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« ICYMI | Main | 1973 Look Back: The End of the New Wave, the Beginning of My Cinephilia »
Sunday
Jul272014

Scarlett's Weekend. What Did You See?

Amir here, with the weekend’s Scarlett Johansson re Box Office report

‘twas a battle between two kickass heroes at the multiplex this weekend, and the The Rock’s old school muscles and sword and sandals fell to the fierce power of ScarJo and the wonder of technology. Lucy beat Hercules to top the weekend. Those weren’t the only new releases that entered the top ten: the anonymously titled And So It Goes starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas started with a tepid $2k per screen average for the slightly older crowd, while A Man Most Wanted did really solid business on only 361 screens. Experts are currently analyzing whether the audience interest stems from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final performance or the work of Iranian character actor Homayoun Ershadi.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE
01 LUCY $44 *NEW* Trailer thoughts
02 HERCULES $29 *NEW* 
03 DAWN OF PLANET OF APES $16.4 (cum. $172) Review
04 THE PURGE: ANARCHY $9.8 (cum. $51.2)
05 PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE $9.3 (cum. $35.1) 
06 SEX TAPE $5.9 (cum. $26.8)
07 TRANSF4RMERS $4.6 (cum. $236.3)
08 AND SO IT GOES $4.5 *NEW*
09 TAMMY $3.4 (cum. $78.1) Review
10 A MOST WANTED MAN $2.7 *NEW*

and...
11 22 JUMP STREET $2.5 (cum. $185.6) Podcast
12 HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 $2.2 (cum. $165.6) best movie dragons
13 MALEFICENT $1.7 (cum. $232.1) Podcast
14 BOYHOOD $1.7 (cum. $4.1) review
15 BEGIN AGAIN $1.5 (cum. $12.3) top ten thus far

But the real star of the weekend is surely Johansson. What a difference a couple of years can make. After the promise of her early years, for nearly a decade it seemed like she would never be able to fulfill her potential. But consider what she has given us in the past 10 months: two Oscar-worthy performances in Don Jon and Under the Skin, a wildly acclaimed voice performance in Her, the only positive element of the otherwise forgettable Winter Soldier and an ensemble part in the surprise hit Chef. In the process she’s worked with two of America's hottest auteurs and proved her acting chops in a variety of genres. It’s almost impossible to think the same actress is behind both the gum-sporting Jersey girl Barbara Sugarman and the nameless alien of Skin. If the final piece of the puzzle of her resurgence was to show that she can carry a film to box office success without the help of other spandex-clad superheroes, Lucy seems to have given us the answer. With exciting reports that she’s in talks with Coen Brothers to join the cast of Hail, Caesar!, there are no signs of her slowing down. Long may her reign continue!

On the limited end of things, Woody Allen’s new film, Magic in the Moonlight, received the customary Allen treatment of opening in very few locations to very strong per screen average on its way to wide release. Furthermore, in line with the other recent Allen tradition of making one dud for every hit, Magic has so far ended on the lower side of the spectrum, critically speaking. I haven’t yet seen it, so I’ll reserve judgment until I do. Unless it suffers the same fate as You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which means I’ll never find out.

What did you watch this weekend?

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Reader Comments (31)

Nothing "new", but I caught up on some films from earlier this year:

'X-Men: Days of Future Past'
'Ernest and Celestine'
'Joe'

'Ernest and Celestine' is such a major achievement! So beautiful and exquisitely animated. A simple, but moving, story that will stay with me. Deserved to win over 'Frozen'.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNicolas Mancuso

Nicolas Mancuso - "Deserved to win over Frozen"
Amen to that, brother! Preach!

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

A film with an original concept and female star leading the way to box office success in the summer -- are we in an alternate reality?!

Hmmm... I liked Lucy. It was what it was. Johansson has that Angelina vibe of being able to elevate the ridiculous in these films. Kudos to her for pivoting her career to greatness yet again.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I love Scarlett but I spent the week end with another diva- "Maleficent" which was very well done.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Lucy was so wonderfully odd. I could tell at the end of the movie that there were plenty of people in the audience who were disappointed, though. It's not the typical girl-with-a-gun action flick we expect from Besson, but it's so knowingly silly that I couldn't help loving it.

