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Entries in box office (186)

Sunday
Nov232014

Top Box Office Hits of 2014 - Outside the Franchises!

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. For those of us not living under a rock for the past four years, the success of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 this weekend comes as no surprise. Let’s skip right over it then, although it’s probably worth noting that its haul was significantly less than its predecessors. In order to restore some sanity in the midst of this sequel-dominated explotionapalooza, we’ll take a break from regular box office reporting to look at the year’s top ten non-franchise, non-CGI-driven, non-animated box office champs of the year thus far:

#1 Drama of 2014: GONE GIRL

That Top Ten
01 GONE GIRL $156.8 and rising Jason's reviewpodcast
02 NEIGHBORS $150.1 Review & podcast 
03 RIDE ALONG $134.9
04 THE FAULT IN OUR STARS $124.8 Review
05 THE EQUALIZER $99
06 NON-STOP $92.1 Amir's Review
07 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $91.4
08 TAMMY $84.5 Review
09 THE OTHER WOMAN $83.9
10 FURY about to climb over Let's Be Cops for this spot Review

#1 Comedy of 2014: NEIGHBORS

Debatable. Non-Franchise but Still Heavily CG. If You'd like to mentally include any of them
- LUCY $126.6 Podcast
- INTERSTELLAR $120.6 and rising Michael's Review 
- NOAH* $101.2 PodcastInterview
- EDGE OF TOMORROW $100.2

11-20: LET'S BE COPS, MONUMENTS MEN, GOD'S NOT DEAD, SON OF GOD, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY, NO GOOD DEED, IF I STAY, ABOUT LAST NIGHT, and (gulp) JERSEY BOYS

On average, this top ten list is on the same level of quality as the actual top ten but what is depressing is that increasingly it is becoming impossible for original films to perform as well as commodities that the public already recognizes. Currently the highest ranking wholly original film among this year’s biggest grossers is Neighbors at 15th. While sequels and adaptations can be traced all the back to the silent era, the box office snoozefest wasn't always thus. Even at the turn of the century, the top ten list featured, quite unbelievably, the following films: Cast Away, Gladiator, What Women Want, Meet the Parents and What Lies Beneath, followed by the likes of Erin Brokovich, Traffic and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Since then, the studio system has gone through a complete metamorphosis, on several levels that are both too long and too frustrating to write about in this weekly column, but I think we all lost something as our stars gradually turned from people into effects and the average age of those the films are marketed to decreased without control.

Anyway, speaking of Hidden Dragon, here are the year's best selling foreign hits so far:

#1 Subtitled Film of 2014: CANTINFLAS

Top Subtitled Pictures of 2014 Thus Far
01 CATINFLAS $6.3 (Mexico via Lionsgate) - Oscar Submission
02 THE LUNCHBOX $4.2 (India via Sony Pictures Classics) 
03 IDA $3.7 (Poland via Music Box Films) - Oscar Submission, Loved it
04 THE RAID 2  $2.6 (Indonesia/USA via  Sony Pictures Classics)
05 THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS $2.5 (South Korea via CJ Entertainment) 
06 BANG BANG $2.5 (India via FIP)
07 KICK $2.4 (India via UTV) 
08 2 STATES $2.2 (India via UTV) 
09 GLORIA $2.1 (Chile via Roadside Attractions) - Oscar Submission last year, Loved it
10 JAI HO $1.2 (via Eros) 

As always, Indian films dominate the list, though with the exception of The Lunchbox, most of them failed to gain traction outside the target demographic of the Indian community. France has had an unusally bad year, but it's heartwarming to see a film as chilly and uninviting as Ida has done such impressive business. Meanwhile, the best foreign release of the year, Force Majeure, is inching its way toward the million dollar mark. So far it has grossed $429k.

What have you watched this weekend? And how many of these selective top ten hits have you seen?

Sunday
Nov162014

Box Office: America Loves... Dumb Things?

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. Dumb and Dumber To came out on top this weekend, beating Big Hero 6 to the number one spot. It’s curious that my anticipation for this sequel which had been building up and gradually increasing over two decades completely deflated the minute it was released, but that tends to happen when reviews, commercials and even the film’s stars seem unenthused about their work.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s other wide opening, Beyond the Lights, finished fourth. I want Gugu Mbatha-Raw to be a star so badly, so here’s hoping it sticks around in the top ten for while. And speaking of sticking around, Gone Girl remained the top 5 for the seventh week in a row, a bigger success than most had imagined and now the second biggest success of David Fincher's career (after Se7en) if you adjust for inflation.

