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Entries in box office (185)

Sunday
May182014

Box Office: Jon Hamm Swings & Misses (And, No, We're Not Talking About That Threesome On "Mad Men")

Amir is on holiday so I've reclaimed my number-sharing duty for tonight. It wasn't a fair fight but Godzilla squashed Jon Hamm (in his first big screen leading man gig) at the box office. Godzilla had the second biggest opening of the year.

01 GODZILLA $93.2 *new* Review
02 NEIGHBORS $25.9 (cum. $91.5) Review
03 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $16.8 (cum. $172.1) 
04 MILLION DOLLAR ARM $10.5 *new* 
05 THE OTHER WOMAN $6.3 (cum. 71.6)

In other box office news: Belle (reviewed) which is now in its third weekend added over 100 screens and is nearing a 2 million dollar gross... not bad at all considering its low profile;  Noah finally crawled past the $100 million mark as it heads out of theaters; Captain America: The Winter Soldier will topple The Lego Movie to become the year's top domestic grosser sometime next weekend; and the week's best per screen average outside of radioactive monsters was for Marion Cotillard as The Immigrant which is sadly only on 3 screens.

What did you see this weekend?

I only caught Godzilla in theaters and opted for my Jon Hamm fix via Mad Men (another fine episode that made me so angry they're splitting the season in half but more on that in the next episode of Mad Men at the Movies).

I also tried out Penny Dreadful's first two episodes and I am... intrigued but unconvinced. It's handsome enough to look at and some of the peripheral players are super vivid and amusing, particularly Billie Piper as a consumptive prostitute and Simon Russell Beale as an Egyptologist who is like what would happen if you made Harold Zidler gayer, fussier and yet more over the top.  Among the three headliners which include Josh Hartnett (nice to see him again actually) and Timothy Dalton, Eva Green is the clear standout. She understands stylization and is so autoerotic and self-sufficient a performer in every way that she doesn't even need her co-stars or surroundings to be any good - I think largely of how completely brilliant she was in the otherwise lacking Dark Shadows - and she gets the big title centerpiece of the second episode, a seance, all to herself. But I'm still not sure about the show. Individual scenes range from meh to marvelous (the best being an unexpectedly tender frankenstein creation sequence) but it feels like it's trying way too hard for self-mythology even though its borrowed most of its mythology and we can obviously meet it halfway. I got a Carnivale vibe (and I don't mean that as a compliment). I'll give it one or two more episode before I make the DVR or skip call. 

Sunday
May112014

Box Office: Neighbors Come Out On Top

Amir here, with the weekend's box office report. Three new films were released, all of which surprised with their numbers but in different directions. Neighbors, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy beat The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to first place, and while that isn't surprising in and of itself, the fact that it raked in $51m certainly is. I quite like Seth Rogen, at least compared to other dudebro-y comedians of the moment, and Rose Byrne is a treasure, but I couldn't find the enthusiasm to drive to their neighbourhood just yet. Maybe when the film is out DVD...

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return turned out to be a flop of catastrophic proportions, the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen. It managed a paltry 1.4k per screen average. Mom's Night Out is yet another "faith-based" film, this time dressed as a comedy - not that Heaven Is For Real and God's Not Dead aren't (unintentional) comedies, but I digress. Moms' Night Out didn't do as well the other recent religious stuff, but its mere existence surprises me. Surely its production isn't a reaction to the success of other faith-based films, but I wonder how studios emerged with this kind of material all at the exact same moment. Further research into this shall be done soon!

01 NEIGHBORS $51.0 *new* Review
02 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $37.2 (cum. $147.9) 
03 THE OTHER WOMAN $9.2 (cum. $61.7) 
04 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $7 (cum. 75.2)
05 CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 $6.5 (cum. 244.9) Review  
06 RIO 2 $5.1 (cum. $113.1)  
07 MOMS' NIGHT OUT $4.2 *new*
08 LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY'S RETURN $3.7 new
09 DIVERGENT $1.7 (cum. $145) Review
10 BRICK MANSIONS $1.5 (cum. $18.3)

For the second week running, there was no arthouse title making waves though both Jon Favreau's Chef and Gia Coppola's Palo Alto performed respectably. I spent the weekend at home, catching up with some classics and enduring the pain of gouging my eyes out at the sight of We're The MillersWhat were you up to, dear readers? Did you take your mother to a movie?

