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Entries in box office (231)


Box Office: Vampire Hospitality, Unique Internships, and Drug Wars

Though Hotel Transylvania 2 and the Anne Hathaway/Robert DeNiro pairing in The Intern surprised no one by taking the top two spots at the weekend box office, the big story was at the tail end of the top ten chart where Denis Villeneuve's possibly Oscar nomination bound cartel-drama Sicario landed despite still being in very limited release still, with less than 60 locations. That's what's called playing to sold out crowds. I split the charts below into limited and wide release though so Sicario takes the #1 spot on the limited half of the cinema equation. We just talked about that stunning drama on the podcast

There don't seem to be estimates on SPC's German Oscar contender Labyrinth of Lies which is a pity since we're curious.

800+ screens (Sept 25th-27th)
01 Hotel Transylvania 2 $48 NEW Tim on the director Genny Tartakovsky
02 The Intern $17 NEW 
03 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $13.8 (cum. $51.4)
04 Everest $12.1 (cum. $22.1) 
05 Black Mass $11 (cum. $42)
06 The Visit $6.5 (cum. $52)
07 The Perfect Guy $4.6 (cum. $48.7)
08 War Room $4.2 (cum. $55.9)
09 The Green Inferno $3.5 NEW
10 A Walk in the Woods $1 (cum. $27.2)
11 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation $.9 (cum. $193.4)
12 Grandma $.8 (cum. $5.1) Review, Poster

Under 800 Screens - Excluding Previously Wide (Sept 25th-27th)
01 Sicario (59 screens) $1.7 (cum. $2.2) Podcast, Emily on a roll
02 Pawn Sacrifice (781 screens) $1 (cum. $1.3)  
03 Lost in Hong Kong (28 screens) $.5 NEW
04 Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos (364 screens) $.2 (cum. $8.8) 
05 Meet the Patels (63 screens) $.2 (cum. $.4)
06 Unbranded (58 screens) $.1 NEW
07 Sleeping With Other People (102 screens) $.1 (cum. $.3) Review
08 Stonewall (129 screens) $.1 NEW InterviewReview, Podcast
09 Goodnight Mommy (28 screens) $.1 (cum. $.2) Interview, Oscar Submission
10 Phoenix (85 screens) $.08 (cum. $2.8) Interview
11 Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (10 screens) $.04 (cum. $.2)
12 The New Girlfriend (45 screens) $.04 (cum. $.09) Review

Sicario's success excepted, it was a bloodbath at the arthouse. Stonewall met vitriolic reviews (my "D" grade review is somehow comparatively nice!) and a disastrous less than $1000 per screen average despite a fairly well publicized opening weekend. In other weak openings, 99 Holmes, the housing crisis drama with Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield debuted on only 2 screens and Mississippi Grind, a pool shark drama with Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds, on only one (what the hell, movies !?) and with those extremely nervous toes in movie theater waters, neither made even the top 12 at the arthouse despite well liked indie directors pairing famous stars with reliable well loved character actors to the tune of positive reviews.

Finally, we neglected to mention the opening of the French trans drama The New Girlfriend (starring Romain Duris, left) last week and though the François Ozon drama hasn't made much of a stir at the arthouse (an entire year's wait for a release after its festival debut can't have helped) but it adds to 2015's strong impression that the floodgates are now open for the T to be amply represented in LGBT cinema.

What did you see this weekend?


Box Office: Johnny Depp gets Scorched

Tim here with the weekend box office estimates. After an exciting nailbiter last weekend, things got a lot more sedate. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials took the #1 slot without too much effort, continuing the dominance of YA adaptations about attractive 20something teenagers fighting their way through a post-apocalyptic wilderness. Let's not crack open a bottle of champagne for all those Chosen Ones just yet, though; The Scorch Trials came up just short of the first Maze Runner's debut weekend last September, suggesting that if the franchise isn't necessarily on death's door, it seems to have already hit its theoretical peak.

