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Entries in box office (181)

Sunday
Feb092014

Box Office: Lord Business Does Big Business with "The LEGO Movie"

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. To the surprise of nobody, tiny little yellow people beat middle-aged white men to the top spot at the box office. The LEGO Movie, advertised around the world building toys we loved as kids, took the top spot with $69.1m, which makes it the second best February opening of all time and among the best original releases ever – only a little off the all time high set by The Simpsons Movie, though you can judge for yourself how 'original' they are. The Lord/Miller directing duo is going to have a terrific year with their sequel to 21 Jump Street also on the way. With box office and critics both in their camp, expect their stock to rise even higher within studios. The LEGO Movie is the first blockbuster I watched on the opening Friday in ages (Skyfall was the last!) and I was thoroughly rewarded with an unstoppable thrill ride. 

chart adapted from boxoffice.com

The Monuments Men was obviously never going to win the weekend but it did very respectable business. Whether it can sustain these numbers over long run despite terrible word of mouth is to be seen, but I can’t help but think Clooney and co. saved themselves a lot of embarrassment by switching their release date to February. Awards expectations are anathema to weak prestige projects like this and competition at the multiplex is no less lenient in late December. In other news, Frozen just passed Despicable Me 2 to become 2013’s third highest grosser. It won’t be able to go any further up the ranking, but the numbers are beyond impressive at this point. International sales is also nearing one billion dollars, a feat very few films can lay claim to.

In Oscar related news, seven of the nine best picture nominees are still in the top 20. Most of them lost a lot of theaters this weekend and as the shine of their nomination wears off, they’ll continue to drop. Still, most can be considered financial successes at this point. Considering budget and overseas sales, Nebraska is the one film that missed the mark, though who knows how Dallas Buyers Club and Her will perform internationally.

Anyway, other than The LEGO Movie, I watched a European co-production called Girl on a Bicycle, about which the less said the better. What did you watch this weekend?

Sunday
Jan262014

Box Office: I, Failure

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report.

It was a quiet weekend for new releases, with only one film opening wide, and it might as well have not bothered at all. I, Frankenstein opened to a catastrophic $8m on a $65m budget. By next weekend, it will most likely be out of the top ten and most definitely out of our collective memory. I really don’t have much to add the pile of ridicule that’s already been heaped on the film, chiefly because I can’t figure out what the hell it’s even about despite the good half an hour I spent this morning researching its advertisements. I will just leave you with this brilliant tweet instead:

Ride Along remained at the top of the chart after its strong opening weekend, though it’s sure to be dethroned when the bizarrely titled That Awkward Moment opens next week. Meanwhile, Frozen broke yet another record this week and became the highest grossing original animated film of all time. That is a fantastic feat for Disney and an indication that despite what the studios continue to believe, female protagonists can sell as many as tickets as their boy counterparts – though I don’t mean to insinuate in any way that Frozen’s appeal is limited to gender or age; it’s been successful precisely because it’s drawing everybody in. Next weekend it gets a sing-along version in theaters.

BOX OFFICE
RIDE ALONG
$21.1m (cum. $75.4m)
LONE SURVIVOR
$12.6 (cum. $93.6m)
THE NUT JOB
$12.3m (cum. $40.2m)
FROZEN
$9m (cum. $347.8m)
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
$8.8m (cum. $30.1m)
I, FRANKENSTEIN
$8.2m new
AMERICAN HUSTLE
$7.1m (cum. $127m)
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
$5m (cum. $26.5m)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
$5m (cum. $98m)
DEVIL’S DUE $2.7m (cum. $12.8m)

On the Oscar front, Hustle and Wolf are still going strong, while Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave all expanded (or re-expanded, as in the case of the latter) and did modest business. Not enough has been written about the box office success of Steve McQueen’s film, but I personally think $43 is a really solid number for a film that has been constantly dubbed 'brutal' and 'unwatchable' in the media. Irrespective of how well the nominees do in the remainder of their theatrical run, the sum total of their gross will remain the second lowest in the post-5 best picture era after 2011, when only one film (The Help) sold more than $100m.

