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Entries in box office (177)

Sunday
Jan132013

Multiple Zeroes. Dark Thirty

With a post Oscar nominations wide expansion into movie theaters Zero Dark Thirty won a strong $24 million opening weekend. $24 million is chump change for superheroes and cartoons but it's a big deal for contemporary dramas without bankable stars. Put it another way: that's well over what The Hurt Locker earned in its entire theatrical run here in the States. The torture controversy may have soiled ZDT's Oscar winning prospects somewhat (including that surprise snub for Bigelow) but it hasn't hurt it at the box office.

The Top Five This Weekend

Chart repurposed / visually adjusted from Box Office Mojo

Gangster Squad grossed less than the cheapo laughs of A Haunted House once again confirming that the earth is doomed and also that filling your movie with stars doesn't necessarily help (which also means the earth is doomed... at least for those of us who like our movies with movie stars in them.) That said it took Brad Pitt a long time to be considered "bankable" and Ryan Gosling is inching ever upwards. This is his second best opening (after Crazy Stupid Love, which was also jam-packed with fellow stars) though he has yet to star in a $100 + million hit.

Meanwhile Django and Les Miz continue to prove that their hit status is bonafide. With only three weeks in theaters both are well over $100 million and are on their way to very healthy profits, with or without Oscar statuettes.

Fantine may be impoverished and unemployable but Anne Hathaway now has her SEVENTH $100+ million hit.

I've noticed that that really tired annual meme that Oscar hates blockbusters and that general audiences don't like "Oscar-Bait" movies has died this year thank God! That death rattle lasted forever. Your Best Picture lineup this year is more proof that that's only ever been partially true at best and is often misleading. The average gross from this year's crop is $76 million and it's going up every week. Among the nine only (arguably) Silver Linings Playbook has underperformed given it's box office friendly stars / genre but that's only because they opted to pretend it was a tough arthouse sit with that crawling release pattern. Even after the Oscar nominations its still in less than 900 theaters. 

Do you support Oscars economy each year by seeing the nominees in the theaters?
 

Sunday
Jan062013

Year in Review: Movies You Should Have Invested In

Some alarmists might consider the seemingly mandatory media coverage of weekend box office to be the true death of vital film culture, more money meaning nothing other than, well, more money. (See: Cosmopolis). Even for the sites that do it well, the figures are only good for so much. Generally speaking the most gargantuan hits of any year cost a lot to make so even when they're as big as everyone involves hopes they'll be (like Bond or the superhero epics they generally only return $4 bucks or so for every $1 they cost -- at least in their original window of money-making opportunity. Merchandising and sequels are obviously a reason for the gamble and will make you much much more later on). So I read through all the charts on Thompson in Hollywood's blockbuster box office wrap specifically with profit in mind. So here's what I've gleaned as the most profitable pictures of the year based on total global gross versus their budgets... Just for kicks I substracted $25 million of profits for promotional costs though as the article states that is on the low end of the typical scale. 

the biggest hit of the year everywhere but THE AVENGERS was also super expensive to make / market which cuts into your profit margins

But this approximate interpreted list by me still gives us a smudgy window view into which films really returned on investment for those who backed them. 

Ten Most Profitable?
01 The Devil Inside grossed 76 times its budget
02 Paranormal 4 grossed 23 times its budget
03 Magic Mike grossed 20 times its budget
04 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel grossed 11 times its budget
05 Ted grossed 9 times its budget 
06 Ice Age Continental Drift grossed 9 times its budget
07 Hunger Games grossed 8 times its budget
08 Taken 2 grossed 8 times its budget
09 Chronicle grossed 8 times its budget
10 Sinister grossed 8 times its budget 

Channing Tatum's 2012 filmography grossed $587 million around the world

Best Lesson Learned: keep your costs low and your stars well cast (Magic Mike & Ted & Marigold Hotel & Taken 2)

No-Duh Lesson: low budget genre movies are, historically, a strong financial bet (Devil, Paranormal, Chronicle) which is why so many actors and directs get their start in them

Soul-Crushing Lesson We Learned Again: Keep delivering what people already like (Ice Age, Taken 2, Paranormal 4, Devil Inside... not part of an official franchise but there are a bajillion possession movies and people always pay money to see them)

the #1 global top grosser that was in no way a franchise (unless you view Pixar as one continuous franchise10 Biggest Global Hits of 2012
01 The Avengers ($1.51 billion)
02 The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion)
03 Skyfall ($1.02 billion)
04 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($.8 billion) -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 1)
05 Ice Age Continental Drift ($.8 billion)
06 Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 ($.8 billion)  -- this is why we will get a lot more padding so movies can be divvied up  for even more profit. Soon 2 hours of story will make 4 or 5 films (pt 2) 
07 Spider-Man ($.7 billion) --  this is why we will get a lot more instant reboots of big hits. *sigh*
08 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($.7 billion)
09 Hunger Games ($.6 billion)
10 Men in Black 3 ($.6 billion)

runner upBrave ($.535 billion)

* I think it's worth noting that Prometheus, which earned $402 million globally, and is therefore not too far outside this list is a much bigger hit than people have assumed based on media coverage of it as a "disappointment" and "flop". When something underperforms in the US, people assume it was a flop. It wasn't.

