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Sunday November 22, 2015

Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Joins the Ranks of the Fallen

The Hunger Games Katniss salute

The odds were ever in its favor, but the final “Hunger Games” fell at the box office. 

Is it the “Part 2” or merely the “Mockingjay”?

The fourth and final “Hunger Games” was upon us this weekend, and, though the odds were ever in its favor, it disappointed at the box office.

Here are the opening weekends for each “THG”:

  • “The Hunger Games” (2012): $152 million
  • “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013): $158 million
  • “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014): $121 million
  • “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015): $101 million

So over two years, it lost a third of its opening weekend value.

What went wrong? Is it the fact that we’re tired of Hollywood stretching out these stories with all of these “Part 2”s? Except the final installment of “Harry Potter” broke records, while “Twilight”’s last go-round improved upon its “Part 1” box office.

Is it “The Hunger Games” itself? I’ve heard the later books aren’t as good as the earlier ones. Maybe the audience knew that and drifted away. Maybe they grew up.

Brad Brevert on “Box Office Mojo” has another suggestion: “Star Wars VII” anticipation. It’s sucking all the air out of the room.

Obviously it’s still a good weekend, but “Hunger Games” joined the ranks of the fallen less than triumphantly.

The latest James Bond, “Spectre,” dropping 56.7% in its third weekend, grossed antoher $14.6 for a domestic total of $153.7. That’s about half of what its predecessor did. Bond fatigue? More “Star Wars” anticipation?

“The Peanuts Movie” dropped 46% and grossed another $12 mil for a domestic take of $98 million. Not exaclty a warm puppy.

Two new movies, the R-rated Seth Rogen comedy “The Night Before,” and the U.S. remake of the Argentian award-winner “The Secrets in their Eyes,” finished fourth and fifth, with $10 and $6 mil respectively. 

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Posted at 01:39 PM on Nov 22, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Saturday November 21, 2015

Office, Box Office

Skyfall poster

The highest-grossing Bond flick, unadjusted.

“Spectre,” which Patricia and I are going to see today, is the 25th incarnation of James Bond, not including the first two Casino Royales ('54 American TV; '67 movie spoof), and it's doing well enough at the box office. But apparently we've reached a saturation point. 

Here are the top 10 James Bond box office hits of all time—unadjusted. What do you notice? 

Rank Title Dom. Gross Year
1 Skyfall $304,360,277 2012
2 Quantum of Solace $168,368,427 2008
3 Casino Royale $167,445,960 2006
4 Die Another Day $160,942,139 2002
5 Spectre $143,387,879 2015
6 The World Is Not Enough $126,943,684 1999
7 Tomorrow Never Dies $125,304,276 1997
8 GoldenEye $106,429,941 1995
9 Moonraker $70,308,099 1979
10 Octopussy $67,893,619 1983

Since Pierce Brosnan took over the role in 1995, every James Bond flick has done better than the previous one. It was a stock that kept rising. “Spectre” is the market adjustment. It'll probably get to second place but won't get within $100 million of “Skyfall.”

Other observations: Bond didn't break the $100 million barrier until Brosnan. Kind of shocking, isn't it? And it didn't break the $200 million barrier until the last one, “Skyfall,” in 2012. So the original “Hunger Games” made more in three days than all but four James Bond movies did in their entire runs. 

That's unadjusted. If you adjust for inflation, things change. Big time:

Rank Title Adj. Gross Unadjusted  Year
1 Thunderball $623,832,000 $63,595,658 1965
2 Goldfinger $552,942,000 $51,081,062 1964
3 Skyfall $315,602,300 $304,360,277 2012
4 You Only Live Twice $299,439,300 $43,084,787 1967
5 Moonraker $233,613,400 $70,308,099 1979
6 Die Another Day $230,050,800 $160,942,139 2002
7 Tomorrow Never Dies $224,439,200 $125,304,276 1997
8 From Russia, with Love $222,371,000 $24,796,765 1963
9 Diamonds Are Forever $221,487,900 $43,819,547 1971
10 Casino Royale $212,075,200 $167,445,960 2006
11 The World Is Not Enough $207,280,700 $126,943,684 1999
12 GoldenEye $203,528,900 $106,429,941 1995
13 Quantum of Solace $195,570,000 $168,368,427 2008
14 Octopussy $179,756,400 $67,893,619 1983
15 The Spy Who Loved Me $175,172,400 $46,838,673 1977
16 Live and Let Die $166,695,600 $35,377,836 1973
17 For Your Eyes Only $164,438,400 $54,812,802 1981
18 Dr. No $157,646,000 $16,067,035 1963
19 Never Say Never Again $146,765,000 $55,432,841 1983
20 Spectre $138,891,400 $143,387,879 2015
21 On Her Majesty's Secret Service $133,760,000 $22,774,493 1969
22 A View to a Kill $118,235,300 $50,327,960 1985
23 The Living Daylights $109,179,100 $51,185,897 1989
24 The Man with the Golden Gun $93,532,900 $20,972,000 1974
25 License to Kill $72,826,900 $34,667,015 1987

