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Entries in box office (151)

Friday
Jan172014

The Desolation of Smaug: Accentuate the Positive

Michael back again. Nathaniel recently asked us if any of us had seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson's latest Middle Earth chapter is entering its sixth weekend with $800+ million in the worldwide bank and three more Oscar nominations and it's gone completely unremarked upon at TFE.  But I could feel the life draining out of me as I attempted to review it. Surely the world did not need one more dissection of Peter Jackson’s chronic inability to rein in his material. What’s left to say, save that Desolation has exactly the problems you would expect it to have? Hell, one could get the same from any archived review of The Lovely Bones or King Kong. All the criticisms still apply.

So I junked that review and decided it would be good for the soul to write something positive instead. After all, Jackson is a maddening filmmaker not because he’s some worthless hack but because he frequently buries moments of brilliance in all the sprawling self-indulgence. So with that in mind here is a list of five things I loved or liked about The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan122014

Does Box Office Affect The Golden Globe Wins? 

Amir here, with something vaguely resembling the weekend’s box office report. You're surely more interested in the Golden Globes this weekend than how many tickets Lone Survivor sold (it's winning the weekend - did you see it?) or whether Frozen is now on course for two gajillion dollars (why, yes, it is), so let’s have a look at how the Globe nominees have fared at the box office and whether or not that matters to HFPA voters historically. All that plus my Globe predictions after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan052014

Box Office: The January Drought

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. The first week of January is without doubt host to the least exciting crop of new films every year. Generally speaking, the only type of wide release is horror mediocrities like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D or this year’s The Marked Ones. Do NOT let the presence of ‘paranormal activity’ in the title fool you. It’s a trick to get you to see another film in the same found footage series that started five years ago. Because I’m a masochist, I have seen all previous installments, the best (and first) of which I can, at my most generous, describe with a shrug. Ever since, the franchise has been in a qualitative downward spiral that is now drowning its box office too. $18m is dismal business for this series, though it frankly surpasses my expectations.

The real story, like last week, belongs to Frozen. Then, I was wondering if it could muscle its way ahead of the competition during the holidays. Lo and behold, the Disney film is now back on top of the charts, will pass $300 million ($300 million!) tomorrow, is currently 2013's fourth highest grosser and Disney's biggest hit (sans Pixar) since The Lion King (1994). Meanwhile, Katniss will finally defeat Tony Stark by Tuesday as the book closes on 2013. This is a real rarity, as Michael detailed here, and whatever one thinks of the franchise, it is reason to celebrate. Finally, it’s noteworthy that Inside Llewyn Davis, on a small sample size of 156 theatres maintains almost exactly the same numbers as last weekend. If it manages to grab a few Oscar nominations, expect it to do similarly strong business upon expansion; but that’s a very big if.

TOP OF THE BOX OFFICE
01 Frozen $20.7 (cum. $297.8) Review | Podcast | Groff
02 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones $18.2
03 The Hobbit 2 $16.2 (cum. $229.6)
04 Wolf of Wall Street $13.4 (cum. $63.2) Review | Scorsese's Women
05 American Hustle $13.2 (cum. $88.7) Podcast | Ensemble Power

I have stayed home so far this weekend, rewatching The Cranes Are Flying, Citizen Kane and Rashomon and watching Clio Barnard’s brilliant The Selfish Giant. Later tonight, I’ll be catching up with Xavier Dolan’s latest, Tom at the Farm. (If you're interested, you can always follow what I'm watching here.)

What have you watched this weekend?

Friday
Jan032014

Burning Questions: Katniss in Context

The Year in Review continues with Michael Cusumano on Jennifer Lawrence's box office coronation, a more impressive achievement than you think.

At the sound of the closing bell, Iron Man 3 clings to the title of top grossing domestic release of 2013, but Tony Stark should savor the honor while it lasts. He is all but certain to relinquish the crown to Katniss Everdeen in the early weeks of 2014.