Did you support all of these economies? Which of these movies would you have invested in if someone had asked you?  Don't all say Magic Mike at once. 

Previously on 'Year in Review' 
Water-Logged - major flooding at theaters
Michael's 10 - Moonrise, Django, etc
Beau's 10 -Cabin in the Woods, Bachelorette, etc
Interviewlapalooza -from Kidman to Cumming
LGBT Characters - from "Mitch" to "Silva" 
James Bond Mania -Bond Girl Reader Rank
Snow White the apple muching fairest of all
Overrated Amy Adams, superheroes, film critics
Nathaniel's Worst Cloud Atlas, Spider-Man
Summer Crushes Pt. 1 and Pt. 2

Best of the Blog from...
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November

Sunday
Dec302012

Had Your Self a Misérable Little Christmas?

Another big cash grab day is ahead for the movies as New Year's Day approaches. But for this weekend the winners are clear. Django Unchained & Les Misérables much ballyhooed "Sad Off" was a true contest for wintry dollars with Tarantino's controversial slavery comedy revenge fantasy eventually pulling out in front of the musical. But the war for profit puts Les Miz in winner's position since it's already equalled it's budget in just the first six days. Django has a ways to go for that milestone but let's not nitpick as they're both true hits. 

Box Office Chart repurposed from Box Office Mojo

In fact, it's been a good box office year for Oscar-buzzing players. Affleck and Spielberg's pictures were both $100 million grossers with Lincoln still going strong. Pi & Playbook have solid sales - they didn't embarrass themselves. Of the front-running Oscar six only Zero Dark Thirty has been little seen but that's a function of timing and platforming rather than audience choice. If Zero Dark Thirty doesn't delay its expansion for too long it seems certain to demolish The Hurt Locker's gross in no time.

Did you see both Django & Les Miz over the break?

I almost went to The Hobbit but abruptly changed my mind and tweeted as much:

 

 

Oh sweet relief! I really do feel it.

Sunday
Dec232012

40 Guilt Trips on Jack Reacher's Unexpected Journey

(Why do I like stringing movie titles together in blog post titles? I know not!) The box office charts were exceptionally boring this weekend so I shan't regurgitate them. Let it suffice to say that moviegoers weren't enthused.  The weekend was weak for all of the new releases from Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher, to Babs & Seth's The Guilt Trip and the one where Paul Rudd stands in for Judd Apatow in his plotless interminably long home movies. This is 40 is not without laughs but good lord it is indulgent... the 134 minute comedy has so many continuous subplots and so little in the way of a central plot that it plays exactly like a tv series marathon with the credits removed. TV is free to watch and Apatow was better at it (Freaks & Geeks > than all Apatow movies combined. Discuss) so one wishes he'd return.

The most exciting titles are waiting for Christmas Day openings (Django, Les Miz) or have opened in less than 20 theaters  (Amour, The Impossible, Zero Dark Thirty, On the Road)  to taunt you with their elusivity. 

I'd ask you what you went to this weekend but you probably rented a movie, right?

But never mind all that.

Look at this cute teaser poster for Pedro Almodóvar's airplane-set comedy  I'm So Excited! (thx to Txus for showing me). Makes me want to fly right to 2013 and skip all this Oscar crap. 

Time for an impromptu pol!

 

Sunday
Dec162012

The Box Office: An Expected Journey

I was so enamored with Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings trilogy a decade ago that it hurts my heart to see him now as merely Smaug, a monstrous collector of coin or even as Gollum, hanging so tight to his precioussssssss (Middle Earth) that he's lost sight of everything that once made him an artist and not a brand. It happens to a lot of über successful people. It's grown increasingly difficult to shake the feeling that his days as a great filmmaker are long gone and maybe ended with the remarkable fantasy trilogy, perhaps casting off to Grey Havens with the elves at the end of The Return of the King. Since then Jackson has made one beautiful but wildly bloated epic (King Kong) that suggested he might have a George Lucas problem (no one willing to tell him "no"), one outright terrible misfire of a whatsit? (The Lovely Bones) that suggested he might not know what the hell he's doing anymore and now The Hobbit, which was a relatively short book that has been stretched into three long films for only one reason: coin.

