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Entries in box office (209)

Sunday
Nov102013

Box Office: Thor Hammers Non-Existent Competition

Amir here, bringing you the weekend’s box office report with the world’s easiest, least funny pun in the title.

Looking at this week’s numbers, virtually everything screams unremarkable. The mega-blockbuster that tops the list, Thor 2: Marvel blah blah, raked in a solid $86m, but hasn’t really excited anyone. Is this possibly because critical and audience reaction had already been heard when the film opened around the world last week? No. It’s more likely because it has only been 6 months and 5 days since the last Marvel film assaulted multiplexes and it will only be another 4 months and 26 days before another one does the same, and almost all of the studio's outings fall within a very narrow range between B- and B, qualitatively.

BOX OFFICE
01 THOR: THE DARK WORLD $86.1 *new* Review
02 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA $11.3 (cum. $78.7)
03 FREE BIRDS $11.2 (cum. $30)
04 LAST VEGAS $11.1  (cum. $33.5)
05 ENDER'S GAME $10.25 (cum. $44) Previous Discussions
06 GRAVITY $8.4 (cum. $231.1) Many Previous Posts 
07 12 YEARS A SLAVE $6.6 (cum. $17.3) Slavery in Cinema & Previous Discussions
08 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $5.8 (cum. $90.9) Podcast & Hanks For All Ages
09 ABOUT TIME $5.1 (cum. $6.7)
10 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 $2.8 (cum. $109.9)

Following Thor in the second, third and fourth spots are Bad Grandpa, Last Vegas and Free Birds, the three films that occupied the same three spots last week. Free Birds maintained a better hold that I predicted seven days ago, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, always. That means last week’s chart topper, Ender’s Game, nosedived all the way down to fifth. Given the film’s weak business overseas, it’ll be a miracle if it can turn any profit. Talk of a potential sequel is also already turning mute. The three surefire Oscar nominees are still present in the top ten, with 12 Years a Slave doing great business now that it is playing on more than a 1000 screens.

In limited release, The Book Thief opened on four screens with respectable returns. This has been touted as a potential Oscar nominee in some categories by certain pundits, but I just don’t see it happening unless there is… no, it’s not going to happen. Furthermore, At Berkeley, a 4-hour documentary literally about being at Berkeley has opened on two screens for a very lucky few. I don’t know if this one will ever expand, but I regret missing it at TIFF. I’m hearing it’s one of the best films of the year.

Anyway, my weekend consisted of Dallas Buyers Club (B-), Michael Mann’s Heat (A+), Blackfish (B-) and Museum Hours, which I watched for a second time and it is still my favorite film of the year. What did you watch?

Sunday
Nov032013

Box Office: Underwhelming New Releases Run the Show

It's Amir with the weekend's box office report.

Although we've entered awards season, theaters were dominated by new releases that haven't got a prayer in the world to make a dent on any Oscar race. (This might sound unusual for a November weekend, but history tells us it really isn't. Two years ago, this very weekend brought us such unforgettable gems as Tower Heist and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.) It was also the first weekend since early August where three different films were released on more than 3000 screens. This can usually be taken as a sign that studios don't believe there's much overlap between the target audiences of those films, and who can blame them. I imagine few people were in a quandary about which of Free Birds, Last Vegas and Ender's Game to watch -- excluding those who were in their 40s when they read Ender's Game, have waited 28 years for an adaptation but now find themselves more attuned to the beat of Last Vegas, but I digress.

BOX OFFICE
01 ENDER'S GAME $28 *new* Previous Discussions
02 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA $20.5 (cum. $62)
03 LAST VEGAS $16.5 *new* 
04 FREE BIRDS $16.2 *new* 
05 GRAVITY $13.1 (cum. $219.1) Many Previous Posts 
06 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $8.5 (cum. $82.5) Podcast & Hanks For All Ages
07 12 YEARS A SLAVE $4.6 (cum. $8.7) Slavery in Cinema & Previous Discussions
08 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 $4.2 (cum. $106.1)
09 CARRIE $3.4 (cum. $31.9) Previous Discussions
10 THE COUNSELOR $3.2 (cum. $13.3) Previous Discussions
11 ESCAPE PLAN $2.2 (cum. $21.6)
12 ABOUT TIME $1.5 *new* Review

Ender's Game won the weekend with a mild 28 million. This one never looked likely to be a sensation, which is strange given the decades long wait for its arrival. Is the marketing to blame, or are YA fans too young to remember/connect to the source material? Worse yet, things are only going south when Thor drops from Asgard next week. Bad Grandpa beat competition from the new old men on the block and clinched second, one place above Last Vegas. The near universally panned Free Birds (which was originally called Turkeys -- too easy) had a disastrous opening and will be very lucky if it can recoup its 55 million dollar budget. The usual suspects occupied the rest of the top ten, with 12 Years a Slave expanding particularly well. Next weekend sees the film take on more than 1000 screens. Any question regarding the box office potential of McQueen's grueling, but brilliant, film can definitively be answered then.