If you adjust for inflation, “Thunderball” is the 29th biggest hit in U.S. box office history (although only the third biggest movie of 1965—behind “The Sound of Music” and “Dr. Zhivago,” both of which are in the top 10 all-time). 

In the early '60s, Bond was a stock that kept rising, too. Here are the adjusted domestic grosses of the first four movies: $157 million, $222, $552, $623. Bang zoom. Then two years off and a massive fall, back to $299. Then an even bigger fall to $133 in 1969. This last can be ascribed, in part, to a new actor, George Lazenby, taking over from Sean Connery, back when actors taking over iconic roles wasn't an everyday thing.

But what accounts for the drop between “Thunderball” and “You Only Live Twice”? Saturation? Too many Matt Helmish copies.

Or was it the difference between 1965 and 1967? 

In '65, it was all well and good to go see a movie about a British spy who travels the world and kills bad guys and sleeps with broads. By 1967, half the people who went to the previous one weren't interested anymore. Maybe they were a little more serious. They went to see “The Graduate” instead. Or “Bonnie and Clyde.” It was the beginning of the age of the ordinary hero or the anti-hero. And Bond was neither. 

No wonder for a time Bond's producers considered Adam West for the role. If West could turn Batman into a pop icon, surely he could ressurect Bond. 

As it was, with Roger Moore at the helm, it was still a long slow slog throughout the 1970s to reach the point where, in 1979, “Moonraker” eclipsed the adjusted box office of 1963's “From Russia with Love.” 

Then the '80s and a fall again. Then the casting of Brosnan and the steady rise. 

I'd like to think that the market adjustment of “Spectre” presages a more serious age for all of us, as “You Only Live Twice” seemed to. But then you look at the top of this year's domestic box office—“Jurassic World,” “Avengers/Ultron,” “Furious 7”—and you know, no, we're still not a serious country, Virginia. 

Thunderball poster James Bond

The highest-grossing Bond flick, adjusted. (A history of Bond posters can be found here.)

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Posted at 11:09 AM on Nov 21, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday November 01, 2015

Box Office: The Bombs of October Continue

Jem and the Holograms: Box Office

Jem and the holographic box office.

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” dropped only 27.5% to gross another $11.4 million and win the weekend for the fourth time in five weeks. The last film to win four weekends was “Furious 7” this spring. Before that? The first “Hunger Games” in the spring of 2012. So a rarity.

Even so, it was the worst weekend of the year for box office.

Plus the story for me continues to be the fierce battle between “Jem and the Holograms” and “Rock the Kasbah” to see whose box office sucks more.

As mentioned last week, the two movies finished 4th (Jem) and 5th (Kasbah) for worst per-theater average ever for movies that opened in more than 2,000 theaters. 

Neither redeemed itself this weekend. “Kasbah” dropped 76%, which is the 26th-worst second-weekend drop ever. It made $353,000. It finished in 19th place.

Universal, the distributor for “Jem,” dealt with its horrific opening by actually adding four theaters.  And “Jem” repaid its confidence by dropping 78.9%, which is the 10th-worst second-weekend drop ever. It grossed $290K. It finished in 21st place.

But I shouldn’t be picking too much on these two. No movie is kicking it. In the last six weeks, “The Martian” has grossed $182.8 million and “Hotel Transylvania 2” $156. Otherwise, it’s hard to keep up with all the bombs:

  • “The Last Witch Hunter,” which was supposed to be the next Vin Diesel franchise, has grossed all of $18 mil in two weekends.
  • “Goosebumps,” which married spooky kids story with Jack Black, has grossed $57 mil in three weekends.
  • “Bridge of Spies,” which got great reviews, continues the downward trend of Spielberg/Hanks box office: from $216 mil (“Saving Private Ryan”) to $164 (“Catch Me If You Can”) to $77 (“The Terminal”) to $45 so far for this. It’s in its third weekend.