TOP DOZEN
01 DUMB & DUMBER TO $38 NEW
02 BIG HERO 6 $36 (cum. $111.6) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
03 INTERSTELLAR $29.1 NEW Michael's Review
04 BEYOND THE LIGHTS $6.5 NEW 
05 GONE GIRL $4.6 (cum. $152.6) The Podcast /  Jason's Review
06 ST. VINCENT $4 (cum. $33.2) Michael's Review
07 FURY $3.8 (cum. $75.9) Michael's Review
08 NIGHTCRAWLER $3 (cum. $25) The PodcastNathaniel's Review 
09 OUIJA $3 (cum. $48.1) 
10 BIRDMAN $2.4 (cum. $11.5) The Podcast Nathaniel's Review
11 JOHN WICK $2.2 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
12 ALEXANDER... VERY BAD DAY $1.5 (cum. $62.3) 

PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding wide openers losing theaters
01 ROSEWATER $1.2 371 locations NEW
02 KIRK CAMERON'S SAVING CHRISTMAS $1 410 locations NEW 
03 WHIPLASH $.8 419 locations (cum. $2.4) The Podcast / Michael's Review
04 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $.7 41 locations (cum. $1) Nathaniel's Review
05 FOXCATCHER $.2 NEW 6 locations Nathaniel's Review / Michael's Review

I saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and while I have you here in our intimate little corner of the internet at The Film Experience, away from the wrath of Nolan fanboys, let me vent for a minute about how awful it is. Seriously, do any of you want to stop Nolan, pull him to the side and whisper in his ear: “your films are too long; your plots are convoluted; several of your characters are redundant; your dialogue is atrocious; your spirituality is plastic; get a screenwriter”? Those are the same problems comings up in every one of his films since… The Prestige? Anyway, Matthew McConaughey was the saving grace, making his earthy, warm presence felt through Hans Zimmer's loud screeching in the sound mix.

High profile openers were happening in limited release: Jon Stewart’s story of political imprisonment in Iran, Rosewater, didn’t do great business but you’ll hear more on that one soon right here. Doing exactly 40 times the business per screen was Bennett Miller’s Oscar hopeful, Foxcatcher. It’s going the same route that most of Sony Pictures Classics’ awards contenders go and it’s probably the correct strategy for this film. Finally, there was Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, which won far better reviews than its Cannes reception predicted, doing decent business on only 4 screens.

Have any of you seen of those yet? If not what did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Nov092014

Box Office: Sci-fi Rules the Day

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. Finally, the day cinephiles have been waiting for all year has arrived. America gets the chance to see one of our greatest working directors bring his epic vision to the screen. I speak, of course, of Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery, which opened on one screen to respectable returns. Others were too busy checking out Big Hero 6 and Interstellar. Disney's animated film actually topped the charts – I did not expect it to overcome Nolan's juggernaut, if I'm being honest – but both film finished with more than $50 in the bank. This is an incredibly rare feat: even though it's happened for the third year in a row now, it's only the fourth time that two films open with 50+ numbers. On all three previous occasions, an animated film beat a live action one: Wall-E and Wanted, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus, and Monsters University and World War Z. All eight films are also more or less science-fiction, which calls for a poll:

 

 

TOP DOZEN
01 BIG HERO 6 $56.2 NEW Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
02 INTERSTELLAR $52.1 NEW Michael's Review
03 GONE GIRL $6.1 (cum. $145.4) The Podcast /  Jason's Review
04 OUIJA $6 (cum. $43.4) 
05 ST. VINCENT $5.7 (cum. $27.3) Michael's Review
06 NIGHTCRAWLER $5.5 (cum. $19.7) The PodcastNathaniel's Review 
07 FURY $5.5 (cum. $69.2) Michael's Review
08 JOHN WICK $8 (cum. $27.5) Michael's Review
09 ALEXANDER... VERY BAD DAY $3.4 (cum. $59.2) 
10 
THE BOOK OF LIFE $2.8 (cum. $45.2) Interview
11 BIRDMAN $2.3 (cum. $8) The Podcast Nathaniel's Review
12 THE JUDGE $1.7 (cum. $42.5) 

PLATFORM
01 WHIPLASH $.3 88 locations (cum. $1.5) The Podcast / Michael's Review
02 CITIZEN FOUR $.2 59 locations (cum. $.6) 
03 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $.2 NEW 5 locations Nathaniel's Review

Aside from Wiseman's film, the other big limited release of the weekend was The Theory of Everything, which returned really solid numbers on five screens and will roll out next week in search of some Oscar gold. I haven't yet seen any of this weekend's films, but I did catch up with Birdman: Or the Unex... oh, stop this nonsense, which I mostly liked, even though I found it uneven and undermined by a) Lubezki's distracting and confusing cinematography and b) Keaton's incredibly boring performance. For a performance that is similarly meta without forgetting that there is an emotional connection to be made with the material, see: Rourke, Mickey.