Wednesday
May072014

Superlink

Rambling Film, riffing on our "best movie titles" post, does an alphabet of great movie titles
Inside Movies omg The Lovely Laura Linney is finally returning to screens in a promising vehicle. She's joining Bill Condon's upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie A Slight Trick of the Mind starring Sir Ian McKellen 
i09 Jaws with Godzilla trailer's audio. It's a pretty impressive mashup
Film Stage Adèle Exarchopoulus next film Insecure gets a poster 

Defamer in the race to make the movies more like tv series with big budgets (sie) Disney/Marvel is surely leading. In addition to dozens of new Marvel movies, they are planning multiple new Star Wars universe episodes - not just three.
Towleroad Andrew Garfield in drag. Stay tuned for a music video 
THR the Interstellar teaser poster debuted but honestly it's so boring I don't want to waste valuable visual space on the blog sharing it

Thinking About Bankability
Awards Daily thinks Maleficent will test Angelina Jolie's box office pull. Sasha's right in that people will perceive that it's to Angelina's credit if it's a smash but I think that's silly. As with most would be blockbusters I think people are overestimating the importance of the headliner. Everyone knows "Maleficent". You could put an unknown in it, save lots of money on production costs, and still have a box office winner. Maybe not as big (and certainly with less pre-release hype) but still... The only franchise that seems to believe you don't need a star is the Superman franchise (People don't really even like Superman Returns or Man of Steel but, fact, they both opened huge). Batman is a franchise that regularly uses stars. It's always wasting its money because Batman is huge no matter who is under the mask. For me the only test of box office clout is when the actor is selling something people are only seeing because it's them. So successes like Angelina's Salt or virtually every Leonardo DiCaprio film, or American Hustle last year are directly attributable to the actors in them. But most of these big budget big awareness movies? I don't think it's the case and I wonder sometimes why Hollywood does. 

Subtracting some zeroes now...

Movie City News David Poland weighs in on the frustrating argument over the dwindling returns for subtitled movies in the US marketplace. Glad he addressed that because I hated the IndieWire piece. 

Today's Must Read
Matt Zoller Seitz is always a great read but this week he says what I'm sure so many of us are feeling about the superhero movie genre in this beautifully titled piece "Things Crashing Into Other Things: Or, My Superhero Movie Problem"

Sunday
May042014

The Amazing Samey-Man, A Redundant Box Office Chart

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. For the past ten days, I have been drowning in a stack of Hot Docs screeners, missed deadlines and research for [shameless self-promotion!] the next episode of my podcast. As I recover from all of that, it is reassuring, in a perverse way, to look at the box office top ten and realize that all is the same in the world. Order is restored. The audiences are happy. A fucking superhero film has won the day.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out on top with a figure that is being labelled “disappointing” around the web despite being higher than the GDP of nine small countries combined. Sure, that number is lower than the earnings of previous Spidey outings, but none of the preceding films suffered from an Electro that looks like an early draft version of a bad 80s sci-fi villain, or a Harry Osborn that looks like an early draft version of a bad 90s Leo DiCaprio. All this despite tens of millions of dollars spent on the CGI budget...

LOLZ

THE TOP TEN
01 THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 $92 *NEW* 
02 THE OTHER WOMAN  $14.2 (cum. $47.3)
03 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $8.7 (cum. $65.6) 
04 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $7.7 (cum. $237.1) Review
05 RIO 2 $7.6 (cum. $106.4) 
06 BRICK MANSIONS $3.5 (cum. $15.4)
07 DIVERGENT $2.1 (cum. $142.6)  Review
08 THE QUIET ONES $2 (cum. $6.7)
09 GOD'S NOT DEAD $1.7 (cum. $55.5)
10 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $1.7 (cum. $51.5)

The rest of the top ten looks mostly similar to previous weeks. The Other Woman, a film led by three women that miraculously manages to fail the Bechdel test, is in second place, while Heaven Is For Real and God’s Not Dead continue to surpass all expectations as they hold on to the third and ninth positions, respectively.

