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Entries in Free Solo (7)

Tuesday
Feb052019

Doc Corner: How much has the changing Academy changed the Best Documentary category ?

By Glenn Dunks

Among all of the talk happening since the Oscar nominations, a good deal of attention has been paid to the role the new roster of Academy members might have played in what we were given. With good reason, too, considering the nomination list reads rather obviously as the awkward merging of two very different kind of voters. Virtually every category has something for both the old and the new guards – or, at least what we perceive to be the old and the new guards. 

Even a category like Best Sound Editing has a horror movie and a Mexican domestic drama sitting next to musical biopics and action blockbusters. In Best Makeup and Hairstyling you'll see standard old/overweight and royalty makeup side-by-side with a curious Scandi whatsit. And doesn’t it feel odd to imagine the same acting branch voter notching Sam Rockwell’s name for Vice and simultaneously selecting Marina de Tavira one category over?  The documentary branch is no different. Their 2018 nominees for Best Documentary Feature are even more 'new guard,' taking this idea of a shift in identity even further...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb032019

What did you see this weekend?

Superbowl weekend was rough for the movies with lower than usual grosses all around. Was it the polar vortex? Who dared venture out of their homes?!

Weekend Box Office Estimates
February 1st-3rd (ESTIMATES)
🔺 = New or Expanded Theater Count /  = Recommended
W I D E
800+ screens
PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding prev. wide
Miss Bala Free Solo
Glass $9.5 (cum. $88.6) Review
1🔺 They Shall Not Grow Old $2.4 
(cum. $10.7) Review ★ 
The Upside  $8.8 (cum. $75.5)
2🔺 Free Solo $1.3 (cum. $14.9) ReviewBiggest Doc Hits ★
🔺 Miss Bala $6.7 *NEW* 
3🔺 Ek Ladki Ko Dekha...  $600k *NEW* 
Aquaman  $4.7 (cum. $323.5) ReviewPodcast
4🔺 Cold War  $564k (cum. $2.1) ReviewBiggest Foreign Hits ★
Into the Spider-Verse  $4.4 (cum. $175.2)  Review, Annie Award Winner 
5🔺 Destroyer $234k (cum. $1.2)  Review 

 

Miss Bala had a rough opening weekend, unable to unseat three week old Glass and four week old The Upside to claim the top spot. Two notes on Oscar boosts: Green Book is now finally on its way to becoming the hit everyone originally assumed it would be when they saw it at festivals, having roared back to life last week and holding super well this week (it's at #6 for the past two weeks -- the highest its ever climbed on the charts after almost three months in theaters indicating that word of mouth has finally caught up with it. In specialty theaters Free Solo and Cold War have also done a superb job capitalizing on their Oscar nods. Free Solo  was all but finished with its run a few weeks ago but is suddenly reenergized, this weekend becoming the second highest doc grosser of 2018 by topping RBG. Meanwhile Cold War has been cruising up the foreign film charts and is now the 8th biggest subtitled hit of 2018, just now defeating last year's Oscar champ A Fantastic Woman.

Tuesday
Jan152019

Doc Corner: Final Oscar Predictions – A Big Year For Box Office Hits?

Editor's Note: We're turning over the final nomination predictions in Documentary to our resident doc expert. Take it away, Glenn -- Nathaniel R

By Glenn Dunks

It’s always somewhat impossible to gauge just what direction the documentary branch will go in. In the past, they have often been criticized for ignoring big non-fiction hits while the next year they're equally criticized for just nominating the documentaries that people have heard of and ignoring the smaller titles that haven’t the benefit of famous subjects or popular themes (WWII, for instance).

2019 was an unusually spectacular year at the box office for documentaries with four titles all reaching seven figures at the cash registers of cinemas in the US. It has been great to see documentaries enter the zeitgeist in such a way. Unfortunately that has meant that most awards organizations have defaulted to a standard list of those top four box office champs: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Free Solo, RBG and Three Identical Strangers. Maybe with Netflix’s Shirkers or Hulu’s Minding the Gap thrown in for good measure. Will Oscar follow suit?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec272018

Doc Corner: From the Short List - 'Free Solo'

By Glenn Dunks

Easily queasy viewers beware – Free Solo can be a daunting prospect to watch. And not just for the extraordinary climb that the film is all about, but if even just the poster churns your stomach, it’s probably not for you. Directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin follow up to Meru (of which I was less a fan for reasons I honestly don’t even remember – I watch too many movies to remember these things, apparently) charts Alex Honnold, the world’s most famous free solo rock climber, as he sets out to conquer his biggest feat yet: El Capitan, the 3000-foot vertical rock face, a granite monolith that has loomed over Yosemite for millennia.

The why of Alex’s mission remains a tantalizing carrot that dangles in front of the audience through his death-defying stunts.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec242018

Top 30 Documentary Hits of 2018

Each day a different year in review topic. Here's Glenn Dunks...

Documentaries had one of their biggest years on record in 2018. In fact, the upper realms of non-fiction at the North American box office started to look like what the foreign-language charts once looked like. There was at least one major cross-over smash, several very impressive eight-figure grossers, a selection of not insignificant titles that did over one-million, and a long list of niche titles that did business anywhere from respectable to disappointing depending on expectations and release size. The year even started strong for docs with 2017 hits Bombshell the Hedy Lamarr Story and Faces/Places continuing to earn tidy sums buoyed by word of mouth and an Oscar nomination respectively.

My column Doc Corner will continue in 2019 so here’s hoping the new year offers just as bountiful a crop. It's been good to see documentaries reaching the mainstream, zeitgeist conversation.

TOP 30 DOCUMENTARIES FOR 2018
Domestic Box Office Grosses Only - Figures as of February 17th, 2019. 🔺 = the film is still in theaters

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov112018

Critics Choice Documentary Winners 2018

In an unusually successful year for documentaries in terms of audience interest, two of the biggest hits, Won't You Be My Neighbor? ($22.6 million) and Free Solo ($7.3 million and climbing) now have yet more to crow about. They each won three prizes at the 3rd annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards last night. Though they both appear to be likely future Oscar nominees you just never know with the documentary branch. 

The winners in each of the Critics Choice doc categories are listed after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct222018

Halloween's Big Weekend and More... 

by Nathaniel R

The return of Jamie Lee Curtis to the Halloween franchise meant big business in movie theaters over the weekend, continuing a strong October. Meanwhile A Star is Born held on to second place for a third consecutive week. It's already the highest grossing release of 2018 to never hit #1, since its surpassed the Mamma Mia  sequel's gross. A lot of platform releases kicked off this week to in the rev up to awards season. More after the jump...

Weekend Box Office
(October 19-21)

W I D E
800+ screens
PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding prev. wide
1. 🔺 Halloween $76.2 *NEW* Review
1. 🔺 Free Solo $1 on 251 screens (cum. $3.6) 

Click to read more ...