Meanwhile, in limited release, Dallas Buyers Club opened to a strong reception on only 9 screens. Is the Oscar potential of this film dependent on its box office performance? Two acting nominations appear almost certain at this point, but if the public responds well, can we expect more? That's a question that certainly doesn't apply to Oliver Hirschbiegel's Diana. (Remember when we thought Naomi Watts might be a best actress contender? lulz!) Handicapped by aggressively negative critical response and advance word of mouth from overseas audiences, Diana barely exceeded 1k per screen and will surely fizzle away before long. And while we're on the subject of awards players in limited release, Belgium's foreign film contender, Broken Circle Breakdown, also opened this week. I fall in the range between a thumb up and a shrug, but it's charming.

Anyway, I haven't yet seen any of these new releases. Instead, I made a trip to TIFF Bell Lightbox, where a major exhibition on David Cronenberg's work is taking place and watched Naked Lunch and The Fly, and listened to David Cronenberg, Jeremy Thomas and Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Stephan Dupuis discuss their work. I also caught up with Hong Sang Soo's Nobody Daughter Haewon and rewatched Iran's non-submission to the Oscars, A Cube of Sugar. A good weekend, I'd say. What did you watch?

Sunday
Oct272013

Box Office: The Right Country For Old Men

It's Amir here, bringing you the latest box office report. Here's a pop quiz for you dear readers: when was the last time that the top film in both wide and limited releases revolved around an old man on a journey to overcome ridiculously difficult obstacles? By my estimation, it was never. On the face of it, saving one's life from the clutches of the sea and saving one's testicles from a vending machine may seem entirely different but both struggles appealed to their audience this weekend nonetheless. Bad Grandpa coasted on the Jackass brand to dethrone Gravity from the top spot, though if we were thinking Alfonso Cuaron's film is going away, we were proven wrong emphatically.

BOX OFFICE
01 BAD GRANDPA $32 *new* 
02 GRAVITY $20.3 (cum. $199.8) Sandy B & Review
03 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $11.8 (cum. $70) Podcast & Hanks For All Ages
04 THE COUNSELOR $8 *new*  Podcast 
05 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 $6.1 (cum. $100.6)
06 CARRIE $5.9  (cum. $26)
07 ESCAPE PLAN $4.3 (cum. $17.4)
08 12 YEARS A SLAVE $2.1 (cum. $3.4) Slavery in Cinema & Podcast
09 ENOUGH SAID $1.5 (cum. $13) Podcast
10 PRISONERS $1 (cum. $59.1) Podcast & Review

Gravity has now earned twice its production budget, is in the top ten grossers of the year, and with $250m well within reach, should remain there when all is said and done. Fellow Oscar hopeful Captain Phillips is also enjoying high times as it keeps trailing Gravity. The Tom Hanks vehicle is following the footsteps of similar prestige October releases that were gunning for the awards season in previous years - the likes of Argo, Ides of March and to a lesser extent The Social Network - and is doing better than all of them at this point in their runs. That's gotta count for something with the voters. And while we're on the topic of awards, let's have a round of applause for 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen's film entered the top ten and also had the highest per screen average of any film this weekend, with the exception of one French lesbian epic.

The elephant in the room, and the most interesting question of the weekend, is The Counselor. For several reasons - "stars" that aren't really stars in box office terms, a weak marketing campaign, terrible reviews, etc. - expectations were low for this crime thriller. Unfortunately for 20th Century Fox, the numbers did not exceed those projections, which brings up the question: has Ridley Scott finally lost his mojo completely? Depending on how you define critical and box office success, it can be argued that only two of his films have managed to perform well in both regards this side of the century: Gladiator and American Gangster. In incredibly simplified terms, let's assume that a director's box office cache can be gauged by how excited his name can get the public at large. Does anyone really get excited for another Scott film anymore? I certainly hope there's another Alien in him, but the signs are becoming fewer with each film.