On the limited end of things, Walk of Shame proved to be an aptly portentous title for the film's red carpet premiere, as it limped to a $745 per screen average on its opening weekend, but two smaller films did solid business. Belle, a historical drama about the true story of an illegitimate mixed-race child to a navy admiral received respectable reviews, while the Polish film Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski’s black and white, WWII drama has become one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. I saw this one at TIFF last year, and its meticulous, chilly design gained my admiration more than love, but I’d happily give it another shot.

What have you watched this weekend?

Sunday
Apr272014

Box Office: Cameron Diaz Still Sells Tickets

Hey kids, it's Nathaniel. Amir is busy Hot Doc'ing it up in Toronto (yet another springtime festival!) so I'm here to quickly recite the box office chart. The producers of the Christmas release Annie (previously discussed) must have breathed a huge sigh of relief at the box office receipts for The Other Woman in which Diaz and her two new frenemies (Leslie Mann & Kate Upton) plot to destroy Jaime Lannister who is sleeping with all of them on the down low. Yep, people will stay come out in droves for Cameron Diaz in comic mode. Annie will open big... it's got several marketing hooks even before you get to audience love for funny Cam. 

I haven't yet seen The Other Woman yet but I hear it's quite regressive. Consider this scathing provocatively titled review at The Stranger...

The point of this movie is not sisterhood, but making sure women band together in the name of heterosexual competition. Cameron Diaz is too sexy, Leslie Mann is too frumpy, and Kate Upton is boobs, but boobs that are not good enough to keep a man goddammit. Nicki Minaj joins this horror show as the Sassy Black Secretary™ (it’s 2014, right?)...

THE TOP TEN
01 THE OTHER WOMAN $24.7 *NEW* 
02 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $16 (cum. $224.8) Review
03 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $13.8 (cum. $51.9) 
04 RIO 2 $13.6 (cum. $96.1) 
05 BRICK MANSIONS $9.6 *NEW* 
06 TRANSCENDENCE $4.1 (cum. $18.4)  
07 THE QUIET ONES $4 *NEW* 
08 BEARS $3.6 (cum. $11.1)
09 DIVERGENT $3.6 (cum. $139.4) Review
10 A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 $3.2 (cum. $14.2)

In addition to Tribeca Film Festing, I went to Estelle Parson's new play The Velocity of Autumn in the hopes of catching at least one potential Tony Best Actress nominee before the announcement. But get this: Estelle called out sick so I was stuck with an understudy! The understudy wasn't bad and I liked the play about a very old very cantankerous lady armed with molotov cocktails in her Park Slope brownstone because her children want to put her in a nursing home. And yet it's so obviously a star vehicle (there are only two characters, Tony winner Stephen Spinella plays her son) that I was missing the expert comic timing of the Oscar-winning Parsons throughout. She would have maximized the punchlines and elevated it. The understudy switcheroo hasn't happened to me in a long time though so I made my peace with the theater gods quickly 'bout it. They've been good to me for the past several years and we've all called out sick from work in our lifetimes.

But I still fear the Tony nominations on Tuesday because I've seen like nothing that will be nominated this year. I was concentrating on Off Broadway too much I guess.

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND? 

Sunday
Apr202014

Box Office: Christians Are For Real!

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. It’s Easter weekend and we have proof of it in the box office top ten. When was the last time three films with such strong religious overtones as Noah, God’s Not Dead and Heaven Is for Real were simultaneously in the top ten best selling pile?  The latter film was the new entry this weekend and shockingly grossed more than $20m, helping itself to the third spot behind holdovers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2. Can you think of any film with a more unappealingly on the nose title? The 3-minute trailer is an excruciating exercise in patience in its own right but I understand I’m not the target audience. I’m sure the people who saw it in droves enjoyed it. Right? Maybe. Possibly. Fuck, seriously? Is this film for real?