If one wants proof that this is all but a done deal, one need only compare the grosses of the first Hunger Games to its sequel. According to Box Office Mojo, Catching Fire’s 398 million is 24 million ahead of its predecessor at the same point in its release (41 days). Since the first Hunger Games’ final gross of 408 million is nearly tied with Iron Man 3’s 409 million, unless the grosses of Catching Fire unexpectedly crater it’s a safe bet that when we close the book on the 2013 the second entry in the Hunger Games series will hold true to its protagonist and emerge from the arena the final victor.

That a film with a strong, capable female protagonist as its sole lead is the year’s number one film is reason to cheer. That I was unable to recall the last film to duplicate this feat emphasizes the rarity of the achievement. It made me curious:

When was the last time a film led solely by a female character topped the domestic box office in its year? [The answer is after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec292013

Box Office: The Secret Grudge of 47 Wolves

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report.

For those of us who write/read/talk/think about films year around, it’s hard to remember that the general public still goes to the theatre in late December for films that have no awards potential whatsoever. I had no idea that Keanu Reeves has a film called 47 Ronin opening, in which the well-known Japanese legend is butchered so that the Lebanese-born Canadian star of Portuguese, Irish and Hawaiian ancestry can play a half-Japanese, half-British person that never existed in the real life legend. Let’s all revel in a bit of Schadenfreude that this film failed to recoup even 1/10th of its budget. And while we’re at it, let’s do the same for Grudge Match, otherwise Sylvester Stallone will never learn that boxing films starring himself are of no interest to anyone anymore, except maybe Robert DeNiro and his wallet. This one will probably peter out somewhere slightly above half its budget, too.

TOP OF THE BOX OFFICE
01 The Hobbit 2 $29.8 (cum. $190.3)
02 Frozen $28.8 (cum. $248.3) Review | Jonathan Groff
03 Anchorman 2 $20.1 (cum. $83.6) 
04 American Hustle $19.5 (cum. $60) Ensemble | Podcast
05 NEW Wolf of Wall Street $27 (cum. $34.3) Review | Scorsese's Women
06 Saving Mr Banks $14 (cum. $37.8) Drinks w/ Emma & Colin
07 NEW  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13 (cum. $25.5) Capsule
08 Hunger Games Pt 2 $10.2 (cum. $391.1) Review | Podcast
09 NEW 47 Ronin $9.8 *new* (cum. $20.5)
10 Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas $7.4 (cum. $43.7)   
11 NEW  Grudge Match  $7.3 (cum. $13.4) 

Weirdly enough, it’s not Grudge Match that’s bringing memories of the glorious Raging Bull to life, but The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s latest film and his most controversial since The Last Temptation of Christ. Depending on whom you ask, this is either an absolute masterpiece or a bloated mess, but Paramount couldn’t care less. They’ve sold about $34m over the 5 day opening, which is better than most people expected for a nearly-NC17 film about America’s least likeable monsters. Wolf was able to crack the top 5 films of the weekend, which is more than can be said about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, though the latter has the advantage of being an easier sell overseas. The Hobbit stayed at the very top of the table, but Frozen is the film with really impressive figures. It made the best of the family holidays and despite losing theatres, bettered its own gross from last week by 50%. I wouldn’t be surprised if it slashes Smaug next weekend.

Among the smaller releases, August: Osage County and The Lone Survivor have the highest profiles. The former’s per screen average isn’t particularly promising, but the film was never going to have the appeal of highbrow auteur fair that usually results in massive numbers for the NY/LA crowd.

PLATFORM BOX OFFICE (under 100 screens)
01 Her $.6 (cum. $1.5)
02 NEW August: Osage County $.1 
03 Lone Survivor $.09 (cum. $.1) 
04 The Great Beauty $.07 (cum. $.7) 
05 All is Lost $.06 (cum. $5.9) 

But neither film is particularly concerned with sales at this point. These are only qualifying for Oscars. The business end of the story will unravel later in January.

I took a break from cinema this weekend, after a 4 day stretch in which I caught up with 12 films to close the book on 2013. They ranged from real gems like The Missing Picture to literally unbearable films like The Great Beauty.

What did you watch?

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