MCN Originals

Review: Detroit (no spoilers)

One of the excellent things about this film is that while non-blacks cannot fully feel the black experience of America, anyone can understand and identify with the experience of this group of victims under the control of that small number of law enforcement officers gone rogue. The threat of state authority is alive and unwell in countries all over this planet, enforced against and abused by people of all races, religions, genders, and ethnicities.

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The Weekend Report

The harbor town of Dunkerque provided filmmaker Christopher Nolan with a heady landing base as his Dunkirk topped weekend viewing with an estimated $50.6 million launch. Also bowing powerfully was the bawdy Girls Trip with $30.4 million. But it was just OK results for the third national newcomer,Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which ranked fifth in the lineup with $17.1 million.

Exclusives were led by indie comedy Landline with a solid start of $51,400 from four dial-ups.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Dunkirk storms the beaches, overperforming with a sure IMAX $ push. Girls Trip, the fifth comedy released this summer, has a better opening day than the first two days of any other summer comedy. And Valerian opens softly, with almost the exact opening as The Fifth Element (1997). And opening over $10k per screen on four, Landline.

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The Gronvall Report: CITY OF GHOSTS and Citizen Journalist Abdelaziz Alhamza

What does “home” mean to you and how far would you go to protect it? That’s at the heart of City of Ghosts, the documentary by Matthew Heineman (director of the Academy Award-nominated Cartel Land), who follows a group of refugees from Raqqa, the first Syrian city during the Arab Spring to resist the forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad, only to fall later to ISIS.

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The DVD Wrapup: Resident Evil, Buster’s Mal Heart, Free Fire, Tommy’s Honour, Stormy Monday, T.J. Hooker … More

Writer-director Sarah Adina Smith has described her dark and challenging second feature, Buster’s Mal Heart, as a mix of Donnie Darko and Bad Santa. I might have added Life of Pi, Barton Fink and Lost Highway, if only as visual references. It’s a very curious movie, about a young husband and father, Jonah (Rami Malek), whose inability to handle basic realities of everyday life pushes him quickly past bipolar disorder, to outright schizophrenia, as a wildly eccentric mountain man, Buster (also Malek).

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Review: Dunkirk (spoiler-free)

It takes a genius. And Christopher Nolan is a genius filmmaker. It is impossible to imagine that he won’t, finally, get his first Oscar nomination for directing this… because it as directed a film as you can imagine. The images are big and bold and every frame is a picture of skill and elegance. The IMAX experience is different than the 70mm experience – one feels like uncharted territory and the other just gorgeous – but either way, it is a visual feast.

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The Weekend Report

War for the Planet of the Apes led weekend moviegoing with an estimated $56.3 million debut. The frame’s other national opener, horror tale Wish Upon barely registered with $5.5 million. But the national expansion of The Big Sick emerged as an effective counterprogrammer with a $7.6 million diagnosis.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

A bit better than the first of this series… a little worse than the second… this Friday ape-ening is a box-office non-story. As we humble Americans are getting sick of writing every week, the story is international, where Rise of the Planet of the Apes did $200 million more than Dawn ($502m international). $175m – $225 million is what domestic will look like. Spider-Home has a normal drop off a $100m+ open, so far. The Big Sick goes wide and with a $3.000-ish per-screen for the weekend, is doing solid business to scale. Baby & Woman hold fast. Wish Upon continues the meh-diocre opening streak for Broad Green.

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The DVD Wrapup: Lost City of Z, Zookeeper’s Wife, Fate of the Furious, Song to Song, Rossellini’s War, Quiet Passion, Norman, Terror in a Texas Town… and more

The fact that The Lost City of Z ends in mystery squares with what we know about the explorer’s story and doesn’t detract from Gray’s yarn. The vast Amazon basin is famous for discoveries of “lost tribes” and valuable resources that force scientists to rewrite their textbooks. Who says that El Dorado — or the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, for that matter – doesn’t exist shrouded in vines and trees, somewhere between the Andes and Brasilia. Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Edward Ashley and Angus Macfadyen are fine in key supporting roles. Franco Nero appears in a scene almost certainly inspired by itzcarraldo, while the uncredited Aboriginal performers play their ancestors very well. Moreover, Darius Khondji’s cinematography deserves to be remembered

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Really Simple Perspective On The Film Business (Summer 2017)

We are at that time of the year when there isn’t a lot of news… so otherwise professional people start mouthing off like a bunch of nattering nabobs of negativity.

In 20 years of doing this, I have had maybe four or five years total in which I didn’t hear “It’s worse than it’s ever been!” Hollywood is always shutting down. It’s always over for theatrical. The Next Big Thing is forever running this town.

Then it shifts.

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Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (spoiler-free)

I was entertained every minute of this movie. Honest. There was no room to get bored or not be surprised by what happened, what was happening and what was about to happen.

This is both a virtue and a flaw.