Yes, Greg Kinnear. Your son sees dead people (in the afterlife)

01 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $26.6 (cum. $201.5) Review
02 RIO 2 $22.5 (cum. $75.3) 
03 HEAVEN IS FOR REAL $21.5 (cum. $28.5) 
04 TRANSCENDENCE $11.1 *new* 
05 A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 $9.1 *new*  
06 DRAFT DAY $5.9 (cum. $19.5)  
07 DIVERGENT $5.7 (cum. $133.9) Review
08 OCULUS $5.2 (cum. $21.1)
09 NOAH $5 (cum. $93.2) Podcast &  Jon Stewart on Noah - a must-see icymi
10 GOD’S NOT DEAD $4.8 (cum. $48.3) 

Transcendence was a failure of epic proportions and managed a 10% return on investment, which is disastrous in any industry. This is either due to the fact that the film’s title is only subtly religious or because Johnny Depp is no longer a draw. The latter is most likely the case and I can’t help but indulge in a bit of schadenfreude. In the 11 years that have passed since Depp delivered something resembling a performance, he’s made billions of dollars and the box office returns of Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger weren’t nearly dire enough to be considered punishment.

At the arthouse Under the Skin edged past the million dollar mark and The Grand Budapest Hotel is now a single day away from beating Moonrise Kingdom as the top grossing Wes Anderson. Only Lovers Left Alive, however, has failed to draw in audiences, though its screen average is the third best behind Heaven Is... and John Turturro’s weird, Woody Allen-starring passion project, Fading Gigolo.

I spent my weekend cozying up to some Cannes classics, but I will be out soon to catch Disneynature’s Bears, because those things look cute as buttons. What have you watched this weekend?

Sunday
Apr132014

Box Office: Under the Skin & What We Watched

Nathaniel stepping in for Amir this week to look at What People Are Seeing. If you've already seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and you should) there wasn't much to get excited about at the mainstream box office this weekend with films like Oculus, Rio 2, and Draft Day not looking much like inspiring new entries in their shopworn genres. So let's shift our focus to the platform films out there. Frankly, I consider it a huge failing of the planet in general that an art film about Scarlett Johansson as an alien trolling for manflesh in Scotland isn't opening wide and selling out at 3,000+ theaters. Where are the world's movie consumption priorities? You disappoint me, Earthlings. 

Scarlett Johansson tops both the mainstream box office and the platform box office

PLATFORM BOX OFFICE
01 (54 theaters) UNDER THE SKIN $.3 (cum. $.5)  Posters
02 (37 theaters) ISLAND OF LEMURS $.1 (cum. $.4) 
03 (20 theaters) FINDING VIVIAN MAIER $.1 (cum. $.3) Amir liked it
04 (48 theaters) JOE $.1 *new* 
05 (04 theaters) ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE $.09 *new*  Michael's Review
06 (42 theaters) DOM HEMINGWAY $.07 (cum. $.1)  Jude's New Face 
07 (80 theaters) THE UNKNOWN KNOWN $.06 (cum. $.1) Glenn's Review
08 (04 theaters) THE RAILWAY MAN $.06 *new* Brief Thoughts
09 (79 theaters) CUBAN FURY $.05 *new*
10 (23 theaters) PARTICLE FEVER $.04 (cum. $.6) 

Of the newbies only Only Lovers Left Alive and The Railway Man had strong per screen averages (which is usually what you need to expand). I loved Under the Skin but am still collecting my thoughts about it so I'm not ready to write about it yet. I urge you to see it quickly since it benefits from your own interpretation and it's difficult to write about without spoilers. We'll discuss it on next Sunday's podcast.

Otherwise this weekend I goofed off in that I watched things I had no intention of writing about which is, for me, like playing hookie or calling out sick. I mainlined more Archer (which I basically worship) and watched four episodes of "The Fosters". Regarding the latter: I blame Emily Nussbaum's influence over The Boyfriend. He will watch anything she recommends . I  also goofed off by watching Lilies of the Field (1963) when I was supposed to be watching a Bette Davis double feature for articles that are due here in a hot minute.  I was all caught up in that 1963 flashback so I was helpless before it "♪ AaaAaaAaaymen. AaAYaymen. Aaamen. Aaamen Amen ♫." I actually think it's underrated today because it's so square but it "plays" as they say.

What did you watch this weekend? And was it out of obligation, habit, or pleasure?

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