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Entries in box office (216)

Monday
Jan192015

Box Office: American Sniper Towers Above Oscar Nominees

Amir here, back from my very long vacation to hit you with some box office news.  Did you know that this group of eight Best Pictures is the least popular set of nominees since the turn of the century, going by box office receipts? The average gross of about $39m is the lowest of the past fifteen years, though it will probably edge out 2005’s collective (standing at $49m) once the theatrical run of all these films ends. It is also the first time since that year that none of the nominees have hit the $100m mark, though American Sniper is about to change that. 

Chart via Box Office Mojo. Estimates as of Sunday January 18th

It is easy to forget sometimes what a small bubble we occupy in the film blogosphere, and how differently people in the real world perceive and consume these films. It feels like Whiplash has been around for ages, having first entered the conversation all the way back in January. It’s shocking to see what little impact this expertly directed film has made at the box office, barely edging out Amour and Winter’s Bone to avoid becoming the lowest grossing best picture nominee of the century.

Oscar wasn’t interested in what people liked this year, despite finally getting on the Wes Anderson bandwagon for his biggest hit – and a decade too late. Several of the year’s biggest hits either missed out on nominations entirely, or underperformed with the Academy. File Gone Girl, Noah, The LEGO Movie, Edge of Tomorrow and even Fury under that category, though only one of those had any hope of a best picture nomination. What has been surprising is that Eastwood’s late party-crasher performed as well as it did, breaking all sorts of records for January releases and R-rated films, grossing $90m on its first wide weekend.

American Sniper is going to be the savior of this collective, financially speaking. According to Box Office Mojo, the film has made more than Birdman, Boyhood, Whiplash and The Theory of Everything combined. Its gross this weekend is wildly beyond expectations, but the magical combination of Bradley Cooper, conservative material and Eastwood in his comfort zone have totally hit America’s sweet spot. This caps an outstanding year for Cooper, who just netted his third consecutive best actor nomination and starred in the year’s biggest box office hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. You’d have been called a lunatic if you predicted this as recently as three years ago and yet, here we are, witnessing Cooper’s reign. And for what it’s worth, he’s a better king for Hollywood than most of his contemporaries.  

Have you seen American Sniper? Which gaps do you still need to fill in your Oscar slate?

Sunday
Jan042015

Box Office: "Into the Woods" Worth More Than Five Beans

Whenever I hear myself complaining loudly about the December glut I know I will have a comeuppance when I see the box office chart and notice once again that everything makes a ton of money during the Christmas and New Years. 

Everything that opens wide that is. It's still an awfully tough time to open an indie on a few screens or a foreign film (though distributors always try) as evidence by A Most Violent YearTwo Days One Night and Leviathan which need far more publicity than they can reasonably manage when everyone is talking about the behemoths like all-star musical and Angelina Jolie's epic and so on. Those films are at $300,000, $109,000 and $79,000 respectively.

TOP SIXTEEN
01 HOBBIT 3 $21.9 NEW (cum. $220.7) Five Beautiful Armies
02 INTO THE WOODS $19 (cum. $91.2)  InterviewReview
03 UNBROKEN $18.3 (cum. $87.8)  Interview
04 WOMAN IN BLACK 2 NEW $15.1  
05 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3  $14.4 (cum. $89.7)
06 ANNIE  $11.4 (cum. $72.6)
07 IMITATION GAME $8.1 (cum. $30.8)  Reviewsecond take
08 HUNGER GAMES 3 $7.7 (cum. $323.8) Review
09 THE GAMBLER $6.3 (cum. $27.5) Review
10 BIG HERO 6 $4.8 (cum. $211.2)  Review / second take

11 WILD $4.5 (cum. $25.8) Reviewinterviewpodcast
12 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $3.7 (cum. $61.2) Review
13 PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $2.8 (cum. $78) Review
14 BIG EYES $2.6 (cum. $9.9)  Brief note
15 INTERSTELLAR $2.4 (cum. $182.7) ReviewPodcast
16 TOP FIVE $2.1 (cum. $23.7) Thoughts
17 THEORY OF EVERYTHING  $1.1 (cum. $24.7) Reviewpodcast
18 THE INTERVIEW $1.1 (cum. $4.9)
19 HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 $0.9 (cum. $53)
20 FOXCATCHER $.09 (cum. $7.9)  Reviewsecond Takepodcast


It's worth noting that Into the Woods is already the 7th most successful musical of the 21st century and seems likely to vault over most of its competitors. Whether it can surplant Chicago (also by Rob Marshall) as #1 is the question.