What did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Nov022014

Box Office Dies. Nightcrawler Shoots It.

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. It was a dead weekend at the multiplex, deader than the dead in Ouija, deader than zombies. Though it was not, strictly speaking, the worst weekend of the year – that honor belongs to the weekend of September 5th, when Guardians of the Galaxy, in its sixth week, topped the chart and the biggest new release was The Identical, a musical with Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd!!! – it was still a terrible weekend.

 

TOP DOZEN
01 NIGHTCRAWLER $10.9 NEW
02 OUIJA $10.9 (cum. $34.9)  
03 FURY $9.1 (cum. $60.4) Michael's Review
04 GONE GIRL $8.8  (cum. $136.6)  Jason's Review
05 THE BOOK OF LIFE $8.3 (cum. $40.5) Interview
06 JOHN WICK $8 (cum. $27.5) Michael's Review
07 ST. VINCENT $7.7 (cum. $19.5) Michael's Review
08 ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE... $6.4 (cum. $53.6)
09 THE JUDGE $3.4 (cum. $39.5) 
10 DRACULA UNTOLD $2.9 (cum. $52.8)
11 THE BEST OF ME $2.7 (cum. $21.9) 
12 BIRDMAN $2.5 (cum. $5) Nathaniel's Review

Nightcrawler, the critically acclaimed crime film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, opened at the top spot, but at the estimated $10.9m, it’s the lowest grossing new release to top its weekend in this entire decade so far. By all accounts, the film deserves a bigger audience, but the number isn’t exactly a surprise because a) Halloween weekend is never a great time for non-horror films and b) Gyllenhaal hasn’t really opened a film big on his own. The other new wide release Before I Go To Sleep with Nicole Kidman finished outside the top ten with 2 million. Birdman, still platforming at 231 screens now but almost cracking the top ten, maintained the best screen average for the third weekend in a row. It will surpass Iñarittu's own Biutiful and Amores Perros in total sales sometime today. 

UP NEXT: November will bring us some of the year’s biggest box office hopefuls. Here are each week’s major openings for the remainder of the month: Interstaller and Big Hero 6 (7) ; Dumb and Dumber To (14);  Hunger Games: Mockingjay (21) a sure bet to take Guardians of the Galaxy’s #1 of year throne; Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2 (26) -- oh, c’mon you know you’re waiting for this one! More exciting times are ahead.

What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Oct262014

Box Office: Keanu & the Ouija Board

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. If there is one trend box office enthusiasts can always count on, it’s a double-figure, profitable opening for a mediocre horror film. Ouija didn’t disappoint its makers and despite the letters on the board spelling disaster, a fat $20m cheque was pocketed. Ouija had a comfortable lead over the weekend’s other big opening, John Wick. It’s an action flick starring cult hero Keanu Reeves as a man who goes after the heartless Russian criminals who kill his cute puppy. Quite a stretch, that premise! I refuse to believe good reviews for Keanu’s films until I see them, so it’s with a giant grain of salt that I inform you this one’s winning praise all around.

TOP TEN WIDE
01 OUIJA $20 NEW
02 JOHN WICK $14.1  NEW  
03 FURY $13 (cum. $46) Michael's Review
04 GONE GIRL $11.1  (cum. $124)  Jason's Review
05 THE BOOK OF LIFE $9.8 (cum. $29.9) Interview
06 ST. VINCENT $8 (cum. $9.1) Michael's Review
07 ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE... $7 (cum. $45.5)
08 THE BEST OF ME $4.7 (cum. $17.6) 
09 THE JUDGE $4.3 (cum. $34.3)
10 DRACULA UNTOLD $4.3 (cum. $48.3) 

Anyway, ‘tis the season of awards, so let’s look at how contenders did this week: Gone Girl continued its marginal drop and will become Fincher’s best selling film in the next couple of days, surpassing the multiple Oscar-nominee Benjamin Button. Alejandro Innaritu’s Birdman expanded from four screens to 50 and still maintained the weekend’s best per screen average. As I mentioned last week, I still have doubts about its wide potential, but the signs are definitely encouraging. Whiplash also expanded but has struggled to break the million dollar mark as of now. It strikes me as one of those films that we, in our relatively small cinephile blogosphere, have been talking about loudly for ages, but out there in the real world, I wonder how many people have heard about it at all. Finally, Citizenfour, as close to a shoe-in as we have in the documentary category at this point, opened to strong business on five screens. Expect to hear a lot more about it in the next couple of months.