I didn't hit the theatres this weekend but dedicated my time to some classics instead. What did you watch?

Sunday
Jan192014

Box Office: America Goes For a Ride Along

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. Initially I had decided to mirror last week’s column and predict Oscar winners based on their current financial gains – hey! It worked for the Globes! – but Ride Along’s performance has been so stellar that it warrants a mention.  The buddy cop comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart has been described in some quarters as a comedy version of Training Day with a romantic subplot. That’s probably enticing enough; add to it the fact that Kevin Hart’s hot off the incredible box office performance of his standup show, Let Me Explain, it’s really no wonder Ride Along did so well. Still, snatching the best ever January opening, beating a six year old record set by Cloverfield in the process, is beyond the studio’s best expectations. January is always dominated by the previous year’s holdovers though, and remains a box office hell for new films. To put things in perspective, Ride Along would not have had the biggest opening of all time in any other month, coming only close to the September record (Hotel Transylvania).

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along

Lone Survivor occupied second place with a respectable drop. I have yet to see it for myself and my level of interest in ever seeing it can probably be found with a very powerful microscope somewhere, but the film’s been creating “controversies” because of its – depending on who you ask – realistic depiction, endorsement or sanctification of soldiers. You can count on it to continue to do good business based on the on-going conversation. Another film that’s still going strong is Frozen, which continues to sing and dance its way into American hearts in its eighth week. This week’s 18 percent drop is better than most had expected because direct competition has finally arrived in the shape of The Nut Job, which is surprisingly not a porn parody. Given the latter film’s modest budget, we can expect a profit despite its limited appeal to adult audiences.

BOX OFFICE
RIDE ALONG $41.2m new
LONE SURVIVOR $23.2m (cum. 74m)
THE NUT JOB $20.5m new
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT $17.2m new
FROZEN $11.9m (cum. 332.6m)
AMERICAN HUSTLE $10.6m (cum. 116.4m)
DEVIL’S DUE $8.5m new
AUGUST: OSAGE $7.6m (cum. 18.1m)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET $7.5m (cum. 90.2m)
SAVING MR. BANKS $4.1m (cum. 75.3m)

Among the Oscar nominees, the biggest winners were American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. The former lost more than 400 screens but had a nearly 30% improvement in sales; the latter regained 650 screens and sold five times as much as last week. Captain Phillips also added more than 700 theatres and saw a dramatic surge in ticket sales, but the nominations didn’t come to the rescue of two films: Inside Llewyn Davis and Her. Last week I mentioned that the Oscars would need to help them out if they want to turn their small fortunes around. I was proven right in the case of Llewyn Davis, as it failed to gain any momentum from Thursday’s announcement and sadly saw its numbers crash. Her experienced a more modest drop but still didn’t benefit at all from its Best Picture nomination. I have several theories, but none of them seem plausible. My best guess is that, the demographic to whom Her appeals, was always going to watch it irrespective of its awards success. Oscar nominations can’t convince everybody to watch a mustachioed, bespectacled man dressed in high pants fall in love with a computer.

Anyway, I didn’t hit the theatres this weekend, and looking ahead, nothing appeals to me before Rhymes for the Young Ghouls, which opens on January 31st in my corner of the world. What did you watch this weekend? Any theories on the Her drop?

Friday
Jan172014

The Desolation of Smaug: Accentuate the Positive

Michael back again. Nathaniel recently asked us if any of us had seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson's latest Middle Earth chapter is entering its sixth weekend with $800+ million in the worldwide bank and three more Oscar nominations and it's gone completely unremarked upon at TFE.  But I could feel the life draining out of me as I attempted to review it. Surely the world did not need one more dissection of Peter Jackson’s chronic inability to rein in his material. What’s left to say, save that Desolation has exactly the problems you would expect it to have? Hell, one could get the same from any archived review of The Lovely Bones or King Kong. All the criticisms still apply.