Of the top 20 the Imitation Game had the most crowded theaters followed by Into the Woods. Meanwhile in platform release the big story is still two mainstream movies which go wide very soon. Selma and American Sniper are both already at $2 million and go wide next week and the week after respectively. Expect huge numbers for American Sniper which continues to pack houses whether or not it wins Oscar nominations the day before its release. Incidentally Still Alice opens the day after the nominations, finally showing its face to regular citizens.

 

Meanwhile everyone still thinks Cake doesn't exist. What did you see this weekend?

 

Wednesday
Dec312014

Screener Adventures from American Snipers to British Painters (Pt. 2)

Previously... I shared brief thoughts about rewatches of Big Hero, Grand Budapest, Babadook well as The Homesman and Skeleton Twins.

What came next in the home-screening adventures, you ask? Here I am to answer. I haven't had as much time as I'd hope (aint that always the case) but I've been trying to cram movies in. Here are a handful of notes on movies from the screener stack.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Credit where credit is due: For once a Clint Eastwood movie is not filmed like its sinking into an inky black void where color is a total affront to sober intent. It turns out Tom Stern can make movies that take place in reasonably well lit places. Okay, okay, let's not get carried away. It's still largely colorless but this time there is daylight though the subject matter remains brutal. I'm not sure what to make of its dead-eyed killings which aren't filmed with any rah-rah glee that you'd think would accompany the movie's conservative America is #1 conservatism. Even its one note patriotism is presented rather than, I think, fully endorsed: Chris Kyle, very well played by Bradley Cooper though there isn't much in the way of an arc, memorably refuses to engage with any criticism and is all "God, Family, & Country" in each scene. But something about its very matter-of-fact presentation and inarticulate hero wore me down after awhile despite gripping action sequences. I have no idea how Oscar might respond but my hunch is it's either full hog or both sound nominations only a la Lone Survivor

Meryl's Insane Bankability Continues! Well done, diva.INTO THE WOODS
Reviewed by ranking its musical numbers here. It was the second time I'd seen it having watched it on a big screen originally. Weirdly I think the cinematography, which often looked too muddy and dark on the screen works a little better on a TV. But anyway...  let's hear it for Disney for a great opening weekend. It's important that musicals do well so that we get more of them! Into the Woods won not only the biggest opening weekend ever for a Broadway adaptation but the biggest of Meryl Streep's career, as well. I imagine we'll continue to talk about Into the Woods for a while --  multiple Oscar nominations coming -- so I'll let this be all for this post.

THE JUDGE
I already peed on that here but it keeps haunting me like bad trip flashbacks. Especially the dye job on Vera Farmiga who deserves better Hollywood, come on. Also that scene where RDJ is like superhero-lawyer and stops a bar fight with the power of his wily words!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
A love letter from Tangiers & Detroit to all of you who recommended this movie throughout the year. Though I was once the type who would rush to anything vampiric, I'll readily admit that Hollywood's overuse of the bloodsuckers finally wore me out; I've been avoiding all such movies for years now. But I should have trusted Jim Jarmusch to come at it from an entirely different angle and I don't know how I missed that it was shot by Yorick Le Saux who won my silver medal for cinematography in 2010 for I Am Love. Detroit has never looked so beautifully haunted, Tilda and Tom couldn't have been a more exotically languid well-cultured pair, its slow moods weren't trying but contemplative, and the ending was pitch-perfect delayed gratification.

Excusez moi


MR TURNER
A surprise. If you only listen to this movie as opposed to watching it (which is what I sometimes do when The Boyfriend is watching TV) it sounds rather like a horror movie. I'm not kidding. There are a lot of scary animalistic noises supposedly emanating from human people (not just Spall's famed grunt speak) and the score by Gary Yershon might be the creepiest outside of Under the Skin this year.  

P.S. Speaking of The Boyfriend...
This time of year chez moi he watches a ton of screeners since he doesn't go to many critics screenings with me. I usually don't watch carefully (having already seen them) and drift in and out as I'm working. He is unpredictable about movies. He loved Pride and Ida (as most sane people do), thought Mr Turner was "good. well made" but clearly had no passion for it. Cried huge apartment-flooding puddles during Still Alice and Wild, and inexplicably H-A-T-E-D both Force Majeure and A Most Violent Year (what the what??? x 2). Finally, he was paying so little attention to Love is Strange that I had to make him shut it off. That wonderful movie from Ira Sachs is too delicate for half-watching. It requires your full attention or that glorious final 15 minutes just won't resonate. 

Have you ever learned something new about a movie you loved by catching only pieces of it or hearing it in the background?

