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Sunday December 21, 2014

Weekend Box Office: America Declines Thirds, 'Annie'

Annie 2014

It's a hard-knock life for “Annie.” But maybe the sun will come out tomorrow? 

The weekend before Xmas is usually not a big box-office winner. Everyone’s too busy to go to the movies. But even by those standards this weekend was problematic.

The top two movies are both final chapters in a trilogy, and both underperformed compared to their predecessors.

Well, you could argue “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” It won the weekend with $56 million, down from last year’s “Desolation of Smaug” opening ($73 million) and 2012’s “Unexpected Journey” opening ($84 million), but this one, unlike those, opened on a Wednesday, so its weekend total was diluted. The five-day total is $90 million. That said, sequels, particularly final-chapter sequels, usually open bigger than the earlier chapters and that’s not happening here. Adjusted for inflation, “Five Armies” grossed in five days what “Unexpected Journey” did in three.

But it’s worse news for the “Night at the Museum” series:

Date Movie Open  Gross
Dec. 22, 2006 Night at the Museum $30.4 m $250 m
May 22, 2009 NATM: Battle of the Smithsonian $54.1 m $177 m
Dec. 19, 2014 NATM: Secret of the Tomb $17.3 m  ?

Side note: Is Ben Stiller done as a box-office attraction? “Walter Mitty” grossed $58 million last year, “The Watch” $35 million the year before—I know: complications with that one—“Tower Heist” $78 million in 2011. His last live-action movie to go over $100 mil was “Little Fockers” in 2010; but its $148 was down from the $279 million “Meet the Fockers” grossed in 2004.

Meanwhile, “Annie,” starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis, debuted to bad reviews and $16.3 million for third place. Last weekend’s winner, Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” fell off by a Satanic 66.6% to gross only $8 million, while “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” added another $7.7 million for fifth place. At $289 million domestic, it’s sputtering its way to $300 million when its predecessors both topped $400 million.

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Posted at 09:50 AM on Dec 21, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Tuesday December 16, 2014

Why 'Knight of Cups' Needs to Kill at Berlin Fest

Per Box Office Mojo, the widest release of Terrence Malick's films in the U.S.:

Pop.

The Tree of Life

 “To the Wonder” I can see, but only 237 for this?

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Posted at 09:32 AM on Dec 16, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday December 14, 2014

Weekend Box Office: Thou Shalt Have No Moses Before Charlton Heston!

Thou shalt have no Moses before Charlton Heston, apparently.

Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” starring Christian Bale as Moses, opened to bad reviews (28% RT) and weak box office ($24 million), but that was still good enough to win the weekend. “The Hunger Games” sequel (shorter version: “THGMP1”) was second with $13.2 million. We’re all out shopping.

Chris Rock’s “Top Five,” which did open to good reviews (89%), finished fourth, with $7.2 million, even though it only played in 979 theaters. Patricia and I saw it yesterday. My review will be up tomorrow. (Psst: I’m in the 11%.)

Is it a bad weekend to open a movie? It looks like it, unless you’re a Tolkien adaptation:

  • Dec. 13-15. 2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Samug: $73 million
  • Dec. 14-16, 2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: $84
  • Dec. 16-18, 2011: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: $39
  • Dec. 10-12, 2010: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: $24

Or maybe we’re all just getting sick of lengthy subtitles.

What are the big winners of Fall 2014 so far? Below:

And will THGMP1 trump Guardians of the Galaxy to be the year’s biggest box office hit? Don’t touch that mouse!

Ridley Scott's Exodus

The sixth-biggest opening of Ridley Scott's career but a disappointment, considering.

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Posted at 10:12 AM on Dec 14, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday November 30, 2014

Box Office: Moviegoers Fire ‘Horrible Bosses 2’; ‘Penguins’ Fly South

Horrible Bosses 2

It's not funny cuz it's not true. 

Some good news for Lionsgate: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” opened to $31 million less than the original movie ($121 to $152 million) but is now only $23 million off the pace ($225 to $248 million). So it made up ground. But that’s just with the first one. It’s still way off the pace of the second, “Catching Fire,” which opened to $158 million and by the end of its second weekend had grossed $296 million.

This seems true of all sequels now. “Penguins of Madagascar” opened on Wednesday and kinda died at the box office. Even if you include the two extra days in its weekend total, it still fell way off the pace of its three predecessors, which opened to $47 million in 2005, $63 million in 2008, and $60 million in 2012. This one? $36 million. That’s the five-day total.

The same is true for “Horrible Bosses 2,” the sequel that nobody wanted. The first opened to $28 million in the summer of 2011. This one opened to $23 million (that’s five-day) or $15 million (that’s three-day), but either way it finished fifth for the weekend—behind Katniss, Penguins, “Big Hero 6” and “Interstellar.” The third weekend of “Dumb and Dumber To” was sixth with $8.2 million.

After that, it’s Oscar contenders, playing in anywhere from four theaters (“The Imitation Game”) to 1,256 (“St. Vincent”).

Are we getting weary of sequels now? One hopes. With apologies to Otis Redding:

Oh, we may be weary
Moviegoers do get weary
Seeing the same old crappy shit, yeah yeah

Totals.

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Posted at 12:09 PM on Nov 30, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday November 23, 2014

'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Opens at $123 Million, Disappoints

Katniss in "the Hunger Games: Mockingay—Part I"

Katniss returns, fewer people show up.

When is a $123 million weekend, the biggest opener of the year, a disappointment? When its predecessors opened at $152 million and $158 million, respectively.

That’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1.” And if Hollywood in general and Lionsgate specifically are wondering and worrying over that total, they might want to look to the movie’s tri-part title:

  1. The franchise name
  2. The chapter within that franchise
  3. OK, just the first part of that chapter within that franchise

I don’t know if we’re all getting franchise fatigue, if that’s what this year of downward box office has been about (and if so, good), but breaking up final chapters into two parts, as with “Twilight” and “Harry Potter,” or three parts as with “The Hobbit,” is just being greedy. Cut to the chase, Hollywood. Just tell us the fucking story.

The first two “Hunger Games” movies grossed over $400 million each domestically. “THGMP1” will need good word-of-mouth to do that. The more immediate question is whether it can unseat “Guardians of the Galaxy,” at $331 million, as the year’s biggest hit. Domestic. Worldwide, it’s that crummy “Transformers IV” movie, which grossed $1.08 billion despite massive deflation in the U.S.

Among the runner-ups this weekend, “Big Hero 6” finished second ($20m for the weekend, $135 domestic total), “Interstellar” third ($15 and $120) and “Dumb and Dumber To” fourth ($14 and $57). “DADT” gained 34 theaters in its second weekend but still feel nearly 62%. So we’re dumb but we’re not dumber.

“Gone Girl” is still in fifth place ($2.8 and $156), “Beyond the Lights” in sixth ($2.6 and $10), and then “St. Vincent,” which earned another $2.3 million (including $10 from me) and has now quietly grossed $36 mil, despite mediocre reviews.

After that, a flurry of potential Oscar candidates:

  • 8. “Fury” ($1.9, $79)
  • 9. “Birdman” ($1.8, $14)
  • 10. “The Theory of Everything” ($1.5 and $2)
  • 11. “Nightcrawler” ($1.2 and $27)

I’d recommend any of these last ones. Use your brains and all. 

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Posted at 12:08 PM on Nov 23, 2014 in category Movies - Box Office
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