race between Streep and Jessica Chastain for "the actress, not the franchise, is the selling point" right now, with Chastain currently having the edge.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

@Suzanne

That's true for several actresses: Anjelica Huston, Jane Fonda, Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, (I'm missing names). But no one can argue that their careers would be their careers without the help that came from their relationship ties.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I think stewart has to be considered tabloid darling,on off romance,huge franchise,clothes horse,her personality traits plus snow whites huge b/office.

I don't think Jessica has proven herself to be considered with the rest,i could've inc Winlet in the 90's and 00's and Blanchett too.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

mark: Um...relative to it's budget ($170 million), Snow White and the Huntsman only did OKAY ($396 million). If K. Stew wasn't an active drawback and not JUST tabloid bait? That film, with that budget, would have pulled $450 million, easy.

Really bad: Not even grossing the budget (Pluto Nash)
Bad: Not managing double the budget (Hulk, The Incredible Hulk)
Okay: Breaking even (double the budget) to a third of the budget above double the budget. (Snow White and the Huntsman)
Good sized hit: a third of the budget above double the budget to two thirds of the budget above double the budget. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Big hit but not a total monster: Two thirds of the budget above double the budget to three times the budget. (Amazing Spider-Man 2, Thor)
Some Kind of Monster, at least: Three to five times the budget (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World)
Dragon Breath Everywhere: More than five times the budget (Juno, Blair Witch Project, Ted, The Avengers, Iron Man 3)

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I saw Wuthering Heights in my apparently eternal quest to get through 1939 movies. It was...ok? I've never read the book. Merle Oberon probably did as best as one could do with an impossible part, having to change her mind about which man to marry often MID-SCENE. We kept throwing up our hands and yelling "girl, get it together and make up your mind." But she was strangely perfectly beautiful and I'm interested to see what else she's done. And Olivier was strangely passive. But the never-ending melodramatic score and cinematography really bumped up the almost campy drama. Also not sure how Fitzgerald (or Olivier, for that matter) got an Oscar nom with so little to do.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I had pretty ambitious plans for this weekend movie watching-wise, which was to include catching a bunch more of the Fassbinder series at Lincoln Center, and seeing Sorcerer at Film Forum. But none of that panned out, so I saw Maleficent in theaters and watched Muriel's Wedding (the BEST), Free Fall (German movie about male cops falling in love - pretty cliche stuff, but decently handled) and Day of Wrath on various streaming platforms.

Also, I feel like Game of Thrones might have broken me a little bit this week. So many characters that I like are dead now, and so few remain, that I'm not sure why I bother watching. I feel like I should just watch the Khaleesi scenes and skip the rest.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Suzanne- I don't think that's (completely) true.
With respect to Brad Pitt, by the time they got together, her fame was already at a peak. The story wasn't who Brad Pitt was hooking up with. The story was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie hooking up with each other. I don't think they're on the same level at all artistically, but fame-wise, they were equals.
With respect to Jon Voight, I think to a whole new generation of filmgoers, he's Angelina Jolie's father, not the other way around.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Ida

Why hasn't anyone seen this? Why aren't bloggers gushing about it?!

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCristhian

Saw A Million Ways to Die in the West (review forthcoming) which I thought was much better than my other viewing, Maleficent. I hate to say it, but Maleficent is far and away the worst film I've seen this year. Jolie was very good, but the whole thing was very much a sub-par ripoff of Snow White and the Huntsman with worse special effects and no interest in any way outside of Jolie's performance and Sam Reilly's bird-man. I hated the story, I hated the visual effects, I felt bad for poor Elle Fanning (who had nothing to do other than grin like an idiot and zone out for a while), and I did not understand what they were doing with the "pixies" or why they changed their names from Sleeping Beauty for no discernible reason (Disney made both of them - there's no way there were rights issues). They were so annoying that they made me hate Imelda Staunton AS AN ACTRESS in a film. That is an unforgivable sin in my book. Without Jolie, the film would have been complete dreck - although maybe another actress wouldn't have been so insistent on the character being completely likeable? Or maybe that was the decision of the production team? Ugh. It was bad.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I just wish she had stayed bad,Jolie really was fantastic in the gifting scene.

June 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

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