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Entries in box office (152)

Sunday
Oct202013

Box Office: Gravity Keeps Hold of Top Spot

It's Amir here, bringing you the weekend's box office report. The Film Experience is taking the revolutionary step of publishing box office headlines that feature no pun this week because Michael C. asked me to. It's a welcome move after last week's cheap shot but hey, we'll be back to normal business next time. Let's look at what the cinema gods have granted us this weekend.

It's October and you guessed it, there's a mediocre remake of a horror classic playing at a theatre near you. Having not seen Carrie, I technically have no right to judgement in public, but sometimes you just have to let your trusted critics speak for you and this film follows in the footsteps of many a mediocre horror remake. The third place debut - though at a not entirely awful $17m - means most of you haven't seen it either, but if it is better than reviews and numbers suggest, let me know in the comments and I'll make the trip.

BOX OFFICE
01 GRAVITY $31 (cum. $170.5) Cinematography Oscar & Sandy B??? & Review
02 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS $17.3 (cum. $53.3) Podcast & Tom Hanks For All Ages
03 CARRIE $17 *new* 
04 CLOUDY WITH CHANCE OF MEATBALLS $10.1 (cum. $93.1)
05 ESCAPE PLAN $9.8 *new*
06 PRISONERS $2 (cum. $57.2) Podcast & Review
07 ENOUGH SAID $1.8 (cum. $10.7) Podcast
08 THE FIFTH ESTATE $1.7 *new*
09 RUNNER RUNNER $1.6 (cum. $17.5)
10 INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 $1.5 (cum. $80.9)

Gravity is now the 10th biggest grosser of 2013

The real story here is that Gravity and Captain Phillips held on to the top two spots with very respectable small drops. Word of mouth is strong for both films so they will remain hovering around the top again next week. The real questions at this point are whether it is entirely impossible for Gravity to beat competition from The Counselor and Bad Grandpa to stay at number one, and whether Captain Phillips can cruise to above $100m - I'm sorry; just couldn't help it.

The weekend had two other wide releases: Escape Plan, which banked on aged muscle men with immense amounts of plastic surgery to appeal to younger men and understandably failed; and The Fifth Estate, which banked on the public's interest in a topic that remains too fresh and too painful to be dramatized, no matter how uncanny the resemblance of its star to the whistle blower in question; this one had an even rougher ride.

Those of you lucky enough to live near one of the 19 theaters playing the film had the chance to see Steve McQueen's superb new film, 12 Years a Slave, and judging by the per screen average ($50.5k), quite a lot of people took advantage of that opportunity before the film goes wide next week. In even more limited release, Robert Redford's All Is Lost and Daniel Radcliffe's Kill Your Darlings both opened to satisfactory per screen averages, though neither managed to sneak into the top twenty.

Anyway, enough about America now, and a bit about me. I caught up with the environment-themed documentary Watermark (GORGEOUS, well-intentioned and a bit dull), Iranian classic Kandahar (schematic, well-intentioned and a bit dull) and Captain Phillips (intense, Hanks on fire). Now enough about me and a bit about you: what did you watch this weekend?

Monday
Oct142013

Box Office: Gravity Hurtles At Full Speed 

It's Amir here, bringing you the weekend box office report.

one more worry for the good Captain

The biggest news this week is Gravity's ridiculously small drop in sales. Anyone who has seen the film would tell you to watch it in 3D to truly experience it, and it's no surprise that with aid of those hiked up prices, Alfonso Cuaron's visual masterpiece topped the charts again by a wide margin. That's one extra problem Captain Richard Phillips didn't need to deal with, but as it turns out, Astronaut Sandra Bullock is even mightier than Muse. Although Captain Phillips's 26m opening is impressive enough, one can't help but imagine what it would have done without a direct competitor eating into its demographic.

Click for more cool Gravity postersWeekend's Top Ten
Gravity $44.2m
Captain Phillips
$26m
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
$14.2m
Machete Kills
$3.8m
Runner Runner
$3.7m
Prisoners
$3.6m
Insidious Chapter 2
$2.6m
Rush
$2.3m
Don Jon
$2.3m
Baggage Claim
$2m

The weekend's other wide release was Machete Kills, opening to an embarrassing 3m, proving to you, dear reader, that you're not the only one who didn't even know this film exists. This flop is all the more curious because the franchise - oh god, it's a franchise now! - added proven box office draw Lady Gaga and current audience magnet Mel Gibson to its cast. Further down the top ten list, Runner Runner continues to fizzle out with 3m, proving to you, dear reader, that Justin Timberlake will never ever be a move star - though the film's international sales have already recouped its budget.

In limited release, Romeo and Juliet opened to less than a million dollars on nearly 500 screens. Perhaps the Oscar nominated Hailee Steinfeld is not ready to be a romantic lead yet, but the more likely reason behind the film's failure is that the world absolutely doesn't need another adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Other notable limited releases this weekend were the quirky horror film Escape From Tomorrow, which was secretly filmed in Disneyland, God Loves Uganda - I reviewed it at Hot Docs; see it! - and James Franco's As I Lay Dying. None of them did particularly strong business but at least two of them are worth your time. Finally, Saudi Arabia's first ever Oscar submission, Wadjda, is playing on 47 screens and if you haven't seen it yet, you must correct that immediately. It's bloody marvelous.

What did you see this weekend? Share your thoughts on the weekend's offering with us!