Sunday
Dec282014

Box Office: The Battle of the Holiday Releases Part 2

Manuel here offering up the sequel to last week’s Battle of the Holiday Releases you didn’t know you needed. Those Middle Earth dwellers are nothing if not resilient warriors and thus it comes as no surprise that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies held on to #1 for the second week in a row despite some competition from a singing witch and a martyred soldier, both proving quite the challengers. That bodes well for the awards prospects for Rob Marshall’s big screen adaptation of Into the Woods and Angelina Jolie’s uplifting war drama Unbroken. Box office alone does not win awards (or nominations) but it surely doesn’t hurt. It was a busy Christmas week -- even embattled and corporate freedom of speech poster boy The Interview made a dent in a little over 300 screens. 

Random Trivia: This is the first time since December 2007 when two live-action musicals have made it to the Top Ten. Can you name them? Hint: they also involved Disney & Sondheim.

TOP SIXTEEN

01 HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES $41.2 (cum. $168.5)
02 UNBROKEN $31.7 NEW (cum. $47.3)
03 INTO THE WOODS $31.02 NEW (cum. $46.1) Interview
04 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB $20.6 (cum. $55.3)
05 ANNIE $16.6 (cum. $45.8)
06 HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PT1 $10 (cum. $306.65) Review
07 THE GAMBLER $9.3 NEW (cum. $14.3) Review
08 THE IMITATION GAME $7.93 (cum. $14.6) Review, Glenn's take
09 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $6.75 (cum. $52.5) Review
10 WILD $5.4 (cum. $16.3) Review, interview, podcast
11 BIG HERO 6 $4.8 (cum. $199.9) ReviewBrief take
12 TOP FIVE $3.8 (cum. $19.2) Brief take
13 THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $3.2 (cum. $66.9) Review
14 INTERSTELLAR $3 (cum. $177.3) Review
15 BIG EYES $2.98 (cum. $4.4) Open Thread
16 THE INTERVIEW $1.8 (cum. $2.8)

There’s a fascinating discussion to be had about the way Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (notching the highest limited box office for Christmas Day record) and James Franco/Seth Rogen’s The Interview (making history by well, being released?) were released the same day as Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Together they make quite the triptych on American politics, don’t you think? While Tim Burton's Big Eyes struggled, The Weinstein Company must be happy with the way The Imitation Game is expanding (cracking the Top Ten while being in less than 1000 screens; has it made it near you?).

PLATFORM (Under 100 screens)

01 AMERICAN SNIPER $0.61 4 locations NEW (cum. $0.85)
02 SELMA $0.59 19 locations NEW (cum. $0.91) Review, podcastpremiere
03 MR TURNER $0.25 24 locations (cum. $0.49) Review, Interview 
04 INHERENT VICE $0.2 16 locations (cum. $0.96) Conversation, FYC Josh Brolin
05 WHIPLASH $0.18 87 locations (cum. $5.45) Review, JK Simmons
06 CITIZENFOUR $0.06 40 locations (cum. $2.1) Podcast, FYC Editing
07 THE HOMESMAN $0.059 61 locations (cum. $2.1) Review, brief take
08 THE BABADOOK $0.058 47 locations (cum. $0.6) Interview

Below these, two foreign language films bolstered by good reviews opened at two locations: Two Days One Night, featuring the luminous Marion Cotillard ($0.48 for the five-day frame) and Oscar-shortlisted Leviathan ($0.023 for the week).

What did you catch Christmas Day? 

Sunday
Dec212014

Box Office: The Battle of the Holiday Releases Part 1

Manuel here reporting for box office duty. While news about the Sony hack dominated headlines, the domestic box office was slowly showing signs of life after a rather muted start to december (Exodus: Gods and Kings anyone?). Thankfully (for studios, critics would clearly disagree) the crop of new films offered some needed entertainment and seem poised to offer some successes as the holidays approach this coming week.

Peter Jackson’s sixth (sixth!!) entry in the Tolkien saga easily won the weekend (having opened on Wednesday), proving that, yes, audiences will visit Middle Earth #OneLastTime. New family-friendly films Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie came in second and third respectively while in the lower-rung of the Top 10 (and hovering right below it), specialty releases and Oscar-bound films performed rather well. I for one, am happy to see Reese Witherspoon (who we just Posterized) and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild at #6. It’s a great film which has, for reasons that feel both expected and frustrating, not been making enough of a dent in the “Best of”/Oscar conversations (after the McConnaissance and the Reesurgence, might Jean-Marc Vallée ratify the Gyllenhaalism we’re all experiencing with Demolition, out next year? Who should he take on next?)