UNDER 100 SCREENS
01 ALL IS LOST $.5 *new* (cum. $.6) Podcast & Review
02 WADJDA $.1 (cum. $.9) Foreign Film Oscar Predictions
03 BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR $.1 *new* controversies
04 INEQUALITY FOR ALL $.08 (cum. $.9)
05 METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER $.05 (cum. $3.4)

Finally, at the specialty box office, Blue Is the Warmest Color managed a respectable $100k on only four screens. With all the controversies surrounding the film's production and given the fact that those four screens are located in cities where audiences care about such things as Palme d'Ors, I have to say I was expecting better, but it was always going to be an uphill climb. My beloved Wadjda - it's one of the best films of the year; go see it! - is slowly reaching the million dollar threshold. Meanwhile, Metallica Through the Never, a film that a grand total of three people have ever talked about has inexplicably grossed more than $3.4m. Metallica are still a thing apparently. Good for them! Rock on! Have you seen their film? What did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Oct202013

Box Office: Gravity Keeps Hold of Top Spot

It's Amir here, bringing you the weekend's box office report. The Film Experience is taking the revolutionary step of publishing box office headlines that feature no pun this week because Michael C. asked me to. It's a welcome move after last week's cheap shot but hey, we'll be back to normal business next time. Let's look at what the cinema gods have granted us this weekend.

It's October and you guessed it, there's a mediocre remake of a horror classic playing at a theatre near you. Having not seen Carrie, I technically have no right to judgement in public, but sometimes you just have to let your trusted critics speak for you and this film follows in the footsteps of many a mediocre horror remake. The third place debut - though at a not entirely awful $17m - means most of you haven't seen it either, but if it is better than reviews and numbers suggest, let me know in the comments and I'll make the trip.

BOX OFFICE
01 GRAVITY $31 (cum. $170.5) Cinematography Oscar & Sandy B??? & Review
02 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $17.3 (cum. $53.3) Podcast & Tom Hanks For All Ages
03 CARRIE $17 *new* 
04 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS $10.1 (cum. $93.1)
05 ESCAPE PLAN $9.8 *new*
06 PRISONERS $2 (cum. $57.2) Podcast & Review
07 ENOUGH SAID $1.8 (cum. $10.7) Podcast
08 THE FIFTH ESTATE $1.7 *new*
09 RUNNER RUNNER $1.6 (cum. $17.5)
10 INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 $1.5 (cum. $80.9)

Gravity is now the 10th biggest grosser of 2013

The real story here is that Gravity and Captain Phillips held on to the top two spots with very respectable small drops. Word of mouth is strong for both films so they will remain hovering around the top again next week. The real questions at this point are whether it is entirely impossible for Gravity to beat competition from The Counselor and Bad Grandpa to stay at number one, and whether Captain Phillips can cruise to above $100m - I'm sorry; just couldn't help it.

The weekend had two other wide releases: Escape Plan, which banked on aged muscle men with immense amounts of plastic surgery to appeal to younger men and understandably failed; and The Fifth Estate, which banked on the public's interest in a topic that remains too fresh and too painful to be dramatized, no matter how uncanny the resemblance of its star to the whistle blower in question; this one had an even rougher ride.

Those of you lucky enough to live near one of the 19 theaters playing the film had the chance to see Steve McQueen's superb new film, 12 Years a Slave, and judging by the per screen average ($50.5k), quite a lot of people took advantage of that opportunity before the film goes wide next week. In even more limited release, Robert Redford's All Is Lost and Daniel Radcliffe's Kill Your Darlings both opened to satisfactory per screen averages, though neither managed to sneak into the top twenty.

Anyway, enough about America now, and a bit about me. I caught up with the environment-themed documentary Watermark (GORGEOUS, well-intentioned and a bit dull), Iranian classic Kandahar (schematic, well-intentioned and a bit dull) and Captain Phillips (intense, Hanks on fire). Now enough about me and a bit about you: what did you watch this weekend?

Monday
Oct142013

Box Office: Gravity Hurtles At Full Speed 

It's Amir here, bringing you the weekend box office report.

one more worry for the good Captain

The biggest news this week is Gravity's ridiculously small drop in sales. Anyone who has seen the film would tell you to watch it in 3D to truly experience it, and it's no surprise that with aid of those hiked up prices, Alfonso Cuaron's visual masterpiece topped the charts again by a wide margin. That's one extra problem Captain Richard Phillips didn't need to deal with, but as it turns out, Astronaut Sandra Bullock is even mightier than Muse. Although Captain Phillips's 26m opening is impressive enough, one can't help but imagine what it would have done without a direct competitor eating into its demographic.