Sunday
Sep222013

Box Office: The Family Prisoners of Oz

Jake Gyllenhaal sure needed it. Hugh Jackman's still got it. Prisoners, their tense new child abduction thriller had a strong opening weekend. It shouldn't come as a surprise, really. Hugh hasn't had anything like a true "flop" since Deception (2008) and The Fountain (2006). Even Australia, which people remember as a flop, would have been a hit all told with its solid global gross had it not had such a steroid-humongous budget. We'll discuss Prisoners in depth tomorrow (it's the type of movie that people will unfortunately "spoil" while discussing it enthusiastically so let's give it another night before we dive in) once we're past Emmy weekend.

marketed largely on Hugh Jackman, Prisoners turns out to be a true ensemble piece

WIDE RELEASE
01 Prisoners $21.4 
02 Insidious Chapter 2 $14.5 
03 The Family $7
04 Instructions Not Included $5.7
05 Battle of the Year $5
06 We're The Millers $4.6 
07 Lee Daniels' The Butler $4.3 REVIEWED 
08 Riddick $3.6 
09 Planes  $2.8
10 Percy Jackson 2 $1.8 

I ran into Joe Reid at the movies on Thursday and we talked about the tiny short shelf life of some movies. We were joking that people won't even remember that The Family ever came out by Friday. But here it is for the second week in a row in the top three grossers. So perhaps we were wrong. I haven't had the time (or, more pointedly, the heart) to write up the movie. I will say that Pfeiffer, DeNiro and Jones are good enough with the material but none inspired by it. What prompted them to make it beyond the paycheck? The fault lies with Luc Besson and the writing since it's such an unwieldy and even ugly mix of tones, swerving from heartfelt drama to black comedy to slapstick to god-only-knows what in nearly every scene with none of the dramatic empathy or comic inspiration that it would need to survive its indecisiveness and total mediocrity.

Mother & Robot. After school.

P.S. The only moments of joy I felt watching the movie was a couple shots of an endearing beautiful dog (named "Malavita" - ha!) and every shot of La Pfeiffer as it came with tiny flashes of nostalgia from the 80s classic Married to the Mob wherein the goddess was also comically cavorting with gangsters.

P.P.S. Dianna Agron is awful but I actually think she has the film's most impossible role and I can't believe I'm saying this but it needed someone of Chloe Moretz's total "f*** you" adolescent confidence and technical skill - she can fake human-like responses when she has to. Agron can (sort of) "act" confidence but she's like a robot when it comes to emotions; they do not compute.

LIMITED or STILL PLATFORMING
01 Wizard of Oz IMAX 3-D $3
02 Thanks For Sharing $.6
03 Enough Said $.2
04 Rush $.2 REVIEWED
05 Short Term 12 $.1 REVIEWED (cum $.7)

Having recently rewatched The Wizard of Oz for the millionth time for Hit Me With Your Best Shot I didn't feel the need to see it on the big screen again (I've done that several times, too). But did you? In other news, I fear that Short Term 12 is not long for this world, encountering its first dip during its gutsy and beautiful weekly expansion... so get out there and see it, people. Support movies that are crafted with everything BUT box office on their minds, and we'll get better movies!

What did you see this weekend? And was it money well spent?

Tuesday
Sep172013

Box Office Ten

No, no. Not the top ten actual grosses from last weekend but ten things worth noting.

1. Any article about this weekend's movies that does not mention Short Term 12 is just a giant waste of time. Expanding into 30+ more cities, this awesome indie climbed the box office charts escalating its gross to a healthy ½ million to date. Congratulations to writer/director Destin Cretton and Brie Larson (interviewed right here at TFE) and everyone involved with this wonderful movie. But most of all let's thank Cinedigm and their publicity team for really getting behind this one. Securing distribution is only half the battle. Once you've got a distributor, you had better hope someone really believes in your movie. And several someones did. 

2. Insidious Chapter 2 opened at #1 with a huge $40.2 million, making it Patrick Wilson's second smash hit horror movie of the year. He's found his niche, however different that niche is than I expected when I first fell for him.

3. The Family, Michelle Pfeiffer's pfirst leading role since Chéri (2009) and only her third in the past ten years (jesus!) opened in second place with $14 million. That's neither here nor there as openings go but at least she's in a movie again! We'll talk about that one soon. 

seven more brief notations about current movies after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep082013

Riddick Beats The Butler. What Did You See This Weekend?

It feels somehow right in early September while the world's film critics, pundits, and bloggers and world class auteurs are all over the Globe at festivals (Telluride, Venice, Toronto) that the mainstream has to reheat ole' hit leftovers for their movie dinner. Riddick, the long awaited ... another sequel to the Pitch Black franchise took the top spot at the box office with a decent $18 million. It'll eventually turn a profit since they kept the budget reasonable (a good lesson for all B franchises... or anything really).

In other news, Lee Daniels' The Butler, which came in second after three weeks at the top, will be Lee Daniels' First 100 Million Hit by this time next week... though I can't help wishing we lived in a world where The Paperboy and Precious also got there on the grounds of "you have to see this madness!" and "can you believe the genius of Mo'Nique/Kidman?" What a wonderful world that would be! 

Also worth noting: Blue Jasmine crossed $25 million (a huge sum for a Woody Allen film though still less than half of Midnight in Paris's eventual domestic gross, and Short Term 12, buoyed by the strength of my awesome Brie Larson interview (kidding... but you should read it), took in another $100,000+. That doesn't sound big given that box office reporting tends to care only about movies with at least two more 0s on that number, you try marketing a movie about troubled foster kids and their supervisors. Well done, Cinedigm! Next week it adds 30 cities or so and if you go see it in droves I promise to quit bugging you about it. Deal? 

What did you see this weekend? Care to share?

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