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Entries in box office (169)

Sunday
Apr062014

Box Office: Marvel Strikes Again

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report.
Captain America defeated Noah to the top spot. There has to be a joke in there about America and freedom and jingoism and religion but I haven’t seen the former film yet, so I’ll hold my tongue. Captain America’s opening doesn’t meet the high bar set by any of the Iron Man films or The Avengers but it set a new record for Apil releases and the reviews are arguably the best ever for the Marvel franchise. With the recent announcement that this multiple phase, universe recreation charade is going to drag all the way until 2028 – by which time this youthful, cynical, belligerent writer will only be a cynical, belligerent writer – Marvel is going to need the good reviews to avoid fatigue. Or at least pretend like it’s avoiding fatigue, depending on whom you ask. Arguably, the bigger story of the weekend is the continued success of God's Not Dead. The film now has $32m in the bank and I have yet to come across a single person who's actually seen it. There's God's miracle right there.

Captain America and Black Widow, pondering the box office numbers

BOX OFFICE
01 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER $96.2 *new* Review / Marvel Posterized
02 NOAH $17 (cum. $72.3)
03 DIVERGENT $13 (cum. $114) Review / Jai Courtney
04 GOD'S NOT DEAD $7.7 (cum. $32.5)
05 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $6.3 (cum. $33.3)

The only other wide-ish release of the weekend was Frankie & Alice, the Halle Berry go-go dancing vehicle that finally came off the studio shelves after a four-year delay. Remember when some of us predicted Berry’s second nomination for this one? LOLZ. On the limited side of things, the biggest story was obviously Under the Skin, Jonatha Glazer’s long-delayed follow-up to Birth. Considering the festival hype and the irritatingly, reductively prominent coverage of Scarlett Johansson’s alien sexiness, the film didn’t do that well per screen average. It’d be interesting to see how the studio decides to expand the film. Unbelievably, up here in The Great White North, Skin doesn’t even have a distributor yet. I was lucky enough to watch it at TIFF though and I’d be happily lured back into darkness by Scarlett Johansson no matter the grotesque consequences.

The other releases this weekend didn’t really get audiences (or critics) all hot and bothered but by way of completism, we’ll list their names: The Unknown Known (Errol Morris working in a similar vein to Fog of War), Dom Hemingway (Jude Law with a few extra pounds and a dash of violence), Afflicted (for horror fans, of which I’m not one) and Watermark (an environmentalist documentary which I’ve actually seen; I wasn’t a big fan overall but it’s message is admirable and well-argued and the cinematography is GorgeouS with a capital G and also a capital S for emphasis.)

What have you watched this weekend?

Sunday
Mar302014

The Weekend's Only Pun-Free Box Office Report

Amir reporting. You’ve heard it all: Noah stormed the theatres; audiences flooded to see it; “Oh, Noah! The film isn’t very good;” Aronofski’s drowning in his worst reviews since The Fountain was showered with… oh fuck it! This will be the only pun-free box office report you will read this Sunday. (But yes, since you’re asking, Noah did sail comfortably ahead of the competition!)

With even stronger numbers coming in from abroad, Aronofsky’s latest is going to be a massive international hit despite the (mostly made up) controversies that preceded its release. On the other hand, God’s Not Dead barely dropped at all from last week’s astonishing sales. Perhaps Freestyle Releasing, the film’s distributor, has intentionally pit it against Noah to offer an ideological alternative? Am I reading too much into it? Possibly.