As for myself, I’ve seen four films so far: Black Coal, Thin Ice; Maps to the Stars; Two Days, One Night; and Fury. I would rate them, respectively: A-, F, A-, B-. Now I’m off to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Force Majeure.

What have you watched this weekend?

Sunday
Oct192014

Box Office: Fury Attacks with a Tank Full of Gas

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. America finally flocked to the theatres to quench its months-long thirst for knowledge: just what the hell is Brad Pitt’s hair cut about? Most of you have surely found out by now, but I have to wait until Tuesday to see Fury, because my favourite actor present or not, I’m just not willing to spend more than the $7 for ticket plus popcorn deal on a war movie in a tank.

What did you see this weekend? Let us know in the comments how you liked it.

TOP TEN WIDE
01 FURY $23.5 NEW
02 GONE GIRL $17.8  (cum. $107)  Jason's Review
03 THE BOOK OF LIFE $17 NEW Interview
04 ALEXANDER AND THE... $12 (cum. $36.8)
05 THE BEST OF ME $10.2  NEW
06 DRACULA UNTOLD $9.8 (cum. $40.7) 
07 THE JUDGE $7.9 (cum. $26.8)
08 ANNABELLE $7.9 (cum. $74.1)
09 THE EQUALIZER $5.4 (cum. $89.1)
10 THE MAZE RUNNER $4.5 (cum. $90.8) Nathaniel's Review

TOP TEN LIMITED
Excluding Wide Releases Losing Theaters

01 ST. VINCENT $.6 68 theaters (cum. $.8) Michael's Review
02 KILL THE MESSENGER $.4  427 theaters (cum. $1.8)
03 BIRDMAN $.4 4 theaters NEW composer interview | opening night party 
04 DEAR WHITE PEOPLE $.3 11 theaters NEW Michael's Review
05 MEN WOMEN & CHILDREN $.3  608 theaters (cum. $.4)

The weekend’s other wide openings, a Día de Muertos-themed film called The Book of Life and a Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Best of oh, who even cares?, both snuck in the top ten, though critical and public enthusiasm seems rather low. I’m happy for Reel FX bouncing back from the train wreck that was Free Birds, though. Meanwhile, the biggest news of the weekend was the per screen average gross of Birdman, where it ranks among the top 20 of all time.

This year’s best average gross still belongs to Wes Anderson’s Budapest Hotel, but Birdman is the bigger surprise. Anderson is one of a series of active filmmakers whose films always pull the same trick, opening on a few screens to massive numbers before expansion – his namesake P. T. Anderson and Woody Allen always do the same to great degrees of success. Yet, for Birdman to pull of similar numbers is genuinely surprising. My guess is that the film’s appeal remains limited outside of the major markets, but I reserve the right to retroactively edit this prediction out if the film does well.

Other films of note opening this weekend: Listen Up Philip, Dear White People, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, a film I have surprisingly thought about so often since TIFF that it has forced itself into my top 10 of the year. Go see it! It’s magical.  

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten Unseen Hits

Is this "top ten day" annoying you yet? Every once in a while I like to look at the "yearly" charts to see which films are the most popular with the general public... i.e. that strange undulating shape-shifting mass of terror that inflicts so many terrible sequels, reboots, derivative horror flicks, and Adam Sandler movies on us. That blob of horror doesn't even get adventurous within genres it freaking loves. Why don't they flock to like The Boxtrolls instead of The Nutjob, you know? Why The Purge movies and not, like, The Babadook?

Here are the 10 biggest hits of 2014 once you subtract all the film's Nathaniel has seen and the ones that aren't yet on DVD. You may force him to watch something and write about it by voting. You can choose two films.

 

 

 

ALSO I'M CURIOUS...
Which big hits this year have you avoided or just didn't think to check out?