So I junked that review and decided it would be good for the soul to write something positive instead. After all, Jackson is a maddening filmmaker not because he’s some worthless hack but because he frequently buries moments of brilliance in all the sprawling self-indulgence. So with that in mind here is a list of five things I loved or liked about The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan122014

Does Box Office Affect The Golden Globe Wins? 

Amir here, with something vaguely resembling the weekend’s box office report. You're surely more interested in the Golden Globes this weekend than how many tickets Lone Survivor sold (it's winning the weekend - did you see it?) or whether Frozen is now on course for two gajillion dollars (why, yes, it is), so let’s have a look at how the Globe nominees have fared at the box office and whether or not that matters to HFPA voters historically. All that plus my Globe predictions after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan052014

Box Office: The January Drought

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. The first week of January is without doubt host to the least exciting crop of new films every year. Generally speaking, the only type of wide release is horror mediocrities like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D or this year’s The Marked Ones. Do NOT let the presence of ‘paranormal activity’ in the title fool you. It’s a trick to get you to see another film in the same found footage series that started five years ago. Because I’m a masochist, I have seen all previous installments, the best (and first) of which I can, at my most generous, describe with a shrug. Ever since, the franchise has been in a qualitative downward spiral that is now drowning its box office too. $18m is dismal business for this series, though it frankly surpasses my expectations.

The real story, like last week, belongs to Frozen. Then, I was wondering if it could muscle its way ahead of the competition during the holidays. Lo and behold, the Disney film is now back on top of the charts, will pass $300 million ($300 million!) tomorrow, is currently 2013's fourth highest grosser and Disney's biggest hit (sans Pixar) since The Lion King (1994). Meanwhile, Katniss will finally defeat Tony Stark by Tuesday as the book closes on 2013. This is a real rarity, as Michael detailed here, and whatever one thinks of the franchise, it is reason to celebrate. Finally, it’s noteworthy that Inside Llewyn Davis, on a small sample size of 156 theatres maintains almost exactly the same numbers as last weekend. If it manages to grab a few Oscar nominations, expect it to do similarly strong business upon expansion; but that’s a very big if.

TOP OF THE BOX OFFICE
01 Frozen $20.7 (cum. $297.8) Review | Podcast | Groff
02 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones $18.2
03 The Hobbit 2 $16.2 (cum. $229.6)
04 Wolf of Wall Street $13.4 (cum. $63.2) Review | Scorsese's Women
05 American Hustle $13.2 (cum. $88.7) Podcast | Ensemble Power

I have stayed home so far this weekend, rewatching The Cranes Are Flying, Citizen Kane and Rashomon and watching Clio Barnard’s brilliant The Selfish Giant. Later tonight, I’ll be catching up with Xavier Dolan’s latest, Tom at the Farm. (If you're interested, you can always follow what I'm watching here.)

What have you watched this weekend?

Friday
Jan032014

Burning Questions: Katniss in Context

The Year in Review continues with Michael Cusumano on Jennifer Lawrence's box office coronation, a more impressive achievement than you think.

At the sound of the closing bell, Iron Man 3 clings to the title of top grossing domestic release of 2013, but Tony Stark should savor the honor while it lasts. He is all but certain to relinquish the crown to Katniss Everdeen in the early weeks of 2014.

If one wants proof that this is all but a done deal, one need only compare the grosses of the first Hunger Games to its sequel. According to Box Office Mojo, Catching Fire’s 398 million is 24 million ahead of its predecessor at the same point in its release (41 days). Since the first Hunger Games’ final gross of 408 million is nearly tied with Iron Man 3’s 409 million, unless the grosses of Catching Fire unexpectedly crater it’s a safe bet that when we close the book on the 2013 the second entry in the Hunger Games series will hold true to its protagonist and emerge from the arena the final victor.

That a film with a strong, capable female protagonist as its sole lead is the year’s number one film is reason to cheer. That I was unable to recall the last film to duplicate this feat emphasizes the rarity of the achievement. It made me curious:

When was the last time a film led solely by a female character topped the domestic box office in its year? [The answer is after the jump]

Click to read more ...

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