As for home viewing, I finally got around to watching Snowpiercer on VOD and just finished Juliet of the Spirits. I'd say it was a weekend well spent, even if Snowpiercer was a tad bit overrated.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

No movies this weekend except for watching Broadcast News at home, which is an odd little relic with a great central performance.
I love what's going on with Scarlett's career. Between this and Black Widow she could become an Angelina-level movie star, but unlike Angie, she also seems interested in making great movies when she's not butt-kicking. She could be the perfect movie star!

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I saw Lucy earlier today. I thought it was pretty good and she's delivered again. She's on a roll and I hope that roll continues. Once she has her baby and gets a well-deserved break, I hope she reunites with Sofia Coppola for a film or do something with the likes of people like Lynne Ramsay, Terrence Malick, or Nicolas Winding Refn.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

Just watched the The Birdcage. I never realized Emmanuel Lubezki was the cinematographer. My anticipation for Birdman keeps building.

Also saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I was really impressed by it but didn't love it.

And yay for Scarlett!

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

Didn't see anything new but I'm so excited to see Scarjo at the top of the box office!

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Saw Ida and it really stayed with me. I thought it was really well (too?) directed, mostly shown through how every scene was meticulously shot and some odd framing choices. The two central performances were a perfect example of actors in tune with a film's tone. Both actress and director were as interested in what was being shown as in what was not. Many memorable moments, with an obvious highlight. It reminded me of both The White Ribbon and The Dreamlife of Angels.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Goodbar

Watched "Lucy" and the movie worked thanks to Scarlett... She's becoming a true movie star!
Do you think all this "Scarlett Fever" will end in an Oscar nomination in a near future? Her 2013 was brilliant and her 2014 is being full of success in a lot of different shapes. Will "Under the Skin" be able to be an awards/Oscar vehicle for her or do we'll have to wait and hope for "Hail, Ceasar!"?

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Ed- I think Nathaniel is with me on this, I don't see ScarJo getting ANY traction for Under the Skin. Even Indies will probably opt for Oscar-y films.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I watched I Am Divine, which is a fantastic biographical documentary about Divine. Definitely recommend it.

I also watched 13 Sins, which is an okay remake of a far stronger Thai horror film from nine years ago. It's a penalty game film where a man can win millions of dollars if he completes 13 increasingly disturbing challenges over the course of a day.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Just on the topic of Under the Skin's Oscarbility.
Over the last few months I've argued with SOO many people from the Australian and British film industries, who find Under the Skin impenetrable, dull, pretentious and - above all - cold. The most common question: "Where's the heart?" My most common unspoken answer (I rely on these people for work..): "Where's YOUR goddamn heart? Or brain?"

Obviously this is just anecdata, but there's a persistent streak across all of these film industries of writers, producers, directors, production designers, makeup artists etc who approach storytelling with that kind of simplistic mindset and really bristle at ambiguity and perceived 'coldness'.

For this reasons I have a very hard time picturing AMPASS embracing Under the Skin or any of its elements, much less its (brilliant) minimalist lead performance.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I saw A Most Wanted Man this afternoon with a mostly older crowd in a packed house. I was surprised at the size of the audience of a Sunday mid afternoon, but people seemed to really enjoy it. I overheard lots of admiration for PSH on the way out.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

"I've argued with SOO many people from the Australian and British film industries, who find Under the Skin impenetrable, dull, pretentious and - above all - cold."

I agree with the Australian and british film critics. Didn't like it and I don't see neither the film nor scarlett getting traction for it.

I'm super happy with how her career is going. Her, Winter Soldier and, most of all, Don Jon were all great showcases for her in very different ways.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I didn't see any movies this weekend but I did see a live concert by the gorgeous, talented and crazy-charismatic Cheyenne Jackson, in which he sang only songs from the movies. This meant some expected stuff ("Something's Coming," "Moon River," "The Rainbow Connection") and some surprises, like that "Americano" swing number from "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

In what would have been a major must-see for Nathaniel, Cheyenne did the "Moulin Rouge" love-medley singing the Ewan parts...with, singing Satine, RuPaul finalist Courtney Act, serving you a red gown and a blond (not red?) wig. The whole thing ended with a lip-lock and Courtney wiping lipstick off Cheyenne. Lucky lady.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Caught up with Begin Again and very much enjoyed it. I love Once, but admit the trailer and some of the reviews for it had me caution; glad to be wrong.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

sanfran - ohman i would have loved to see that!

