Movies - Box Office postsTuesday 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.:
- The Thin Red Line (1998): 1,657 theaters
- The New World (2005): 811 theaters
- The Tree of Life (2010): 237 theaters
- To the Wonder (2013): 60 theaters
“To the Wonder” I can see, but only 237 for this?
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!
The sixth-biggest opening of Ridley Scott's career but a disappointment, considering.
Box Office: Moviegoers Fire ‘Horrible Bosses 2’; ‘Penguins’ Fly South
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
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Opens at $123 Million, Disappoints
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:
- The franchise name
- The chapter within that franchise
- 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.
Weekend Box Office Numbers Recall Goebbels Quote
With a poster like this, how could moviegoers resist?
I think I’m the only one who thought about Josef Goebbels after seeing this weekend’s box office numbers. I hope so anyway.
It has a little something to do with this quote from Cinemas of the World by James Chapman:
Triumph des Willens represented the high point of Nazi propaganda: it enshrined the 'Hitler myth' so completely that no further films of the sort ever needed to be commissioned. Goebbels, for his part, was firmly of the opinion that feature films should provide escapist entertainment for the masses and that direct propaganda should be confined to the newsreels.
The reason this came to mind were the three movies battling it out for the top spot. No other movie came close to these three:
- “Dumb and Dumber To”: $36.1 million
- “Big Hero 6”: $34.6 million
- “Interstellar”: $28.3 million
Fourth place? “Beyond the Lights” with $6.2 million.
But so what, right? Escapist entertainment is almost always in the top slots. At least this weekend we went to see “Interstellar,” which, now and again, made you think about important matters such as global warming, textbook revisionism in Texas, and the downward trajectory of Anne Hathaway's career.
Except it’s really the two movies with the weakest per-theater-average for new movies that led me back to the Goebbels quote.
Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” finally opened and ... didn’t do particularly well. At first I noticed its gross ($1.1 million), thought “Oops,” but then realized, “Well, it only played in 371 theaters.” But then I noticed its per-theater average: $3.1K. That’s not good for a new release. Not at all. (“Foxcatcher,” in comparison, opened in six theaters this weekend with a per-theater average of $45K.)
Anyway it made me wonder: This weekend, did any new release do worse, per theater, than Stewart’s film about a journalist held captive in Iran?
Yes. Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas,” which opened in 410 theaters and grossed only $992K for a per-theater average of $2.2K. P.U. Maybe someone needs to make a new movie: “Saving ‘Saving Christmas.’”
I’m not calling either of these movies ‘propaganda,’ by the way. It’s just that Kirk Cameron is on one side of the cultural divide, Stewart’s on the other, and most moviegoers split the difference and went straight for the escapist entertainment. Because that’s who we is, Charlie.
After all this, knowing little about “Saving Christmas,” I checked out its trailer (ick), then its IMDb page, where it’s currently enjoying a bottom-of-the-barrel 2.5 (out of 10) rating. Then I went a step further, to the Message Boards, where the nom-de-IMDb “comrade-newski” asks, “When can we get a good Christian Film?” and lambasts all the ones that have come out this year. It’s a good rant. Truly. But one of the responses comes from someone named “johnsmithbattlenet,” who writes:
when jews evaporate from hollywood
Classy. So we begin with Goebbels and end with Goebbels. L’Chayim.