Click for more cool Gravity postersWeekend's Top Ten
Gravity $44.2m
Captain Phillips
$26m
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
$14.2m
Machete Kills
$3.8m
Runner Runner
$3.7m
Prisoners
$3.6m
Insidious Chapter 2
$2.6m
Rush
$2.3m
Don Jon
$2.3m
Baggage Claim
$2m

The weekend's other wide release was Machete Kills, opening to an embarrassing 3m, proving to you, dear reader, that you're not the only one who didn't even know this film exists. This flop is all the more curious because the franchise - oh god, it's a franchise now! - added proven box office draw Lady Gaga and current audience magnet Mel Gibson to its cast. Further down the top ten list, Runner Runner continues to fizzle out with 3m, proving to you, dear reader, that Justin Timberlake will never ever be a move star - though the film's international sales have already recouped its budget.

In limited release, Romeo and Juliet opened to less than a million dollars on nearly 500 screens. Perhaps the Oscar nominated Hailee Steinfeld is not ready to be a romantic lead yet, but the more likely reason behind the film's failure is that the world absolutely doesn't need another adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Other notable limited releases this weekend were the quirky horror film Escape From Tomorrow, which was secretly filmed in Disneyland, God Loves Uganda - I reviewed it at Hot Docs; see it! - and James Franco's As I Lay Dying. None of them did particularly strong business but at least two of them are worth your time. Finally, Saudi Arabia's first ever Oscar submission, Wadjda, is playing on 47 screens and if you haven't seen it yet, you must correct that immediately. It's bloody marvelous.

What did you see this weekend? Share your thoughts on the weekend's offering with us!

Sunday
Sep222013

Box Office: The Family Prisoners of Oz

Jake Gyllenhaal sure needed it. Hugh Jackman's still got it. Prisoners, their tense new child abduction thriller had a strong opening weekend. It shouldn't come as a surprise, really. Hugh hasn't had anything like a true "flop" since Deception (2008) and The Fountain (2006). Even Australia, which people remember as a flop, would have been a hit all told with its solid global gross had it not had such a steroid-humongous budget. We'll discuss Prisoners in depth tomorrow (it's the type of movie that people will unfortunately "spoil" while discussing it enthusiastically so let's give it another night before we dive in) once we're past Emmy weekend.

marketed largely on Hugh Jackman, Prisoners turns out to be a true ensemble piece

WIDE RELEASE
01 Prisoners $21.4 
02 Insidious Chapter 2 $14.5 
03 The Family $7
04 Instructions Not Included $5.7
05 Battle of the Year $5
06 We're The Millers $4.6 
07 Lee Daniels' The Butler $4.3 REVIEWED 
08 Riddick $3.6 
09 Planes  $2.8
10 Percy Jackson 2 $1.8 

I ran into Joe Reid at the movies on Thursday and we talked about the tiny short shelf life of some movies. We were joking that people won't even remember that The Family ever came out by Friday. But here it is for the second week in a row in the top three grossers. So perhaps we were wrong. I haven't had the time (or, more pointedly, the heart) to write up the movie. I will say that Pfeiffer, DeNiro and Jones are good enough with the material but none inspired by it. What prompted them to make it beyond the paycheck? The fault lies with Luc Besson and the writing since it's such an unwieldy and even ugly mix of tones, swerving from heartfelt drama to black comedy to slapstick to god-only-knows what in nearly every scene with none of the dramatic empathy or comic inspiration that it would need to survive its indecisiveness and total mediocrity.

Mother & Robot. After school.

P.S. The only moments of joy I felt watching the movie was a couple shots of an endearing beautiful dog (named "Malavita" - ha!) and every shot of La Pfeiffer as it came with tiny flashes of nostalgia from the 80s classic Married to the Mob wherein the goddess was also comically cavorting with gangsters.

P.P.S. Dianna Agron is awful but I actually think she has the film's most impossible role and I can't believe I'm saying this but it needed someone of Chloe Moretz's total "f*** you" adolescent confidence and technical skill - she can fake human-like responses when she has to. Agron can (sort of) "act" confidence but she's like a robot when it comes to emotions; they do not compute.

LIMITED or STILL PLATFORMING
01 Wizard of Oz IMAX 3-D $3
02 Thanks For Sharing $.6
03 Enough Said $.2
04 Rush $.2 REVIEWED
05 Short Term 12 $.1 REVIEWED (cum $.7)

Having recently rewatched The Wizard of Oz for the millionth time for Hit Me With Your Best Shot I didn't feel the need to see it on the big screen again (I've done that several times, too). But did you? In other news, I fear that Short Term 12 is not long for this world, encountering its first dip during its gutsy and beautiful weekly expansion... so get out there and see it, people. Support movies that are crafted with everything BUT box office on their minds, and we'll get better movies!

What did you see this weekend? And was it money well spent?