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Entries in box office (216)

Monday
May252015

Holidayland at the Box Office

Memorial Day Weekend 4 day estimates are in and though it was a week weekend overall - Tomorrowland was soft which is quite scary since its budget was decidedly not -- but the three top holdovers are all bonafide hits with moviegoers.

Tomorrowland reached for a giant pot of gold, came up short.

TOP FIVE WIDE
May 22-25 Weekend
01 Tomorrowland NEW $41.7 
02 Pitch Perfect 2 $38.5 (cum. $126) Review
03 Mad Max: Fury Road $32.1 (cum. $95.5) Review & Podcast
04 Avengers: Age of Ultron $27.8 (cum. $410.9) Review & Marathon & Podcast
05 Poltergeist NEWbutOLD $26.5 

If you adjust for inflation Avengers: Age of Ultron might end its run as only the seventh highest grossing superhero flick of all time behind (in this order) The Avengers (2012), The Dark Knight (2008), Spider-Man (2002), Batman (1989), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Superman (1978), though the latter is within reach if it can hold its theaters. Which is not to say that it isn't a massive hit; the sequel shouldn't have any problem topping the 2015 box office unless the final Hunger Games film unexpectedly outgrosses all previous installments or there's an anomaly American Sniper like behemoth somewhere in the next 7 months.

In other notable news, The Age of Adaline and Ex Machina both lost nearly half their screens to new releases but continue to do respectable business. Meanwhile, Far From the Madding Crowd keeps expanding and now has $6 million in the bank domestically. Well done Fox Searchlight for a costume drama without bankable stars and with good but not 'give this all the Oscars!' reviews. (See, other prestige-loving distributors? Not everything needs to be released in December.) I've been meaning to review it. Soon, my darlings... possibly even today. 'Let no man steal your thyme!'  And at the arthouses Sony Pictures Classics had a decent weekend. Wild Tales is inching ever closer to $3 million in the US (which is a big deal gross for foreign films these days -sigh) and internationally it's much bigger, the biggest smash from Argentina since the Oscar winning The Secret in Their Eyes (2009). And finally Saint Laurent is currently the number #1 platform release with $210,000 so far and playing at 59 locations.

What did you do for the holiday?

Sunday
May172015

The Age of Mad Max's Perfect Pitch

"We're Back Pitches!"

Actually EVERYONE was back this weekend in the sequel-saturated landscape. The nice surprise is that it was totally infused with girl power. The real kind, not just the lip service kind with "Strong Female Characters" that the boys then rescue. OK, The Scarlet Witch is rescued by The Vision in Age of Ultron, but she brings it in the power department overall and the film just passed the one billion mark worldwide and became the top grosser of 2015 (in the US). But the top two this week were newer 'old' ones. Anna Kendrick and her harmonizing family The Barden Bellas returned to rescue themselves as they headed toward graduation and the world championships. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road won the hearts of critics with its surprisingly feminist storyline and ambitous action setpieces. The film essentially has two title characters because the story may start with Mad Max but it's Imperator Furiosa in the driver's seat and she's taking this franchise down roads it's never been down before. Charlize Theron once again reminds the world that she's every bit as strong an action star as any man (and considering that Blunt, Jolie, and Johansson are also aces in this department, there are surely others who could carry an action picture if given the chance these actresses have had). 

And "They" say nobody will go see female superheroes. That's what all of these bitches are, you regressive studio execs! WAKE UP. Fund more female-driven movies. 

TOP TEN BOX OFFICE
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Pitch Perfect 2 $70.3 NEW
02 Mad Max: Fury Road $44.4 NEW Review
03 Avengers: Age of Ultron $38.8 (cum. $372)  Review & Marathon & Podcast
04 Hot Pursuit $5.7 (cum. $23.5) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $3.6 (cum. $62.9)
06 Furious 7 $3.6 (cum. $343.8)  Review 
07 Age of Adaline $3.2 (cum. $37) 
08 Home $2.7 (cum. $165.6)
09 Ex Machina $2.1 (cum. $19.5)  Review
10 Far From the Madding Crowd $1.3 (cum. $2.6) 

NEW LIMITED RELEASES
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Where Hope Grows $490,000 (276 Theaters)
02 Good Kill $17,000 (2 Theaters)
03 I'll See You in My Dreams $16,000 (3 Theaters)
04 In the Name of My Daughter $14,000 (3 Theaters)
05 Animals $12,000 (10 Theaters)
06 The Connection $9,800 (2 Theaters)

In truly perplexing news, who is still buying tickets to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 when there are this many good movies in theaters of pretty much all genres !?

In 'Less Likely To Be At a Theater Near You' news, Far From the Madding Crowd had a great weekend, vaulting into the top ten with an expansion despite still being in a few thousand less theaters than everything else in the top ten. 