BOX OFFICE
01 NOAH $44 *new*
02 DIVERGENT $26.5 (cum. $95.2) Review / Jai Courtney
03 MUPPETS MOST WANTED $11.3 (cum. $33.2)
04 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $9.5 (cum. $94.9) this franchise's history
05 GOD'S NOT DEAD $9.0 (cum. $22.0)
06 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL  $8.8 (cum. $24.4)
07 SABOTAGE $5.3 *new*
08 NEED FOR SPEED  $4.3 (cum. $37.7)
09 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $4.3 (cum. $101.1)
10 NON-STOP $4 (cum. $85.1) Amir's Review 

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is another film that continues its powerful streak, and for good reason. Despite what you might hear elsewhere, this is Anderson’s best film, give or take Fantastic Mr. Fox and a real delight. Most of his films look like pastries; this one tastes as sweet, too. With a worldwide gross that is already in the ballpark of the total of his biggest hits ($69m for Budapest to Moonrise’s 68m and Tenenbaum’s 71m) it is clear that Anderson’s dioramic designs and eccentric humor are no longer for a niche audience. Irrespective of what one thinks of the film, it’s worth celebrating that an auteur with such a distinctive vision can do solid business without compromising his artistic sensibilities.

Cesar Chavez, a rare chance to see Michael Peña in the lead and the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Sabotage were the weekend’s other wide releases. Sight unseen, I’m willing to bet the latter is the biggest waste of Olivia Williams’ talent. On the limited side, two documentaries opened for the lucky readers living in major markets. Mistaken for Strangers follows the unfairly derided band The National and is as close as one can get to an interesting music documentary. Finding Vivian Maier is artless as a film but its subject, a mysteriously reclusive street photographer who spent decades working as a nanny, is so fascinating that it makes up for the shortcomings.

What have you watched this weekend?

Sunday
Mar232014

Box Office: Divergent's Not Dead

Amir here, with the weekend's box office report. As expected by every single person not living under a rock, Divergent took the top spot, affirming the unfortunate bankability of YA adaptations. Critically and commercially, it fell somewhere much closer to Twilight than The Hunger Games, but the target demographic seems content and that's all that matters to the studio. I'm sure a sequel is already underway, though my level of interest in finding out whether the source novel actually has sequels or not also falls somewhere much closer to my interest in Twilight than The Hunger Games, no. Sorry. I’ll pass on all of them.

BOX OFFICE
01 DIVERGENT $56 *new* 
02 MUPPETS MOST WANTED $16.5 *new*
03 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $11.7 (cum. $81) this franchise's history
04 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $8.6 (cum. $93.7)
05 GOD'S NOT DEAD $8.5 *new*
06 NEED FOR SPEED  $7.7 (cum. $34)
07 GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $6.7 (cum. $12.9) 
08 NON-STOP  $6.3 (cum. $78.6) Amir's Review 
09 THE LEGO MOVIE $4.1 (cum. $243.3) Nathaniel's Review
10 TYLER PERRY'S SINGLE MOM'S CLUB $3.1 (cum. $12.9)

Muppets Most Wanted turned out to be an ironic title for a film with such a tepid reaction. It’s a shame considering what a real delight the last Muppets outing was and that the reviews for this aren’t half bad. This one will probably just make a profit because I suspect it will have the legs to stick around for a few weeks without massive drops. You know what will definitely make a profit though and probably already has? God’s Not Dead ! Like you, dear reader, I had not heard of it until this weekend and, like you, I have not rushed to see it. The box office numbers have been astounding though, with $8m already in the bank in three days for the indie on less than 1000 screens, so someone somewhere must have heard about it. Agree or disagree with the film’s beliefs/mythology, we have to concede that no film since 12 Years a Slave had managed to so succinctly describe its entire plotline in the title.

The critical darling of the hour, The Grand Budapest Hotel, earned $6.7m, a weekend gross that Moonrise Kingdom never achieved throughout its run. It’s still a very real possibility that it will end up as Wes Anderson’s most successful hit. On the limited release side, six new films opened on Friday, the buzziest of which are Jodorowsky’s Dune and It Felt Like Love. If you are one of the extremely lucky people who live near those theatres, you might want to keep an eye out.

My weekend consisted of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Arabian Nights, Majid Majidi’s Baduk and George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story, and I’m happy to report I have nothing to complain about with that trio.

What did you watch this weekend?