01 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials $30.3 new
02 Black Mass $23.4 new
03 The Visit $11.4 (cum. $42.3)
04 The Perfect Guy $9.6 (cum. $41.4) Tim's Review
05 Everest $7.6 new
06 War Room $6.3 (cum. $49.1)
07 A Walk in the Woods $2.7 (cum. $24.8) Reviewed at Sundance
08 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation $2.3 (cum. $191.7) Tim's Review
09 Straight Outta Compton $2.0 (cum. $158.9) Podcast
10 Captive $1.4 new

The weekend's other major wide release, Black Mass, opened to a satisfactory number for what it is - a crime drama for adults, which means it's likely to hold on much longer than Scorch Trials - but it's not quite the triumphant return for Johnny Depp that some of us were quietly hoping for. Compared to his last couple of mega-bombs, it's already an unqualified success: by the end of Sunday, it will have already grossed more than three times as much as the notorious Mortdecai from last winter, and its opening weekend is about as much as the entire lifetime domestic gross of Transcendence. Still, aspiring thinkpiece writers can put away their "Depp is a major movie star again!" ledes for right now.

The most impressive performance in the top ten probably belongs to Everest: the star-packed thriller had a smallish platform opening, mostly limited to IMAX and other large format screens, that propelled it up to an impressive $13,872 per-screen average, by far the biggest of any film in the top ten. But even that pales next to the film that I suspect most of the Film Experience faithful want to hear about: Denis Villaneuve's Sicario, starring Emily Blunt, opened to $390,000 on 6 screens. If that doesn't sound like much, try this on for size: the film's $65,000 per-screen average is the highest of any 2015 release so far. Let's keep out fingers crossed that this means great things for the film as it starts to expand over the next two weeks.

How did you spend your moviegoing weekend?


Box Office: A perfect guy comes for a visit

Tim here with your box office report for this quiet autumn weekend. Or not. In fact, coming on the heels of a fairly slow August and and absolutely soporific Labor Day, this weekend was kind of unbelievably big, with both of the week's major releases managing to overperform quite a bit beyond all but the very rosiest of expectations. It was a photo finish to see who ended up in the #1 slot

01 The Perfect Guy $26.7 new
02 The Visit $25.7 new
03 War Room $7.4 (cum. $39.2)
04 A Walk in the Woods $4.6 (cum. $19.9) Reviewed at Sundance
05 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation $4.2 (cum. $188.2) Tim's Review
06 Straight Outta Compton $4.1 (cum. $155.7) Podcast
07 No Escape $2.9 (cum. $24.2)
08 The Transporter Refueled $2.7 (cum. $13.3)
09 90 Minutes in Heaven $2.2 new
10 Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos $1.9 (cum. $6.7)

That's quite an achievement for both of the top openers. The Perfect Guy becomes the third film with African-American leads in a row, over five consecutive weeks, to take the #1 spot. Before we get too excited about the nascent sea change in American pop culture, it should be pointed out that next week, all of those films are going to be beaten by, among other releases, a movie in which Johnny Depp plays a character with the actual name "Whitey". Still, it's a stark reminder that there's a big audience for movies where the cast isn't all full of Nordic gods, and maybe that audience would even be around anytime that's not the hinterlands of early September.

The other release, The Visit, meanwhile finds famous and infamous thriller-maker M. Night Shyamalan being handed the keys to maybe, perhaps, let himself out of director jail. The film received less than luminous reviews, but they still look  rosy and loving compared to his recent spate of much-despised misfires: 56 on Metacritic, and 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, Shyamalan's first Fresh movie since 2002's Signs. Moreover, produced on a shoestring, apparently with much of the director's own money, The Visit has already turned a profit. No, it's not The Sixth Sense, but it's a definite upswing in Shyamalan's fortunes any way you look at it.

For myself, I've seen neither of them, though I did finally catch up with Straight Outta Compton this weekend. Since I'm boring, let me kick it over to the audience: What did you watch this weekend?


Biggest Foreign and Documentary Hits of the Year (Thus Far)

Since Labor Day Weekend is historically a lame box office weekend, it affords us a fine opportunity to look back at the year thus far rather than wait for box office results. Especially in terms of films that aren't usually spoken of in terms of box office. So let's look at two sets of baker's dozens: 2015'S FOREIGN LANGUAGE and DOCUMENTARY HITS.

*second* biggest-hits in Foreign & Documentary: "Baahubali: The Beginning" and "Amy"

How many have you seen?

