erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Monday October 13, 2014

Weekend Box Office: ‘Gone Girl’ Returns at No. 1

Eleven movies opened this weekend, but the second weekend of David Fincher’s trashy, campy “Gone Girl” trumped them all, dropping only 28% and finishing first with $26.8 million. (Review up soon.)

Since the movie stars Ben Affleck, and since the pet project of Robert Downey, Jr., “The Judge,” finished fifth with only $13.3 million, is this a matter of new Batman beating the one and only Iron Man? Is it DC beating Marvel? Or is it DC beating DC, since the new Batman also beat the oldest Batman, “Dracula Untold,” the No. 2 movie with $23.4 million—which used, in its marketing, not-so-subtle bat imagery to conflate itself with the Dark Knight? Either way, people weren’t fooled by “Dracula.” Not enough anyway.

Meanwhile, Steve Carrell’s new kids movie, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” based on the 1972 kids book by Judith Viorst, opened in third place with $19.1 million.

And wait ... 11 movies, you ask? Yes, 11 movies. But many of them, the best of them, didn’t open at a theater near you. “Kill the Messenger,” Jeremy Renner’s true life, investigative reporter/CIA/cocaine movie, got buried by Focus Features, opening in only 374 theaters. “St. Vincent,” Bill Murray’s Wes Andersony “About a Boy” flick, is being treated, in A.O. Scott’s immortal words, “like a hothouse flower,” and only opened in four theaters. “Whiplash,” the jazz drummer movie starring Miles Teller that is garnering great reviews, did only slightly better: six theaters.

Hollywood is playing this story again. The movies you want to see are being parceled out like caviar in New York and LA, while the movies you don’t want to see are as readily available as McDonald’s franchises throughout the rest of the schlubby U.S.

Here, in fact, are the 11 movies that opened this weekend, sorted by theater count, with Rotten Tomatoes’ scores in the right-hand column:

Movie Theaters BO RT Rating
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Etc.  3,088 $19.10 66%
The Judge 3,003 $13.33 47%
Dracula Untold 2,885 $23.46 26%
Addicted 846 $7.60 11%
Kill the Messenger 374 $0.93 73%
Meet the Mormons 317 $2.70 0%
One Chance 43 $0.03 64%
Christian Mingle 15 $0.02 33%
Whiplash 6 $0.14 96%
St. Vincent 4 $0.12 66%
The Overnighters 1 $0.004 95%

It’s almost as if studios are embarrassed by anything that’s well-reviewed.

Dracula Untold poster: straight out of Batman Begins

'Noooo, we're not trying to remind you of a more successful bat-franchise. What gave you that idea?'

Posted at 06:46 AM on Oct 13, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday October 05, 2014

Box Office: 'Gone Girl' is No. 1 with a Bullet; 'Left Behind' is Left Behind

“Gone Girl” has given director David Finch the biggest opening of his career (unadjusted): $38 million. It just barely nipped “Annabelle” ($37.2), the derivative prequel to the excellent horror film “The Conjuring,” to win the weekend.

For those interested, here’s a history of the opening weekends for Fincher’s films:

Movie Opening Thtrs Total Gross
1 Gone Girl $38,000,000 3,014 $38,000,000
2 Panic Room $30,056,751 3,053 $96,397,334
3 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button $26,853,816 2,988 $127,509,326
4 The Social Network $22,445,653 2,771 $96,962,694
5 Alien 3 $19,449,867 2,227 $55,473,545
6 The Game $14,337,029 2,403 $48,323,648
7 Seven $13,949,807 2,441 $100,125,643
8 Zodiac $13,395,610 2,362 $33,080,084
9 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo $12,768,604 2,914 $102,515,793
10 Fight Club $11,035,485 1,963 $37,030,102

“The Equalizer,” last weekend’s No. 1, held up well, dropping 44% to come in third with $19 million. The second weekend of “The Boxtrolls” finished fourth ($12.4) and the third weekend of “The Maze Runner” finished fifth ($12).

In sixth place, with $6.8 million in 1,825 theaters, is something that seem like future MST3K fodder: “Left Behind,” based upon the Christian, ha ha, apocalypse-for-you-heaven-for-me novels by Jerry B. Jenkins. The star? Nic Cage. The movie is currently at 2% on Rotten Tomatoes. Who liked it? Diana Saenger, who operates her own syndicate, and belongs to the San Diego Film Critics Society. She also liked “Heaven is for Real” and “Son of God.” And “Jersey Boys,” for that matter.

I’d recommend reading RT’s page of blurbs on “Left Behind” for fun. Among my favorite lines:

the most boring version of the Rapture I could have ever imagined
--Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures

It believes people might buy a ticket to “Left Behind” and not know the twist, like someone sitting down to watch Godzilla and being shocked by the entrance of a giant lizard.
--Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly

I can't wait for Nic Cage to explain THIS one to God on Judgment Day.
--Martin Scribbs, Mixed Reviews

Score one for Satan.
--Linda Barnard, Toronto Star

Posted at 11:14 AM on Oct 05, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 28, 2014

Weekend Box Office: Denzel Rocks, Liam Drops

Denzel Washington

Denzel gets the drop on the bad guys while doing his Bill Murray impersonation. 

Denzel Washington had the third-biggest opening of his career with “The Equalizer,” $35 million, behind only “American Gangster” ($43 million in 2007) and “Safe House” ($40 million in 2012), as the Antoine Fuqua-directed action film led the domestic box office this weekend.

If a $35 million open doesn’t seem like much for a star of Denzel’s magnitude, well, that was my thought yesterday when I wrote up a post on Denzel’s all-time box office numbers. His highest-grossing movie is still “American Gangster,” with Russell Crowe, at $130 million. Adjusted, it’s “The Pelican Brief,” with Julia Roberts, at $197 million. But folks still come out for him. Would I have seen “The Equalizer” if it had starred, say, Michael Caine? Not bloody likely. I barely saw it, as is. 