Maybe that's not a charitable assumption since I haven't seen the film (I REALLY don't want to spoil my Lord of The Rings experience which was beautiful and just-right) but if three big films was enough to cover (grandly) three thick books, three big films is too much to cover one thin one. But on that sordid topic of coin -- we haven't discussed box office in a month -- The Hobbit earned a ton of it though surely not as much as intended given that that seems to have been its entire intent as a cash cow prologue. 

Box Office Top Twenty - Actuals
01 THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY $84.7
02 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS  $7.4 (cum. $71.3) Capsule Review  
03 LINCOLN  $7.2 (cum. $107.8) Podcast Discussion
04 SKYFALL  $7 (cum $272.3) My Review & Deborah's Review
05 LIFE OF PI $5.4 (cum. $69.5) Michael on the Ending
06 THE TWILIGHT: AN EXPECTED ENDING   $5.1  (cum. $276.8)
07 WRECK-IT RALPH $3.2 (cum. $168.7)
08 PLAYING FOR KEEPS $3.2 (cum $10.8)
09 RED DAWN $2.3  (cum $40.8)
10 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK $2 (cum $16.9) Beau's Review

11 FLIGHT  $1.9  (cum. $89.4) Review
12 ARGO $1.1 (cum. $104.9)
13 HITCHCOCK $1 (cum $3) Review
14 KILLING THEM SOFTLY $1  (cum $14.1)
15 ANNA KARENINA $.9 (cum $8.3) Capsule Review

In other moneyed news: Lincoln continues to illustrate that Abraham had long legs and still knows how to use them (100+ million and counting for a talky drama about ideas. WTH? Sasha points out that it's now in the money lead of all the Oscar contenders); Silver Linings Playbook continues to underwhelm (not that it had a chance to break out given that it's a mainstream movie that peculiarly decided to pretend it was an arthouse film); And  Anna Karenina ought to be proud of that gross given the cold shoulder it's gotten from awards bodies. 

Where did you spend your precioussssss coin this weekend?

Monday
Nov262012

Box Office Bounty For Thanksgiving

Buoyed by Twilight & 007 fanaticism, an abundance of newish Oscar contenders, and even a dusty remake for the crowd that doesn't care about Twilight or the Oscars or, you know, quality, there was something for everyone this Thanksgiving weekend! Moviegoers came out in droves for the biggest Thanksgiving at the movies ever.

So it's an extra long box office list today.

Box Office Top Twenty - Actuals
01 THE TWILIGHT SAGA FINALLY ENDS $43.6 (cum $227.3)
02 SKYFALL  $35.5 (cum. $221.1) Review & Deborah's Review
03 LINCOLN  $25.6 (cum. $62.8) Podcast Discussion
04 RISE OF THE GUARDIANS  $23.7 *NEW* (cum $32.3) Capsule Review
05 THE LIFE OF PI $22.4 *NEW* (cum. $30.5)
06 WRECK-IT RALPH  $16.5  (cum. $149.2)
07 RED DAWN $14.2 *NEW*  (cum. $21.6)
08 FLIGHT $8.4 (cum $74.7) Review
09 SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK $4.3  (cum $6.2) Beau's Review
10 ARGO $3.8 (cum $98)

11 TAKEN 2  $.9 (cum. $136.4)
12 ANNA KARENINA  $.8 (cum. $1.5) Capsule Review
13 PITCH PERFECT  $.7 (cum. $62.5) Capsule Review
14 THE SESSIONS $.7  (cum $3.9) Review
15 JAB TAK HAI JAAN  $.5  (cum. $3)
16 HERE COMES THE BOOM $.5 (cum. $42)
17 CLOUD ATLAS $.4 (cum $25.7)
18 THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER $.3  (cum $16.3) Capsule Review
19 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA $.3 (cum $143.5)
20 LOOPER $.3  (cum. $65.5) Review

So many decisions this Thanksgiving. Alexei or Vronsky? Pumpkin or Pecan?

What did you see this weekend? If it's Here Comes The Boom, Red Dawn or Taken 2 eight weeks into its run please spend some time in the corner thinking about your life choices. If it was Hitchcock (just outside this list) my review is here but really I have to confess that I'm so deeply ashamed of it because JA wrote the most brilliant possible review anyone could have ever written about it. For real - read it