Kim Shaw and David Dastmalchian in "Animals"

Of the other new releases, we hope y'all will go see ANIMALS. It's true we're biased in favor of the movie since the film's screenwriter/star David Dastmalchian guest blogged here just recently and I had the pleasure of moderating their Q&A here in NYC this weekend at the Village East cinema. But you don't have to take my word for it since it was a big hit at SXSW and also has the thumbs up from critics. It's currently available for download and playing theatrically in NYC, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Columbus, and Los Angeles. Next week it adds Chicago, where it was filmed and where many of its actors are from, to the list so if you live in Chicago head to the Gene Siskel next weekend! I told Dastmalchian that it seems terribly fitting that I went to the movie specifically to see him work a rare leading role and I came out appreciating not just him but actors I wasn't yet familiar with in other much smaller roles, the kind he used to get noticed for.

Sunday
May102015

Avengers... and Saint Laurent? Round Two

Don't judge but I went to see Age of Ultron again. I picked the earliest show of the day on a weekday in a neighborhood theater that is generally empty for early showings because I wanted to see it free of mass frenzy / noise and a seat far away from the screen - completely different than last time. But get this. I walk in to a jam-packed theater and I spy like one empty seat way back 'guess I'll sit there,' Only to be stopped by a woman who tells me that this is a field trip for the high school and ALL of these seats are taken.

A HIGH SCHOOL FIELD TRIP ... TO SEE A SUPERHERO MOVIE. Who do I call about where my NYC tax dollars are going? How is this educational unless this is a business school and the students are studying Marvel's world-domination tactics?  (The only movies I got to see on field trips in high school were French ones for French class.)

WIDE RELEASE BOX OFFICE
May 8-10 Weekend
01 Avengers: Age of Ultron $77 (cum. $312.5) Review & Marathon & Podcast
02 Hot Pursuit $13.3 NEW Review
03 Age of Adaline $5.6 (cum. $31.5)
04 Furious 7 $5.2 (cum. $338.4) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $5.1 (cum. $58)
06 Ex-Machina $3.4 (cum. $15.7) Review
07 Home $3 (cum. $162.1) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
08 Woman in Gold $1.6 (cum. $26.9) 
09 Cinderella $1.5 (cum. $196.1) Review
10 Unfriended $1.4 (cum. $30.9) 

Five More New Releases
The D Train $.4 (1004 screens) Review
5 Flights Up $.2 (87 screens) 
Noble $.2 (175 screens)
Maggie $.1 (79 screens) Review
Saint Laurent $.03 (4 screens) Review

For what it's worth, despite a shitty seat and lots of noise and cel phone activity in the theater (argh) the movie was more enjoyable this time around after expectations had settled reasonably. Expectations are like that floating city, in this cumbersome analogy comin'atchawatch out!, in that the higher they rise the more billions of people die when they crash back down to earth unless Iron Man

... I lost the thread.

In fact, I was almost agog at how elegant Joss Whedon could make such a cumbersome thing. Which is to say that it's about as graceful as something this gangly and multi-limbed could hope to be on the day it's first learning to walk if you know what I mean. Should you ever see it again, clock how many disparate agendas the screenplay and direction is asked to address in virtually every scene and you suddenly won't be as bitchy about this "disappointment". The second time around the Scarlet Witch's arc is much stronger since the plot clutter dissipates but the Thor digression is still a f***ing mess and though the trip to Hawkeye's "safe house" is a much needed breather it's way too long, losing the action-packed momentum. And it doesn't help that the scene to rev you back up, the hijacking of "the cradle," is the weakest action setpiece.

Meanwhile in Limited Release
Saint Laurent, France's Oscar submission from last year, finally opened this weekend, too. It occurred to me the other day that in the rush of Oscar campaign madness last season (and two very fun trips to LA) I never shared the story about the time I went to that French party in Saint Laurent's honor.

Here I am speaking to Gaspard Ulliel, probably about his penis.

Well it does have a glorified star cameo in the movie!

He was actually quite chatty and for all my significant qualms about the movies length and its last half hour when we jump forward to Yves Saint Laurent as an old man (and lose Gaspard in the process), he's terrific in the movie and it's quite memorable (the movie I mean -- get your minds out of the gutter). I still remember certain brilliant sequences vividly. Anyway, I would have mentioned this much sooner but distributors like to strike when the iron is cool and it's just now hitting theaters. The highlight of this party was meeting Brenda Vaccaro and Jacqueline Bissett - they were freaking hilarious (which I was not expecting) and teasing each other about recently meeting Idris Elba (at a different event). My point is this: I'm now desperate to see them in a buddy comedy.

Sadly I lost my phone in LA and with it many notes about these tiny celebrity run-ins. *sniffle*

But let's get back to the present tense. I saw Age of Ultron and a few eppys of Grace and Frankie and otherwise I played with friends who were visiting from out of town.

What did you see this weekend?

Friday
May082015

Revenge of the 80s ~ Now With More 10s Sexism!