Wednesday
Mar192014

A Year With Kate: Quality Street (1937)

Episode 12 of 52 wherein Anne Marie screens all of Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order

In which Katharine Hepburn is an old maid at 30 and sometimes I hate Old Hollywood.

It's strangely fitting that the last movie before Kate's string of classics turns out to be the worst film of her RKO career. Yes, I'm including Spitfire. Spitfire was laughably bad. Quality Street is downright insulting. But while groaning through the longest 82 minutes of my life, I did a little research, and I managed to solve the mystery behind the last 11 weeks of (mostly) bad movies. Better yet, I solved it with science. But first a little exposition.

I've been informed that I occasionally skip over major movie details/actor information/whatnot. Here's a quick summary: Based on a J.M. Barrie play, Quality Street is the story of a spinster teacher who, at 30 years old, finds herself too worn and ugly for her recently-returned beau (Franchot Tone, remember him?). Determined to win his heart, the spinster disguises herself as her prettier, (fictional) younger niece. This only works because by Hollywood Logic, Hepburn's bonnets have the same beauty-dampening power as Rachael Leigh Cook's glasses in She's All That.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar162014

Box Office: Smart Dogs, Ab'ed Warriors, and Speed Racers

Because animated films have good legs at the box office, Mr Peabody continued to walk up right and traded places with the muscle-bound warriors of the 300 sequel for first place.  

BOX OFFICE
01 MR PEABODY & SHERMAN $21.2 (cum. $63.1) Tim's thoughts
02 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE $19.1 (cum. $78.3)
03 NEED FOR SPEED $17.8 *NEW*
04 NON-STOP  $10.6 (cum. $68.8) Amir's Review 
05 TYLER PERRY'S SINGLE MOM'S CLUB $8.3 *new* 
06 THE LEGO MOVIE $7.7 (cum. $236.9) Nathaniel's Review
07 SON OF GOD $5.4 (cum. $50.8)
08 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL $3.6 (cum. $4.7)
09 FROZEN $2.1 (cum. $396.3) Review | Let it Go | Jonathan Groff Interview
10 VERONICA MARS $2.0 *NEW* 

The LEGO Movie is way way out front for biggest hit of 2014 thus far but I have to admit that I'm surprised that Frozen which is now 2013's third biggest hit, far exceeding anyone's expectations, is folding up and moving out of theaters for DVD already. If they had kept milking it a bit, it probably could have passed Iron Man 3's gross. You can only make that theatrical money once, really (unless they invent 4D and retrofit) But I guess they're eager for the DVD/BluRay cash. Most of the Best Picture nominees are still in theaters but like Frozen are on DVD very very soon. They're now losing a ton of screens but you can see their final totals here (Nebraska and Her ended the season as the lowest grossers and Gravity and American Hustle as the bonafide sensations).

The big story of the weekend is surely Wes Anderson's success. The Grand Budapest Hotel was welcoming aton of new guests with the week's best per screen average. It vaulted into the top ten despite showing on roughly 3,000 less screens than the other movies. The smaller story is that Denis Villeneuve's mind trip Enemy (reviewed) starring Jake Gyllenhaal² only opened on one screen? One screen? What were they thinking? It's so hard to get attention when you're only on one screen

What did you see this weekend, my people? I hope you were watching Eternal Sunshine and are joining us for Tuesday night's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"?

 I'll admit that I fell into a weird Netflix hole of Scandal Season 2 because I could barely get out of bed. I guess my body finally collapsed from Oscar season adrenaline withdrawal? (I'll be fine tomorrow I hope). I don't respect Scandal exactly but now I see why people tune in each week. I had tuned in for a few Season 1 episodes and thought it was very poorly written trash. At the end of each Season 2 episode we turned to each other and said "Scandal!" in our best loud whisper faux shock voices on account of the, uh, scandalousness. So I guess in Season 2 it transformed into good trash tv. Either that or I lowered my standards. Which is possible with Tony Goldwyn and Kerry Washington steaming up my TV screen. The supporting cast though I find surprisingly  weak for such a successful show.

 

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