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The Weekend Report

Spinning to record highs, Spider-Man: Homecoming left the competition in the distance with an estimated $116.2 million debut. The absence of counter-programming again underlines the majors’ growing lack of confidence in that strategy.

A couple of exclusive debuts had encouraging starts, but only the meditative A Ghost Story raised goosebumps with a $106,000 launch from four hauntings. The slow rollout of The Big Sick continues as a commercial powerhouse, with $3.7 million from 326 screens. The season has also offered strong responses for Beatriz at Dinner, The Hero and Paris Can Wait. Canada has local heroes with Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 and Maudie.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Spider-Man returns… but how much better are the numbers? At the end of its first weekend, The Amazing Spider-Man had brought in $137 million. With a $51m Friday, Spider-Man: Homecoming is on pace to have about the same amount as ASM. The Big Question remains… can the latest reboot do more than $500 million worldwide to top the previous incarnation? Also opening wide… nothing. A24’s A Ghost Story will do about $25k per screen on four for the weekend.

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The DVD Wrapup: Laugh-In, Johnny and Friends, Homicide, Bob Hope, Pink Panther, Savage Innocents and more

Time Warner is offering “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series,” a boxed set covering all 140 episodes, from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973. The landmark 50th anniversary package is comprised of 38 discs, covering all 140 episodes and 150-plus total hours of entertainment. (Eighty-nine of the episodes have yet to be released on any format.)

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Review: The House

The House doesn’t suck.

The House is funny. I laughed a lot.

The House is short. It has one of those closing credit sequences that go in slow motion to hope to get the movie to 90 minutes. They clearly came up short of the target.

The House would have been a good mean-as-hell comedy if there were a third act that worked.

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The Weekend Report

Despicable Me 3 led holiday moviegoing with an estimated $75.4 million. There was also good news for counterprogrammer Baby Driver, which vroomed into second place with its $20.3 million opening. The session also saw significant expansions for Southern gothic The Beguiled and the cross-cultural rom-com The Big SickBeguiled went medium-wide to an upbeat $3.2 million. Sick, still limited, maintained a sturdy $23,660 average and $1.7 million tally. Also holding its own in slow roll out was The Hero, with takings of $890,000.

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Friday Box Office Estimates

Hard to say what this Despicable weekend will turn into when compared to other Despicable weekends. There still seems a strong chance of a $100 million 3-day, given normal patterns… but it could be short… or it could challenge Minions‘ $115m launch. And how will a Tuesday July 4 play? Baby Driver isn’t blowing the roof off, but it is getting the word of mouth to fuel it forward. Edgar Wright’s biggest domestic open by a long shot. And WB threw The House out like trash and it’s performing as such.

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The DVD Wrapup: T2 Trainspotting, Autopsy of Jane Doe, Dirty, Trespass, Monster Hunt and more

God bless Margaret Mitchell. When pressured for a sequel to the novel of Gone With the Wind, she claimed not to have a notion as to what may have happened to Scarlett and Rhett, and that she had “left them to their ultimate fate.” Ditto, François Truffaut, who, in 1974, turned down an opportunity to remake Casablanca. It took 14 years for writer-director Richard Curtis to acknowledge the clamor for a reunion sequel to his surprisingly resilient Love Actually. It runs all of 15 minutes, and was shown on British and American television two months ago, as part of one of his charity’s worldwide events. If fans of Grown Ups, Bridget Jones’s Diary and American Pie could be as easily sated, the world would be a better place. That said, however, as unnecessary sequels go, Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting, isn’t bad.

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Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (spoiler-free)

Sony, who had something to gain from allowing Spider-Man to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just allowed Marvel to make their superstar into a supporting player.

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The Weekend Report

Transformers: The Last Knight led weekend moviegoing in its debut with an estimated $45.3 million. The alleged franchise “finale” was anticipated to be a commercial powerhouse with competition steering clear of its path … including counterprogrammers.

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MCN Originals

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Dunkirk 19.7 3720 New 19.7
Girls Trip 11.6 2591 New 11.6
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 6.5 3553 New 6.5
Spider-Man: Homecoming 6.4 4130 -53% 236.1
War for the Planet of the Apes 6 4100 -66% 83.3
Despicable Me 3 3.7 3525 -40% 204.3
Baby Driver 1.7 2503 -36% 79.9
The Big Sick 1.4 2597 -43% 20.9
Wonder Woman 1.2 1971 -38% 385.7
Wish Upon 0.8 2154 -65% 8.8
Also Debuting
Fidaa 0.39 139
Vikram Vedha 61,300 48
The Black Prince 33,500 67
Munna Michael 19,800 72
Landline 19,400 4
The Midwife 5,100 3
Bloody Crayons 4,400 18
Meow 1,850 13
First Kill 1,550 12
The Fencer 1,450 2
The Untamed 1,100 1
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4