“The Maze Runner” dropped off only 46% to finish second, with $17.5 million. The animated “Box Trolls” opened at $17.2 million for third.

The big dropoff? There’s two: “Tusk,” which opened poorly and fell off 67.3% in its second weekend, to which I say good riddance; and “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” the more serious Liam Neeson thriller, which apparently isn’t thrilling fans of the genre too much. I guess they want more sugar in their bowl. Don’t we all?

Hanging on in the top 10? At No. 8, the ninth weekend of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (now at $317 million domestic); at No. 10, the eighth weekend of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (now at $187 million); and, surprisingly, at No. 9, the seventh weekend of “Let’s Be Cops,” which got abyssmal reviews (20%), opened at a not-exactly humorous moment for cops (Ferguson, et al.), and yet keeps on hanging on. It’s grossed $79 million domestic.

There are still good movies to see if you’re looking for one: “The Skeleton Twins” finished at No. 11 with $1.2 million, “The Drop” finished twelfth with $1.05 million, while “Boyhood” finished twentieth with another $279K. Further down, “The Trip to Italy” grossed $230K while “Love is Strange” bested “Hercules” for 27th place with $200K.

Let’s buoy some of these movies up, people. They’re the good ones. 

Posted at 10:32 AM on Sep 28, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Saturday September 27, 2014

What's the Highest-Grossing Denzel Washington Movie of All Time?

Via Box Office Mojo, here are the top five:

Rank Movie Lifetime Gross Release
1 American Gangster $130,164,645 Nov '07
2 Safe House $126,373,434 Feb '12
3 Remember the Titans $115,654,751 Sept '00
4 The Pelican Brief $100,768,056 Dec '93
5 The Book of Eli $94,835,059 Jan '10

Is there someone as well-known as Denzel, with as long a career as Denzel, whose movies have never grossed more than $150 domestically? 

George Clooney? “Gravity” ($274), “Ocean's Eleven” ($183), “The Perfect Storm” ($182).

Brad Pitt? “World War Z” ($202) “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” ($186) “Ocean's Eleven” ($183).

Leo? Right, “Titanic.”

Russell Crowe? Close. But “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind” both topped $150.

How about Daniel Day-Lewis? Nope. “Lincoln” grossed $182.

The nearest example I could find is Matthew McConaughey, whose highest-grossing movie (“Wolf of Wall Street,” $116) isn't his, nor is his second-highest movie (“Magic Mike,” $113). Maybe a comparison is instructive. McConaughey made middling, forgettable rom-coms that grossed in the middling, forgettable range ($50 to $70 million) before shirking it recently to do good, serious work that doesn't make much money. Denzel started out doing a lot of good, serious work that didn't make much money, but he's shirked that recently to do middling, forgettable actioners that make middling, forgettable money ($60- $90 million). Well, he's reliable, I guess. 

Here are his top 10, adjusted for inflation:

Rank Movie Adjusted Gross Unadjusted Gross Release
1 The Pelican Brief $197,376,500 $100,768,056 Dec '93
2 Remember the Titans $174,704,700 $115,654,751 Sept '00
3 Crimson Tide $171,219,700 $91,387,195 May '95
4 American Gangster $154,120,800 $130,164,645 Nov '07
5 Philadelphia $151,009,600 $77,446,440 Dec '93
6 Safe House $129,960,400 $126,373,434 Feb '12
7 Training Day $110,344,500 $76,631,907 Oct '01
8 Inside Man $110,135,100 $88,513,495 March '06
9 Courage Under Fire $108,846,900 $59,031,057 July '96
10 The Bone Collector $106,428,800 $66,518,655 Nov '99


Denzel Washington

Denzel, midflight.

Posted at 10:38 AM on Sep 27, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Thursday September 25, 2014

Box Office: a Tidy Little Oddity of 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

The only movie this year to bridge the $30 million/$100 million gap.

I noticed what I assumed was a tidy little oddity in this year’s box office numbers when I checked to see how the opening of last weekend’s “The Maze Runner” ($32.5 million) compared with other openings this year. It was 21st-best: between “Rio 2” ($39 million) and “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” ($32.2 million). But that’s not the oddity.

Here’s the oddity: With the exception of “The Maze Runner,” which just opened, every movie that opened with more than $30 million this year grossed more than $100 million total domestically. And among the movies that opened with less than $30 million, only one (“Edge of Tomorrow,” which had great word-of-mouth), grossed more than $100 million—and it just barely sneaked over that mark: $100.2 million.

That’s a pretty clear demarkation, isn’t it?  It made me wonder if this year was an anomaly.

In 2013, five of the 30 movies that opened at greater than $30 million failed to reach $100 million: “Insidious Chapter 2,” “Oblivion,” “The Purge,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and “The Best Man Holiday.” Meanwhile, nine movies opened with less than $30 but grossed more than $100, including “We’re the Millers” and “Anchorman 2.”

In 2012, four movies that opened with more than $30 grossed less than $100, while seven movies that opened with less than $30 grossed more than $100.

In 2011, it’s four and six.

In 2010, eight and five.

This year, again, zero and one. So yes, a bit of an anomaly.

What inflates the first number, though, are horror movies, which open well and die fast, and we haven’t gotten the usual Halloween horror crap yet; and what inflates the second number are prestige pictures that open in NY and LA but catch on later with the general public, such as “American Hustle,” and we’re just entering prestige season. So I’m sure these numbers will change. 

Posted at 05:31 AM on Sep 25, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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