TOP SIXTEEN
01 BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES $56.2 NEW (cum. $90.6) Five Beautiful Armies
02 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3  $17.3 NEW
03 ANNIE $16.3 NEW
04 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $8 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
05 MOCKINGJAY PT 1 $7.7 (cum. $289.2) Michael's Review
06 WILD $4.1 (cum. $7.2) Nathaniel's Review, Laura Dern Interview
07 TOP FIVE $3.5 (cum. $12.4) Nathaniel's Thoughts
08 BIG HERO 6 $3.5 (cum. $190.4) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
09 THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $3.5 (cum. $64.1)  Tim's Review
10 P.K. $3.5 NEW

11 INTERSTELLAR $2.6 (cum. $171.4) Michael's Review, Podcast
12 HORRIBLE BOSSES $2.1 (cum. $47.7)
13 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $1.59 (cum. $19.8) Review, podcast
14 FOXCATCHER $0.95 (cum. $4.4) Review, Michael's Take, podcast
15 BIRDMAN $0.91 (cum. $22.2) Review, podcast, interview

That #10 entry is for the Bollywood film P.K. which made headlines a couple of weeks back with its NSFW-ish poster of leading man Aamir Khan. Needless to say, it’s doing great business in India where it was also released this weekend. You’ll also note that the male-skewing Oscar favorites continue to expand (or hold on, in the case of Birdman) as they rack up critical and industry citations. Indeed, The Imitation Game’s #16 placement is impressive considering it is only in 79 screens, by far amassing the greatest haul for a film in under 100 screens.

PLATFORM (Under 100 screens)
01 IMITATION GAME$0.89 79 locations (cum. $3.19) Review, Glenn's take, Podcast
02 INHERENT VICE $0.147 5 locations (cum. $0.6) Conversation
03 MR TURNER$0.109 5 locations NEW Review, Press conference
04 THE BABADOOK $0.089 79 locations (cum. $0.466) Interview
05 CITIZENFOUR $0.058 52 locations (cum. $2.04) Podcast

Both at five locations, PTA's Inherent Vice and Mike Leigh's Mr Turner posted strong numbers. This gives them both a needed boost (and Vice the distinction of posting the biggest per screen average two weeks in a row, though losing half of its audience. Guess them PTA fans rushed to see it last week?)

What did you see this weekend?

Sunday
Nov302014

Box Office: Thanksgiving games

Tim here with your box office report for the holiday weekend. And a soft weekend it was, with the two new wide releases - Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2 - both face-planting (the former marking yet another underperformance DreamWorks Animation can't afford right now), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1.0 making a huge amount of money that's still sufficiently less huge than its predecessors that it feels kind of underwhelming. Which is a bizarre thing to say about a movie making a huge sum of money by any standard you could possibly come up with, but such is the bigotry of high expectations. The saggy box office of 2014 continues its relentless march of mediocrity.

While the Hunger Games hold steady in the #1 slot, and almost certain to do it again next week, the most exciting story is about a different game altogether: The Imitation Game, which opened to $482,000 for the three-day weekend at 4 locations. This gives it a mindblowing per-screen average of $120,500, the second-best of the 2014 after The Grand Budapest Hotel in March.

THE TOP DOZEN (Fri-Sun)
01 THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 1 $56.9 (cum. $225.7) Michael's Review
02 PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $25.8 NEW Tim's Review
03 BIG HERO 6 $18.8 (cum. $167.2) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
04 INTERSTELLAR $15.8 (cum $147.1) Michael's Review / The Podcast
05 HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 $15.7 NEW
06 DUMB & DUMBER TO $38.3 (cum $72.2)
07 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $5.1 (cum. $9.6) Nathaniel's Review
08 GONE GIRL $2.5 (cum. $160.8) The Podcast /  Jason's Review
09 BIRDMAN $1.9 (cum. $17.2) The PodcastNathaniel's Review
10 ST. VINCENT $1.8 (cum. $39.3) Michael's Review
11 BEYOND THE LIGHTS $1.6 (cum. $12.8)
12 FURY $1.6 (cum. $81.9) Michael's Review

PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding wide openers losing theaters
01 FOXCATCHER $1.0 72 locations (cum. $2.1) Nathaniel's Review / Michael's Review
02 WHIPLASH $.50 179 locations (cum. $4.0) The Podcast / Michael's Review
03 THE IMITATION GAME $.48 4 locations NEW The Podcast / Meet the Contenders
04 ROSEWATER $.36 216 locations (cum. $2.6)

It was a solid weekend overall for the Oscar hopefuls - The Theory of Everything's wide-release expansion more than doubled its whole take in limited release in just three days, while Foxcatcher, still rolling out, had the highest per-screen average of any film to make more than a million for the weekend. Nothing to set the world on fire, but solid performances for the adult-skewing titles. And much the same can be said for the sturdy if not awe-inspiring $27,000 made by The Babadook during its first three days in release at three theaters - and while it has a legitimate shot at precisely no Oscars whatsoever, it's still a top-shelf scary movie that everybody with even a slight affection for horror cinema owes themselves to see at the first opportunity.

What did you see this weekend? Does anyone else think this impressive start augurs well for The Imitation Game with audiences and the Academy?

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