Top Dozen of 2015 thus far
01 Bajrangi Bhaijaan (India) $8+
02 Baahubali: The Beginning (India) $6+ 
03 A La Mala (Mexico) $3+
04 Wild Tales (Argentina) $3+ Review
05 Dil Dhadakne Do (India)  $3+ 
06 Tanu Weds Manu Returns (India) $3+
07 Clouds of Sils Maria* (France)  $1+ Various Sils Maria Articles
08 Piku (India)  $1+
09 Assassination (South Korea) $1+
10 Phoenix (Germany) $1+ Nina Hoss Interview
11 i (India)  $1+
12 Timbuktu (Mauritania) $1+ Review, César Winners
13 Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel) $.9+ Review, Second Opinion

As we always see in the foreign charts in the past decade or so, Bollywood films continue to be solid imported hits without the benefit of any media attention whatsoever. That's what comes when you have distribution companies that cater to niche audiences and understand/market directly to them. This is surely what China Lion is attempting of late though they have yet to find as much regular support for Chinese language films. Aside from the Hindi language films, the top of the charts also painfully remind us that subtitled films have far teensier grosses even when they get breakout media attention than they once had. Wild Tales for example surely would have been at least a $13 million rather than a $3 million hit a decade ago. The chart also shows us that Oscar nominations help (see #4 and #12) but aren't necessary (see #10 and #13). 2015 hasn't yet had a breakout Oscar-headed hit like Ida from Poland last year (Phoenix was passed over for Oscar submission last year by Germany so it's been on its own without awards-buzz to find its audience. Happily, it's done just that). Sadly Sweden's sublime Oscar entry for this year A Pigeon Sat on a Branch... earned only $200,000 at the US box office. Maybe Labyrinth of Lies, Germany's submission, which opens September 25th can fill that semi-annual slot of foreign hit that doesn't wait for its Oscar fate to make a stir. 

* I'm fudging to include Clouds of Sils Maria I know. It's surely ineligible for France's Oscar submission as its more than 50% English. If you remove it from the list, the film that enters at the lowest rung is The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared from Swedish director Felix Herngren. It earned nearly a million at the US box office but was a huge hit internationally with an additional $50 million!

Top Ten of 2015 Thus Far
01 Monkey Kingdom $16+ 
02 Amy $8+ Review
03 The Salt of the Earth $1+ Documentary Nominees Conversation
04 Iris $1+
05 The Wolfpack $1+ Review
06 Dior & I $1+
07 Meru $.8+ 
08 Red Army $.6+
09 Best of Enemies $.6+ Review
10 Cartel Land $.6+
11 Seymour: An Introduction $.6+ Review
12 Deli Man $.5+
13 The Hunting Ground $.4+


The list includes only one of last year's Oscar nominees The Salt of the Earth since most of them played in their correct calendar year. The big story beyond Disney's nature epic and the Amy Winehouse hit, is the success of Sundance Award Winners since The Wolfpack, Cartel Land and Meru were all hits in release. The late Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens) final full documentary feature Iris about eccentric fashion icon Iris Apfel was also well-received.

From this list we really expected Red Army to break out a little further as the Russian Olympic hockey documentary was quite entertaining and benefitted from a highly accessible international-interest storyline. If they hadn't waited for their Oscar nomination -- which they didn't get -- they might have fared better. 

Here's a crazy colorful musical number from the year's #1 foreign language hit Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan called "Selfie Le Le Re"

When was the last time you saw a Bollywood film in theaters? Do you seek out the buzz titles from these categories?


What did you see this weekend?

August 28th-30th estimates

01 Straight Outta Compton $13.2 (cum. $134.1) Podcast
02 War Room $11 new
03 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation  $8.3 (cum. $170.3) Tim's Review
04 No Escape $8.3 new (cum. $26.8)
05 Sinister 2 $4.6 (cum. $18.5) Interview 

While it was a semi-drowsy weekend for new releases, Straight Outta Compton and Mission: Impossible continued to hold well. Just outside this list was The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which, though it had a rough opening and is now losing theaters, is holding its per screen average better than should probably have been expected. Perhaps enough people have heard that it's actually G.O.O.D.?

