Amir here, reporting to box office duty. Finally, the day cinephiles have been waiting for all year has arrived. America gets the chance to see one of our greatest working directors bring his epic vision to the screen. I speak, of course, of Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery, which opened on one screen to respectable returns. Others were too busy checking out Big Hero 6 and Interstellar. Disney's animated film actually topped the charts – I did not expect it to overcome Nolan's juggernaut, if I'm being honest – but both film finished with more than $50 in the bank. This is an incredibly rare feat: even though it's happened for the third year in a row now, it's only the fourth time that two films open with 50+ numbers. On all three previous occasions, an animated film beat a live action one: Wall-E and Wanted, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and Prometheus, and Monsters University and World War Z. All eight films are also more or less science-fiction, which calls for a poll:
01 BIG HERO 6 $56.2 NEW Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
02 INTERSTELLAR $52.1 NEW Michael's Review
03 GONE GIRL $6.1 (cum. $145.4) The Podcast / Jason's Review
04 OUIJA $6 (cum. $43.4)
05 ST. VINCENT $5.7 (cum. $27.3) Michael's Review
06 NIGHTCRAWLER $5.5 (cum. $19.7) The Podcast / Nathaniel's Review
07 FURY $5.5 (cum. $69.2) Michael's Review
08 JOHN WICK $8 (cum. $27.5) Michael's Review
09 ALEXANDER... VERY BAD DAY $3.4 (cum. $59.2)
10 THE BOOK OF LIFE $2.8 (cum. $45.2) Interview
11 BIRDMAN $2.3 (cum. $8) The Podcast / Nathaniel's Review
12 THE JUDGE $1.7 (cum. $42.5)
Aside from Wiseman's film, the other big limited release of the weekend was The Theory of Everything, which returned really solid numbers on five screens and will roll out next week in search of some Oscar gold. I haven't yet seen any of this weekend's films, but I did catch up with Birdman: Or the Unex... oh, stop this nonsense, which I mostly liked, even though I found it uneven and undermined by a) Lubezki's distracting and confusing cinematography and b) Keaton's incredibly boring performance. For a performance that is similarly meta without forgetting that there is an emotional connection to be made with the material, see: Rourke, Mickey.
What did you see this weekend?