I saw GBF which was so much better than i was expecting and LUCY which was about what i was expecting only even loonier

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

We were late to the showing of Lucy, so we watched Hercules while we waited for the next show. Hercules was okay.

Lucy was a lot of fun. Luc Besson knows how to make a lively popcorn movie. Female action heroine, quick pace, good running time (90 minutes?), and amusing special effects that are like a dialogue between the audience and the filmmaker (rather than an interminable indulgent set piece the audience is just supposed to admire).

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I saw The Purge: Anarchy. This one is more what I was hoping to get from the first one. Frank Grillo does a great job anchoring all the silliness.

Also caught up with Bad Words on DVD. I really liked it. The script goes a bit wobbly in the late second act, but not so much so that I couldn't enjoy the rest of it. Bateman is outstanding from both sides of the camera. He's got a real eye and sensibility. I hope he gets to direct more films down the road.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Nathaniel, you would not have been disappointed.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Does this set Silver Linings Playbook as the benchmark of greatness Scarlett must achieve in the next few years to win an Oscar with ease? If so, she needs to start clearing her mantel.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

SanFranCinema, that would be fun!

I finally saw "Pitch Perfect", which was cute. I can understand it's rewatch ability and cult entertainment. Anna Kendrick has really pretty eyes.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Maybe Johansson success is a sign that now the good thing to do for your career is to dump Sean Penn, as it was dumping Cruise some years ago. Evidence: Robin Wright and her plum role in House of Cards, Johansson in everything lately... Now Charlize, it's your turn.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Happy Ied Mubarak!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

I saw Lucy on Friday. I'll just post my mini-review I put on my facebook page:

There's some strong visuals on display and I do give it credit for TRYING to be more than it was. Unfortunately, the script lacks the depth and intelligence to be the philosophical head trip it wants to be; and it spends so much time trying to convince people it's a smart film that it never really attempts to be the solid actioner it could've been (which I think would've suited this film far better). Overall, the film is neither fish nor fowl. It isn't smart enough to be thought provoking but it's too light on action to be engaging as a popcorn film. Still, it's weird enough that I find it somewhat admirable and that's gotta count for something... right? C+

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

I watched the indie horror movie "Afflicted." It was surprising well done.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMM in DC

I saw "Boyhood" and really enjoyed it. I'm not convinced it achieves "masterpiece" status as I've seen from others but there was such a simplicity that was very endearing. I especially loved how his mom went from one drunken asshole to a younger, sexier guy only to find out he's also a drunken asshole. Such insight to show someone trying to learn from her mistakes but falling into the same patterns.

I do agree with others that it could've been a bit more visually cinematic and I sometimes found the acting to be stagey (that scene with the boys drinking and breaking boards - so bad! Like, embarrassingly bad). And while I appreciate that the main character is a dreamy observer, I think it could've helped the narrative oomph if he had just been a touch more...proactive? Engaged?

Also still making my way through the second seasons of "Orange is the New Black" and "Orphan Black." Both so good!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

LUCY, which I thought was fabulous for being so ballsy in its go-for-broke mentality. Also saw BLACKBIRD, Mo'Nique's first post-Oscar film and it was embarrassing from start to finish.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I saw Lucy and LOVED IT. It was the best action ride of the summer, just loony, balls-to-the-wall fun from start to almost-finish (the very end really did sap the energy a bit). It had more style than any other summer blockbuster this year (minus Snowpiercer), that's for damn sure.

MILD SPOILER ALERT: In that final sequence, when she's slowly turning all black, I got really excited for about ten seconds that Lucy was going to turn into the alien from Under the Skin. I blame the recent Hit Me With Your Best Shot for this.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

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