BOX OFFICE LIMITED (excluding prev. wide releases)
August 28th-30th estimates

01 Mistress America $.4 (cum. $.9) 150 screens
02 Diary of a Teenage Girl $.4 (cum. $.9) 795 screens Review
03 Phoenix $.3 (cum. $1.4) 142 screens Interview
04 End of the Tour $.3 (cum. $2.3) 256 screens
05 Grandma $.3 (cum. $.4) on 19 screens Nathaniel's ReviewJoe's ReviewPosterized

While it's always thrilling to see a distributor get ballsy and expand tiny movies to the number of theaters that they deserve to play in, rather than cautiously hope people will stumble upon hidden gems, it doesn't always pay off. Sony Pictures Classics added over 700 screens for Diary of a Teenage Girl , perhaps sensing now or never given their full upcoming slate, but the per screen average was not pretty. Will they be as bold with Grandma in two weeks? That has a chance of paying off better if they can stoke Oscar buzz and make Lily Tomlin's career-capper into a leave your house event for adult moviegoers.

Just outside this list sits the modest Learning to Drive, which is a highly pleasant watch starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley and Life Metaphors. Improbably 2015 has become a strong year for women of a certain age with star vehicles for Patty (who is 55), Blythe (72), and Lily (75), with Charlotte Rampling (69) still to come in 45 Years. That's in addition to the four who regularly get them: Meryl (Ricki), Helen (Woman in Gold), Judi & Maggie (Best Exotic 2). So we talked about that on last week's podcast.

Finally, when I figure out why I didn't love Mistress America, considering that TFE was madly in love with the last Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig duet Frances Ha, I'll tell you but I haven't figured it out. If you've seen it perhaps you can help in the comments. What did you see this weekend?



What did you see this weekend?

Question: Do you think that that amazing Straight Outta Somewhere internet meme, which was going strong for weeks before the film opened, helped the amazing box office tally for Straight Outta Compton?

The film has no "name" actors and is performing like a true blockbuster these past two weekends. I mean even I got into the act on twitter and instagram (see image below) and I have no real emotional connection to N.W.A. (Rap and Hiphop were never really an interest of mine outside of Missy Elliott in totality and a couple of dozen other songs and/or artists) 

In limited release both Grandma and Learning to Drive had solid starts and if word of mouth kicks in they could be looking at healthy runs. Phoenix, the German sleeper hit, continues to expand and will break the magical $1 million mark for arthouse imports any second now. Joe Swanberg's latest Digging For Fire with Rosemarie DeWitt had a tough time finding its audience though.

August 21st-23rd estimates

01 Straight Outta Compton $27.8 (cum. $112.5)
02 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation $11.7 (cum. $157.7) Tim's Review
05 Sinister 2  $10.5 new  Interview
03 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. $7.6 (cum. $26.8) Kyle's Review
04 Hitman Agent 47 $7.5 new 
05 American Ultra  $5.7 new
06 The Gift  $4.3 (cum. $31) Jose's Review
07 Ant-Man  $4.2 (cum. $164.6)  Tim's ReviewPodcast, on Paul Rudd
08 Minions  $3.9 (cum. $320.1)  Tim on the Minions phenom
09 Fantastic Four $3.6 (cum. $49.5) Tim's Review

August 21st - 23rd estimates

01 Mr Holmes $.6 (cum. $15.3) on 430 screens
02 The End of the Tour $.5 (cum. $1.6) on 355 screens
03 Phoenix $.3 (cum. $.9) on 108 screens Interview
04 Mistress America $.2 (cum. $.3) on 32 screens
05 Diary of a Teenage Girl $.1 (cum. $.4) on 69 screens Michael's Review
06 Amy  $.1 (cum. $7.6) on 100 screens Glenn's Review
07 Grandma  $.1 on 4 screens NEW Nathaniel's ReviewJoe's ReviewPosterized: Lily Tomlin
08 Learning to Drive  $.06 on 4 screens NEW
09 Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet $.04 (cum. $.1) on 24 screens
10 Listen to Me Marlon  $.04 (cum. $.2) on 26 screens Amir's Review



Highest Paid Actresses, 2015 Edition

Forbes annual Highest Paid Actress list arrived this morning. It tracks income from films and merchandising and endorsement deals and so on and prints the (estimated conjecture) total before management fees and taxes are removed. The endorsements is why household name celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts, stay on the list for years and years after their peak bankable actressing. Here's the list if you don't want to have to click through the 19 page gallery. But you will have to click through 19 pages if you want to know just how each of these women is making so much bank.

The list with our commentary after the jump

Click to read more ...