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Entries in The Hobbit (30)

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?

Friday
Dec192014

Blog it: The Beauty of the Five Armies

You know you're in trouble when you have to buy three movie tickets to get to anything dubbed "the defining chapter"No, no. Not The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Just Five Armies. Those Middle Earth movies have long since passed their expiration date for TFE's interest, though, if you're curious for a review Timothy wrote an excellent one (as is his enviable habit). Peter Jackson, once an exciting, rowdy, and passionate human filmmaker is now a factory mogul. Contrary to popular belief, we love television here at The Film Experience but each medium has its place. Serialized storytelling is TV's most beloved strength. The movies aren't very good at it. And that's what annual franchises are, one season of an expensive show per year that's only two or three episodes long in which something may or may not happen depending on how much material the show-runner and writers room have come up with and how much money the production company is hoping to wring out of you for the next few seasons. 

Since this is technically the final Middle Earth movie (naturally, Peter Jackson is already threatening to continue. Won't any of his close friends stage an intervention?) let's celebrate with five armies -- extremely randomly chosen --  that are exceedingly nice to look at for a special military edition of Beauty Break.

We'll start with one of Jackson's own to be as nice as we can muster at this point...

Aragorn and the Army of the Dead

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
OH VIGGO MY VIGGO. Few romantic heroes have ever read so romantic and heroic simultaneously as Aragorn, the only regular non-superpowered human in the fellowship. And of all the charges he led into battle, none ever provided such deliciously flattering backlighting as that ghost army he gathered for the final film.

FOUR MORE ARMIES AFTER THE JUMP...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov192014

Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your blog.

Stereogum interviews musician Tunde Adebimpe, the groom from Rachel Getting Married. He says Paul Thomas Anderson (!!!) was originally going to play his part.
Dissolve the Russo brothers who did such a great job with Captain America Winter Soldier may be staying with Marvel unto infinity. And Infinity Wars
BadAss Digest kind of a dick move that DC announced a Flash movie shortly after The Flash series opened to great numbers but with a different actor. The star of CW's Arrow objects

Geek x Girls Dance off from Guardians of the Galaxy takes a detour with Lee Pace
Coming Soon Interstellar prequel comic
/Film 30 movies coming to TV from worst to best ideas
THR Madonna isn't done directing Her next project Ade: A Love Story has a writer
MNPP LMAO! Which is hotter, Andrew Garfield or...?
Film School Rejects shares 7 movie scenes where actors imitated other actors. Amusing but why no ladies?

Angelina Madness
Variety the long journey of Unbroken to screen 
In Contention Angelina Jolie premieres Unbroken, gets emotional
Vanity Fair new photos of the exquisite Jolie via Mario Testino 

The Gay
Me Says defends the gay (or lack of?) content of The Imitation Game 
Buzz Feed asks the cast of The Imitation Game to cast their own biopics 
Gay Vancouver Congratulations to Film Experience reader since way back, actor Michael Azevedo, who is premiering a short film in Canada
Towleroad Paul Bettany corrects a troll's grammar and homophobia. Paul Bettany is so perfect. I only wish he had a filmography to match. 

Today's Must Read
Steel Magnolias celebrates its 25th anniversary on November 22nd. I'm surprised at how many of these "12 Things You Didn't Know About Steel Magnolias" I didn't know. Usually those article titles are so misleading. Like this juicy anecdote implying that we could have had an all Old Hollywood version! Bette Davis wanted Shirley Maclaine's role. Can you imagine this version suggested?

Davis hadn't yet seen the play, but Elizabeth Taylor had. (Police were forced to shut down the street outside the theater because so many people were rubbernecking Taylor's arrival.) Davis wanted to play Ouiser, and she suggested Taylor for M'Lynn and Katharine Hepburn for Clairee. "It was fantastic, "Harling recalled. "If I ever write a book, it’s a complete, incredible chapter. She basically, bless her heart, wanted to show that she was up and at ‘em and doing it. There was nobody else and she was looking fabulous."