When the red band trailer for the revival (not a reboot but a long distant "next generation" sequel) of Vacation premiered yesterday, with Chris Hemsworth swinging a big fake one around for a cheap laugh, it got me to thinking about how phallic-centric Hollywood has become. This is no new thinkpiece notion of course. But with the incredible amount of material from the 1980s that Hollywood has been mining and regurgitating, we're getting about the sharpest resolution picture possible of how Hollywood has regressed in terms of equal opportunities for female stars. Hollywood has always had its share of sexism but today's Hollywood seems especially female-averse. How did it happen exactly? Hollywood will reboot ANYTHING from the 1980s. So long as it did not star a woman. No, not even if it was a smash hit. They won't do it... although they will allow those titles to be remade for television if you're really desperate to see them revamped. 

To prove the point here are a list of the most successful 1980s movies starring women. I only looked at the top 25 or so box office hits from each year of the 1980s. To give you a contemporary correlative of their success that's like from the tippity top American Sniper sized behemoth down to the Lucy-sized hit levels last year if you pretend that each year is roughly the same as the last in terms of gross domestic box office.

Disclaimer: This list should in no way be mistaken as a plea to remake these pictures -- we have more than enough remakes. We need original material!  It's just to make a point. 

40 BIGGEST HITS LED BY WOMEN IN THE 80S
(in very rough order of success) 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May032015

Avengers Assemble... Your Loot! 

As expected Marvel's latest evil plot for world domination was a significant success at the box office. The US opening took in an estimated $187.6 but that's just the beginning of its gross and in addition to what it's already earned overseas ($340 million). Even though its launch wasn't as successful as its predecessor, it should still end the year comfortably with crazy big grosses. How high can it fly? Expect a big drop-off domestically next weekend since audiences and critics seem grumpier this time. I personally don't think that's so much about the movie itself as it is about the increasing ubiquity of its genre. It will be harder and harder for these films to wow people as their ranks have grown so swiftly. The special becomes the standard and so forth. 

In 'it's about time' news, Furious 7 had a big percentage drop and lost 500 theaters. In far more curious news Cinderella one of the year's leggiest hits somehow rebounded (second run houses?) to return to the top ten despite losing more theaters. 

WIDE RELEASE
01 Avengers: Age of Ultron $187.6 NEW Review & Marathon
02 Age of Adaline $6.2 (cum. $23.4)  Trailer discussion
03 Furious 7 $6.1 (cum. $330.5) Review
04 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $5.5 (cum. $51.1)
05 Home $3.3 (cum. $158.1) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
06 Cinderella $2.3 (cum. $193.6) Review
07 Ex-Machina $2.2 (cum. $10.8) Review
08 Unfriended $1.9 (cum. $28.5) 
09 The Longest Ride $1.7 (cum. $33.2)
10 Woman in Gold $1.6 (cum. $24.5) 

Limited releases were fairly quiet this week though Far From the Madding Crowd opened with $172,000 at 10 locations and Clouds of Sils Maria got a nice expansion and should soon cross the million dollar mark.

What did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Apr262015

Box Office: Muscle Cars, Curvy Androids, and Eternal Youth

Oscar Isaac Dance Off to celebrate EX-MACHINA's wide release. Who'll join us?The concept of characters that don't age insures of at least one thing: they don't usually get to have sequels without looking ridiculous. Adaline may never age but her actressy vessell Blake Lively will. Still Blake had a good opening for what looked like a ridiculous movie so kudos to her! In other box office news, Furious 7 continued to the success story of the film year having already cracked a billion worldwide and bound to be more succesful domestically than anything released last year since it will soon surpass Katniss and that Sniper.

The happiest news for cinephiles is the success of A24's thinky sexy sci-fi oddity Ex Machina as it went into wide release with a per screen average as good as most of its competition. Russell Crowe's directorial debut (he also stars) The Water Diviner kicked off its US run without much fanfare but still managed over a million in limited release.

WIDE RELEASE
01 Furious 7 $18.2 (cum. $320.5) Review
02 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $15.5 (cum. $43.9)
03 Age of Adaline $13.3 NEW Trailer discussion
04 Home $8.3 (cum. $153.7) the rise and fall of Dreamworks
05 Unfriended $6.2 (cum. $25.1) 
06 Ex-Machina $5.4 (cum. $6.9) Review

Russell Crowe seems pretty proud of himself.

LIMITED RELEASE - EXCLUDING MOVIES THAT WERE ONCE WIDE
01 The Water Diviner (AUS) 320 Theaters $1.2 NEW 
02 Brotherly Love (US) 200 Theaters  $.2 NEW
03 Clouds of Sils Maria (France) 71 Theaters $.2 (cum. $.5) Articles
04 Child 44 (UK) 510 Theaters $.1 (cum. $1)
05 Wild Tales (Argentina) 58 Theaters $.1 (cum. $2.5) Review
06 The Salt of the Earth (France/Brazil/Italy) 47 Theaters $.09 (cum. $.5) Conversation
07 What We Do in the Shadows (NZ) 18 theaters $.07 (cum. $3.2) Review
08 Kung Fu Killer (Hong Kong) 28 Theaters $.06 NEW
09 Adult Beginners (US) 10 Theaters $.04 NEW 
10 Seymour: An Introduction (US) 378 Theaters $.03 (cum. $.5) Review

What did you see this weekend?
Any of these 16 movies listed or did you watch movies at home?