“Steve Jobs”? Nah ($14.5). “Pan”? Grow up ($31.7). “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension”? No activity ($13.5).

This weekend’s openers were more of the same: Bradley Cooper’s “Burnt” is toast ($5 mil in 3,000 theaters), Sandra Bullock’s “Our Brand is Crisis” is in crisis ($3 mil in 2,200 theaters) and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” showed up dead on arrival ($1.7 mil in 1,500 theaters).

One assumes things will change next weekend when “Spectre” and “The Peanuts Movie” open.

Posted at 03:49 PM on Nov 01, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Tuesday October 27, 2015

Box Office: Latest Vin Diesel Movie Bombs, But That's Not the Story

This past weekend, the fourth go-round for Ridley Scott's “The Martian” returned to first place at the domestic box office with a $15.7 million take, the second weekend of “Goosebumps” fell to second with $15.5 mil, while the second weekend of “Bridges of Spies” held at third with $11.3 million.

But that's not the real story. 

The ginormous success of the “Fast and Furious” franchise is apparently still not transfering to its star Vin Diesel. His latest, “The Last Witch Hunter,” debuted in fourth place, grossing $10.8 mil in 3,082 theaters. That's his second-worst wide release ever, after “Babylon A.D.” opened to $9.4 in 3,425 theaters in 2008. Both movies got slammed by the critics (6% for A.D., 15% for TLWH) but you could say that about most of Diesel's movies

But that's not really the story, either.

Here's the story. Two movies debuted in more than 2,000 theaters and did so poorly they ranked 4th and 5th all-time in terms of worst per-theater openings for wide releases.

The stinkier is “Jem and the Holograms,” which is about, I guess, this smalltown girl that totally uploads a music video on YouTube and becomes famous? But then they like redo her look and her personality and her name and her makeup? Until she doesn't know who she is anymore? Anyway, that thing debuted in 15th place, grossing $1.3 million in 2,413 theaters, for a per-theater average of $570. Fourth worst ever.

The movie in fifth place did a little better, earning $1.4 million in 2,012 theaters, for a per-theater average of $731, but the shocker there is the movie's lineage. “Jem” was written by no one I've heard of, directed by no one I've heard of, and stars no one I've heard of, while “Rock the Kasbah” is a Barry Levinson comedy starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Kate Hudson, among others. And no one went. 

Here's the top 10 in per-theater average worsties:

1 Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure * $443,901 2,160 $206 Aug. 2012
2 Delgo $511,920 2,160 $237 Dec. 2008
3 Saw 10th Anniversary $650,051 2,063 $315 Oct. 2014
4 Jem and the Holograms $1,375,320 2,413 $570 Oct. 2015
5 Rock The Kasbah $1,470,592 2,012 $731 Oct. 2015 #
6 We Are Your Friends $1,767,308 2,333 $758 Aug. 2015 ##
7 Major League: Back to the Minors $2,087,011 2,322 $899 Apr. 1998
8 The Real Cancun $2,108,796 2,261 $932 Apr. 2003
9 The Adventures of Pluto Nash $2,182,900 2,320 $940 Aug. 2002
10 The Rocker $2,636,048 2,784 $947 Aug. 2008

*Yes, something that dares call itself “Oogieloves” deserves this fate.
** I blogged about this bomb back then.
*** Does a re-release really count? Particularly of an Eli Roth film? 
# Never open in October.
## Never open in August. 

This weekend, Patricia and I saw “The Martian,” which is recommended. 

The Last Witch Hunter is sadly not the last Vin Diesel movie

The Last Witch Hunter is sadly not the last Vin Diesel.

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Posted at 04:37 AM on Oct 27, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday September 27, 2015

The #1 Box-Office Hits the Year Our Last Five Presidents were Elected

1980 Ronald Reagan The Empire Strikes Back
1988 George H.W. Bush Rain Man
1992 Bill Clinton Aladdin
2000 George W. Bush The Grinch
2008 Barack Obama The Dark Knight

Mostly I was amused by the juxtaposition of Ronald Reagan and the return of far-right conservatism with “The Empire Strikes Back,” but some of the others aren't bad, either.

No tagsPosted at 10:52 AM on Sep 27, 2015 in category Movies - Box Office
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