Today's Listen
If you have 50 minutes, hear David Fincher talk about the movies in this wide ranging interview from Studio 360. Have just 5 minutes?  The second listen is Hobbit Billy Boyd singing the theme song for The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. It's called "The Last Goodbye"

 

 

Wednesday
Feb262014

"Nominations for Everyone!" - Saturn Awards

I maintain that a lot of "special interest" awards bodies would instantly be more respectable if they'd limit their number of nominations in a category. The Saturn Awards, who've been handing out prizes for sci-fi/fantasy/horror films for 40 years now, are one such group. When you narrow your field of eligibility -- as all special interest awards bodies must to still fit within their special interest boundaries -- why then should your nominee list be larger than the standard model (that'd be Oscar. pay attention). Despite what seems like a neverending barrage of pictures released that are catering to the comic-con community, there are actually less movies like that than those that are eligible for other prizes which only have "release date" as criteria. And yet the Saturn Awards feel the need to have six-seven nominees in all the acting categories and multiple Best Picture awards. If you combine all of their Best Film categories, they have 34 Best Picture nominees! though Gravity and The Hobbit: The Smaugening are the nomination leaders.

It must be so insulting for any picture that was not nominated... though I can't think of any that weren't offhand. Hundreds of nominations with brief grumpy commentary are after the jump. 

Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture:
“Iron Man 3″
“Man of Steel”
“Thor: The Dark World”
“The Wolverine”

The only snubbee I can think of here is Blue is the Warmest Color but those lesbians have no superpowers beyond very limber bodies and the ability to eat huge amounts of food without gaining a pound. 

30 more Best Picture nods after the jump...


Click to read more ...

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 ...

Monday
Dec302013

Stop Trying To Make Link Happen

Clothes on Film gets writers to name their favorite costumes of the year from Stoker through The Grandmaster and on to Spring Breakers
IndieWire thinks Oscar's Cinematography category should be split into two now (computer environments/traditional) as it once was (black and white / color). Co-sign. But then you knew that since I wrote about the problem with this category earlier this year in preparation for Gravity's Oscar win, which will be the 4th heavily computerized film in 5 years to win both vfx and cinematography statues
Buzzfeed Mean Girls and 34 other movies that are turning 10 in 2014. Yes, The Film Experience will be revisiting some of these. Any preferences?

Vulture homage vs theft as it relates to American Hustle from Scorsese... and, well, Scorsese from Scorsese. I think comparisons between Russell and Scorsese's movies are largely missing the point -- an accident of release date and sudden divisive critical fervor -- but this is a good read
IndieWire gets really effusive about Inside Llewyn Davis' Oscar Isaac calling him the next Paul Newman 
Pajiba the 10 best performances from inanimate objects in 2013 from Christian Bale's hairpiece in American Hustle through Man of Steel's tragic victims
Deadline on the use of silence in Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and All is Lost. Brad from Rope of Silicon and I got into this argument with the Hitfix boys yesterday about Gravity. 'What silence? That score is terrified of letting you deal with silence!'

Today's Wolf of Wall Street arguments
Another 24 hours, another cycle of aggressive shaming of those who don't love it.
In Contention interviews The Wolf of Wall Street's Leonardo DiCaprio who does my least favorite thing that actors can do: diss critics who don't like their movie for not getting it. Usually it's better for filmmakers to shut up when they're unhappy with critics. Remember how embarrassing it was when James Cameron got all touchy about negative Titanic reviews?  Joe Reid at The Wire responds with a terrific piece about the disingenuous posturing going on from critics who like to have their cake and eat it, too. 

I haven't been online much today but I'm assuming the response to Leo's statement is drawing big cheers from critics in the Wolf of Wall Street camp.  Careful, people. Just remember how much fun you made of Armie Hammer when he blamed you for The Lone Ranger's failure. 

 

Finally...
Some of you may have seen this a couple of weeks ago but Michael Cusumano, who writes here on occasion, knew he would have to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug with family over the holidays so he caved on his decision not to watch the new Middle Earth trilogy. He liveblogged The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) to catch up (part one and part two) and it is awesome. I made the same initial vow and I've stuck to it but I did happen to recently very casually nibble on parts of last year's 3 hour fantasy slop on HBO the other night so that made this timeline even funnier... I agreed with every word regarding the scenes I tasted (but did not swallow).