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David Poland

By David Poland

Early Box Office Analysis – 8/27

The Brothers Grimm, which dumped its pretense of being a Terry Gilliam movie (except for people who read newspapers

24 Responses to “Early Box Office Analysis – 8/27”

  1. HenryHill says:

    At least Gilliam will have the #1 movie in America this weekend. It’ll probably tap out at $30-35 million. Like all things Gilliam it’ll find a following on DVD.
    It looks like the Penguins are starting to slow down. Good.
    How come no one on the Blog has bothered to talk about what a lean piece of craftsmanship Singleton’s Four Brothers is? While Craven’s Red Eye has gotten most of the spotlight lately, Singleton has served up a down ‘n’ dirty urban Western that has good laughs, an exciting car chase, and a muscular star performance by Wahlberg. Did I mention some of the best use of Motwon music ever? (The soundtrack works because it doesn’t rely on Motown standards, but actually goes deep into the catalog.) The use of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man” is perfect. A couple of more genre movies like this and Singleton could become a new-style Walter Hill.

  2. cullen says:

    considering the bad buzz and pretty weak reviews, a $15-18 million start for Bros. Grimm has to be considered somewhat of a success…so happy that the Virgin has held up well, as I find it to be INFINITELY better than the wedding crashers.
    i think that people are talking more about Red Eye than Four Bros. because of how bad some of Wes Craven’s recent movies have been…with Red Eye, while not a brilliant or even great movie, he returned to old form with a tight, fun thriller. I agree that Four Brothers is a solid urban-Western with some nice performances and some manly action-violence…I could definitely see Singleton becoming the next Walter Hill to some degree.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    “Four Brothers” is terrific. I’ve already seen it twice, and wouldn’t mind seeing it again. (HH: You are so RIGHT about the use of “Trouble Man” — at the start AND at the end, where it has a subtly different emotional resonance.) I’m really shocked by how it has been dissed by some folks on this blog, and elsewhere. To me, it’s the rock-the-house movie of the summer.
    BTW: This is off-subject, I know, but I fondly remember the original 1972 “Trouble Man” film, directed by Ivan Dixon. (Yeah, I know that remark dates me. Let’s put it like this — I was 20 when I saw it in a first-run theater.) Anyone out there know why it’s never been released on home video? And what ever happened to Robert Hooks, the original Mr. T?

  4. HenryHill says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Trouble Man the movie is stuck in music rights hell because of the Marvin Gaye soundtrack. (BTW: Trouble Man is one Cameron Crowe’s all-time favorite soundtracks.)
    I also like the use of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” during the “humiliation” scene, and Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” during a Bobby-Jack search-and-discover sequence.

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m shocked that so many people like Four Brothers. Truly confounds me. It is so painfully mediocre and full of cliches. Hardly worth a rental. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

  6. Stella's Boy says:

    Grimm was pretty expensive right? $80 million or so?

  7. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not a profound or original movie, but it is a lot of fun. I hope you at least enjoyed the Italian restaurant scene.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m sorry but I didn’t find it all that fun, not even in a guilty pleasure kind of way. I found it just OK at best. Really didn’t do much for me. So obvious and by-the-numbers. But I can tell I’m in the minority around here.

  9. martin says:

    grimm #’s are what I expected. it should finish up around $40, which would make it a reasonable hit for gilliam. the stupidity here is that anyone would throw $80 mill. at a gilliam movie starring Damon (OK) and an actor no one seems to care for, Heath Ledger. Whether it cost $40 or $80 it would have had roughly the same opening weekend. And of course $40 would have meant a solid chance at profitability. Now that’s a longshot unless it somehow wins alot of hearts overseas.

  10. EDouglas says:

    Why do you think Penguins is down so much? I noticed that it seemed to be quite low in the last few days compared to previous weeks and I wondered if maybe school started in some places already. I don’t have kids so I don’t keep track of that sort of thing but I just assumed that school didn’t start until after Labor Day, but I also remember being surprised when I learned that some schools started again in late August (ie this week)…so is it school or are there that many families going away this week that its showing the normal decrease in the box office?

  11. Sanchez says:

    Grimm is a huge stinker. They’re lucky if it gets to 30 million than they should have a parade.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    EDouglas: Houston Independent School District started classes two weeks ago. And school began a week before that in some other parts of the country. So go figure.
    Also: I wonder if word has gotten back to many parents that “Penguins” isn’t an entirely sweet and sunny view of nature? I can think of a couple of scenes thta might scare the bejeepers out of very small children.

  13. joefitz84 says:

    If 40 Yr Virgin hits 100 mill$ it has to be seen as one of the huge successes of the summer. Same if Red Eye chugs along and hits the number too.

  14. jsnpritchett says:

    I think these numbers are wrong. Dukes was 9th in box office on Friday. I don’t think it went UP 5 places with 2 new releases in the mix. I noticed BoxOfficeMojo didn’t even post Friday estimates today. There’s a note saying that due to “incomplete and inaccurate info,” they’re not posting numbers until Sunday. My guess is that Showbizdata has wrong numbers, too, and that March of the Penguins didn’t drop as much as it appears.

  15. PandaBear says:

    Penguins is down because I think the market for it is tapped out.

  16. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Yeah, if Penguins starts to deteriorate at the box-office it’s because there’s only so many people that will go to see this sort of movie at a cinema when they will be able to see it on tv in less than a year.
    Grimm never sounded particularly interesting and the fact that’s it’s by Gilliam – one of the most frustrating directors – didn’t make it appear any better. And as much as I like Damon, Ledger and Belluci… well, they never seemed to make the movie any more interesting either.
    Miramax will be happy that it least did better numbers than all the other movies they’ve released in their basement everything-must-go type release pattern.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    Hey Sanchez, what don’t you like about Grimm?

  18. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I must agree with jsn that it is extremely strange that Dukes of Hazzard jumped back into the Top 5.
    Isn’t ‘The Cave’ one of the worst film titles ever? It’s definitely overtaken Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous as the worst of the year…

  19. JBM... says:

    The Cave’s working title was “Prime Evil,” so be thankful for what you’ve got…

  20. Angelus21 says:

    I saw Grimm. Too bad they didn’t have the give the audience their money back policy like Cinderella Man.

  21. martin says:

    box office chart is dullest i’ve seen in a long time. no one people are staying away from theaters, it’s all shit!

  22. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “March of the Penguins” has started to play out in smaller theaters. In New Jersey, a single-screen arthouse and a couple of twin-screen theaters have already dropped it. A twin-screen arthouse in Connecticut plans to drop it next week.
    Warner Independent and National Geographic share the US rights to “Penguins”, so the DVD might be a joint effort — and not until Xmas at least.
    (UK readers: You’ll see the US version of “Penguins” when it opens across the pond this fall.)

  23. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not really a joint effort, I believe WB has a distribution deal with National Geographic for their products.

  24. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I hope we get the American version here in Australia and not the silly sounding European one with actors voicing the penguins like it was an animated movie.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin